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12 Extraordinary Movies Set In Turkey That Will Inspire You To Visit!

12 Extraordinary Movies Set In Turkey That Will Inspire You To Visit!

Turkey has a lot to offer both national and international filmmakers with exquisite natural and urban landscapes, a rich cultural heritage – and generous film tax credits and incentive programs. So it will come as no surprise that there are so many unforgettable movies set in Turkey. 

Watching a good movie is the best way to get inspired and choose your next destination. It is the reason we have assembled various lists of the best films shot in some of our all-time favorite travel destinations: Afghanistan, Oregon, South AfricaThailand, Barcelona and Dubai.

There are things that a photo alone can’t capture. We are human, and we need movement: the waves crashing against an isolated beach, the sun rising about improbable rock formations, and people walking side by side through a bustling market. These are things that are better experienced with movement. These are things that belong in movies. And these things are Turkey.

For a long time, both foreign and native directors have captured on film some of the most stunning sights and landmarks of the country. The local Turkish cinema industry might not be well-known in the West, but Turkey has definitely gained popularity in recent years as a highly desirable filming location for Hollywood. Producers have begun to embrace Turkey as a platform, particularly Istanbul, bringing a number of major Hollywood actors to the country. including Kevin Costner, Daniel Craig, Morgan Freeman, and Matt Dillon.

In terms of local film production, Turkey has the same story as many of the twentieth-century national cinemas. Film production did not begin in earnest until the 1950s, and the film business, in general, was dominated by a few big import corporations competing for dominance in the most populous and wealthy cities, such as Istanbul. Following World War II, Turkey’s film output rose dramatically.

With a total of 49 films made in 1952, Turkey produced more films in a single year than in all prior years combined. During the 1960s, Turkey rose to the fifth-largest film producer in the world, with yearly film output reaching the 300-film threshold at the start of the 1970s. In comparison to other national cinemas, the Turkish film industry’s accomplishments after 1950 are still exceptional.

Movies set in Turkey - Best Turkish films

Filmmaking grew again in the 1970s, then the age of black-and-white films came to an end. The rise of television, as well as economic and societal changes, all harmed Turkey’s film industry. Many producers had to battle to stay in business as viewership shrank dramatically. Nonetheless, those years might be considered the most fruitful.

The films in this list of movies set in Turkey paint a picture of a complex country filled with gorgeous sights and diverse voices. With this, we hope to help audiences step into the often-contradictory world of Turkey and experience the scenery, subcultures, and different dynamics that make Turkey what it is today.

These Turkish films frequently boast narratives that rely on their settings as much as their main protagonists, and as a result, spectators get a glimpse of Turkey through the director’s eyes. Be forewarned that not all of these films are happy – tragedies and misery are as unavoidable in cinema as they are in life – be we promise that each one provides panoramic vistas and thought-provoking narratives from this tantalizing country…

Wondering where to watch? It depends on where you live in the world and which streaming services you have. We link to the streaming service we watch on in each case - be it Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple TV+, or elsewhere.

You can get one month free of Amazon Prime (or a 6-month trial for students) of Amazon Prime and also get immediate access to FREE Two Day shipping, Amazon Video, and Music. While you won't be charged for your free trial, you'll be upgraded to a paid membership plan automatically at the end of the trial period - though if you have already binged all these, you could just cancel before the trial ends.

Apple TV+ also has a one-week trial, and Hulu has a one-month trial (which can be bundled with Disney!). Another option might be using a VPN to access Netflix titles locked to other regions. Netflix is now available in more than 190 countries worldwide and each country has a different library and availability. US Netflix is (understandably) one of the best. 

While we wish everything could just be in one place - for now, it seems these are the best streaming platforms to watch on.

Movies set in Turkey - Best Turkish films
Movies set in Turkey - Best Turkish films
Movies set in Turkey - Best Turkish films

Local Movies Set In Turkey

Eskiya (The Bandit) 1996

The central character in the movie is Baran. Following his escape from jail, the renowned Baran the Bandit embarks on heroic exploits. It’s no wonder that his life has altered radically after spending 35 years in jail.

Still, Baran is astonished to learn that his hometown is now flooded due to the construction of a new dam. He then travels to Istanbul to exact his vengeance on his old closest buddy, the guy who snitched on him and snatched his sweetheart Keje. Along the way, Baran meets Cumali, a tough young rebel who thinks the thief’s old-fashioned habits are charming. When Cumali gets into a fight with a criminal leader, Baran adds a more spiteful mission to his to-do list.

