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Top English Language Movies Shot in Istanbul

Bond in Istanbul Film

Bond in list of films shot in Istanbul

Our Turkish students love to tell us when an English language movie is shot in Istanbul.

I can’t blame them, I’m quick to point out movies shot in my native Toronto (often posing as NYC). There is something extremely satisfying about seeing your city represented in a big budget Hollywood production. Our Turkish students are extremely motivated to watch movies shot in Istanbul. At we enjoy sharing English language content which motivates our students to enhance their English listening skills. Here is a list of our favorite English language movies shot in Istanbul. Most of these are action packed thrillers! Also worth nothing, TurksLearnEnglish produces our own video learning excercises designed for Turks learning English. You can access the content library in our Ingilizce Dersleri section! These movies can be a great element of motivation and pride for Turkish students who want to practice their English skills:

#5: The Accidental Spy (2001)

The Accidental Spy is a classic Hong Kong fight movie starring Jackie Chan. The movie is shot in Hong Kong, Seoul, Istanbul and Cappadocia. Its not 100% in English, but a significant amount of the dialogue between the Chinese and Turkish characters is in English. The movie is entertaining and despite having serious elements in the plot, it also contains significant comedic twists. It’s a great film for adolescent learners. The film is also relatively obscure, meaning most Turkish students will not have previously seen the movie.

#4: The International (2009)

The International is an American Action Thriller directed by Tom Tykwer. The movie follows an Interpol agent as he tries to uncover the financial corruption of a merchant bank. The movie’s settings are also international, covering Lyon, Milan, Berlin, Istanbul and New York. The Istanbul scenes include an action-packed sequence set in the Grand Bazaar.

#3: Taken 2 (2012)

Our older Turkish students learning English love Taken 2. It is almost entirely set in Istanbul and is an action packed thriller. It stars Liam Neeson who does a great job in the intense drama.

#2: Argo (2012)

In our list of English Language Movies Shot in Istanbul, it would be wrong not to include 2012’s Oscar winner for Best Picture. Argo, as many people may have noticed, is almost shot entirely in Istanbul. Both the scenes set in Istanbul (where Afleck obtains his visa to enter Iran) and the scenes set in Tehran, are filmed in Turkey’s biggest metropolis. The infamous scene where the mock movie cast goes to the bazaar in Tehran, is actually Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar. More than a couple of our Turkish students learning English have pointed this out to us!

#1: Bond (1963, 1998, 2012)

For our favorite in our list of English Language Movies Shot in Istanbul, we chose not one but three Bond movies. From Russia with Love (1963), The  World is not Enough (1998) and Skyfall (2012) all have fabulous on-location shots of Istanbul. Bond directors knew how to take advantage of the incredible shooting opportunities in the city. From Russia with Love includes an action scene in the Basilica Cistern. The World is not Enough’s main climax features a submarine in the Bosphorus. Skyfall’s opening scene may be one of the best Bond action sequences of all time, a motorcycle chase on the roof of the Grand Bazaar!

We hope that you enjoy these English language movies shot in Istanbul as much as our own Turkish students. Please let us know whether we’ve missed any classics!


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