With its moderate climate and abundance of outdoor enjoyment throughout its 11 national parks, 37 state forests, and 175 parks, it is unsurprising that the Sunshine State ranks third in the nation for the highest population. And those are not the only things that make Florida and its nearly 1400 miles of coastline unique: the Everglades is the only place on Earth that you can find both alligators and crocodiles existing together. And don’t forget its theme parks and tourism with Walt Disney World, Universal, Busch Gardens, LEGOLAND, and many more.
So it’s also unsurprising that movie studios also flock to the state for filming. Some, like 1983’s Scarface were set in and obviously shot in Miami, but others like 1990’s Edward Scissorhands (Lutz) aren’t so blatant, with no mention of setting at all in the movie. You can find other obvious Florida scenes in Jim Carrey’s 1994 comedy Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (Miami), and Robin Williams’ 1996 classic, The Birdcage, which took place in South Beach and was filmed in Florida.
Then there are the movies that you might have thought were filmed where they took place, but in reality, they actually had many scenes shot right in Florida. While 1991’s Cape Fear is a real place in North Carolina, there were scenes from both Fort Lauderdale and the Everglades. And there’s no Madison, Pennsylvania at all: My Girl (1991) was filmed in several places all around Florida.
And forget Nebraska, Caddyshack (1980) was filmed in Davie. Florida has always been a host for film production. In fact, in the 1990s, the city of Orlando was actually nicknamed Hollywood East. While the state’s popularity for films is not as strong as it was then, there are still a lot of movie scenes filmed in most hurricane-prone states in the US.
Movies Filmed in the State of Florida
Night Moves (1975)
Night Moves is a neo-noir film in the seventies directed by Arthur Penn. It follows a private investigator, Harry Moseby (Gene Hackman), hired by a famous actress (Janet Ward) to find a teenage daughter who ran away from home. However, as he tracks the girl, he uncovers more intriguing and disturbing events. His search led him to the Florida Keys, where the girl was hiding. This was filmed in Sanibel Island and Wakulla springs.
The rest of the movie was shot around California, primarily in Los Angeles, then in Valencia and Burbank.
(1h 39 min | R)
Caddyshack is a sports comedy movie by Harold Ramis. It starred Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Ted Knight, Michael O’Keefe, and Bill Murray. The story revolves around the exclusive Bushwood Country Club where Danny Noonan (O’Keefe) works as a caddy to earn money for his college education.
Most of the country club scenes were filmed in Florida, specifically in Boca Raton Resort & Club, Fort Lauderdale, Rolling Hills Golf & Tennis Club, Plantation Country Club, Key Biscayne Yacht Club. It also included Rusty Pelican Restaurant located in Key Biscayne, Florida for the yacht club scenes. Other filming locations include various spots in California.
(1h 37min | R)
Body Heat (1981)
Body Heat is a neo-noir erotic thriller written and directed by Lawrence Kasdan, as inspired by the 1944 movie Double Indemnity.
Its story was set during an intense Florida heatwave when a married woman, Matty Walker (Kathleen Turner), had an affair with a local lawyer Ned Racine (William Hurt). She then seduces her lover to murder her wealthy husband Edmund Walker (Richard Crenna).
The movie was filmed in Hollywood Beach, Lake Worth, Palm Beach, Hollywood, Delray Beach, and Hypoluxo.
(1h 53min | R)
Next is a crime drama film, Scarface. It was written by Oliver Stone and directed by Brian De Palma. It is a remake of the 1932 movie of the same title.
Its story is about a Cuban refugee, Tony Montana (Al Pacino), who arrived in Miami as a penniless man but later on became a drug lord. As such, the movie is filmed mainly in Miami, although there are also scenes from other parts of Florida such as in Key Biscayne and Davie. It also included some scenes from California and New York.
(2h 50min | R)
Never Say Never Again (1983)
Never Say Never Again is a spy film directed by Irvin Kershner and was based on a James Bond novel Thunderball. In this movie, Sean Connery played the role of James Bond, who must find the targets of two nuclear warheads stolen by a SPECTRE agent.
The movie was filmed in various countries including Spain, France, England, the Bahamas, and Monaco. Yet there were also a few scenes from Ocala and Silver Springs.
(2h 14min | PG)
Edward Scissorhands (1990)
Edward Scissorhands is a Tim Burton movie written by Caroline Thompson. It is a fantasy romance film about an artificial humanoid, Edward (Johnny Depp), who has a freakish appearance and scissor blades. He used to live alone until a suburban lady took him home.
Although Edward Scissorhands was conceptualized with Burbank, California as the setting; its filming actually took place in different areas around Florida – such as Lutz, Lakeland, and Dade City – whenever it has to film outside the 20th Century Fox Studios.
(1h 44min | PG-13)
Apollo 13 (1995)
Apollo 13 is a docudrama based on the events of the Apollo 13 space mission to the moon. Played as astronauts were Tom Hanks as Jim Lovell, Bill Paxton as Fred Haise, and Kevin Bacon as Jack Swigert.
Among the space centers where it was filmed was the Kennedy Space Center in Titusville, Florida. Some scenes also shot on Meritt Island. Its other filming locations are Texas and California.
(2h 20min | 16+)
The Truman Show (1998)
The Truman Show is a comedy-drama film under the direction of Peter Weir and starred by Jim Carry. In this movie, Carrey acted as Truman Burbank, an insurance salesman who later on discovered that his entire life is actually a reality TV show about him. It was primarily filmed in Seaside, Florida while the other scenes were taken at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles, California.
(1h 42min | PG)
Magic Mike (2012)
Magic Mike is a comedy-drama movie starred by Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, and Matthew McConaughey. The movie revolves around Adam (Pettyfer) who was taught how to party and make easy money as a male stripper. Its story is loosely based on the experiences of Tatum when he was an 18-year-old stripper in Tampa, Florida. Thus, Magic Mike was filmed around west-central Florida.
(1h 50min | R)
Spring Breakers (2013)
Spring Breakers is a crime film written and directed by Harmony Korine. Its story is about four college girls (portrayed by Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson, and Rachel Korine) who spent their spring break in Florida where they met a drug dealer (James Franco). It was filmed at New College Florida, Ringling College of Art and Design, in Pinellas Country, St. Pete Beach, Gulfport, Treasure Island, and Redington Shores.
(1h 34min | R)
Filmed in Miami, Florida, Moonlight is a coming-of-age drama by Barry Jenkins. It is based on an unpublished semi-autobiographical story play by Tarell Alvin McCraney entitled Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue. It follows the life of Chiron (portrayed by Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, and Trevante Sanders), a young African-American who had to face some challenges about his identity and sexuality as he transitioned into being a young adult.
(1h 50min | R)
Baywatch is a comedy-action film based on a TV series of the same title. It was directed by Seth Gordon and starred by Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Jon Bass, Alexandra Daddario, Kelly Rohrbach, and Priyanka Chopra. It follows a team of lifeguards who had to work together to expose and take down a drug lord in order to save their beach. It was filmed in Boca Raton, Miami, and Deerfield Beach, Florida. Other filming locations include Tybee Island and Savannah, Georgia.
The Florida Project (2017)
The Florida Project is a drama film directed by Sean Barker. It shows the life of 6-year-old Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) who lives with her single mother (Bria Vinaite) in a motel in Kissimmee, Florida under the shadow of the Walt Disney World. As such, the movie was titled after the codename of the Walt Disney World during its planning stage. It was filmed in Osceola Country, Florida while the Magic Castle motel was shot at the Magic Castle Inn & Suites located in Kissimmee.
(1h 51min | R)