Capturing Paradise: Hawaii’s Allure in the Movies

The Aloha State – Hawaii, with its breathtaking beaches, lush forests, and a unique cultural blend, has been a favorite backdrop for numerous filmmakers. From romantic comedies to action-packed thrillers, Hawaii’s cinematic allure has been immortalized in many movies. This article explores the top 20 movies about Hawaii island that beautifully capture the island’s essence and let you experience its charm right from your couch.

Jurassic Park & Jurassic World

Starting the list with a roaring success, Jurassic Park, released in 1993, is a cinematic marvel that brought dinosaurs back to life. This iconic movie, shot in locations across Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, California, and Hawaii, won three Academy Awards and is one of the most recognized movies filmed in Hawaii. The franchise’s latest installment, Jurassic World, also carries forward the legacy and was a box office hit in 2015.

The Jurassic Park series showcases Hawaii’s dramatic landscapes, from Kauai’s Manawaiopuna Falls (now known as “Jurassic Park Falls”) to Oahu’s Kualoa Ranch. These films truly encapsulate Hawaii’s natural beauty, making them must-watch movies about Hawaii for every cinephile and dinosaur enthusiast.

50 First Dates

Next on the list is the delightful romantic comedy, 50 First Dates. Starring the dynamic duo, Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, the film beautifully captures the charm of Hawaii. It tells the story of a commitment-phobic man named Henry (Sandler) who falls for a girl named Lucy (Barrymore), who suffers from short-term memory loss.

The film was shot across several picturesque locations in Hawaii, including Waimanalo Beach, Dillingham Estate, Ka’a’awa Valley, Kualoa Ranch, and others. With its comedic plotline and stunning Hawaiian landscapes, 50 First Dates is a heartwarming movie about Hawaii that will make you laugh and cry in equal measures.

Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor, directed by Michael Bay, is a historical drama that accurately recreates the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The film, starring an ensemble cast that includes Ben Affleck, Kate Beckinsale, Josh Hartnett, Alec Baldwin, and Cuba Gooding Jr., was a major blockbuster hit.

Filmed in several U.S. states, England, and Hawaii, the movie vividly captures the horror and heroism of that fateful day. Despite the film’s love story receiving mixed reviews, its depiction of the Pearl Harbor attacks has been widely praised, making it a must-watch movie about Hawaii’s history.

Lilo & Stitch

For animation enthusiasts, Lilo & Stitch is a delightful tale of friendship and family. The film tells the story of a lonely Hawaiian girl named Lilo who adopts an extraterrestrial creature, Stitch, whom she believes to be a “pet dog”. The film beautifully encapsulates the Hawaiian culture with its vivid animation and heartwarming story.

Blue Crush

For those who love sports dramas, Blue Crush is a must-watch. The film tells the story of Anne Marie, a hardworking surf girl who dreams of showcasing her skills at an upcoming Pipe Masters surf contest. The movie brilliantly captures the surf culture of Hawaii and includes some of the best surf scenes on film.

Shot on location on Oahu’s North Shore, Blue Crush offers a close-up look at local life and the challenges and triumphs of a young woman striving to make her mark in the world of professional surfing.


Aloha, despite being a box office disappointment, is worth watching for its depiction of Hawaiian life and its beautiful scenery. The film, directed by Cameron Crowe, tells the story of a military contractor (Bradley Cooper) who returns to Hawaii and falls in love with an Air Force watchdog (Rachel McAdams). The film received praise for its representation of modern Hawaii, making it a noteworthy movie about Hawaii.

You, Me, and Dupree

You, Me, and Dupree is a hilarious comedy about newlyweds Carl and Molly who invite their jobless friend, Randy, to live with them until he gets back on his feet. The film, though not entirely shot in Hawaii, beautifully captures the island’s relaxed, sunny vibe in its opening scenes.

George of the Jungle

George of the Jungle, starring Brendan Fraser, is a fun-filled adventure movie that was shot deep in the jungles of Maui and Kauai. Despite being a parody of Tarzan, the film beautifully showcases Hawaii’s dense forests and mesmerizing landscapes.

Six Days, Seven Nights

Six Days, Seven Nights is an action-adventure film set on a deserted South Sea Island but filmed in Kauai. The film showcases the thrilling survival journey of a magazine writer and a pilot who crash-land on an uninhabited island. The movie offers stunning visuals of Kauai and is a must-watch for fans of survival dramas.

Soul Surfer

Soul Surfer is the inspiring true story of Bethany Hamilton, a professional surfer who lost her arm in a shark attack. The film portrays Bethany’s struggle and determination to return to professional surfing, making it an uplifting movie about Hawaii’s surf culture.

Blue Hawaii

Blue Hawaii, starring Elvis Presley, is a timeless classic that offers a glimpse into Hawaii’s charm in the 1960s. The film, with its romantic plotline and catchy musical numbers, beautifully captures the spirit of the Aloha State.

South Pacific

South Pacific is a classic film set during World War II on a Pacific island. The film offers insights into the prejudices and complexities of relationships during that era, making it a significant movie about Hawaii’s history.

From Here to Eternity

From Here to Eternity is a classic film set in Hawaii days before the attack on Pearl Harbor. The film, known for one of the most famous love scenes ever filmed on a Hawaiian beach, offers a poignant look at the lives of soldiers stationed in Hawaii during World War II.

Hard Ticket to Hawaii

Hard Ticket to Hawaii is a cult classic from 1987 that was filmed entirely on the Island of Moloka’i. With its over-the-top action sequences and a mutant snake, the film offers a fun and thrilling cinematic experience.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Forgetting Sarah Marshall is a hilarious romantic comedy set in Hawaii. The film revolves around Peter, a struggling musician who goes to Hawaii to get over his breakup, only to find his ex-girlfriend in the same hotel.

The movie stars Jason Segel and Mila Kunis in the main roles.

Tropic Thunder

Tropic Thunder, directed by and starring Ben Stiller, is a comedy about a group of actors who end up in a real war zone while filming a Vietnam War memoir. The film, though set in Southeast Asia, was filmed on Kauai, showcasing the island’s lush landscapes.

Mighty Joe Young

Mighty Joe Young is a heartwarming movie about a girl who protects wild gorillas from poachers. The film, though set in Africa, was filmed in the jungles of Kauai, capturing the island’s lush beauty.

Point Break

Point Break, both the original 1991 film and the 2015 version, features thrilling surf scenes filmed at Maui’s Jaws-Peahi, one of the biggest surf breaks in Hawaii. The films revolve around an FBI agent who infiltrates a group of extreme athletes suspected of carrying out corporate heists.

Big Eyes

Big Eyes is a biographical drama about the life of artist Margaret Keane. Though the film isn’t set in Hawaii, it includes scenes shot in Waikiki that showcase a classic era when Waikiki was the most popular destination in Hawaii.

Final Words

Hawaii’s cinematic allure is undeniably enchanting. These movies about Hawaii transport you to the Aloha State, allowing you to experience its incredible beauty and unique culture. Whether you’re planning a trip to the islands or simply wish to soak in the Hawaiian island vibes, these films are sure to inspire and entertain you. Enjoy your movie marathon! Aloha!

Written by Alexander

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