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Best Cinema Filmed in Hawaii

While I am not putting myself out there as any sort of self-proclaimed movie critic, I just wanted to share some favorite movies and shows that were filmed in Hawaii.   I’m sure everyone has at least a handful of favorite movies that were filmed either in whole or in part in the 50th state.  Some may even have a favorite film or two that they weren’t even aware was filmed in Hawaii!

In no particular order, here are my picks for favorite movies:

  • The classic “From Here to Eternity” with Burt Lancaster,
  • “Donavan’s Reef”, starring John Wayne and Lee Marvin,
  • All those Elvis movies; “Blue Hawaii”, “Paradise Hawaiian-Style”, “Girls, Girls, Girls”, et al,
  • Of course, “Jurassic Park”, and
  • “50 First Dates” (Rob Schneider really captured the local persona).

Some of my favorite tv shows shot in Hawaii include:

One of the reasons I love watching the old re-runs of Hawaii 5-0 is its a chance to reminisce, watching footage of a less developed Honolulu.  Of course, the chase scenes are always humorous in both versions…as in most location based shows…as they cut from one part of the island to another and make it seem like they were right around the corner.

Conversely, I remember watching a chase scene that took Steve McGarrett (Jack Lord) through Waikiki…back up along the Ala Wai Canal…and ending up at the hotel less than a block from where he started!  (I know the one-way streets in the area can drive anybody nuts, but…)  Likewise, with the current series, there was a recent episode where they were supposedly chasing a guy on Kauai and miraculously ended up on the Pali Highway and ultimately at the Pali lookout.  Guess they didn’t feel like making a field trip to Waimea Canyon.

Were you aware that “Lost” was filmed entirely on location in Hawaii?  Including those flash-backs and flash-forwards that took you to L.A., Chicago, etc.  I remember reading about one scene where they had to bring in 5-truck loads of “snow” to turn a section of Chinatown in Honolulu into winter-time Chicago.    My son-in-law commented on one scene that was supposed to be in L.A., but he instantly recognized a particular pink hospital on the hillside above Pearl Harbor…perhaps you noticed that, too.

But, hey, if we can imagine we’re watching a scene on some island west of Central America, a remote island in the Caribbean, or trekking through some Peruvian jungle…why not!  Hawaii’s movie industry brings in a substantial amount of revenue to add to the state’s economy.  In 2007, while filming the latest Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull on the Big Island, it was reported that the film and production crews spent over $15 Million.

More recently, several movies and shows have been shot (or are still in production), including:

Well, I’d love to hear your top picks, especially if they didn’t make my list.

Fare Buzz


  • Ken Kaumualii Hodges says:

    Were any Hawai’i 5-0 episodes or even some scenes – old or new series – ever filmed in Kaua’i and if so does anyone know where?

  • randy says:

    As far as I know, most filming in the 5-0 series is done on Oahu. There was an episode mid-season (current) that supposedly included shots taken on Kauai, as that is where they chased their suspect to, but miraculously enough, they ended up at the Pali lookout! If they were truly on Kauai filming, they would have ended up at Waimea Canyon or someplace equally as photographic.

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