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Get Excited with Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

Getting ready for a holiday can often be quite a stressful time – making sure all the passports are in date, weighing luggage, converting cash – we know it’s not easy, but sometimes you need a few minutes to wind down, relax, and get excited about your upcoming adventure. If you’re heading to Kefalonia this summer, then we recommend sitting down with Nicolas Cage and Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.

How is it Rated

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin is a heart-warming romance starring Nicolas Cage, released in 2001. Despite its rather poor reviews on IMDb (5.9/10), Rotten Tomatoes (28%) and Metacritic (36%), almost everyone can agree that they thoroughly enjoyed this film with 90% of Google users giving it a Like. All in all, this film isn’t going to surprise you by subverting expectations, delivering an astounding soundtrack or stay in line with historical events, but it is a thoroughly lovely watch that will endear you to Kefalonia’s natural beauty.

Plot Summary – No Spoilers

The plot is romance in a time of war, loosely based on the book it was adapted from released seven years prior. Captain Antonio Corelli, Nicolas Cage, is an Italian captain who is transferred to Kefalonia along with some Germans to occupy the island. In return for medical supplies, the local doctor agrees to share his home with Captain Corelli, but the doctor’s daughter is not too impressed.

In time, she may come to admire the Captain’s cheery personality and skill with a mandolin, but there is more than love at stake during World War Two, and a hidden fiancé here or there may also threaten their chances of staying together.

Behind the Scenes

As one might expect, the mandolin is a big part of the film, but it might come as a surprise to learn that Cage had never played any kind of musical instrument before in his life. In the interview below, Cage tells the story of how he learnt to play the necessary songs needed for the film on the mandolin and has not played since:

Nic Cage puts a lot of effort into his roles, and that was certainly true for his time as Captain Corelli. In a different interview, he also confessed to having closely read the original book from which the film is based, and even having read a little into the history which inspires both the book and the film.

A Few Criticisms

One of the biggest criticisms levelled at the show is the strange accents employed by the actors who are trying to evoke a sense of their characters’ backgrounds. Unfortunately, few of these accents are carried off well so if you think you know how an Italian accent should sound, you might find trying to watch this film more grating than anything else.

Shots of Kefalonia

The entire film was shot in Kefalonia so naturally, there are some beautiful places that you might want to add to your list of things to do and see when you get there. One of the most stunning beaches that features quite prominently in the film is Horgota beach which you can see in the film clip below:

This is a stony beach with beautiful clear waters and lots of shade provided by the many trees. This means that there is lots of coverage to cool off under if the heat ever gets to be too much. This makes this beach quite family friendly as there will always be somewhere for little children to take a break, without having to fight over umbrellas.

If you are interested in seeing more about the towns and villages of Kefalonia, then you may also enjoy the following video which shows some behind the scenes footage of an explosion that happens within the film:

Many of the village shots are filmed in the village Sami, which was partially reconstructed to mimic the architecture that would have been present in 1943 when the film was set. Most of the current architecture has been rebuilt as a result of a devastating earthquake which decimated Kefalonia’s infrastructure. If learning more about Kefalonia’s history interests you then you may consider visiting some of Kefalonia’s ghost towns like Old Farsa near Argostoli which was destroyed in 1953. Other ghost-villages include Old Clahata and Tarkasata.


Book one of our holiday villas in Kefalonia for a vacation which will more than live up to your expectations following your viewing of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. We hope that you enjoyed the film and will enjoy seeing those famous sights for real during your stay on this beautiful island.