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With its stunning tropical landscapes and variety of locales, Hawaii has been a prime spot for Hollywood productions over the years. Iconic films from multiple genres used the islands as a scenic backdrop and captured its essence on camera.
This guide will provide an overview of iconic movies filmed throughout the Hawaiian Islands – from blockbusters to indies. We’ll spotlight key filming locations, fun facts, and the influence Hawaii has had on these memorable films.
Jurassic Park Series
The Jurassic Park series is undoubtedly one of the most iconic action/adventure movie franchises of all time. With its breathtaking landscapes and stunning visual effects, it’s no wonder that Hawaii was chosen as the filming location for several installments of the series.
The lush rainforests, towering waterfalls, and dramatic cliffs of the Hawaiian Islands provided the perfect backdrop for the prehistoric creatures to roam.
In the first film, Jurassic Park, Steven Spielberg brought the dinosaurs to life on the island of Kauai. The stunning Na Pali Coast served as the backdrop for the thrilling helicopter arrival scene, while the lush landscapes of the island showcased the awe-inspiring beauty of the dinosaurs’ natural habitat.
The success of the first film led to the creation of two sequels, The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III, both of which also had scenes filmed in Hawaii.
These movies continued to showcase the diverse landscapes of the islands, from the rugged terrain of Oahu’s Kualoa Ranch to the scenic beauty of Maui’s Hana Highway.
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Another action/adventure classic that was filmed in Hawaii is Raiders of the Lost Ark. This legendary Indiana Jones film, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Harrison Ford, features several memorable scenes shot on the island of Kauai.
One of the most iconic moments in the movie is the opening sequence, where Indiana Jones narrowly escapes a giant boulder rolling towards him. This thrilling scene was filmed in the Huleia National Wildlife Refuge, which showcases the lush tropical landscapes that Hawaii is known for.
Throughout the film, viewers are treated to breathtaking shots of Kauai’s stunning natural beauty, including its pristine beaches, dense jungles, and towering cliffs.
The combination of Indiana Jones’ adventurous spirit and Hawaii’s picturesque scenery creates a truly unforgettable cinematic experience.
50 First Dates
While not your typical action-packed adventure film, 50 First Dates is a heartwarming romantic comedy that takes place in the beautiful backdrop of Hawaii. Starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, this film tells the story of a man who falls in love with a woman who suffers from short-term memory loss.
Hawaii’s stunning landscapes play a significant role in the movie, with scenes filmed on Oahu’s North Shore and Windward Coast. The film showcases the idyllic beaches, vibrant sunsets, and laid-back island lifestyle that Hawaii is famous for.
From the charming town of Haleiwa to the picturesque Waimanalo Beach, viewers are transported to a tropical paradise as they follow the heartwarming love story of the main characters.
The film perfectly captures the essence of Hawaii’s beauty and charm, making it a must-watch for both fans of romantic comedies and those interested in experiencing a taste of the Hawaiian Islands.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
The recent installment of the Jumanji franchise, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, also chose Hawaii as its filming location. Starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, and Karen Gillan, this action-packed adventure takes place in the lush jungles of a video game world.
The film features stunning scenes shot on the island of Oahu, with locations including the Kualoa Ranch and the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve. These picturesque landscapes provide the perfect backdrop for the characters’ thrilling and humorous escapades.
Whether it’s battling dangerous creatures or navigating treacherous terrains, the characters in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle find themselves in awe-inspiring settings that showcase Hawaii’s natural beauty. The movie combines action, humor, and stunning visuals to create an entertaining cinematic experience.
“The Descendants” is a highly acclaimed drama film set in Hawaii. Directed by Alexander Payne, the movie stars George Clooney as Matt King, a lawyer and landowner dealing with family issues while his wife is in a coma.
The film takes viewers on a journey through the stunning landscapes of Hawaii, showcasing the beauty of the islands. With its heartfelt story and breathtaking scenery, “The Descendants” offers a captivating cinematic experience.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” is the second installment in the popular “Hunger Games” franchise, and part of the film was shot in Hawaii. In this dystopian drama, Katniss Everdeen, played by Jennifer Lawrence, finds herself back in the arena for the Quarter Quell.
The film showcases the lush tropical landscapes of Hawaii, providing a stark contrast to the intense and dangerous world of the Hunger Games.
The inclusion of Hawaii as a filming location adds a unique and visually stunning element to the movie.
“Blue Hawaii” is a classic drama film starring the legendary Elvis Presley. Released in 1961, this musical romantic comedy tells the story of a young man returning home to Hawaii after serving in the Army.
The film features beautiful Hawaiian scenery, including iconic locations like Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head. With Elvis’ charming performance and the enchanting backdrop of Hawaii, “Blue Hawaii” became a beloved cinematic gem that continues to be enjoyed by audiences today.
From Here to Eternity
“From Here to Eternity” is a timeless drama set in the days leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor. Starring Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, and Deborah Kerr, the film explores the lives and relationships of military personnel stationed in Hawaii.
The movie includes iconic scenes filmed on the beaches of Oahu, most notably the romantic embrace between Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr in the crashing waves. “From Here to Eternity” is not only a powerful story but also a testament to the enduring allure of Hawaii as a filming location.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
One of the most beloved comedies filmed in Hawaii is “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.” This hilarious film follows the story of a man named Peter, played by Jason Segel, who goes on a vacation to Hawaii to get over his recent breakup.
Little does he know, his ex-girlfriend Sarah Marshall, played by Kristen Bell, is also vacationing at the same resort with her new boyfriend.
The movie is filled with laugh-out-loud moments, beautiful Hawaiian landscapes, and a great soundtrack. It’s a must-watch for anyone looking for a good laugh and a taste of the stunning scenery Hawaii has to offer.
