The Village of the Spinach-Loving Sailor Popeye in Malta

Popeye Village, Malta
Popeye Village, Malta

Located at Anchor Bay in the northern region of the Mediterranean island of Malta, “Popeye Village,” also known as Sweethaven Village, is a must-see travel destination built from scratch to serve as the movie set for Robert Altman’s 1980 American musical comedy film “Popeye.”

The movie, produced by Walt Disney Productions and Paramount Pictures and known for marking the film debut of American actor Robin Williams in the title role, was based on the fictional cartoon character “Popeye.” The beloved spinach-loving sailor was introduced by Elzie Segar in 1929 in a comic strip named “Thimble Theatre.”

Photo of Robin Williams portraying "Popeye" and Shelley Duvall as "Olive Oyl" taken during the 1980 movie's shootings in Malta.
Photo of Robin Williams portraying “Popeye” and Shelley Duvall as “Olive Oyl” taken during the 1980 movie’s shootings in Malta.

To build the set, over 20 stunning wooden buildings were erected in a seven-month period by 165 international construction workers using wooden shingles imported from Canada and tree trunk logs brought in from Holland. The crew consumed “eight tons of nails and two thousand gallons of paint to finish off this massive Set,” the official website of “Popeye Village” reads. Further information about the colorful wooden village in Malta is also provided: “Before construction could begin, an access road leading to the set had to be constructed. Also, Anchor Bay needed a 200-250 foot Breakwater at its mouth, to protect the set from high seas during the shooting months of the film production.” The picturesque village designed by Danish architect Hans Munk Hansen has stood the test of time continuing to allure tourists from around the globe.

Pay a visit to Popeye’s Cabin, the newly refurbished living quarters of the worldwide famous character, or wander around memorabilia, including over 200 comics from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, exhibited at the “Popeye Comic Museum”. Do not miss the house of “Olive Oyl,” the woman with whom, according to the story, “Popeye” developed a lovely courtship, as well as Main Square, where you can enjoy spectacular 360-degree views of the over 35-year-old village.

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