Monday, May 16, 2016


Hollywood in Paradise

For movie buffs, traveling to the Hawaiian Islands is a peek into Hollywood’s tropical backlot. Many silver screen favorites were filmed on the picturesque islands, such as “Avatar,” “Punch-Drunk Love,” “Blue Crush” and “Pirates of the Caribbean.” The state is even home to a government-owned and operated film studio. We count down the top five movies filmed on the islands and where you can find the set locations.


5. Raiders of the Lost Ark
The 1981 classic that launched a beloved franchise opens with the iconic Peruvian temple scene. They aren’t exactly in Peru though. Director Steven Spielberg chose Kipu Ranch and the Anahola Mountains in Kauai as a substitute for the Amazon rain forest. Would-be archaeological adventurers can take a tour of Kipu Ranch by ATV. The tour even includes an Indiana Jones rope swing!

4. Jurassic Park
Another Steven Spielberg thriller that launched a franchise, much of Jurassic Park was filmed on the islands of Oahu and Maui. One of the most iconic scenes featured Dr. Alan Grant and the kids running from a stampede of Gallimimus through Kaʻaʻawa Valley on Oahu. You can recreate the helicopter arrival scene by taking this helicopter tour of Maui, which includes aerial views of Keopuka, also known as “Jurassic Rock.”

3. Endless Summer
The seminal surf movie from 1966 made waves across the world. Bruce Brown, Mike Hynson and Robert August brought the sport of surfing to a new audience with their chronical of the pursuit of “the perfect wave.” During their round-the-world odyssey, the trio made a brief stop in Hawaii. A pair of breaks past the Waikiki reefs is featured in the film. Rent a surfboard from one of the many shops along the beachfront, and find your perfect wave.

2. Tora! Tora! Tora!
This 1970 epic still stands as one of the greatest dramatizations of the attacks on Pearl Harbor ever set to film. The majority of the movie was filmed on location at Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu. Three years of meticulous planning resulted in five Academy Awards nominations. No trip to Hawaii is complete without a pilgrimage to Pearl Harbor.

1. Blue Hawaii
Elvis’ 1961 musical is an enduring homage to the golden age of the Hawaiian Islands. The movie’s soundtrack shot to No. 1 on the charts thanks in part to Presley’s rendition of “Blue Hawaii.” Most of the film was shot at Coco Palms Resort on the island of Kauai. Hurricane Iniki damaged large swaths of the gorgeous hotel, resulting in its closure in 1992. Travelers can still visit the site, located along Kuhio Highway on the eastern shore of Kauai.

Honorable Mentions
Point Break (1991, Maui), Hard Ticket to Hawaii (1987, Maui), Pearl Harbor (2001, Oahu), Tropic Thunder (2008, Kauai), South Pacific (1958, Kauai)

Did we miss any? Find a list of all movies filmed in Hawaii on the website of the state’s film office. Share your favorite Hawaii-centric movies in the comments!

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