With 11 of the world’s 13 climatic zones, Hawaii has been luring filmmakers for decades with unique sights and sites (and a 20-25 percent refundable product tax credit). In movies, the Aloha State has doubled for South and Central America, Asia, Africa, and more. So which of your favorite movies and TV shows were filmed (or are filming) in this beautiful and diverse state?
The Obvious Ones
Hm…where do you think a show called Hawaii Five-O tapes? Did you say Hawaii? You are correct! The original 1960s/1970s show filmed, and the hit remake currently films, in the Aloha State. Most sites are in Oahu and include the Hilton Hawaiian Village, Koko Head District Park, Ali’iolani Hale, Waimea Bay, and Kualoa Ranch, a popular filming location (as you’ll see).
Elvis Presley’s famous movie Blue Hawaii also filmed on Oahu with other sites in Kauai, including Wailua River, Opaekaa Falls, and Lydgate State Park.
A no-brainer, the Bradley Cooper-Emma Stone flick Aloha also filmed in Oahu, including Honolulu and Hickam Air Force Base.
Of course, we cannot leave out Magnum, P.I., which might not have Hawaii in its title but filmed almost entirely on the islands. The Outrigger Canoe Club, now a part of the Outrigger Waikiki Hotel, was used for early scenes of the King Kamehameha Club while the Kualoa Ranch (sound familiar?) was used in many episodes. Diamond Head Lighthouse, Royal Hawaiian Hotel, the USS Arizona Memorial, and Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort, are just a few of the filming sites used in the show.
Other well-known and obvious films include 50 First Dates, Pearl Harbor (though some sites were filmed in L.A. and Long Beach), and Forgetting Sarah Marshall.
The Not-So-Obvious Ones
When is Hawaii not Hawaii?
When it’s Costa Rica! Jurassic Park movies, including the latest Jurassic World, are set on “Isla Nublar,” an island off the coast of Costa Rica. Filmmakers used Napali Coast, the National Tropical Botanical Garden, and Kualoa Ranch (which offers tours due to its prolific use in movies) for filming! SFGate notes that Hurricane Iniki in 1992 damaged the original Jurassic Park filming sets.
When it’s Whitecap Bay (a fictitious cove)! A part of the mermaid scene in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides was filmed in Halona Cove, Oahu.
When it’s Peru! Indiana Jones runs through a Peruvian jungle at the start of Raiders of the Lost Ark, but Peru was actually the island of Kauai. The film’s temple, too, is located in Hawaii, on a private ranch near Lihue.
When it’s a mysterious South Pacific island! Okay, this isn’t really too much of a stretch since, y’know, Hawaii is in the Pacific, but the hit TV show Lost taped almost exclusively on Oahu. Filming locations included Turtle Bay Resort, Byodo-In Temple, Mokule’ia Beach, the Hawaii Convention Center, Ka’a’awa Valley, and Waimea Valley.
Related: Hawaii’s Fantastic Four
When it’s a real South Pacific island! The 2014 film Godzilla used Oahu for Biniki Atoll in the Marshall Islands as well as the Philippines. Ironically, Hawaii is actually used in the movie as a setting, with Honolulu playing a role, but sections of Hawaii, such as the international airport terminal, were actually shot in Vancouver.
When it’s the Quarter Quell arena! Most of Hunger Games: Catching Fire was taped in Oahu, showcasing Kawela Bay, Waimea Valley, Manoa Falls Trail, and Turtle Bay Resorts, which was also featured in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Lost. CNN reports that many of the cast and crew stayed at the famous resort during filming.
Sure, you’ll want to check out real Kona coffee, experience a traditional luau, or visit an active volcano while in Hawaii, but don’t forget to check out your favorite movie and TV show filming locales. And hey, if you’re lucky, you might even get to hear Alex O’Loughlin say, “Book ‘em, Danno.”