Filmed in Navarra
The Fiesta of San Fermín has been featured in many films with different directors, but the rest of Navarra is not far as locations for sequences of movies famous both in Spain and internationally.
In recent years, Navarra has been the scene of film shoots that have had great repercussions at national and international levels. Well-known actors and actresses such as the Oscar winnersJavier Bardem, Penélope Cruz, Imanol Arias, Cameron Diazand Martin Sheen and a long list of Spanish actors such as Carmen Maura, Hugo Silva, Mario Casas, Clara Lago, Carmen Machi, Karra Elejalde and Dani Rovira have put some of the most emblematic towns, villages and landscapes of Navarra on the map thanks to the popularity of the films they have featured in.
Many of the people who have seen Ocho apellidos vascos, Las Brujas de Zugarramurdi or The Counselor have visited Leitza, Zugarramurdi or the Bardenas Reales to relive the scenes that made them laugh, frightened them out of their wits or moved them. However, we should also add the scenes that captivated filmgoers in the past, in mythical films such as Robin and Marion, Patton, Secretos del corazón or Falstaff – Chimes at Midnight, and those that soon be the location for films under way such as Anacleto, agente secreto, with Imanol Arias in the lead role, or El Guardián invisible, based on the first novel of the trilogy by Dolores Redondo set in the Baztan valley.
We propose a selection of 23 films that are shot in the 13 most representative locations in Navarra:
The Caves at Zugarramurdi: a beautiful natural spot with an unpronounceable name. It preserves a magical halo around it because until the 16th century it was the scene of witches’ covens and the revenge of the Spanish Inquisition.
- “Las Brujas de Zugarramurdi” (The Witches of Zugarramurdi, 2012) by the director Alex de la Iglesia is an eccentric comedy in which two unemployed men – Mario Casas and Hugo Silva – carry out a heist and are pursued by the police. They enter dense forests in Navarra and fall into the clutches of a band of crazy women who feed off human flesh. A coven takes place inside the cave. The film won 8 Goya awards in 2013 and more than 200 extras from the surrounding area had a role in the film. Watch the trailer.
Leitza: a town in the foothills of the Pyrenees crossed by the Plazaola Greenway. Surrounded by green meadows, it has a delightful historical quarter and fine farmhouses are seen on the hills around the town.
- “Ocho apellidos vascos” (Eight Basque Surnames) (2013): a comedy on Basque and Andalusian stereotypes. Rafa (Dani Rovira) a young man from a good family in Seville who only thinks about fino sherry, his appearance, Betis football club and girls, changes when he falls for a Basque woman, Amaia (Clara Lago) and moves to a village in the Basque Country, where he tries to make out he originally came from there. The streets of Leitza are where Amaia wears a wedding dress to try and entrap her future husband. The film beat all the box office records of Spanish cinema to 2014 and won 3 Goya awards for the best male actor, best female actress and best new actor. Watch the trailer.
Pamplona: a modern, hospitable city that is crossed by the Pilgrim’s Way to Compostela and home to the world-famous festivities of San Fermín. You will be surprised by its centuries-old city walls and cobbled streets, parks and delicious pintxos (tapas).
- “Blue lips” (2013): Routine lives is what six people who come to Pamplona for the festivity of San Fermin have in common. Strange as it may seem, in the euphoria and excitement of the festivity they all find a space for reflection and a sense of rebirth. The title refers to the colour their lips turn when they drink wine. The film reflects moments of the festivity such as the chupinazo (inaugural rocket) in the square in front of the City Hall. Watch the trailer.
- “Solo se vive una vez/Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara” (2010): Kabir Dhiman, a kid from a well-off family in Bombay, comes to Spain for a stag party with two friends, something they swore they would do when they were teenagers. After a series of adventures, the finally decide to run the bulls in Pamplona . The great success of the film in India led to an increase in the number of tourists from that country to Pamplona. Watch the trailer.
- “No tengas miedo” (2010): directed by Montxo Armendáriz, the film tells the story of a young woman (played by Michelle Jenner) who, after being sexually harassed in her childhood, tries to overcome her fears and make a new life. There is a scene in San José square in Pamplona where she suddenly falls ill as she walks through a market. Other leading Spanish actors in the film are Lluis Homar and Belén Rueda. Watch the trailer.
- “The Way” (2009): Tom Avery (Martín Sheen) is told that his son Daniel, who he never got on well with, has died in the Pyrenees during a storm. Devastated, he travels to France, and when he discovers that his son was walking the Pilgrim’s Way to Compostela, he decides to walk the route in his honour. One of the scenes along the way is shot on Mount El Perdón, where one of the characters joked about the size of the pilgrims in a sculpture. Watch the trailer.
