Peter Greenberg is the
winning travel editor
for CBS News and host
of The Travel Detective
on public television
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MOST PEOPLE TRAVEL to Hawaii to rest, swim,
surf and eat. Few arrive to pursue history or
Hollywood. However, looking at the 50th state as a
series of phenomenal television and movie locations
is a surprisingly fun and di;erent approach.
A number of companies o;er specialized movie
location and cinematic history tours of Hawaii. And
touring those locations—some of which go as far
back as the movie industry itself—is a colorful way
to see the six main Hawaiian Islands.
;e ;rst ;lm to be shot in Hawaii was in 1898.
;e footage was documentary in nature, showing the
native Hawaiians in their natural environment. But as
silent movies became popular, more filmmakers
found Hawaii to be an attractive location for shooting. ;e Shark God, ;lmed on the islands in 1913,
marked the start of Hollywood’s love a;air with the
islands. From that moment on, Hawaii became the
go-to ;lming destination anytime a director wanted
to show water, beaches, palm trees and the romantic
visual seduction of the South Paci;c.
One place to visit is the Ka‘a‘awa Valley, located
on Oahu and nicknamed Hollywood’s “Hawaii
backlot.” More than 50 feature ;lms have been ;lmed
in this valley, so you’ll have no lack of options for
cinematic landscapes, revisiting the locations of
such hits as Jurassic Park, 50 First Dates, Godzilla
and Pearl Harbor. Kualoa Ranch, located in the valley, is probably best known for the scene in Jurassic
Park in which Dr. Grant and the kids are chased
down a valley by a roaring herd of Gallimimus,
saved only by a fallen tree.
Oahu is also home to many other classic ;lm
moments, such as Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr
kissing in the surf in From Here to Eternity, as well as
more recent scenes in the George Clooney family
drama ;e Descendants. Forgetting Sarah Marshall
used Oahu’s amazing Turtle Bay Resort to showcase
Jason Segel’s descent into unhappiness. And don’t
forget Waimea Bay, featured in numerous sur;ng
scenes in a variety of movies, including North Shore
and Point Break.
One television program shot in Oahu boasts a
very popular location, or locations: Lost. For six seasons, Lost was shot on the beaches and in the forests
of Oahu. And Lost isn’t the only TV show featuring
the islands. Programs like Magnum P.I., Fantasy
Island and Hawaii Five-0 were shot on location there,
so if you want to see where Jack Lord said, “Book
’em, Danno,” you can.
A;er Oahu, Kauai is the second-most popular
;lm location island. Elvis Presley’s Blue Hawaii was
;lmed on Kauai and Oahu, and the classic musical
South Pacific was filmed on the Garden Island.
Many people are surprised to learn that the opening
of Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and the Raiders of
the Lost Ark used Kauai’s Kipu Ranch and Anahola
Mountain to portray the booby-trapped Peruvian
temple and the Amazonian jungle, respectively. A
majority of the satirical ;lm Tropic ;under, starring Ben Stiller and Robert Downey Jr., was also
;lmed on Kauai.
Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Hawaii Island
Not to be overlooked, the islands of Maui and
Molokai were the backdrop for parts of Pirates of the
Caribbean: At World’s End, while a 2010 adaptation
of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, with Helen Mirren,
was filmed on Lanai and Hawaii Island. And if you
want to go waaay back, watch Betty Grable and
Victor Mature fall in love on Hawaii Island in the
1942 musical comedy Song of the Islands.
If you love Hawaii and love cinema, try looking
at the Hawaiian Islands through the perspective of a
camera lens and the magic of Hollywood. C
This area of Oahu was featured
in From Here to Eternity.
Hollywood and the Hawaiian Islands