Popeye Village – Mellieha, Malta - Atlas Obscura

Popeye Village

Mellieha, Malta

An abandoned set from the 1980 film "Popeye," claimed and repurposed as a theme park by creative locals. 


The set from Robert Altman’s film Popeye, shot in Malta, was never fully struck and remains on the island as a sort of misplaced relic. The live-action film based on the popular comic strip and animation character, a spinach-loving sailor, marked the film debut of Robin Williams in the title role.

Over 20 wooden structures were built with the tree trunk logs imported from Holland and wooden shingles brought in from Canada, making the town quite the production. Eight tons of nails and 250 gallons of paint were used in constructing the set, and a 250-foot breakwater was built to protect the filming area from the high seas.

The film itself was a box-office bomb. But rather than tearing the set down or leaving it abandoned, the islanders saw it for what it was: a pre-built theme park. They eventually took over the abandoned set, hired actors, and the Popeye Village was born. 

Know Before You Go

Boat trips and some parts of the village are not open during off seasons or when the weather is bad. Entrance fees and special package costs also vary by season. 

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