5 Movies You Didn’t Know Were Shot in Hawaii

Published on in Miscellaneous

We don't need to emphasize that Hawaii might be one of the most recognizable places on Earth. With its sandy beaches and volcanoes or ukuleles and hula dancing, Hawaii doesn't leave you with enough space for hesitation in terms of guessing "where the scene is set." However, not all movies shot in Hawaii provide the audience with these trademark clues. Among other things, that's why today we've chosen to talk about the 5 movies you didn't know were shot in Hawaii. If you're something folks call a movie buff, we're pretty sure you'll enjoy the trivia we've prepared for you in the text below. As always, stay tuned!

#1 Jurassic Park: the whole franchise (1993-2022)

Okay, now this isn't a single movie but a franchise. Still, we see it as a part of this list. Since the first movie came out in 1993, this franchise has gained a cult following. Therefore, you should know that most of it was shot in Hawaii. Specifically, we're talking about the island of Kaua'i and locations such as Limahuli Garden, the Na Pali Coast, Allerton Garden, etc. The recent installments in the Jurrasic Park franchise were shot throughout Kualoa Ranch, where the sets were built. If you're a fan of these movies, there's no reason why you should miss out on visiting Hawaii. Not only will you enjoy some fantastic natural scenery, but you'll also see "where everything happened." Speaking of Jurrasic Park, here's a text about the fourth installment in the franchise. 

Yup, one of your favorite adventure movies was one of the movies you didn't know were shot in Hawaii.

Yup, one of your favorite adventure movies was one of the movies you didn't know were shot in Hawaii. 

#2 Point Break (1991)

Remember this 1991 hit starring Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze? If you do, there's a good chance you're a fan of this feature as much as we are. Here's the thing: while much of the footage was shot in California, most surfing scenes were shot on the iconic Hawaii surf spots on O'ahu's North Shore: Pipeline, Sunset, and Waimea. The famous gigantic-waves scene in which Bodhi finally vanishes was shot in Waimea Bay. You might ask: and what about the 2015 remake? Well, it was shot in over 10 different countries. One of these locations was, once again, Hawaii. This time, the aforementioned monster waves scene was shot at the breaks of Pe'ahi on Maui island.

#3 Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Here's another cult Spielberg flick on our list of 5 movies you probably didn't know were shot in Hawaii. If you still haven't watched this 1981 classic, you probably have something against the concept of motion pictures. The first installment in the famous Indiana Jones franchise spans over three decades. Let's talk about the scene that was shot in Hawaii. You might remember the opening sequence, without any doubt - the best one in the franchise so far. Our hero is trying to escape the Peruvian indigenous people on foot and by seaplane, and it's all filmed in the rainforests of Kauai. You might've thought it was Peru, but little did you know.

One of the most famous opening sequences of any movie was shot in the Hawaii rainforest.

#4 The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)

Let's talk about a movie that's closer to us in time. Yup, it's the 2013 dystopian flick The Hunger Games: Catching fire. Of course, it was based on the Hunger Games series of novels. The production and filming started in Atlanta, only to be moved where else but to Hawaii, where the iconic arena scenes were filmed. Katniss Everdeen, AKA Jennifer Lawrence, and her trusty co-stars shot these scenes on an isolated beach on Oahu.

#5 Jumanji: The Next Level (2019) and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)

Here's 2 for 1. We'll consider the two sequels to the quintessential 90s adventure starring Robin Williams. If you're visiting Hawaii and you're a fan of the franchise, make sure to visit many locations where scenes were filmed. Without having to "enjoy" the deadly game yourself, that is. Here are the locations you'll want to check out:

  • Kualoa Ranch in Kaneohe.
  • Kawela Bay in Ko'olauloa.
  • Waimea Valley in Haleiwa (check out #2 on our today's list).
  • Judd Trail in Nu'uanu Valley.
  • Kapena Falls at Alpena Pool.

Oh, and we almost forgot: don't forget to check out the Kawainui Falls in Pepeekeo. Now that we've gone through the 5 movies you most probably didn't know were shot in Hawaii, let's see why many movie productions end up on the islands.

Why is Hawaii good for shooting movies?

Even before the islands officially became a state in the US, many great flicks were shot in Hawaii. There's a good reason why that's so. Hawaii (and The Pacific Islands, in general) were always seen as one of the most desirable movie-shooting locations. Once you consider their fantastic landscapes and warm weather, you've barely got some space left for doubt. Also, we didn't even mention the friendly Hawaiian culture. That would require another article. Let's examine why Hawaii is an excellent filming location more thoroughly.

Tax incentives

Money can't be left unconsidered when there's talk about shooting movies. Unless, of course, we're talking about lo-fi productions. Anyway, Hawaii has some of the most generous tax credits in terms of film, TV, commercial, and digital media productions in the United States. We're talking about a 20-25% refundable production tax credit, which you'll agree is something.

One of the reasons why many filming sets end up in Hawaii is the various tax incentives the state offers.

Fantastic crews and talents

Hawaii is quite proud of its film crews and local talents. There are many local chapters of film labor unions you can talk with, such as SAG, Teamsters, or AFM. Also, if you need assistance moving various film equipment, Hawaii has fantastic interstate moving crews. Therefore, don't forget to include skilled assistance in your movie budget. It always comes in handy when filming away from the mainland US.

Accommodation (hotels and housing)

You'll be happy to know that all major Hawaiian islands provide you with a solid range of accommodation opportunities. There's everything from 5-star luxury hotels to motels or hostels. Most of these you'll find in and around Waikiki (Oahu), Poipu (Kauai), and Hilo (Big Island).


We won't repeat ourselves. Let's just say one can imagine what Hawaii can offer in terms of locations just by reading the list above.

Closing thoughts on the subject

That's about it on the movies you didn't know were shot in Hawaii, dear folks. Hopefully, you've enjoyed this one as much as the last one. You’ve also learned why Hawaii is such an appealing location for movie production sets (it’s only one of the most-used filming locations in the world). If you haven't already assumed why things are the way they are, that is.


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About the Author

Edwyn Nichols
Edwyn Nichols is a freelance blogger mainly concerned with how things are in the movie industry. Besides being a movie buff, he’s a loving father of three.

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