The 1980 Movie Set from 'Popeye' Is a Very Real Place You Can Actually Still Visit
Real-life Sweethaven can still be found in Malta, and you can even get married there.
When you stop to think about it, the magic of the movies often stems from the the world it creates seemingly out of thin air. And in reality, an entire alternative universe is built, filmed for posterity, and then promptly disassembled. The sets are taken down, the actors and crew members go home, and life goes on.
That is not the case all the time, however. One example of a movie set that was allowed to remain is the village constructed in Mellieha, Malta to accommodate the filming of the 1980 live-action adaptation of Popeye, the popular children's cartoon.
The film, which starred Robin Williams and Shelley Duvall, performed modestly in the box office but gained traction with audiences over the years via home video. As the r/todayilearned sub-Reddit discovered this week, the film and its fictional setting of Sweethaven are still immortalized to this day by Popeye Village, a functioning mini-theme park and resort that repurposed the film's elaborate set and is a popular attraction for visitors to the Mediterranean island.
Many commenters on the Reddit thread expressed surprise that the elaborate village depicted in the film consisted of actual buildings, as opposed to facades. Redditors who have visited the site said it's worth the visit, too, as they were actually able to walk inside the buildings. Other commenters pointed out that the views from the village are also "lovely."
So, aside from a lot of spinach eating, what exactly goes on at Popeye Village, you might be wondering? According to the park's website, its 19 wooden buildings and surrounding features offer a Santa's toy town, boat rides, water trampolines, sunbathing decks, and silversmith demonstrations. A map of the property also shows a winery, a sawmill, on-site restaurants, and mini golf. The park also appears to host corporate events, weddings, children's parties, and school groups.
Popeye Village isn't the only still-standing movie set you can visit, either. Other popular examples include the abandoned town of Spectre from Big Fish, which can be found near Millbrook, Alabama; the site of Luke Skywalker's home planet, Tatooine, in Star Wars, located in Tunisia; and the iconic Hobbiton hobbit holes from The Lord of the Rings, in New Zealand.
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