The Castello degli Schiavi is famous all over the world because it has been used several times as a film set. In 1968 Pier Paolo Pasolini shot some parts of the film L'orgia there.
But it is thanks to Francis Ford Coppola that the place achieved worldwide fame. In fact, the famous American director preferred it for the setting of the main scenes of The Godfather, both part I (1972) and part II (1974). The Godfather, together with its sequel, is considered one of the masterpieces in the history of cinema. The screenplay of the film, written by Coppola and Mario Puzo, is freely inspired by the novel of the same name written in 1969 by Puzo himself.
The film is set in fully post-war New York, between the end of the 1940s and the first half of the 1950s. The protagonist is Don Vito Corleone, head of a family of mafiosi who have become the most powerful in the Big Apple, thanks to the respect and to the honor obtained by the patriarch and by the children involved in the criminal activities. When Don Vito survives an assassination attempt by a rival boss, his son Michael Corleone begins his rise in the family's mafia empire, eventually becoming his new godfather. The Castello degli Schiavi was chosen as the home of Michael Corleone when the young man left the United States and took refuge in Sicily.
Some scenes from the Godfather that have become iconic were filmed right here within the walls of the castle of the Slaves: the unforgettable cruel explosion of the car after the wedding, the speech on Italian politicians with Don Tommaso, the death of Michael Corleone on the chair in front of the castle (the original chair used by Al Pacino can still be found today in front of the façade of the villa).
In 2008, the famous English band Coldplay set some scenes of the single Violet Hill there, a song included in the album Viva la vida.
In 2022 the castle was used as a filming location for the television series The White Lotus, which produced its second season in Sicily. The White Lotus season 2 focuses on the personal and professional vicissitudes of the staff and guests of the San Domenico Palace (Four Seasons Taormina) during the course of a week.