Movies filmed on Oahu feature wow-worthy scenery, lush tranquility, and an edge of natural drama.
It’s no surprise to me that so many famous movies have been filmed in Hawaii. The gorgeous scenery and crystal-clear water can transport you to fictional worlds full of wonder.
Are you dreaming of a vacation in paradise? Or are you planning one? Either way, transport yourself to Oahu with some of my favorite movies filmed here.
Today, I’m going to tell you about a few of my favorite movies filmed on Oahu. Most of these movies take place in Hawaii, too, though some of them are set in fictional or far-off places. I’ll also tell you exactly where to go to relive some of their most memorable scenes.
6 Fan-Favorite Movies Filmed on Oahu
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
I had never seen Forgetting Sarah Marshall until after I moved to Hawaii. After I spent a weekend at Turtle Bay, I decided to watch it because I had heard that many scenes were filmed right in the hotel. It was so cool to see two places I had already been – Turtle Bay Resort and Laie Point – on screen!
Forgetting Sarah Marshall is a fun romantic comedy starring Jason Segel, Kristen Bell, and Mila Kunis. Jason Segel, who also wrote the film, plays Peter, a man who is devastated after his girlfriend of five years, Sarah, breaks his heart.
Peter comes to Turtle Bay Resort to get away from his problems and forget Sarah Marshall. As he is checking in, he sees Sarah and her new boyfriend. Hilarity ensues as Peter falls for a woman who works at the hotel but can’t seem to forget Sarah Marshall.
Hopefully, you won’t see your ex in Hawaii, but you will love watching how Hawaii comes alive in this movie. Watch it before you arrive to Turtle Bay!
And make sure to check out Laie Point, too, as it’s home to one of the film’s best scenes. However, in the movie, the characters acted like they were so tired from hiking out to Laie Point. In reality, you can just drive right up to Laie Point. There is a famous moment where they jump off the cliff – which I don’t recommend!
50 First Dates
This film used so many locations throughout Oahu that it’s a must-watch for anyone planning to come here. Honestly, I am usually not one for romantic comedies, but I love this one set in Hawaii and the chemistry between Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore.
Adam Sandler plays Henry, a veterinarian who works at Sea Life Park on Oahu and loves to spend his time on his boat. Those scenes were filmed in Heeia Kea Harbor in Kaneohe, by the way!
Henry meets Drew Barrymore’s character, Lucy, at a cafe, which you can see on a tour of Kualoa Ranch.
When Lucy doesn’t recognize Henry the next day, he discovers that she has a particular form of amnesia where she relives the same day over and over.
Every morning, Henry comes up with new ways to meet Lucy, hoping that one day she will recognize him. These ingenious methods end up providing some interesting filming locations throughout the island.
Aside from Kualoa Ranch, it also takes place at Sea Life Park, the pineapple fields of the Dole Food Company, and the Makapu’u Lighthouse.
I’m not afraid to admit that I am a huge fan of all of the Jurassic Park films! This movie filmed on Oahu really put Kualoa Ranch on the map.
Jurassic Park is, of course, a popular story about dinosaurs who have returned from extinction through cloning. Although humans try to contain them and put them on display in an amusement park, the dinosaurs escape.
Did you know that Jurassic Park was based on a novel by Michael Crichton?
Of course, many other Jurassic Park films have been shot on Oahu as well, including Jurassic World, which came out in 2015, and its sequels, which came out in 2018 and 2022.
If you are a fan of the films, you can take a tour of Kualoa Ranch. The ranch offers many different tours, depending on what you want to do and see. The Jurassic Adventures Tour will show you the famous Jurassic Park fallen tree, where you can get out and take a picture, along with many other famous movie sets that have stayed right where they were created. During the Jurassic Valley Zipline Tour, you can zipline through the area where Jurassic Park was filmed!
Like Forgetting Sarah Marshall and 50 First Dates, Blue Crush is not only filmed in Hawaii, but the plot also takes place here. Unlike those movies, this one gives you a really good insight into the surfing culture in Hawaii. It’s about three friends whose passion is surfing.
Blue Crush stars Kate Bosworth, Michelle Rodriguez, Sanoe Lake, and Mika Boorem. It is based on a nonfiction article in Outside magazine – “Life’s Swell.”
Since the entire plot of the movie takes place on Oahu, you may recognize the various locations. Many beaches on the north shore and places in Waikiki were used to film. Also, Ko Olina is prominently featured, as three of the characters work at a resort there as maids. The characters also go to Ted’s Bakery, one of the best and most famous bakeries on the island.
Of course, the Pipeline steals the show. Although I don’t advise you to go swimming there since it can be dangerous if you are not a professional, it’s worth checking out the beach!
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Jennifer Lawrence stars as the fierce heroine Katniss Everdeen in this immensely popular film franchise. Four films make up the entire story, with Catching Fire being the second. It’s also one of my favorite movies filmed on Oahu.
If you’re not a fan of the popular series, here’s a quick recap. Katniss Everdeen lives in a dystopian world in which one member from each district must sacrifice two of its children to the Hunger Games. Each year, these children must battle to the death. Katniss survives the first film, only to return to the Hunger Games the next year.
Because much of the second film takes place in the jungle-like area of the games, many different spots throughout Oahu were used for filming.
This film takes place in a fictional world and not Hawaii. However, much of the filming took place in Oahu’s lush jungles.
The game begins in the Cornucopia, filmed at Kawela Bay on Oahu, which is located near Turtle Bay Resort. Some of the jungle scenes were shot in Waimea Valley, also on the North Shore. Although the filming locations are off-limits to the public, Waimea Valley is a great place for a family-friendly hike.
Many of the other jungle scenes were filmed in Manoa Valley. You can take the trail in Manoa Valley to the 150-foot Manoa Falls. This gorgeous waterfall is well worth the hike, even if you aren’t a fan of this movie filmed on Oahu.
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates
I was hanging out at Turtle Bay while this movie was being filmed! Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see any of the stars – Zac Efron, Adam Devine, Anna Kendric, and Aubrey Plaza. But I did get to watch the crew setting up for a scene. I thought that was pretty cool!
This movie is based on the viral true story of two brothers who placed ads online for wedding dates. In the film, Zac Efron and Adam Devine play brothers who do the same thing. The women who respond – Anna Kendric and Aubrey Plaza – aren’t exactly the type of women you want to bring to a family wedding. The wedding takes place at Turtle Bay Resort, and they filmed some scenes at Kualoa Ranch.
If you are planning to come to Turtle Bay, you have to watch Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates first!
Other Movies Filmed on Oahu
These are just a few of my favorite movies filmed on Oahu! Have you seen any of them? If you want to dive even deeper into our landscape and scenery, here is a quick list of other movies that feature scenes of Hawaii:
- From Here to Eternity (1953)
- Hawaii (1966)
- The Karate Kid Part II (1986)
- Pearl Harbor (2001)
- The Descendents (2011)
- Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)
- Godzilla vs. Kong (2021)
Even if some of these movies filmed on Oahu aren’t your typical genre, they’re a great chance to see shots of Hawaii, dream of your vacation here, and maybe discover a new favorite movie!