Where was 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi filmed? (2024)

Where was 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi filmed? (1)

Movie Locations Guide


Where was 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi filmed? (2) City Locations

Malta, Morocco

Where was 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi filmed? (3) Location Types


Where was 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi filmed? (4) Location Styles

Moroccan, Foreign, Colonial, Construction, Mediterranean

About 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Get ready for an adrenaline-pumping trip into the world of real-life heroes with 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi. This biographical action-thriller movie, released in 2016, is professional filmmaker Michael Bay's calculated foray into historical events, and it's a ride you won't forget.

Starring a dynamic ensemble including John Krasinski, James Badge Dale, Pablo Schreiber, Max Martini, Dominic Fumusa, Alexia Barlier, and others, this film offers audiences a gritty, immersive experience that brings the courageous acts of six Annex Security Team members to life.

Based on the riveting 2014 book by Mitchell Zuckoff, the film is set in the volatile city of Benghazi, Libya, following the heart-stopping events of September 11, 2012. Through waves of militant attacks, the film explores how these six brave men fought back against the odds, risking their lives to protect an American diplomatic compound and its occupants.

The intense firefights, desperate struggles, and the sheer will of these uncompromising warriors provide a harrowing and profoundly moving cinematic experience. 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi is grounded in historical accuracy and underscored by a raw, palpable tension that keeps you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end.

Critically acknowledged, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi rightfully occupied a spot on the prestigious Oscar nominations list for Best Sound Mixing at the 89th Academy Awards. This nod to the film's technical excellence emphasizes the auditory journey that complements the powerful visuals and performances.

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Locations

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi is a gripping movie that transports viewers to the heart of 2012 Benghazi, Libya. However, the film's production took place thousands of miles away from Libya. Principal photography of the movie began on April 27, 2015, in the scenic landscapes of Malta and Morocco. These countries provided a visually stunning backdrop that closely resembled the Libyan cityscape.

The majority of scenes came to life in Ta' Qali, Malta. This region is a vast open area between Attard and Mosta, two central and northern Malta towns. The location is brimming with landmarks and areas of interest, such as the Malta Fairs & Conventions Centre, the national football stadium, and the Ta' Qali National Park. It also houses a crafts village and a national vegetable market known locally as the Pitkalija. A large film set was constructed here in March 2015, faithfully recreating the atmosphere of Benghazi.

Visiting the filming locations for 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi would make for a worthwhile trip. Not only will you have the chance to walk in the footsteps of the film's cast, but you'll also be able to explore Malta and Morocco's rich history and culture. From the open spaces of Ta' Qali to the bustling markets of Morocco, there's plenty to see and experience in these vibrant regions.

The opening of the US Embassy scene in 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Mosta, Malta

In 2012, Benghazi, Libya - a location named as one of the most dangerous places in the world. Countries worldwide have withdrawn their embassies from this volatile city due to the fear of militant attacks. However, the United States maintains a diplomatic compound, not an official embassy, but a symbol of its presence.

Just under a mile away, a CIA outpost known as "The Annex" is discreetly situated. This secure site is under the watchful protection of a six-member team from Global Response Staff, comprised of individuals with backgrounds in military special operations.

Although the film portrays the gritty reality of life in Benghazi, the actual filming took place in the picturesque city of Mosta, Malta. Despite its small size, Mosta in Malta's Northern Region is densely populated and is renowned for its historical significance and impressive architectural structures. The city's most distinguished edifice is the Rotunda, a grand basilica constructed through the collective efforts of the local parish. Notably, the Rotunda hosts the world's third-largest freestanding dome and exhibits a copy of a German bombshell from World War II that astonishingly failed to explode when it pierced the dome.

To visit Mosta, Malta, you can fly into Malta International Airport (MLA) in Luqa. From there, it's a short drive or bus ride to Mosta. The city is well-connected by public transport, with frequent bus services from various parts of Malta.

Islamist militants assault the compound scene in 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi


The pivotal scene unfolds during one fateful night when militants from Ansar Al-Sharia launch an assault on the compound. The local 17-Feb guards, who are reluctant to serve as protective forces for merely $28 per day, rapidly surrender their posts, providing the attackers with effortless entry into the Special Mission compound.

Two primary locations, Malta and Morocco, provided the backdrops for this intense scene. Known for its blend of Berber, Arabian, and European influences, Morocco offers diverse landscapes and vibrant cities. One of its most popular destinations is Marrakesh's medina, a labyrinthine medieval quarter teeming with lively entertainment spots, such as Djemaa el-Fna square and bustling souks selling ceramics, jewelry, and metal lanterns.

Travelers can reach Morocco through various international airports, including Marrakesh Menara Airport, and explore the country using local transportation. Renting a car and exploring all the city's attractions is highly advisable.

The Annex base scene in 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Ta' Qali, Attard, Malta

At the Annex, the Global Response Staff (GRS) team is eager to rush to the compound's aid, but their chief hesitates, concerned that leaving would compromise the Annex's security. Despite this, Silva (John Krasinski) and Woods (James Badge Dale) venture into the building, searching for Stevens (Matt Letscher) and Smith (Christopher Dingli). They are only able to find Smith, who succumbed to smoke inhalation, leading the team to retreat to the Annex.

The actual filming took place in Malta, specifically in Ta' Qali. In March 2015, a prominent film set was constructed in this Maltese village, transforming it into a stand-in for the Libyan city. Ta' Qali is a location bursting with life and history. Once a Royal Air Force base, it now houses a village of artisans, an aviation museum, a national park, a vegetable market, and a national stadium, making it a must-visit destination in Malta.