Eşkya, hailed as the picture that rescued the Turkish film industry from creative oblivion and restored it to profitability, is regarded as a watershed moment in Turkish cinema history, yet it fails to strike a chord on a worldwide scale.

However, while it may appear little in scale, it is certainly epic in scope. Overall, Eşkya is both compelling and irritating, with a cast of people that are prone to making poor decisions. It’s an epic narrative full of romance, action, tragedy, comedy, and other components, and it even incorporates certain fairy tale elements into its plot while exploring themes of love, betrayal, regret, and retribution before closing on an unexpectedly violent note. In short, Eşkiya deserves a wider audience.

 More than two million people watched the film “Eskiya” (“Bandit”), which is considered to be the greatest crowd ever to see a film in Turkey. It continues to draw large audiences.

Kardeşim Benim (My Brother) 2017

My Brother (Kardeşim Benim) is a lighthearted, entertaining, and jovial Turkish film. Burak Zçivit, Murat Boz, and Asl Enver feature in the key roles. In January 2016, the film was released. Kardeşim Benim is the second most popular Turkish film of the year 2017. The film’s director Mert Baykal is stylish. Hakan and Ozan, are two resentful musician brothers who can’t get along because of an ancient rivalry and don’t talk to one other.

They reunite during their father’s burial. Even though they wish to return to their normal lives after the burial, their father’s will forbids that. They will go in their deceased father’s old vehicle to fulfill his wish of singing at a wedding in Urla. On the way, they encounter Zeynep, with whom they become friends despite the fact that she is an investigative journalist.

 Kardeşim Benim is a unique film in the Turkish film industry. The picture has a young feel to it, and the soundtrack is fantastic. The film’s “unpredictability” or suspense was a positive quality; the narrative, while not very unusual, kept you intrigued throughout. So, if you want to have a taste of Turkish cinema, I recommend seeing this film. I am confident that you will enjoy this Turkish Delight as much as I do.

Sadece Sen (Only You) 2014 

The movie revolves around Ali and Hazal; Ali is a lonely professional ex-boxer who wants to forget his terrible, violent background. When he meets Hazal, a gorgeous, blind woman, he refuses her friendship offers. But he can only stand up to her for so long. Hazal’s complete tolerance of Ali, as well as her joyful optimism, begins to pierce the barriers he has up to protect himself. Their connection transforms and enhances both of their lives as it grows. However, a surprising revelation and ensuing sacrifice will call into question all they’ve ever known.

“Sadece Sen,” is a contemporary romance epic that is captivating at every turn; guilt, regret, forgiveness, redemption, and love all play a vital part. “Sadece Sen,” a Turkish version of the Korean film “Always,” I have seen several outstanding films that have moved me emotionally, but none more so than Sadece San. This intense love story kept me on the edge of my seat and completely engrossed in Ali and Hazal’s narrative.

I’ve rarely felt such a strong emotional connection to a film, and this one delivers a powerful punch. The narrative itself is a basic one about how love can transform a person’s life. But the surprising twists and turns of this relationship kept me interested. It was pleasantly surprising, and a happy conclusion was far from certain.

Famous Movies Set In Turkey

Fateh 1453 (Conquest 1453) 2012

Feteh 1453, also known as “Conquest” 1453, is a Turkish historical battle epic depicting the fall of Constantinople to Ottoman Turks headed by Sultan Mehmed II, also known as Mehmed the Conqueror. The film was a huge success. The elaborate production is on a scale with those from other nations and on pace with an Oscar-winning movie from Hollywood. The photography and performances are both excellent—a fantastic starting point for understanding the Islamic perspective on the West in the 15th century.

The story is set in 1453, When the Byzantine city of Constantinople was encircled by Ottoman Turks. Due to the empire’s ever-dwindling coffers, the city is merely a shell of its past magnificence, although the Ottoman Empire continues to become rich. After years of accepting Byzantium’s existence, the ambitious sultan, Mehmet II, commences his fight to end the Byzantine Empire and capture Constantinople for the Ottomans, resulting in possibly the biggest siege of the period.

It’s a political weapon. Evidently subjective, unconcerned with historical truth, a sketch of a major event in Eastern Europe, a portrayal of a hero; however, the nationalist goal is merely one of its objectives. It contains poetry and the feel of an old fairy tale, as well as good battle scenes and competent acting. It is not a waste of time to go out of your way to be impressed. Go and watch a real Turkish narrative.