Just Go With It
“Just Go With It” is another comedy that showcases the beauty of Hawaii. Starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston, this film tells the story of a plastic surgeon who convinces his assistant, played by Aniston, to pretend to be his ex-wife to cover up a lie.
The movie takes viewers on a hilarious journey as the characters navigate their way through various comedic situations. From stunning beaches to vibrant luaus, “Just Go With It” captures the essence of Hawaii’s natural beauty and laid-back culture.
While not a traditional comedy set in Hawaii, “Office Space” includes a memorable scene filmed on the island. This cult classic follows the life of an office worker named Peter, played by Ron Livingston, who becomes fed up with his mundane job and decides to rebel against his tyrannical boss.
The scene shot in Hawaii features Peter daydreaming about a life free from the constraints of his office job, as he imagines himself lounging on a beach in paradise. It’s a relatable and humorous moment that adds a touch of Hawaii’s allure to the film.
“Soul Surfer” is a heartwarming comedy-drama based on the true story of Bethany Hamilton, a young surfer who loses her arm in a shark attack. While the film delves into more serious themes, it also includes moments of humor and lightheartedness.
Filmed on location in Hawaii, the movie showcases the stunning beaches and powerful waves that the state is famous for. It’s an inspiring story that highlights the resilience and determination of the human spirit, with a touch of comedy to keep the audience engaged.
These comedies filmed in Hawaii offer a perfect blend of laughs and stunning scenery. Whether you’re in the mood for a romantic comedy like “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” or a feel-good film like “Soul Surfer,” these movies provide a great escape to the tropical paradise that is Hawaii.
Historic and Period Pieces
If you’re a fan of history and period pieces, you’re in for a treat with the movies filmed in Hawaii. The beautiful landscapes and rich history of the islands have attracted many filmmakers to showcase important moments in history on the big screen.
One of the most famous movies filmed in Hawaii is “Pearl Harbor,” directed by Michael Bay. This epic war film tells the story of the devastating attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. With a star-studded cast including Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett, and Kate Beckinsale, the movie takes you back in time to experience the events leading up to the attack and its aftermath.
“Windtalkers” is another historical film set during World War II. Directed by John Woo, this movie focuses on the Navajo code talkers who played a crucial role in the Pacific theater. Filmed on the island of Oahu, the movie showcases the stunning landscapes of Hawaii while highlighting the bravery and sacrifice of these unsung heroes.
Tora! Tora! Tora!
“Tora! Tora! Tora!” is a classic war film that tells the story of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Directed by Richard Fleischer, Kinji Fukasaku, and Toshio Masuda, the movie provides a detailed account of the events leading up to the attack from both the American and Japanese perspectives.
Filmed on location in Hawaii, the movie captures the historical significance of the island and the pivotal moment in history.
War and Remembrance
“War and Remembrance” is a miniseries based on the historical novel by Herman Wouk. Set during World War II, this epic saga follows the lives of several families as they navigate through the war and its aftermath.
While not entirely filmed in Hawaii, the series includes significant scenes set in the islands, showcasing the beauty and importance of Hawaii during this time period.
These historic and period pieces filmed in Hawaii provide a unique opportunity to experience important moments in history while enjoying the breathtaking scenery of the islands.
Whether you’re interested in the events of Pearl Harbor, the bravery of the Navajo code talkers, or the broader impact of World War II, these movies offer a captivating glimpse into the past.
One of the most iconic movies filmed in Hawaii is “Point Break,” directed by Kathryn Bigelow and released in 1991. This action-packed thriller stars Keanu Reeves as an undercover FBI agent who infiltrates a group of thrill-seeking surfers led by Patrick Swayze.
The movie showcases the stunning beauty of Hawaii’s beaches and the thrilling sport of surfing. If you’re a fan of adrenaline-pumping action and breathtaking scenery, “Point Break” is a must-watch.
Released in 2002, “Blue Crush” is a coming-of-age sports drama set in Hawaii. It follows the story of Anne Marie, played by Kate Bosworth, a talented surfer who dreams of competing in a prestigious surfing competition.
The movie not only features incredible surfing scenes filmed on Oahu’s North Shore, but it also explores themes of friendship, perseverance, and self-discovery.
If you’re looking for a movie that combines adrenaline-fueled action with heartfelt emotions, “Blue Crush” is the perfect choice.
Snakes on a Plane
For those who enjoy a good horror-comedy, “Snakes on a Plane” is a must-mention. Released in 2006, this movie stars Samuel L. Jackson as an FBI agent who must save a plane full of passengers from a horde of venomous snakes.
While the majority of the film takes place on an airplane, the opening scenes were shot in Hawaii, specifically on the island of Kauai. So, if you’re a fan of over-the-top action, suspense, and some unexpected laughs, “Snakes on a Plane” is definitely worth a watch.
Lilo & Stitch
“Lilo & Stitch” is a beloved animated film released by Disney in 2002. Set on the fictional Hawaiian island of Kauai, the movie tells the heartwarming story of a young girl named Lilo and her unusual pet alien, Stitch.
The film showcases the vibrant Hawaiian culture, beautiful landscapes, and the importance of family and friendship. With its catchy soundtrack and lovable characters, “Lilo & Stitch” has become a favorite among both children and adults.
Hawaii’s natural beauty, diversity, and welcoming spirit have made it a go-to destination for impactful storytelling on film. Generations of moviegoers have been transported there through iconic locations captured on camera.
From blockbusters to small indie movies, Hawaii’s allure on screen is undeniable. We hope this guide provided some fun facts and insights into its legacy as a special place for filmmakers and audiences alike.