Although the exact film set no longer exists, visitors can still immerse themselves in the unique atmosphere of the village. To get to Ta' Qali, you can fly to Malta International Airport. From there, it's a short drive or bus ride to the village, which is well-connected by Malta's public transport system. From Mosta, it's only a 10-minute drive by car or taxi.


13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi offers a distinct perspective on the 2012 Benghazi attack. Director Michael Bay, known for his explosive filmmaking style, helmed this film, which provides an engaging and ground-level depiction of heroism within the fog of war.

The actors' performances were generally commendable, although some critics noted that the characters lacked distinctiveness. Despite this, audiences appreciated the script and the idea of depicting heroism amidst the chaos. However, it's worth noting that the movie faced criticism for its perceived inauthenticity and bombastic approach to the historical events it portrays.

Filming took place in Malta and Morocco, providing visually stunning backdrops closely resembling the Libyan cityscape. Yet, it caused controversy in Libya as many locals felt the film overlooked the contributions of local people who attempted to save the US ambassador, thus highlighting the importance of representation and authenticity in historical narratives.

As a contribution to the movie industry, 13 Hours serves as a reminder of the delicate balance filmmakers must strike when recreating real-life events, particularly those with political implications. It reinforces the need for a nuanced approach that respects the experiences of all involved and does not oversimplify complex situations.

While 13 Hours may not be the definitive film about the tragic events in Benghazi and their political aftermath, it is still a film worth watching. Its portrayal of heroism and sacrifice and its visually striking locations make it a compelling watch for those interested in modern military history or fans of action-packed cinema. However, viewers should consider the criticisms and controversies surrounding its production and narrative.

Where was 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi filmed? (2024)


Where was 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi filmed? ›

Malta served as the primary filming location, providing a convincing stand-in for Benghazi with its similar Mediterranean landscape. Key Maltese sites in Mosta, Valletta, Marsa, Kordin, Gzira and Floriana were used to create the dramatic action sequences showcasing Malta's versatility as a film location.

Where was Secret Soldier of Benghazi filmed? ›

Filming began on April 27, 2015, in Malta and Morocco. Upon its release on January 15, 2016 by Paramount Pictures, 13 Hours grossed $69 million worldwide against a production budget of $50 million, becoming one of Bay's lowest-grossing films.

How accurate is the 13 Hours movie? ›

“13 Hours” Splashes Blood Across the Screen and Misses Real Story of Benghazi. Michael Bay's new film about the 2012 attacks on U.S. facilities in Libya avoids the problematic role of private military contractors in the post-9/11 wars. January 14 2016, 11:58 a.m.

How many survived 13 Hours in Benghazi? ›

By dawn, Stevens was pronounced dead from smoke inhalation. Former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods and former Marine Glenn Dougherty were both killed in action. But the team managed to rescue about 30 other workers.

Is Benghazi Based on a true story? ›

On September 11, 2012, at 9:40 p.m. local time, members of Ansar al-Sharia attacked the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi resulting in the deaths of both United States Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens and U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith.

How many died in Benghazi in 2012? ›

Who went to jail for Benghazi? ›

Mustafa Al-Imam Sentenced to More than 19 Years in Prison for September 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi, Libya.

Was Jack Silva a Navy Seal? ›

Jack Silva is a former US Navy SEAL appearing in the 2016 film 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, from which he serves as the protagonist. He is portrayed by John Krasinski.

Who were the real secret soldiers of Benghazi? ›

Christopher Stevens, U.S. Foreign Service Information Officer Sean Smith, as well as CIA operatives Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods. Stevens was the first person killed while serving as a U.S. Ambassador since 1979.

What happened to Oz from 13 Hours? ›

Geist finished his career as a security contractor in Benghazi, Libya, where he was credited with helping to save the lives of more than 25 Americans. Mr. Geist is still recovering from the injuries he sustained in the battle.

How many of the 6 died in 13 Hours? ›

The team had six members; one, Tyrone Woods, was among the four people killed in the attack on the compound, along with the U.S. ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens.

What seal died in Benghazi? ›

Four Americans died in the 2012 Benghazi attack: Ambassador Chris Stevens, Information Officer Sean Smith, and two CIA operatives, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, both former Navy SEALs.

Is Libya a safe country or not? ›

Do not travel to Libya due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and armed conflict. Country Summary: Crime levels in Libya remain high, including the threat of kidnapping for ransom.

Is Libya still at war? ›

The first civil war's aftermath and proliferation of armed groups led to violence and instability across the country, which erupted into renewed civil war in 2014. The second war lasted until October 23, 2020, when all parties agreed to a permanent ceasefire and negotiations.

Is Libya still a failed state? ›

In the early 2020s, Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Libya, Mali, Myanmar, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen have all been described as failed states.

Is Benghazi in Lebanon? ›

Benghazi (/bɛnˈɡɑːzi/) (lit. Son of [the] Ghazi) is the second-most-populous city in Libya as well as the largest city in Cyrenaica, with an estimated population of 1,207,250 in 2020. Located on the Gulf of Sidra in the Mediterranean, Benghazi is also a major seaport.

Which country is Benghazi Libya in? ›

Benghazi is a city and district in Libya. It is the second largest city in the country with 670,797 people (2006). It is also the capital of the Cyrenaica region.

Where did Benghazi take place? ›

2012 Benghazi attacks, assaults on a U.S. diplomatic compound and a nearby CIA annex in the city of Benghazi, Libya, on September 11–12, 2012, which resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya—the first violent death of a U.S. ambassador since 1988.


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