The Rhodos-Navarone-Peck trail

This past summer I was on the Greek island of Rhodos, it was beautiful there (I wrote about it here, here and here)! It was also the location where a lot of the movie The Guns of Navarone was filmed.

My first real fangirl crush in my teens was Gregory Peck and I still love the man. I went on a Roman Holiday pilgrimage in Rome 8 years ago, which is 4 years BB (Before Blog), so I’ve only gotten around to mentioning that in passing here. Now that I’m already 4 years into blogging (I’m just realizing as I write this that I missed my 4 year blogiversary at the end of September), I’m aware that my latest pilgrimage could also be blog post material. So, here is an account of my pilgrimage from last summer: figuring out where exactly Gregory Peck & team filmed The Guns of Navarone!

Guns-of-Navarone-banner

In a movie challenge I once did here on blog, I named this movie as a favourite war movie. I can appreciate a good war movie but tend to not watch them more than once. The Guns of Navarone is one of the few exceptions, mainly due to Gregory Peck. Even though the movie is 57 years old (filmed 10 years before I was born, released 9 years before I was born) I realized while I visited the island that there are still traces to be found of the time when Navarone was filmed there. I discovered that it was mostly filmed in Rhodos city and Lindos and the stretch of land between those two towns.

Near the (extremely touristy and busy) Faliraki (halfway between Rhodos and Lindos) there is a hotel called the “Gregory Peck Beach Apartments”! Of course, I just had to drive by that… If I had realized this existed before booking our holiday, we could have rented rooms there, but in the end I think we were happier with where we were. So, I just took some quick drive-by pictures of the Gregory Peck beach hotel…

A little further south of Faliraki you can find the (also extremely busy) “Anthony Quinn bay”. Anthony Quinn bought that bay while he was filming Navarone, although I understand that in the 1980’s the land was reclaimed by Rhodos. Whatever the squabble with that was, the bay is still called “Anthony Quinn bay”. We didn’t swim there (too crowded) but I did get out of the car to take a few pictures there as well:

In the nearby Kalithea springs (right next to the cat sanctuary we visited) there were pictures on the walls commemorating the movies made there, most prominently Navarone…

I’m not sure what was exactly filmed at Kalithea, maybe this scene?

Kallithea maybe

… but cool to see the film referenced there!

I have screencapped some locations shown in the movie and I have my own pictures (and some of Mr Esther’s) that we took this past summer. Putting those side by side made me see how much of the fictional place of Navarone was photoshopped (or whatever they called that technique in the early 1960’s). Navarone is made up of parts of the town of Lindos mixed in with parts of Rhodos city, but more about that later.

The film opens in a temple, which is the temple of Lindos…

Lindos templeI don’t know if they reconstructed the temple somewhat for the film or whether more than 50 years later the temple has just fallen into more disrepair. This is what it looks like now…

Lindos temple now (3)

Here are some more pictures of the temple in the film next to my own; these columns for instance…

Lindos temple (3)Lindos temple now (9)

… or stairs on the temple grounds…

Lindos temple (5)Lindos temple now (1)Lindos temple now (8)

… which makes me suspect they put in more coast scenery in the film than I remember actually seeing there.

In this following comparison, my picture was taken pretty much on the spot where Gregory Peck himself stood! Now if that isn’t following in Peck’s footsteps, then I don’t know what is.

Lindos temple (4)Lindos temple now (10)

Early on in the movie Gregory Peck awaits some of his team at a harbour, this was filmed in the old harbour of the city of Rhodos…

Rhodos harbour (1)Rhodos harbour now (3)Rhodos harbour now (2)

When we came back to the harbour on another day, there was a boat covering the arch, but I stood on the same pier Gregory Peck had stood on (didn’t go much further, so not quite in Peck’s spot, as this pier was a private gated area that we had asked to take a quick look at).Rhodos harbour (2)Rhodos harbourRhodos Harbour now

The real photoshopping happens when you look at the fortress rock with the guns and the town at the foot of that rock. This is what we see in the movie…

Guns rock (2)

That was filmed in Lindos with that horseshoe bay, which actually looks like this…

Guns rock nowGuns rock now (1)

In the movie, the town at the foot isn’t white, like Lindos is, but dark and it’s also fortified. They had also added on a huge rock where the guns from the movie title are situated. I found an archive picture of the rock add-on:

Guns rock set

There is also a little fortress at the foot of that rocky mountain which houses the guns. That little fortress in real life is nowhere near Lindos, but is another part of the old Rhodos harbour, so this was photoshopped into the frame as well for that location.

FortressFortress now

The gate to the fortress, at the bottom of the fortress hill, is in actual fact one of the gates of Rhodos city…

There’s a shot inside the gate and while going through our pictures I found a shot of ours inside a gate which I think may be the same location:

Gate insideGate inside now (2)

There is a gate to a bridge with at the other end another gate and that one I immediately recognized from my own pictures. It was a nice spot, also in Rhodos.

Another gate was visible in the movie, which is in actual fact also a Rhodos city gate…

There was a shot of a street with at the end what I know to be a mosque in Rhodos…

Rhodos mosque backgroundRhodos mosque background now

And there was some action filmed on a square, which I think may be a square that I photographed as well. The stairs on the left in the screencap are, I think, the stairs on the right in my picture. Also in Rhodos.

