Movies Made in Hawaii

Hawaii – A Picture-Perfect Movie Location

The Hawaiian Islands – the picture of paradise, where majestic mountains, lush greenery, and sky-blue ocean commence to form the perfect backdrop. Many of Hollywood’s most unforgettable titles have been filmed on these islands, some of which you may never have realized.

Hawaii has been a prime location for shooting independent and major motion pictures, surf videos, travel and lifestyle shows and countless other media forms. The film industry in the Islands continues to thrive as these tropical lands grow more diverse and beautiful with each passing day. From volcanoes to snow-covered mountain caps to sea-level reef shots, the islands offer a range of views no other location can.

Hawaii has the ability to morph easily – making the audience believe it is anything from a South Pacific beach to a South African village to an exotic Peruvian rainforest. From jungle to scenic overlook, metropolitan city to untouched countryside, Hawaii remains a stunning contradiction well-suited to communicate stories through the art of film.

From teen surfing movies to blockbuster thrillers, Hawaii never fails to win audiences. Film legends like Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Tim Burton and George Armitage have recognized and utilized the incredible location attributes Hawaii offers. And Hawaii is not just a pretty face – the creative talent pool here is unparalleled. Talent and production agencies abound with a pool of incomparable actors, actresses and professionals that can carry off even the most elaborate of projects.

Stunt work, pyrotechnics, special effects, graphic arts, set design, cinematography, lighting, sound design and editing are just a few of the aspects of production found in Hawaii. Local location scouts hook up producers from around the world with unique and stunning locations.

Film Production in the Islands

Major film production in the Islands gives the local economy a much-needed boost and allows local production people to garner impressive credits. Whether shot on Oahu, Kauai, Maui, Molokai, Lanai or the Big Island, the scenery is one-of-a-kind. Dating back to the 1920s, Hawaii productions have been entertaining and educating millions across the globe. Below is a list of some of the many films shot and/or set in the Hawaiian Islands:

  • The White Flower – 1923
  • Bird of Paradise – 1932
  • From Here to Eternity – 1953
  • The Enemy Below – 1957
  • The Old Man and the Sea – 1958
  • South Pacific – 1958
  • Wackiest Ship in the Army – 1960
  • Blue Hawaii – 1961
  • Gidget Goes Hawaiian – 1961
  • Girls, Girls, Girls! –1962
  • Ride the Wild Surf – 1964
  • In Harm’s Way – 1965
  • Hawaii – 1966
  • Paradise Hawaiian Style – 1966
  • Blue Hawaii – 1967
  • Tora! Tora! Tora! 1970
  • The Hawaiians – 1970
  • Man With The Golden Gun – 1974
  • Islands in the Stream – 1977
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark – 1981
  • Uncommon Valor – 1983
  • Black Widow – 1985
  • Karate Kid, Part 2 – 1986
  • North Shore – 1987
  • Throw Momma From the Train – 1987
  • Lord of the Flies – 1990
  • Honeymoon in Vegas – 1991
  • Jurassic Park – 1993
  • Waterworld – 1995
  • Outbreak – 1995
  • Picture Bride – 1995
  • Race the Sun – 1995
  • The Lost World – Jurassic Park II – 1997
  • George of the Jungle – 1997
  • 6 Days, 7 Nights – 1997
  • Beyond Paradise – 1998
  • Lani Loa – 1998
  • Molokai: The Story of Father Damien – 1999
  • Johnny Tsunami – 1999
  • Paniolo O Hawaii: Cowboys of the Far West – 2000
  • Pearl Harbor – 2001
  • Planet of the Apes – 2001
  • Blue Crush – 2002
  • Lilo & Stitch – 2002
  • The Ride – 2003
  • Punch-Drunk Love – 2003
  • The Rundown – 2003
  • The Big Bounce – 2004
  • Along Came Polly – 2004
  • 50 First Dates – 2004
  • Pipeline – 2006
  • 10.5 Apocalypse – 2006
  • Superbad – 2007
  • Tropic Thunder – 2008
  • Forgetting Sarah Marshall – 2008
  • Avatar – 2009
  • Princess Kaiulani – 2009
  • A Perfect Getaway – 2009
  • 2012 – 2009
  • Battleship – 2010
  • Soul Surfer – 2011
  • Just Go With It – 2011
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – 2011
  • The Descendants – 2011
  • Battleship – 2012

Hawaii is not only a haven for stunning movie scenes – island life has also provided incredible scenery for some very memorable television series. Who can forget the adventures of the cunning and handsome private investigator Thomas Magnum in Magnum P.I., or the case-cracking abilities of Hawaii Five-O’s Steve McGarrett and “Danno” Williams?

Other short run series like Byrds of Paradise (1994), One West Waikiki (1995 – 1996), the Fantasy Island revival series (1998), Soulmates (2001) and Marker (1995) enjoyed a brief, but fun run in the Islands. Also, the short-lived NBC series Hawaii (2004) and Fox’s North Shore (2004-2005) entertained audiences briefly. Reality TV also has made its mark on the Islands, with a season of Boarding House: North Shore (2003) featuring pro-surfers, ABC’s The Bachelor, The Amazing Race 3, Celebrity Mole Hawaii, WB’s High School Reunion 2 and MTV’s Real World: Hawaii (season 8). Other popular series that were filmed in Hawaii include Gilligan's Island (1964), The Thorn Birds (1983), Fantasy Island (1988) and Baywatch Hawaii (1999-2001).

Fans of the hit castaway drama Lost (2004-2010) can appreciate the stunning beach shots and island character. The Break is a teen-targeted drama that already has a steady fan base. Many popular series took a “vacation” from their usual sets to film Hawaii episodes, including The Brady Bunch, My Wife & Kids and ER. Hawaii has also been the backdrop for countless concerts, documentaries and educational DVD releases.

Debuting some of the most-acclaimed films in history, several film festivals are held annually in Hawaii, including the Hawaii International Film Festival, the Maui Film Festival and the Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival. Films shot in the Hawaiian Islands have grossed millions in box office and rental profits. One thing is for sure – as the most remote island grouping on Earth, a Hawaiian set offers a truly unique movie experience.