The Ottoman Lieutenant (2017)

The Ottoman Lieutenant is a war movie or even a romantic one. Each character finds out what he wants. The only sensitive part may be the false expectation because it is less of a political film, less of a commitment for one cause or another, and more of a collection of beautiful yet painful stories about people, emotions, the interaction between various cultures.

It is a film that maintains its lofty ideals from the first scene to the end, in the face of sorrowful situations and too many black/white or emotive portions additionally this does it in a touching way and may be beneficial in recalling many other stories on the similar topic.

The story follows a powerful young lady Lillie Rowe, who flees the United States after encountering Jude, an American doctor Garrett Woodruff who conducts a distant medical mission under the Ottoman Empire. A world that is both fascinating and terrifying, and one that is on the verge of becoming World War I.

When she falls in love with their imagined opponent, a Lieutenant Ismail Veli in the Ottoman Imperial Army, her allegiance to Jude and the mission’s founder is questioned. With invading army forces on their doorstep and the globe on the verge of total war, she must choose whether to be what others want her to be or to be herself. 

The Winter Sleep (2015) 

“Winter Sleep,” which won the Palme d’Or at Cannes last year, is nearly three and a half hours long. These are some of the greatest three-plus hours you’ll spend in a theatre this year. I’ve watched films that were half that length but seemed twice as long.

So many films are incorrectly labeled “Chekhovian,” so it’s a tremendous treat to praise one that is. (It is, in fact, a rough adaptation of two Chekhov stories.) The filmmaker, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, and his wife, Ebru Ceylan, have a vast understanding of the frailties of the human condition as they play out inside an apparently limited framework. The film takes place in the distant steppes of Cappadocia in central Turkey, a terrain dense with wild horses, caverns, and dwellings projecting from steep crags. Below is the most succinct tracing of the movie storyline.

Aydin, a former actor, owns a modest hotel in central Anatolia with his young wife Nihal, with whom he has a complicated relationship, and his sister Necla, who is going through a divorce. As the snow begins to fall in the winter, the hotel serves as both a refuge and an unavoidable location that intensifies their enmities.

Turkish Movies On Netflix

Once Upon A Time In Anatolia (2011)

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia is a film about immensity and silence, enormous scenery, and inner heart variations. The concept comes from observing those disparate things which work harmoniously. This is a work of art. A genuine director’s piece, fully utilizing camera techniques and compelling speech to engage the viewer. A tale of life, death, loss, and remorse. This is the best it gets. 

This summary of the movie tells us that: the local prosecutor, police commissar, and doctor conducted a search for a victim of a murder to whom a suspect called Kenan and his mentally challenged brother were admitted in the rural region around the Anatolian town of Keskin. The search, however, is becoming harder than planned because Kenan is unsure of the body’s exact location.

As the gang continues to search, its members can’t help but talk about both trivia and their innermost problems in an inquiry that is proving more difficult than any of them thought. As this film is about how tragic realities might be exposed during the gradual process of accomplishing a task or investigation, it has to be lengthy and obscure. Nuri Bilge Ceylan, a Turkish director, does not smack us with large dramatic moments, instead allowing us to live along with his characters as events unfold.

Last year, “Once Upon a Time in Anatolia” was awarded the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. This film could be categorized as a “slow film,” but it was a pleasant experience, even though I lost some patience during my first viewing owing to its sluggish growth. Even when seeing the characters from afar, it cares about them, and I was captivated by their situation.

I appreciated how their humanity could be seen via tiny acts like providing a biscuit, and as the film progressed, I grew to like some of the characters.

Mustang (2015)

First of all, the synopsis is that: It’s early summer. Lale and her four sisters are heading home from school in a town in northern Turkey, playing merrily with some boys. The depravity of their behavior sparks a scandal with unanticipated repercussions. The family home is gradually converted into a jail; home education replaces school, and marriages begin to be planned. The five sisters, who share a mutual desire for independence, devise ways to circumvent the limits placed on them. 

Though it also follows a story that is similar to “The Virgin Suicides,” it is not quite the same. It reflects religious culture’s reality. Deniz Gamze Ergüven, the film’s director and co-writer, does an excellent means of incorporating into life the experiences of five sisters who become victims of their family’s restricting views. Director gets into his characters’ juvenile energy, portraying their dissatisfaction, excitement, and blossoming desire in a genuine, emotional manner.

As a spectator, you feel what they’re experiencing, and the film does a good job of eliciting fury at the girls’ growing isolation. Mustang is a strong yet restrained drama that avoids hyperbole while conveying an engrossing, if not thrilling, plot. It’s melancholy yet not dismal, colorful but not overpowering. It’s certainly one of the year’s best films.

