Oʻahu movies you should know about!

Are you visiting Oʻahu and looking for interesting and fun movie sights to see? Check out some of the many different locations that are highlighted in popular films!

Who doesn’t love movies? Whether you like to get dressed up to go out on the town, to the theater with those you love, with the aroma of freshly popped popcorn and butter hitting you as you enter, and sitting back snacking on the popcorn along with something sweet or sipping on your favorite cola. Or you are more into stacking the blankets and pillows on the couch, cranking the AC down, snuggling up with loved ones, and flicking on the TV to flip through your favorite streaming service to find the perfect film. Either way you prefer, movies bring people together. If you’re a movie lover, chances are you’ve seen a scene or two that were filmed on Oʻahu!


Filming of closing scene of Paradise Hawaiian Style, one of the famous Oʻahu movie

Oʻahu movie site: The Polynesian Cultural Center: Closing scene to Paradise Hawaiian Style starring Elvis Presley – photo courtesy of Polynesian Cultural Center archives

The Polynesian Cultural Center welcomes the King and many more

The Polynesian Cultural Center, which is about to celebrate it’s 60th anniversary, started off with a bang when Elvis Presley came to film his 2nd Hawaiʻi based movie, Paradise, Hawaiian Style

It certainly wasn’t the last time film crews came to utilize our beautiful grounds for their films, television shows and music videos. The Donny and Marie Show, the Today Show, The Brady Bunch, and so much more have flown across the Pacific to utilize our island home for their productions. This summer (2022) Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson was honored by our island villagers when he came to visit, and this winter we were graced with a visit by Jason Momoa.

With 42 acres covered in native flora, waterfalls and a meandering lagoon – plus the six recreated Polynesian Villages representing Hawaiʻi, Aotearoa, Fiji, Samoa, Tahiti and Tonga, it’s no surprise that we are so popular.


image of Kualoa Ranch, another famous Oʻahu movie spot

Oʻahu movie site: Kualoa Ranch – home to the Jurrasic Park movie series – image courtesy of Upon Arriving

Kualoa Ranch wins the prize for most movies filmed on Oʻahu

This former home of the aliʻi (royals) of Hawaiʻi is featured in the films Jurassic Park, Fifty First Dates, Godzilla, and the recent Disney film Finding Ohana, along with the shows Lost, Hawaiʻi 5-0 and so much more.

Anciently, this stunning location with towering mountains cascading down to the crystal blue ocean, was “considered to be one of the most sacred places on Oʻahu and the training ground for the children of the most powerful of aliʻi (chiefs)”. Considered one of the most beautiful areas of Oʻahu, it’s easy to see why it is so popular. Go see it for yourself and experience a tour through the ranch via jeeps, ATVs and even horses!


ATTACHMENT DETAILS Kawela-Bay-photo-from-Trust-from-Public-Lands.png February 15, 2023 433 KB 461 by 307 pixels Edit Image Delete permanently Alt Text Banyan tree famous for many Oʻahu movie and television sites Learn how to describe the purpose of the image(opens in a new tab). Leave empty if the image is purely decorative. Title Kawela Bay photo from Trust from Public Lands Caption The famous banyan tree at Kawela Bay - image courtesy of Trust from Public Lands Description Image of a banyon tree growing near the beaches of the north shore of Oʻahu File URL: https://blog.polynesia.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/Kawela-Bay-photo-from-Trust-from-Public-Lands.png Copy URL to clipboard Smush Already optimized Required fields are marked * Media Categories People What to eat 3-14 ATTACHMENT DISPLAY SETTINGS Alignment None Link To None Size Medium – 300 × 200 Selected media actions 1 item selected Clear Insert into post

Oʻahu movie site: The famous banyan tree at Kawela Bay – image courtesy of Trust from Public Lands

Kawela Bay site spells adventure!

Located north of the Turtle Bay Resort, this beautiful spot includes an impressive Banyan Tree that is featured in the films The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Pirates of the Caribbean, as well as the television series Lost. It is a treat to see the beauty of this magnificent tree, and then to wander just a few steps more to enjoy a secluded bay perfect for swimming and sun bathing. If you are looking for a sweet treat after, stop by the fruit stands run by the tenants of Kuilima Farms right across the street!


Image of Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler from 50 First Dates, one people's favorite Oʻahu movie

Oʻahu movie site: A scene from the set of Fifty First Dates in the reproduced “Hukilau Cafe” – image courtesy of Paramount Pictures

The Hukilau Cafe lends it’s name to an Adam Sandler favorite

Located in the town of Lāʻie, this grub spot gave their permission to utilize their catchy name for the film 50 First Dates (the actual site used was a film set over at Kualoa Ranch, but Adam Sandler’s production team provided a generous compensation for the name). Additionally, an episode of Man vs. Food was filmed at the site. Go try out the same coconut macadamia pancakes from the film, they’re delicious! After your breakfast you can spend your day shopping at the Hukilau Marketplace or laying out at the beautiful Hukilau Beach right across the street!


Donnie and Marie Osmand during the filming of a commercial

Movies aren’t the only things filmed on Oʻahu! Donnie and Marie during the filming of a Hawaiian Punch commercial – image courtesy of Polynesian Cultural Center archives

There are so many different film related sights to see on the island of Oʻahu, but they are all beautiful and interesting. So pick your favorites and enjoy!


About the Author:
Gage Norman is a Sophomore at Brigham Young University who enjoys surfing, running, and being outdoors. He is studying Business Management with an emphasis on Supply Chain Management. He has future aspirations to work in sports administration and business.