Mamma Mia!, 2008


Phyllida Lloyd


visit the film locations

Greece: Flights: Athens International Airport. There are domestic flights to Skiathos National Airport (35min), and from there, a hydrofoil service to Skopelos

Greek National Tourism Organisation

Skiathos: Skiathos Information

Mamma Mia location: the harbour: Skiathos, Greece

Mamma Mia location: the harbour: Skiathos, Greece

Photograph: Skiathos Information

Yes, the film of the phenomenally successful stage musical is blatantly contrived and shamelessly manipulative, but you’d need to be the world’s grumpiest curmudgeon not to be swept along by its bouncy enthusiasm. And the film’s trump card is the gorgeous Greek scenery.

But let's get the intro out of the way first, and the three settings for the three putative fathers. The home of uptight Harry (Colin Firth) is upmarket Maida Vale in London. Adventurer Bill (Stellan Skarsgaard) is briefly seen racing through Marrakech, Morocco. And high-flier Sam (Pierce Brosnan) works in ‘New York’ – well, not quite. The ‘Manhattan’ office block is the Lloyds Building in the City of London.

The island setting of ‘Kalokairi’ is, of course, fictitious. And – even worse – there is no ‘Villa Donna’. The entire hotel complex was built – on the huge 007 Stage, as it happens – at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire.

Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) sends out the three wedding invitations on the east side of Skopelos, one of the Sporades islands, in the northwest Aegean Sea, with an amazing view of the St Nikolaos Bell Tower, of the church of Aghios Nikolaos.

The harbour, at which Harry and Sam arrive in identical cabs, is the Old Port on the island of Skiathos,to the east of Skopelos, and smallest of the Sporades.

It’s at Glysteri, on the northern coast of Skopelos, that Amanda reads the diary to her friends. It’s also where Sophie, Bill, Harry and Sam leap from rocks into the sea during Our Last Summer. The rocky peninsula, above Glysteri Beach, is not easily accessible. ‘Villa Donna’ is supposedly above Glysteri Beach.

The beach bar for Does Your Mother Know? was built on Kastani Beach, on the western coast of Skopelos, which is also where Sky (Dominic Cooper) and Sophie sing Lay All Your Love On Me, as Sky’s stag pals appear from beneath the waves.

Donna greets the arrival of Rosie (Julie Walters) and Tanya (Christine Baranski) on the jetty at Damouhari, which is not on Skopelos at all, but in the Mouresi area on the eastern Pelion coast of mainland Greece, about 25 miles northwest of the Sporades. The same spot is used for the climax of Dancing Queen.

It’s back to Skopelos, on the island’s northwestern tip, that the wedding takes place at the chapel of Agios Ioannis Prodromos, near the town of Glossa. Perched atop a 100 metre promontory, it’s a stunning location, but the chapel itself was glammed up a little for the movie (and the interior is a set built at Pinewood).

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