There’s something truly magical about being swept away by a film, brought into a different world for a few hours of entertainment, education, or even enlightenment. Films can teach us about different cultures, countries, histories, and languages in subtle ways. That’s the magic of the movies — we’re transported to another place and feel closer to our neighbours around the world.
Egypt has inspired countless movies over the last century. Of course, many of those most iconic films are based on the original literary works inspired by Egypt. It’s no surprise of course: Egypt has captivated hearts and minds for millennia!
That’s why we love leading literary tours in Egypt inspired by some of our favourite authors. If you’re a fellow book lover who wants to stand in the real-life places that inspired iconic scenes, then please do join us! Get in touch if you have any questions at all about our experiences.
For now, let’s dive into some great films set in Egypt to inspire your next adventure…
The 1999 film The Mummy, starring Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz, is actually a remake of the 1932 version.
It was such a commercial success that subsequent films were made: The Mummy Returns (2001) and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008), plus a prequel called The Scorpion King (2002).
Unfortunately, while the story is set in Egypt, very little filming took place here. Most of the filming was completed in Saudi Arabia and Morocco, despite key scenes supposedly taking place in the City of the Dead. Just note that the real City of the Dead is the Cairo Necropolis, not the fictional Hamunaptra from The Mummy.
Death on The Nile
You’ve surely heard of the classic novel by Agatha Christie, Death on the Nile This timeless classic has inspired numerous films over the years, including a 1978 version that popularized the story on a wider scale and a 2022 version that reimagined it all.
Let’s first talk about the most recent adaptation of the who-done-it.
Death on The Nile follows everyone’s favourite sleuth, Detective Hercule Poirot (played by Kenneth Brannagh) as he journeys down the River Nile on the S.S. Karnak. He is part of a wedding party for a glamorous heiress (played by Gal Gadot) and her new husband (played by Arnie Hammer).
The group stops at various stunning Egyptian locations on the Nile. If you’d like to see these fantastic sights up close and personal, take a look at our Agatha Christie Tours in Egypt. We love taking fellow Agatha Christie fans around Egypt!
But before you watch the new Death on the Nile, you’ve got to watch the original. The 1978 film is the first movie adaptation of the famous Agatha Christie novel and it was actually filmed in various locations in Egypt, unlike the new version.
For a visual feast to get you in the mood for a trip to Egypt, watch the 1978 version and keep an eye out for locations including Cairo, the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx, Aswan, Luxor, and the temples at Abu Simbel and Karnak.
The original also won an Oscar for Best Costume Design at the 51st Academy Awards!
The Spy Who Loved Me
Yes, James Bond has truly been everywhere…including Egypt!
In the 1977 film The Spy Who Loved Me, Roger Moore embodies the world’s most notable international spy as he tries to uncover the mystery of a missing submarine. Its state-of-the-art untraceable radar causes quite the international crisis as it disappears, carrying nuclear missiles on board.
And so 007 heads to Egypt to get information from an old acquaintance. His journey in Egypt brings him from Saqqara to Cairo, where he also visits the Great Pyramids of Giza. He then heads to Luxor, where filming took place at Karnak Temple, and then onto Aswan and Abu Simbel Temple.
While in Cairo, Mr Bond visits one of our favourite places in the city: the Gayer Anderson Museum. This lesser-visited gem shouldn’t be overlooked during your trip!
We visit during our 2-day tour of Cairo based on Rosie Thomas’ romance novel Iris and Ruby.
While covering the life of the African American activist Malcolm X, the 1992 eponymous biographical film starring Denzel Washington and directed by Spike Lee portrays his visit to Egypt.
During that visit, Malcolm worshipped at the Great Mosque of Muhammad Ali Pasha in Cairo, also known as the Alabaster Mosque.
Filming was done on location, and it’s a location we love to visit as well! It’s yet another stop on our Iris and Ruby tour of Cairo.
Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Switching gears to a very different audience, the Marvel film Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer actually includes filming in Egypt! Released in 2007, you’ll spot scenes filmed at the Great Pyramids of Giza, with clear views of the Sphinx as well.
While the film isn’t entirely based in Egypt, it’s still a fun one to mention!
Whether you’re a huge film buff or you’re just as obsessed with all things Egypt as we are, we hope you enjoyed this list of films set in Egypt! We’re more aligned with the original books upon which many films are set, and we love to visit the locations that inspired brilliant literary scenes.
Take a look at our Egypt holidays based on literature and please do get in touch with any questions at all.