Olite: the elegant Royal Palace and Castle at Olite, declared a National Monument in 1925, is the best example of the splendour of the Court in the Middle Ages in this historic town located in the Central Zone of Navarra.
- “Los Borgia” (2006): in 1492, Rodrigo Borgia was chosen as the Pope with the name of Alexander VI. His ambition and thirst for power led his family to rule many lands, although they paid a high price in the process. Several scenes of the film are shot in the castle at Olite: in the Queen’s chamber, the King’s gallery, and the ‘tower of the four winds’. Watch the trailer.
Natural Park of Bardenas Reales: Located in southern Navarra, this desert-like area has been declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The erosion of its clay, chalk and sandy soils has created spectacular rock forms that recall the lunar landscape.
- “Anacleto, agente secreto” (2015): an action comedy in which a son (Quim Gutiérrez) discovers that his surly and reserved father (Imanol Arias) has a double identity; he is a secret agent. One of the scenes shot in the Cortinillas area of Las Bardenas Reales. Anacleto has to abandon his car in the middle of the desert and follows his compass to get him to safety. Watch the trailer.
- “The Counselor” (2012): a thriller on drug trafficking starring Penélope Cruz, Cameron Díaz, Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt and Bruno Ganz. The Bardenas Reales is used to set the border between the USA and Mexico, with the backdrop of Cortinillas featuring strongly. Javier Bardem prepares a cocktail that he shares with Cameron Díaz as the sun sets. Watch the trailer.
- “El monje” (2011): Satan (Sergi López) tries to tempt a young monk, Brother Ambrose (Vincent Cassel), who had been abandoned at the entrance to a Cistercian monastery and taken in and educated there. In the centre of the Bardenas Reales, the monk walks barefoot and crestfallen as he is forced to sell his soul to save his loved one. Watch the trailer.
- “007: The World is not enough” (1999): Starring Pierce Brosnan, this exciting adventure of secret agent 007 is set in an army based in Kazakhstan. In this case, one of the gullies of “Las Cortinas” in the Bardenas was turned into a bunker for a few days. It was later blown up in a fictitious nuclear explosion. Watch the trailer.
- “Acción mutante” (1992) by Alex de la Iglesia, featuring Antonio Resines, Santiago Segura and Fernando Guillén, tells the story of a terrorist group of deformed creatures that spreads terror as it tries to take revenge on rich and handsome people. The film won 3 Goya awards for best special effects, best production direction and best make-up/hairdressing. One of the scenes is shot in the Bardenas Reales, turned into the planet ‘Asturiax’, where the leading character arrives dragging a kidnapped woman along winding tracks. Watch the trailer.
Baztan Valley: this green valley with a mild climate is not far from the sea in the foothills of the Pyrenees. A land of people who returned after making their fortunes in the Americas, it features robust noble houses and farmhouses made from pinkish stone, monasteries, famous caves and mythical forests.
- “Baztan” (2011): Directed by Iñaki Elizalde, with actors such as Unax Ugalde, Carmelo Gómez and Joseba Apaolaza, the films tells of the discrimination suffered by the ‘Agotes’ in the Baztan valley in the 17th century, although the exclusion of these people has continued almost to the present day. Many scenes of the valley appear in the film, in towns and villages like Lekaroz, Elizondo and Arizkun, where a search for two Agotes accused of stealing wood takes place. Watch the trailer.
Sierra de Abodi: a mountain range covered with meadows around the Irati forest, one of the most spectacular beech-fir woods in Europe. The presence of several dolmens bears witness to the ancient shepherding tradition of the area.
- “Biutiful” (2010): A portrait of the life of Uxbal (Javier Bardem), a selfless father and defenceless child, feels that death pursues him as he tries to find peace, protect his children and save himself. The film won 1 ‘Fotograma plata’ and 1 Goya award for the best actor. The main character is seen walking along the snow-covered Abodi range in a dreamy scene just before he dies. Watch the trailer.
Roncal valley: a green, rugged valley in the Pyrenees on the border with France, made up of 7 scenic villages where stone buildings and gabled roofs prevail. Roncal cheese, traditions such as the Day of the Rafters, sports such as cross-country skiing or the striking landscapes of Larra-Belagua are some of the hallmarks of the valley.