Rhodos townRhodos town now

In the movie we see our hero Gregory in front of what looks like a little gazebo. It’s actually the washing place of what used to be a mosque, yet again in Rhodos…

At the beginning of the movie, the team must scale some cliffs…

During a boat tour we did near Lindos, we stopped at what the captain said were the cliffs that action sequence was filmed on…

And these scenes…

… look like they may have been filmed in the aforementioned Anthony Quinn Bay (not far from where those cliffs were scaled)…

AQuinnBay (6)

Somewhere halfway through the movie you see a wedding party walking through a very white-washed town…

Although I wouldn’t exactly know where that is, it looked an awful lot like Lindos which is completely white-washed…

A little further on the wedding party was celebrating outside on a square. While I don’t remember an open space large enough in Lindos for this to be set in (it’s all quite narrow there), there were many elements that still made it feel like this may also have been filmed somewhere in Lindos, possibly right outside town where there are now parking lots. In Lindos, but also on some other parts of the island, there were white-washed tree trunks, also seen in the movie…

VIllage (5)Village now painted treeAnd the town square, though different, made me think of the town of Psynthos where we ate lunch a few times.

VIllage (3)Village now

The tower shown at the beginning of the film even looked a little like the Psynthos tower or another tower we saw in Archangelos…

VIllage (1)Village tower now

Of course, while I was in Rhodos I wasn’t aware of most of these locations having been in the film. I did know the harbour and Lindos bay were in it, but I came across the rest of the locations when I compared screenshots I took from the film to the photos we’d taken. Normally this would be a very Mr Esther-like project, he has far more patience for this stuff,  puzzling over where what was in history and what it looks like now. It was fun combining his historical buildings fascination with my movie-love. He was helpful in finding the exact pier in the harbour that Gregory Peck had stood on or pointing out that the small fortress below the guns was actually located in Rhodos harbour. I’m thinking he may enjoy reading this post and who knows, maybe more changes / comparisons / corrections may come from that. 🙂

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16 thoughts on “The Rhodos-Navarone-Peck trail

    1. I knew that they filmed in Lindos in that theatre and around town and I thought only a little in Rhodos and we were visiting those places anyhow. I had also read about Anthony Quinn Bay beforehand, the Gregory Peck hotel was something I only came across while we were there. I didn’t realize, however, how much had actually been filmed in Rhodos city. The harbour backdrop and the city walls were things we only recognized afterwards as locations. I had the movie with me and skipped through it while we were there, so when we realized where Peck had stood in the harbour, the next time we were in town we went back again to take a picture there. So, I got to see/recognize way more locations than I had ever bargained for. 🙂

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  1. What a splendid tour here!! You could always go into tourism marketing or whatever the proper title is. I think this just marvelous and what a splendid way of really getting a feel for the tone and geography of the movie. It looks from your pics that it is a well kept secret or a local tourist haunt. Why did you guys decide to visit there of all places? Because of Peck/Guns of Navarone movie or researching it was alluring? Did you island hop in Greece or just this particular area? Sorry for all the questions. I am a geography and travel buff so I love this type of blog post as well as the movie analogy. So cool!!

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    1. We only did the island of Rhodos. Up until last year we had a caravan (trailer) we used for our holidays and we’ve been to France, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Czech Republic, Poland, even England, with the thing. But the kids outgrew it and I was tired of caravaning so we sold it. The kids (now teens) were more vocal in deciding on a summer vacation destination and really wanted a beach holiday a little further away from where we normally used to go to. Mr Esther and I don’t do beach holidays well, so we looked for something that had sun, beaches as well as history/culture that was affordable. We first wanted Italy (Napels/Pompeii) but that was all very expensive. Searched the internet and one of the more afforadable package holidays during high-season was to the island of Rhodos. So we booked that. Only after we booked it did I realize that that was also the location where Guns of Navarone was filmed. A very happy coinicidence. 🙂 We really enjoyed the island but after 2,5 weeks we’d pretty much seen it all.

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      1. Greece is on mytravel bucket list. When I got married we were going to go to Athens and then Mykinos b/c my brother had time share there or in Marathon but we vacillated and ended up in Nice which was really nice. We passed the hospital that Angelina Jolie spit out the twin babies in 2008. I still want to go to Greece but it has sadly fallen down on the travel bucket list. I think your place looked like a treasure trove of history, culture, relaxation, architecture and ambiance.. Great choice and I love the symbolism behind it!! That’s something I would do!!

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        1. Rhodos was worth it. I’ve been to Athens as a child but don’t remember much about that. A close friend of mine goes to Greece every year, lately she’s been favouring Lesbos. If only we were millionaires and could travel where we wanted to, when we wanted to…

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          1. Yes isn’t that the truth. I keep thinking don’t plan any huge trip Michele b/c you know the minute you do Richard will announce a play in London and I’ll be totally screwed. I’m conjuring up in my travel head a tick list of what I want to see in London and some other UK cities…

            Liked by 1 person

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