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English-language films set in Turkey

Turkey, the Eurasian country, has been the setting for many pivotal films over the years. Not only is there is a thriving film industry within the country, which often tells tales set within its borders; the country, it seems, and especially the historically and culturally important city of Istanbul, has captured the imagination of filmmakers the world over. As such there are many internationally renowned, as well as relatively unknown films that take this beautiful country as their setting, and this is a look at a few of those.

‚From Russia With Love‘ was the 1963 film based on the 1957 novel by Ian Fleming, and is probably the most famous film set in Turkey. It was directed by Terrence Young, and was about a fictional MI6 agent called James bond, which was played by the amazing Sean Connery. Most of the film was shot on location in Turkey, but Scotland and Pinewood Studios, Buckinghamshire, were also used for many of the action shots.

Another film set in Turkey that is known all over the world is the film based on the life of Billy Hayes, ‚Midnight Express‘ (1978), which adapted for the screen by Oliver Stone. The story focuses on when Hayes was arrested for trying to smuggle cannabis out of turkey. There are, however, many ways in which the film differs from the book, the most controversial of which is the way in which the Turkish people are portrayed, for which the film has been criticised.

The two films talked about so far have been British and American, respectively, and yet there are some great Turkish films that are set in Turkey which haven’t quite reached the international status of these other two. ‚The Crossing‘ (2010) by Selim Demirdelen is one such film, telling the story about a perfect relationship between a father and his daughter that turns out to be not all it appears to be. This film was selected for many international film festivals and won several awards at the 17th Adana „Golden Boll“ International Film Festival.

Fatih Akin is another talented filmmaker who made the famous ‚Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul‘ documentary about the modern music of Istanbul. Him, and the German musician Alexander Hacke travel around Istanbul in a recording studio/vehicle recording a portrait of Istanbul’s varied musical culture. Turkey has clearly had a positive effect on the international film industry.

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