Sivas (2014)

Sivas is a harsh but familiar narrative of violence, as well as an honest depiction of the suffocating sensation of growing up in a closed and male-dominated community in rural Turkey. Working with animals and children is one of the most difficult and risky decisions in filmmaking. Nonetheless, Müjdeci (director) jumps in and manages to get a fantastic performance not just from his childhood hero but also from the battle dog named Sivas.

I can safely say that this year’s must-see film in Turkish cinema is “Sivas.” Despite various inconsistencies in its plot, the completion of the sensation it provides until the ecstatic ending scene is worth analyzing. Aslan, simplest synopsis would be that 11 years old, saves Sivas, a wounded Kangal sheepdog who was left for dead after losing a severe match. He then tries to impress his peers, particularly the girl he adores, by staging an amateur battle with another child’s dog. 

It sparked my interest since it relates to life itself. Millions of people live in Turkey’s countryside. It seemed very genuine to me. Aslan is very genuine. We see the inner forces at work in him, as well as the tensions between those forces. We are watching his initial steps away from his carefree boyhood. He begins to have a minimally conscious sexual awakening.

He is kind, yet he yearns to be powerful and terrible. He is chosen as a dwarf, but he wants to be the prince of his beloved Ayse.

Paper Lives (2021)

The title significance of this film is so near to everyone’s life. We write tales, memories, and fragments of our lives in the papers, which we keep with us at all times. As a result, papers are essential to existence. Especially when certain memories bind you to a history that you can’t readily change. Paper Lives will have you on the edge of your seat until the very last scene.

Mehmet, a young man, is the central character of the movie, which makes a livelihood by collecting paper. Tahsin Baba is his most ardent supporter in this world. When an 8-year-old youngster called Ali enters Mehmet’s life, his life takes a radically unexpected direction. Mehmet, who is attempting to reconnect Ali with his family, has an unusual relationship with the youngster.

Paper Lives is a Turkish film that was released recently in the year 2021. It’s a genuine masterpiece, full of beautiful analogies and breathtaking photography. The film is set in the beautiful metropolis of Istanbul, Turkey. We can instantly distinguish between the two faces of the city: the wealthy and the poor. In the same city, there are almost two separate universes.

For the most part, Mehmet runs a recycling business, collecting papers from the street and selling them to be turned into new and expensive items. All of the people he employs have had a terrible history, and he assists them by offering a job and an opportunity in their life. Everything changes when Mehmet meets Ali, a little child who will permanently transform Mehmet’s views and life. He will look after Ali on his own, attempting to provide him with all he lacked as a youngster.

Last Summer (2019)

The Last Summer follows the lives of recent high school graduates as they navigate their final summer before heading off to college in a series of interconnected narratives.

As the adolescents struggle with love lost and rediscovered, find friendships in unlikely ways, and gain more power over their relationships with their parents, they eventually determine who they will be and what they will do as they approach adulthood. Throughout the film, you’ll watch everyone struggle to cope with their impending separation from what they know and who they love, as well as to start adulthood on a positive note. But what fun would it be if everything was too easy?

The performers and actresses are all new to the industry, yet they seem natural and trained. I rapidly become attached to the characters. The storyline is good, and the camera work as well. Because it includes so many characters, there are a lot of possibilities for different storylines to be told; each one is unique. It engages me and takes me through a variety of feelings, providing emotional highs and lows. It was a lot of fun for me.

Love Tactics (2022)

Aşk Taktikleri, or Love Tactics, is a Turkish Netflix romantic comedy. Pelin Karamehmetoglu wrote this movie, which was directed by Emre Kabakusak. 

Love Tactics is a straightforward romantic comedy about a fashion designer named Asli and a hotshot advertising executive named Kerem, who both believe they know just about everything about love. Asli publishes her own blog postings about how predictable and nasty some men are, imparting advice on how to avoid these apparent stereotypes and stand out as powerful, independent women.

Kerem, on the other hand, is a normal player. He believes he has it all figured out with girls and knows precisely how to mesmerize everybody who crosses his path. So, naturally, the two place a wager with their respective social groups, deciding to make the other fall in love with them. 

“Love Tactics (Ask Taktikleri),” a gleaming and somewhat modern Turkish romantic comedy that, thanks to Netflix, may show the world how Turkey itself is gleaming and modern. This is a fantastic concept.