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Movies Filmed On Kauai

a body of water with a mountain in the background

Kauai is one of the most popular movie locations in the world and it’s easy to see why. With its stunning vistas and laid-back atmosphere, the island is the perfect place to shoot a major Hollywood blockbuster.

Here are some of the most popular movies that have been filmed in Kauai over the years:

From the 1950s to the 1970s

Arguably the Golden Age of cinema, the 50s to the 60s saw many classic productions breaking ground in exotic locations around the world. Take a look at some of the legendary movies filmed on Kauai during this period.

South Pacific

From 1958, this well-loved musical heavily featured Kauai’s North Shore. It also included plenty of shots of Lumaha’i Beach, as well as Ke’e and Makua Beach.

Blue Hawaii

This 1961 classic that starred Elvis Presley shows many fine shots of gorgeous Lydgate Beach on the Coconut Coast. The wedding scene that is one of the film’s highlights took place at the Coco Palms Resort in Kapa’a.

King Kong

This 1976 remake of the 1933 classic may not have thrilled critics, but it was a blockbuster all the same. Much of its success was probably due in large part to the impressive shots of Na Pali Coast, Tunnels Beach, and Makana Mountain.

The 1980s to the 1990s

The 80s to the 90s was arguably one of the most prolific periods in cinematic history. As such, it is only natural to expect that so many films were produced in Kauai. Here’s a sampling of some of the most popular movies that were filmed on the island then.

Raiders of the Lost Ark 

From 1983, this undisputed classic (and the sequels that followed) was a large part of what made Harrison Ford a household name. It also cemented Kauai’s reputation as a filmmaker’s paradise, with many of the most stunning locations having been depicted so marvelously. Locals will undoubtedly recognize Huleia River and Kipu Ranch, and many other remote and accessible spots.

Body Heat

1981 brought us the steamy crime thriller that had the main character lounging on idyllic Tunnel’s Beach by the end. Played by Kathleen Turner, this particular character had to perform detestable acts to get there. Considering the sheer beauty of the place, we can’t say we blame her!

The Thorn Birds

A hugely popular TV series at the time, 1983’s The Thorn Birds banked on the stunning beauty of Wailua Beach, Hanapepe, and the North Shore to represent Queensland in Australia. The results were undoubtedly effective, lending a lot of credence to the story of a forbidden romance in paradise.

Honeymoon in Vegas

More romance was in store in 1992’s Honeymoon in Vegas, which brought together the formidable talents of Nicolas Cage, Sarah Jessica Parker, and James Caan. Majestic Anini Beach is given ample screen time, and there are plenty of shots of the National Tropical Botanical Garden at Lawai as well.

Jurassic Park

The original Jurassic Park movie, filmed in 1993 was filmed on Kauai ATV’s property as well. Taking an ATV tour allows you to visit this magical filming destination and see its beauty in real life.

The big storm seen during the movie was Hurricane Iniki, and required the crew to be evacuated just before it made landfall. Hurricane Iniki was the most powerful hurricane to hit Hawaii in recorded history, and wind speeds of up to 145 mph were recorded!

From 2000 onward

Kauai hasn’t become any less sought after as a film location in the 2000s. On the contrary, the island seems to be more popular than it has ever been, judging by these releases.

Tropic Thunder 

In this 2008 comedy, an all-star cast consisting of Ben Stiller, Tom Cruise, Jack Black, and Robert Downey, Jr. romped through the dense jungle behind Wailua Falls. One of the biggest productions in the area, it contributed $60 million to the local coffers and employed thousands of island residents.

The Descendants

Released in 2011, this comedy/drama starred George Clooney and won an Academy Award to boot. Filming took place all over Kauai, with some of the most prominent sequences captured on the North Shore, Lihue airport, Kipu Kai, and Hanalei Bay. The beach shots at the bay are especially marvelous and many locals were gratified to catch a glimpse of themselves and their friends at the Tahiti Nui bar.

Soul Surfer

Also from 2011, this heart-tugging thriller is the story of Kauai local Bethany Hamilton who experienced a horrifying shark attack as a youth surfer. Much of the filming took place in and around the actual site of the incident, the magnificent Tunnels Beach.

Jurassic World 

From 2015, this latest installment to the Jurassic franchise shows that there is plenty of love for the series yet. Although the film relies in large part on modern technology (as most do today), there was still ample opportunity to showcase the best that Kauai has to offer. From the stunning sun-drenched Na Pali Cliffs to the 400-foot Manawaiopuna Falls, Jurassic World is practically a cinematic catalog of the island’s best sights.

That should give you a good idea of the many wonderful movies that have been filmed on Kauai. Given the island’s rich cinematic history and gorgeous natural beauty, there is no doubt that many more productions will take place there in the future.

Enjoy Kauai Film Locations with Kauai ATV!

If you’re looking to spice up your vacation in Kauai, book an ATV tour with Kauai ATV! We offer a great way to get out and adventure, and you get to see some of the famous movie locations that we talked about! Immerse yourself in Jurassic Park and have a blast while doing it!

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