From deserted beaches to promontories overlooking the sea, from the wild Supramonte to the abandoned mining villages of Sulcis, from ancient forests to towns where time has stood still: Sardinia has always been an inspiration to writers and directors looking for scenery. The first films were recorded here in black and white, between the two world wars. The first successful film was “Forbidden” (1954) by Mario Monicelli, based on “La Madre” by Grazia Deledda, starring a splendid Lea Massari and filmed between Codrongianos, Ittiri and Tissi. In the same period, the scene of Isaac's sacrifice, part of “The Bible” (1966) by John Huston used Mount Corrasi in Oliena as a backdrop. A whole series was based on the wildest Barbagia: from “Bandits of Orgosolo” (1958) to “A Question of Honour” (1966), with Ugo Tognazzi, from “Barbagia, The Tough and the Mighty” (1969) to “Father and Master” (1977) by the Taviani brothers. The theme was revisited in “Disamistade” (1988) by Gianfranco Cabiddu, set between Nuoro and Ghilarza.
Michelangelo Antonioni chose a dreamlike (and solitary) setting for his “Red Desert" (1964): the pink beach at Budelli, an island in the Maddalena archipelagus. Ten years later, "Swept away", the masterpiece by Lina Wertmuller played by "shipwrecked" couple Mariangela Melato and Giancarlo Giannini, was set at Cala Luna, Cala Fuili and Capo Comino. Sergio Corbucci also transformed Cala Luna (between Baunei and Dorgali) into a desert island: Paolo Villaggio starred as "Mr Robinson" (1966). In the same spirit, three years later, "Selvaggi” by Carlo Vanzina with a company of comedians portrayed a group of holiday-makers stranded on the beach at Razza di Juncu in Porto Rotondo. Two years earlier, again with Vanzina, Sardinia was the setting for “Piccolo grande amore”, with a young Raul Bova. In 2002 the Golfo di Orosei was once again the protagonist in the remake of "Swept away", directed by Ritchie, starring Madonna and Adriano Giannini, Giancarlo's son.
Enchantment, luxury and adventure against the backdrop of Porto Cervo and the Costa Smeralda in “The Spy Who Loved Me” (1977), the tenth film in the Bond series, played by Roger Moore and directed by Lewis Gilbert. Cala di Volpe, Cala Pitrizza, Capriccioli, San Pantaleo and Palau, on the north-eastern coast, and Capo Caccia to the north-west, were the setting for James Bond's action scenes and breath-taking escapes. The Park of Porto Conte and the marine area of Capo Caccia had already played a leading role in 1968 in “Boom!”, directed by Joseph Losey, with romantic and dramatic scenes set between Alghero and the coast of Argentiera. From the north to the far south, from historic movies to the 21st century, coastal paradises continue to star: Leonardo Pieraccioni chose Santa Margherita di Pula for “Finalmente la felicità” (2011).
The Costa Verde, in particular the dunes of Piscinas and the ghost-villages of Ingurtosu and Montevecchio are in the foreground of "Black Stallion" (1979), written in collaboration with Francis Ford Coppola. Moving further up the western coast, we find the village of San Salvatore, in the Cabras area, transformed into a far west location in Arizona or New Mexico for a highly successful genre, the “Spaghetti Western”, in “Garter Colt" (1967). A little further north, in the science fiction film “Star Pilot" (1966), we see s’Archittu in Santa Caterina di Pittinurri (Cuglieri), as the setting for a bizarre alien landing. The Sinis peninsula has also been recently chosen by Italian artists: in 2007 for "Sympathy for the Lobster" by Sabina Guzzanti, filmed at su Pallosu, a coastal village in San Vero Milis, and in 2011 for "A Small Southern Enterprise", directed and starring Rocco Papaleo. The backdrop was Capo San Marco, near the ruins of the ancient city of Tharros, the beach of San Giovanni del Sinis and Cabras.
Numerous Sardinian directors have and continue to tell about their stories set in the authentic life of Sardinian communities, fascinating in its immobility, especially in the island's interior: for example, “Ballo a tre passi” (2003) and “Sonetaula” (2008) by Salvatore Mereu, the entertaining “The Referee” (2013) by Paolo Zucca, starring Stefano Accorsi, and a film that slips inside the island's thousand-year culture, “L’Accabbadora” (2015) by Enrico Pau. The success of Cabiddu, following Disamistade, was repeated with “The son of Bakunin” (1997), based on the novel by Sergio Atzeni, and the multi-award winning “The Stuff of Dreams”, set on the island of Asinara, where four members of the Camorra, two security guards accompanying them and four members of a theatre company land following a storm. The ex-"Sardinian Alcatraz" was also recently used as the location for “Era d’estate” (2016), the story of the transfer of judges Borsellino and Falcone to the island.