After the first part (don't miss it ) let's go on with the glorious top 5 of movies filmed in Almeria (at the end of the post you´ll find a map with the locations):
5. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
For the third part of the intrepid archaeologist´s saga, one of the icons of the 80´s big screen , the wizard Steven Spielberg used his wand masterfully to make what was, in my humble opinion, the best title of the trilogy.A colossal budget contributed to this, alongside the bright presence of Sean Connery, and a thrilling plot based on the search for the Holy Grail and located in Jordan, Venice & Germany.
While the shooting at Almería was carried out with great secrecy, it was felt deeply in the city, while the excitement took over the local population, delighted to witness a true blockbuster after many years. As usual Tabernas Desert became the main character, since ithosted the action scenes with the tanks, as well as the capital,where the production unit managed to put a Rolls-Royce into the cloister of the School of Arts.
4. Patton (1970)
Hollywood has always had a large factory of heroes in World War II, (and if they were Americans, all the better!). The production company, the Fox,bet high on taking to the Big Screen the biography of U.S General George S. Patton,a brave and controversial man. Luckily the risk turned into a big success, and the film itself 7 Academy Awards,including Best Picture and Best Actor for George C. Scott,who became the first actor ever on decline the award.
Almería brought out its chameleon-looked again, disguising this time as Sicily, North Africa or Malta. Tabernas Desert, Cabo de Gata, Felix, Uleila del Campo & the capital were the venues on which explosions, battles & attacks took place. And for the first time the filming was taking place in the middle of Almería´s old town, besides about 700 extras from Almería took part on the well-known scene shot in the Cathedral Square,in which 21 tanks coming from Touring the outstanding Cabo de Gata entered the downtown.
3. Conan the Barbarian (1982)
To carry to the Big Screen the adventures of the Cimmerian barbarian,a comic character, filmaker John Milius chose mostly a cast of inexperienced actors (some were not even experienced) led by an Austrian former body-builder of unpronounceable surname. Despite the risk of the gamble, the cast was up to the task, being magnificently supported by the art direction, the soundtrack and the landscapes of Almeria, alreadyknown by Milius since he filmed here The Wind and the Lion.
The result was a a proud epic, riddled with unforgettable "Almería" scenes,as the Battle of the Mounts (shot in Almerimar), the Temple of Set (built specifically in the Bernal Rock) or the meeting of Conan (Arnold Schwarzenegger) with civilization led by Subotai (Gerry Lopez) as they run through different environments of the Hyborian world (actually Tabernas, or Almería´s Alcazaba); as a background, nothing better than Theology/Civilization,a musical masterpiece which is already legend, like the rest of the soundtrack and the film itself.
2. For a few dollars more (1965)
Once upon a time an Italian filmmaker who dared to assume the Americans´s most iconic film genre ,relying on his Roman childhood friend to compose the soundtracks and in an unknown American actor as the leading role. That adventure came up in three movies (The Dollar Trilogy) that shocked the Western, and lifted up the trio Leone-Morricone-Eastwood to the Olympus.
With For a Few Dollars More,the second film of the Dollar Trilogy,the term Spaghetti westernwould be linked to Almería for good . This second delivery was almost entirely shot in Almería, and might be the film we feel closer with, as well as the one whose legacy remains clearly alive (recreations are made of it and the village built expressly in Tabernas,is alive nowadays, turned into a theme park called Oasis MiniHollywood).
An outstanding photograph, supported by an everlasting whistle,moves us to the Cortijo del Fraile, Los Alumbres Tower or Turrillas church, arid scenarios where anti-heroes and avengers looked for their destiny, which they finally find in the plot of the small village of Los Albaricoques, shaped on three-hands epic duel , one of the finest of the History of Cinema, next to the one that would close the last film of the Trilogy; The good, the ugly and the bad.
1. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
Behind Jordan Almeria was the main location chosen to narrate the adventures of the British officer who instigated the Arab uprising against the Ottoman Empire in World War I. Although it was not the first shooting located on this corner of the Peninsula, we could well say It all started with it,since this film enabled to put us on the map once for all and also contributed decisively to awakening from slumber to a remote and forgotten land.
The figures of Lawrence of Arabia are those of a titanic enterprise: 700 horses, 159 camels, the Jordanian city of Aqaba (with some 300 real brick houses) erected in the Rambla Alias and all the masons and transporters of the capital were employed by the production company. The sandy dunes of Cabo de Gata, depicting the Arab desert,housed the mythical takes of the train attacks .
All the charm and magic of the best Hollywood classic cinema joined in this Masterpiece, which was the greatest film ever shot in Almeria. Because of this, we´ll always be grateful to Lean, Spiegel, Jarre, Guinness, Quinn... though we won´t attend something like that, we shall always have the pleasure of watch it once again... & enjoy ourselves for over three hours and a half.
And so far this 2nd post about Almería and its 10 best movies.This land of cinema that never stopped being so and whose dream came true due to many Almerians, like José Galera "El Habichuela» (1936-2005).
Information for 10 top movies shot in Almería (I & II) has been mostly extracted from: VV.AA (2018): CINE, Guías de Almería, Territorio, Cultura y Arte, 10. Almeria Provincial Council, Instituto de Estudios Almerienses.