Everyone knows that Hawai’i is paradise, where you can find tropical rainforests, exotic waterfalls, white-sand beaches and soaring cliffs. That means in addition to being a traveler’s heaven, it’s one for filmmakers, too.
For decades, filmmakers have been flocking to Hawai’i for some of the most picturesque filming locations in the world. Because of the islands’ temperate climates and diverse landscapes, Hawai'i offers the perfect conditions for producing celebrated Hollywood films. Although dozens of movies have been filmed in Hawai’i, a few stand out among the crowd. We made a list of some popular favorites:
1. 50 First Dates
Starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, this famous rom-com was almost entirely shot on Oahu. In the movie, Sandler’s character works at a popular attraction most Oahu locals recognize: Sea Life Park in Waimanalo. The film crew shot all over the island, but intentionally skipped the crowds and chaos in Waikiki.
2. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
One of the most recent movies filmed in Hawai’i, “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” was mostly shot on Oahu and stars Hawai’i native Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The scenes in the movie probably look familiar to you, because the filming location at Kualoa Ranch on Oahu was also used in “Godzilla,” “50 First Dates,” “Lost” and “Jurassic Park.”
3. Raiders of the Lost Ark
Part of the Indiana Jones series, blockbuster hit “Raiders of the Lost Ark” featured scenes set in the lush, tropical landscapes of Kauai. Director Steven Spielberg chose Kipu Ranch and the Anahola Mountains as the set to create a Peruvian temple in the Amazon jungle, the site of Indiana Jones’s adventure in the 1981 film.
4. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Although most of the film was shot in Atlanta, crews for “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” traveled to an isolated beach on Oahu to capture the arena scenes. Based on a dystopian science fiction book, the film starred Jennifer Lawrence, who plays Katniss Everdeen.
5. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Perhaps Disney’s most popular hit to be filmed in the Hawaiian Islands, “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” starred Johnny Depp as the famed Captain Jack Sparrow and was filmed on Kauai and Oahu. One of the other films in the blockbuster series, “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” was also partly filmed on Maui and Molokai.
6. Jurassic Park and Jurassic World
Anyone who has been to Kualoa Ranch on Oahu will recognize the magnificent landscape that provided the backdrop for both “Jurassic Park” and more recently, “Jurassic World.” Dozens of films and TV shows have featured the ranch’s lush scenery, which you can view by guided tours on horseback or ATV.
7. The Descendants
Starring George Clooney, this Oscar-nominated film was shot on Oahu and Kauai, which included filming locations ranging from the Elks Club in Honolulu and Hanalei Bay in Kauai. In the movie, Clooney’s character lived in Nuuanu, a neighborhood located in the valley above downtown Honolulu.
8. Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Undoubtedly one of the most popular comedies shot in Hawaii, “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” was filmed almost entirely on Oahu’s famous north shore at the Turtle Bay Resort. For both locals and visitors, it’s a location that’s a must-see when visiting the island.
9. Blue Crush
“Blue Crush,” a film about female surfers chasing their dreams, was actually shot at some of Oahu’s most famous surf breaks, including Pipeline. The movie also included several scenes from Oahu’s west shore because the main characters worked at the Marriott in Ko Olina.
10. Finding Nemo
Although the widely celebrated Disney hit wasn’t filmed in Hawai’i per se, crews for “Finding Nemo” did travel to Hawai’i Island’s Kealakekua Bay to get footage to inspire the film’s animators. The bay is known as one of the state’s most pristine and diverse marine sanctuaries, with all sorts of undersea life that became the back drop for "Finding Nemo."