Hollywood film stars bring glamour to Denia

The charming beach resort of Denia has providing a stunning backdrop for several movies in the past few decades.

Hollywood stars such as Raquel Welch, Faye Dunaway, Christopher Lee, Bruce Willis and Sigourney Weaver have featured in films made in Denia.

The north Costa Blanca beach resort has stood in for Portsmouth and a Scottish village in John Paul Jones; the cities of Dover and Calais in The Three Musketeers; the Caribbean in The Son Of Captain Blood; Singapore in East of Java; the Bermuda Triangle in Encounters In The Deep; the Mediterranean in Sound Of The Sea; and Algiers in Cervantes.

View from Denia Port to the Castle

Denia’s light, sun, colours, history and natural beauty have captured the imagination of more than 20 film-makers and several producers of television series.

Take a stroll around the historic town centre and port to walk in the footsteps of Hollywood blockbusters and Spanish movies.

Young Mia Farrow making movies in Denia

The glitz and glamour of Hollywood first came to Denia in 1958 when the town was a much smaller place. Back then, the fishing and farming industries were major players in Denia’s economy along with its toy-makers, although this was dying out.

Plaza San Antonio, Denia

The excitement began when Samuel Bronston chose the town to shoot John Paul Jones, directed by John Farrow and starring Robert Stack, Peter Cushing, Charles Coburn, Bette Davies and Mia Farrow, among others.

The film tells the story of John Paul Jones, an 18th century Scottish naval hero who is ordered to invade the British Isles and serves under Catherine the Great of Russia during his chequered career.

Denia erects statue in honour to Hollywood movie

The lovely old fishermen’s quarter with its charming little squares and little nooks and crannies played its part in the John Paul Jones story.

Tribute to Captain Jones Hollywood film in DeniaOn the 50th anniversary of the movie, a statue in honour of Captain Jones was unveiled in the Placeta de la Creu in this beautiful part of Denia. The sculpture of the captain looks like a Playmobil figure and is a great starting point for your tour.

Around the corner, the Plaza de Sant Antoni with its little bars and historic townhouses played the part of a Scottish village in the film. The abundance of café tables and chairs across the square hints that the climate may be a touch warmer than the Highlands however.

Behind the square is Denia’s impressive castle which represented Whitehaven being stormed by Jones and his marauders.

The castle also starred in a film about the early life of Miguel de Cervantes, who wrote Don Quixote. Filming took place in 1966 but, unfortunately, the movie was a bit of a turkey and didn’t have much box office success.

There is a bust dedicated to the author in the Explanada de Cervantes who landed in Denia in 1580 after spending several years in captivity in Algeria.

The explanada can also be seen in the film The Son Of Captain Blood. Released in 1962, the movie tells the tale of an infamous pirate’s son who falls in love with a beautiful young woman. 

The joint Spanish/US production stars Sean Flynn, who plays Robert Blood. This was the first starring role for the son of Errol Flynn.

Acrobatic sword fight in Denia street

Several scenes were shot around Denia harbour as well as the explanada being turned into an open-air market where an acrobatic sword duel takes place. The nearby old fish market, which is now looking a little sad, was converted into a church during filming of The Son Of Captain Blood.

View from Denia port to the Montgo

The Montgo between Denia and Javea stood in for Sicily during the making of HMS Defiant starring Alec Guinness, Dirk Bogarde and Anthony Quayle in 1962. The ship also sets sail from Denia port. These heart-throbs turned quite a few heads during their time in Denia.

Oliver Reed and Charlton Heston turn heads in Denia

Hollywood glamour returned to Denia in the 1970s and it is hard to imagine more superstars in one small Spanish town at one time. This time the resort became the setting for The Three Musketeers.

The cast included Michael York as d’Artagnan,  the legendary Oliver Reed as Athos, Frank Finlay as Porthos, Charlton Heston as Cardinal Richelieu, Faye Dunaway as Milady de Winter, the stunning Raquel Welch as Constance Bonacieux, Richard Chamberlain as Aramis and Spike Milligan as Monsieur Bonacieux.

View from Denia castle to the port

Denia becomes glamorous Paris where the young d’Artagnan has visions of becoming a musketeer. He is unused to city ways and causes a few problems before joining the three musketeers.

In the scene just before the Duke of Buckingham is murdered, he is seen walking along Denia Port.  A few metres away, another scene shows Milady and Rochefort climbing into a coach. This was filmed in the Plaza El Raset, Denia, which is on the edge of the fishermen’s quarters and opposite the port.

The film was so long that it was split into two with The Four Musketeers being released in 1974, a year after the original movie.

Denia's fishermen's quarter

The old fishermen’s quarter has continued to find favour with movie directors. More recently the lovely Plaza Mariana Pineda can be seen in the Sound Of The Sea movie adaptation of the novel by Manuel Vicent.

Romance on the streets of Denia

This 2001 Spanish film tells the tale of Ulysses who goes to a fishing village to teach literature and falls in love with his landlord’s daughter Martina. However, as always, the course of true love does not run smoothly.

Denia town hall and Plaza de Constitucion

You will see the Bar Senieta where Martina met Ulysses in the movie. Bar Senieta in Denia has been run by the same family for more than 40 years. You can enjoy traditional regional dishes including paellas, cocas (mini pizzas), croquettes and tapas.

Five years ago, film fans were excited to find that scenes from The Cold Light Of Day starring Bruce Willis and Sigourney Weaver were being shot in Denia.

Once again, the Plaza de Sant Antoni provided the picturesque backdrop.

View up Calle Cop to Denia town hallMoving towards the main shopping streets, the elegant town hall and its surrounding streets took centre stage in two Spanish films.

Denia town hall and the Plaza de la Constitucion square feature in Jose Maria Forque’s film El Canto De La Cigarra (The Song Of The Cricket) as well as the comedy Amanece Como Puedas.

In this comedy about a group of urbanites enjoying a weekend in a small Mediterranean town, Calle Cop and the Glorieta feature in the spectacular scene when a small plane flies through the narrow street.

At the other end of Calle Marques de Campo is the traditional Spanish square, Plaza del Convent de San Antonio, where scenes from the Spanish comedy, John Paul Jones and East of Java were filmed.

The best way to discover Denia’s film route is to start at the port and head for the fishermen’s quarter. You will have views of the castle and Montgo mountain from here.

Opposite the port is Plaza El Raset – find the hotel of the same name to get your bearings. Facing the Montgo, turn right along Carrer Pilota to Plaza San Antonio. Keep going right to reach the Plaza de Mariana Pineda and Bar Senieta.

Retrace your steps to El Raset and in front of you is the Explanada de Cervantes.  Walk past the restaurants here and you will reach Calle Marques de Campo.

Glorieta square in Denia, Alicante

Walk up this tree-lined street and you find the Plaza del Convento de San Antonio on your right.
At the far end of the Marques de Campo are the pretty Glorieta and Calle Cop. Walk along Calle Cop to get to the Plaza del Constitucion, Denia town hall and the castle.