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10 Movies About Hawaii

Looking for some Hawaiian movie inspiration?  The same factors entice tourists to attract the eyes of film crews and directors and plenty of movies and TV shows have been shot over the years in locations all across this Pacific island

Here are ten movies about Hawaii that you can enjoy.

Movies About Hawaii

Movies set in Hawaii often celebrate the allure of paradise and escapism, showcasing the breathtaking landscapes and the desire for a tropical getaway. They also delve into the importance of culture and ‘ohana (family), often weaving in love stories amidst the backdrop of sun, surf, and sand.

Hawaii's rich history and complex social issues sometimes make their way into the narrative, adding depth to the tropical paradise image.

Here are our favorite picks:

  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, Ivana Milicevic (Actors)


A military contractor (Bradley Cooper) goes to Hawaii and reconnects with a lost love while falling for his Air Force watchdog (Emma Stone).
The Resort
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Michael Vlamis, Brock O'Hurn, Bianca Haase (Actors)

The Resort

Four friends head to Hawaii to investigate reports of a haunting at an abandoned resort. It's beautiful there, but they soon learn you have to be careful what you wish for.
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Julie Andrews, Max von Sydow, Richard Harris (Actors)


During the 1820s, a domineering young minister, Abner Hale (Max von Sydow), and his compassionate wife, Jerusha (Julie Andrews), embark on a dangerous sea voyage to Hawaii.

When they arrive, Jerusha befriends the Hawaiian people and embraces their customs and culture, while Abner, intent on converting them to Christianity, views them as pagan savages. Jerusha grows unhappy with her marriage and begins to fall for Rafer Hoxworth (Richard Harris), a past lover.

Lilo & Stitch
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Daveigh Chase, Christopher Michael Sanders, Tia Carrere (Actors)

Lilo And Stitch

A tale of a young girl's close encounter with the galaxy's most wanted extraterrestrial. Lilo is a lonely Hawaiian girl who adopts a small ugly “dog,” whom she names Stitch.

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Stitch would be the perfect pet if he weren't in reality a genetic experiment who has escaped from an alien planet and crash-landed on Earth.

Through her love, faith, and unwavering belief in ohana, the Hawaiian concept of family, Lilo helps unlock Stitch's heart and gives him the ability to care for someone else.

Related: Disney Movie Challenge

The Descendants
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Beau Bridges (Actors)

The Descendants 

Native islander Matt King (George Clooney) lives with his family in Hawaii. Their world shatters when a tragic accident leaves his wife in a coma.

Not only must Matt struggle with the stipulation in his wife's will that she be allowed to die with dignity, but he also faces pressure from relatives to sell their family's enormous land trust.

Angry and terrified at the same time, Matt tries to be a good father to his young daughters, as they too try to cope with their mother's possible death.

Blue Crush
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Kate Bosworth, Matthew Davis, Michelle Rodriguez (Actors)

Blue Crush

Nothing gets between Anne Marie (Kate Bosworth) and her board. Living in a beach shack with three roommates including her rebellious younger sister, she is up before dawn every morning to conquer the waves and count the days until the Rip Masters surf competition.

Anne Marie finds all she needs in the adrenaline-charged surf scene … until pro quarterback Matt Tollman (Matthew Davis) comes along. Like it or not, Anne Marie starts losing her balance – and finding it – as she falls for Matt.

The Big Bounce (2004)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Owen Wilson, Morgan Freeman, Gary Sinise (Actors)

The Big Bounce

Something’s afoot in paradise! Jack Ryan is a surfing slacker and petty thief who’s all set for the straight & narrow when he meets Nancy, a breathtaking beauty with a passion for crime.
Blue Hawaii
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Joan Blackman, Elvis Presley, Nancy Walters (Actors)

Blue Hawaii

After arriving back in Hawaii from the Army, Chad Gates (Elvis Presley) defies his parents' wishes for him to work at the family business and instead goes to work as a tour guide at his girlfriend's agency.
Big Eyes
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz, Danny Huston (Actors)

Big Eyes

From visionary director Tim Burton (Edward Scissorhands) comes the outrageous true story of one of the most extensive art frauds in the 20th century. Starring Christoph Waltz and Amy Adams.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Jason Segel, Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis (Actors)

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Struggling musician Peter Bretter (Jason Segel) is better known as the boyfriend of TV star Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell). After she unceremoniously dumps him, he feels lost and alone but makes a last-ditch bid to get over it by going to Hawaii. However, she and her new boyfriend (Russell Brand) are there in the same hotel.

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Hawaiian: The Legend of Eddie Aikau

An exploration of the life and power of Eddie Aikau, the legendary Hawaiian big wave surfer, pioneering lifeguard, and ultimately doomed crew member of the Polynesian voyaging canoe Hokule'a. | Watch Episode 9 of 30 for 30 Season 2Stream on Disney+ (Available July 1, 2022)

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  • List of This Month’s Suggested Themes
  • List of Monthly Observances
  • List Of Movies for Unit Study
  • Unit Study Resource
  • Seasonal Activities (minimum of three)
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What themes are in movies about Hawaii?

Movies set in Hawaii often explore a wide range of themes, reflecting the diverse culture and landscapes of the islands. Some common themes found in movies about Hawaii include:

1. Paradise and Escapism: Hawaii is often portrayed as a tropical paradise, and many films emphasize the idea of escaping to this beautiful and idyllic location as a form of wish fulfillment.

2. Cultural Diversity: Hawaii is a melting pot of different cultures, and many movies delve into the rich cultural tapestry of the islands, including the native Hawaiian culture, as well as influences from Asia, Polynesia, and the mainland United States.

3. Identity and Belonging: Films set in Hawaii often explore the themes of identity and belonging, especially for characters who may be torn between their cultural heritage and the modern world.

4. Nature and Environment: The stunning natural beauty of Hawaii's landscapes, including its beaches, volcanoes, and lush forests, often plays a central role in these films, highlighting the importance of nature and environmental conservation.

5. Family and Ohana: The concept of “ohana,” which means family in Hawaiian, is a central theme in many Hawaiian films, focusing on the importance of family bonds and relationships.

6. History and Tradition: Hawaii has a unique and complex history, including the impact of colonialism, the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy, and the blending of different traditions. Some movies explore these historical and traditional aspects of the islands.

7. Love and Romance: Many films set in Hawaii feature love stories, often against the backdrop of the picturesque scenery and romantic ambiance of the islands.

8. Conflict and Struggle: While Hawaii is often depicted as a paradise, some movies also address social and economic challenges, including issues like poverty, discrimination, and land disputes.

9. Surfing and Adventure: Hawaii is renowned for its surfing culture, and some films focus on the thrill of surfing and the adventurous spirit of those who embrace it.

10. Spiritual and Mystical Elements: Hawaii's spiritual traditions, such as the belief in the mana (spiritual energy) of the islands, can be woven into the narrative of some films.

It's important to note that not all movies set in Hawaii will address all these themes, and the specific themes explored can vary widely depending on the genre and storyline of the film. Hawaii's unique culture and environment provide a rich backdrop for a diverse range of cinematic narratives.

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