My first introduction to Meteora was the 1981 James Bond film “For Your Eyes Only,” which starred Roger Moore and Carol Bouquet, with the theme song sung by Sheena Easton—a song that was stuck in my head during our visit! As with all James Bond movies, this movie covered a number of exotic locations, including Meteora, Greece.
I always find it fascinating how different many locations are from the supposed setting of the movie. The more one travels, the more one realizes how often different places (like Malta) are used as a filming location for movies set in Greece, Turkey or Israel, for example. In this case, Meteora was actually used for at least some of the scenes of For Your Eyes Only.
The part of the movie set in Meteora is where a young girl, a hopeful Olympic ice skater, is being sequestered by her coach and an evil sponsor, who has a small computer device that controls the U.S. nuclear submarine fleet’s missiles. The monastery used for the film is the Monastery of the Holy Trinity (in the movie called “St. Cyril’s”) which is the most isolated of those in Meteora, and perhaps the one with the most striking location, set on a huge standalone pinnacle, with an incredible view of the valley and city of Kalambaka below.
Several of the agents with Roger Moore reach the monastery via the windlass and basket, which is indeed high above the ground. In reality, the windlass was used to bring supplies and people up into the monastery in troubled times. In the movie, the windlass has an electric motor, which does not exist. Also in the movie, the windlass room is shown as an enclosed separate area, which is not accurate.
The chapel where the ice skater is held is much smaller in real life also.
Unable to use the windlass, James Bond climbs the rock pinnacle using technical equipment, which is much more vertical than shown in several scenes in the movie. He would have found it easier to the use the long stairway, part of which is carved into the rock face.
It easy to see why Meteora was a setting for the film—it is truly unique, stunning and beautiful. For more information please see my post “Meteora—Nearly out of this World.”