Why do I like castles? Because they are big, because they are old, like my ancestors, who also saw them and lived under them. Because they are magical and have legends, ghosts, and even true stories. Because, although every castle touches the ground, they also reach for the sky, and if you take the time and make the effort they’ll afford you the best of views. Whether wholly rebuilt or hopelessly ruined, there are castles for all tastes in Spain, if you get in your car, or on your bike, or horse, or just walk and find one; they are never far away.
There are about 2,500 castles in Spain and their locations always tells us something about what was happening when they were built; largely who needed protection from whom.
Curiously, the province with most castles, Jaén, doesn’t appear in this work, as no English language film has yet been made in any of them.
There is also some doubt about what a castle is. Some town walls, such as those of Artajona, which represents Nottingham in the film Robin and Marian, seem like a castle to me, while the walls of Ávila don’t appear here, as they are too extensive to fool us.
The Arabs distinguished an Alcazaba (a walled city) from an Alcázar, (a castle) as well they might do, although the difference is often minimal.
In the end, in any project, you have to put some kind of limit. In this project we have included castles that appear in English language feature films, but not series or shorts. The criteria? To be able to finish this, although with new films and discoveries about old ones, this project has no end.
The film titles are in English; any information not here can easily be found at www.imdb.com
The film dates given here refer to the year of release.
As we are fallible and self-funding, we welcome corrections.
Most of the photos (and all of the good ones) were taken by Mark Sicon, with some others by Bob Yareham and James Yareham. Others as stated in situ.
My thanks to John ‘Thelma’ Hill for keeping awake a lot of the time on our Road Trip around Spain, July 2019 in search of castles, and the occasional meal.
“When you march up to attack a city, make its people an offer of peace. If they accept and open their gates, all the people in it shall be subject to forced labour and shall work for you. If they refuse to make peace and they engage you in battle, lay siege to that city. When the LORD your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it. As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. And you may use the plunder the LORD your God gives you from your enemies.”