El Camino de Santiago in Film

For those preparing for the Camino, watching films about it can be a great way to get in the right mood! There has been a real surge in interest over the past few years due to one Hollywood blockbuster in particular. Here we look through the most famous and inspiring films featuring the way of Saint James.

The Way (2010)

Directed by Emilio Estevez and featuring Martin Sheen, this Hollywood production is probably the most famous film that we can find here. A simple overview of the story line:

A father heads overseas to recover the body of his estranged son who died while traveling the “El camino de Santiago,” and decides to take the pilgrimage himself.

Overall it’s a pretty moving production and captures many of the idealised aspects of the Camino. Although it deals with raw emotions over the loss of the lead actor’s Son, it is a feel good movie and definitely worth watching regardless.

Walking the Camino: Six ways to Santiago (2013)

This recent production gives a more authentic portrayal of the ‘real’ Camino. It follows the stories of six different pilgrims on their personal journeys on the road to Santiago.

Although not quite as well known as ‘The Way’, it has received great feedback from veteran pilgrims and really captures the spirit.

Within the Way Without (2004)

Introduced by Sir Richard Attenburough, this film follows three international pilgrims. The summary:

Three people from Japan, Brazil and Holland, independently visit Santiago de Compostela, Spain in winter, spring and summer. They follow the path that Apostle Saint James took during his pilgrimage there. The trip will change them.

Also called ‘Tres en el Camino’, it shows the pilgrims walking in different seasons, so you can have an idea of the best time of year to plan a future pilgrimage.

I was unable to find a trailer for this charming film, but could only find the full film on YouTube. Unsure of the legalities of posting that here I’ll let you search yourself if you wish!

Welcome (Bienvenido) (2006)

A documentary by José Alvarez looking at the traditions of hospitality shown towards pilgrims on the Camino. It is a Spanish film with English Subtitles, and forms the second part of José’s work (the first part being ‘no un camino de rosas’, below).

There’s not a huge amount of information about this film, but you can buy it direct from the Confraternity of Saint James for £15.

Other Films

‘No un camino de rosas’ – the first of José’s documentaries on the Camino, featuring interviews with Pilgrims. Again in Spanish with English subtitles.

‘Dream of the Way’ describes the personal experiences of the late Icelandic writer Thor Vilhjálmsson. Available direct from the Confraternity of Saint James website.