- “Obaba” (2005): Directed by Montxo Armendáriz and featuring Juan Diego Botto, Pilar López de Ayala and Lluis Homar (among others), the film tells the story of a young woman who begins a journey to the land of Obaba. She takes a video camera to capture the reality of that world and its people. It won 1 Goya award for the best sound. Obaba is the name of a fictitious Pyrenean valley recreated in places like Uztárroz, Ochagavía and Roncal, where people’s lives go on with several nods to ancient traditions. Watch the trailer.
- Saragüeta (Valley of Arce): a small village in the Pyrenees with just a few farmhouses around the square and a two-spout fountain that provides water from nearby springs. Located near Orreaga/Roncesvalles and the Irati forest, it is part of the Valley of Arce.
- “Silencio roto” (2001) by Montxo Armendáriz tells a story of love and resistance fighters set after the Spanish Civil War. The film stars Lucía Jiménez, Juan Diego Botto, Mercedes Sampietro and Álvaro de Luna. During the shoot, 200 people went to the small village of Saragüeta for 2 months. In the film, scenes in Orbaitzeta and the Valley of Arce are seen. The square in Saragüeta, unpaved at the time, is shown when the main character arrives in the village and meets childhood friends again. Watch the trailer.
Ochagavía: located in the north of the Salazar valley next to the imposing forest of Irati, Ochagavia is one of the most picturesque villages in the Navarrese Pyrenees. Its main feature are its mediaeval bridge, its stony streets and fine houses on each side of the river Anduña.
- “Secretos del corazón”(1997) by Montxo Armendáriz, with Carmelo Gómez, Andoni Erburu, Charo López and Silvia Munt in the cast, portrays the fears and fascination for the unknown of a nine-year-old child. It won 1 ‘Ángel azul’, 4 Goya and 1 Ondas awards. We see scenes shot in Ochagavía when the brothers arrive there and meet their mother, who is waiting for them impatiently, and also shots of Pamplona and Uztárroz. Watch the trailer.
Urbasa-Andía National Park: meadows and leafy beech woods are the main features of this protected area, whose edge falls brusquely on the valley of the Améscoas to create an impressive natural viewpoint over the cirque surrounding the source of the river Urederra.
- “Tasio” (1984): Directed by the Navarrese filmmaker Montxo Armendáriz, the film portrays rural life through the eyes of a child who became a charcoal burner in a small village in the Urbasa mountain range. The charcoal pile in the main scene of the film was shot on Mount Limitaciones in the Amescoas. Others that appear in the film were shot in the valley of Lana. Watch the trailer.
- “Patton” (1970): A biography of US Army General George S. Patton, who led his troops across Europe after defeating Rommel in North Africa. The film won 7 Oscars, 1 Golden Globe and 1 BAFTA awards. Several battle scenes were shot in Urbasa-Andía. Watch the trailer.
- “Cromwell” (1970): England, 17th century. Oliver Cromwell fights corruption and Catholicism. The film won an Oscar for the best wardrobe. Some scenes were shot on the heights of Txinturte in Urbasa and on Mount Limitaciones. Watch the trailer.
Artajona: a town in the Central Zone of Navarra that stands out for its impressive 11th-century fortress above the town: “El Cerco”. This mediaeval complex has crenelated towers linked by a rampart walk and the church-fortress of San Saturnino, a solid and imposing 13th-century building declared a Historic-Artistic Monument.
- “Robin and Marian” (1976): Disenchanted after years wasted fighting in the Crusades in the Holy Land, Robin Hood (Sean Connery) and Little John return to England. In the meantime, Marian (Audrey Hepburn) has entered a convent. They inevitably meet up, but nothing will ever be the same again. Although Urbasa is the backdrop in several scenes, the Cerco in Artajona is the scene of a sword fight in which Sean Connery shows his skills and Audrey Hepburn drives the carriage in which the two of them flee, leaving behind the mediaeval towers of Artajona. Watch the trailer.
Sierra de Aralar: an area of quiet meadows, dolmens and beech trees of many colours, watched over by the Romanesque sanctuary of San Miguel de Aralar. Its rocks resemble a Gruyère cheese inside, and it hides natural treasures such as the cave at Mendukilo or the source of the river Iribas.
- “Falstaff- Chimes at Midnight” (1965): England, the Hundred Years’ War (14th and 15th centuries). The screenplay, based on several plays by William Shakespeare, tells of the friendship, betrayal and power between King Henry IV, his son and the knight Falstaff, the last role being played by film director Orson Welles himself. Scenes were shot in Lesaka, an old farmhouse in Lekunberri and a snow-covered wood in the Sierra de Aralar where the main character is seen walking. Watch the trailer.