Photo Credit: Marcos Paulo Prado
Lights, Camera, Action: 7 Caribbean Islands Where Movies Were Made
Over the years, filmmakers have shot scenes or entire movies on Caribbean islands, and talk about an aesthetically pleasing backdrop!
There’s something about sun, sand and sea that sparks creativity, and as a region of the world, the Caribbean has seen it all. High sea adventures, steamy romances, action flicks, and comedies. Also, in the streaming age, some movies and shows on Netflix and similar platforms take place in the Caribbean.
As pointed out by Caribbean Journal, “a handful of films produced in the Caribbean have found a wider audience by sharing the stories of island people, culture, and music with the world.”
Jamaica is among the most beloved islands, and its popularity has only been further cemented by famous films. Dominica, which isn’t as well known, became more visible thanks to the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.
Imagine filming for hours at a time, hearing the director yell “cut!” and having the chance to luxuriate in a Caribbean paradise? Sounds like a pretty sweet deal.
Here are some Caribbean islands where movies were made.
Jamaica’s stunning scenery has seduced for generations, and we’ll focus on three of the films shot there.
Cool Runnings, the story of the Jamaican bobsled team, was shot in 1993. Though based on a true story, some creative license was taken.
The film is mostly comedic, but you can’t help but feel inspired by the four Black men determined to make their mark as Olympians in a traditionally white space.
In How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Angela Bassett throws herself into a whirlwind, cross-generational romance with Taye Diggs. The cast also includes Whoopi Goldberg and Regina King.
Dr. No, the first of the Bond films, has a pivotal scene at Laughing Waters Beach in Ocho Rios. Sean Connery’s Bond is mesmerized by Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress) who emerges from the sea like a siren.
Ian Fleming, author of the Bond series, credited Jamaica for inspiring him to write.
“Would these books have been born if I had not been living in the gorgeous vacuum of a Jamaican holiday? I doubt it.”
You can stay at the villa where the Bond books were written.
Die Another Day had some scenes shot in Cuba, with Halle Berry as the Bond girl opposite Pierce Brosnan.
While not the most acclaimed of the Bond films, the two principals were attractive, and there were some memorable incidents on set.
The steamy love scene between Bond and Berry’s Jinx Johnson narrowly escaped an R- rating. Also, Berry revealed years later that she almost choked to death while filming.
“I was supposed to be all sexy, trying to seduce him (Bond) with a fig,” she told Jimmy Fallon. “I ended up choking on it, and he had to get up and do the Heimlich. So not sexy.”
This island, with its mountains and jungle charm, appears in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.
Because of the closeness of the island’s name to the Dominican Republic, it was reported that some of the crew’s luggage got shipped there in error.
In the same franchise, The Curse Of The Black Pearl and At World’s End also had scenes in Dominica.
4. Puerto Rico
Captain Jack Sparrow, played by Johnny Depp, gets into some mischief in Puerto Rico in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.
According to Discover Puerto Rico, “Depp and Penélope Cruz roamed Castillo San Cristóbal in San Juan and Cueva del Indio in Arecibo.”
There are also some great scenes on Palominito, a tiny island off the Fajardo coast. Sadly, it seems to be disappearing due to climate change.
Other films shot here include Lord Of The Flies, Captain America: Civil War, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, and 22 Jump Street.
5. Dominican Republic
In 2006, Miami Vice was shot in the Dominican Republic, specifically Santo Domingo. It starred Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell as detectives.
As often happens when you put creative people together, there was some tension.
The director, Michael Mann, was known to be a perfectionist, which put him at odds with cast and crew.
As reported by The Guardian, a terrifying situation occurred on set, which thankfully didn’t result in a fatality.
“Production had to be stopped when a soldier shot and injured an armed man near the hotel in the district where the cast and crew were working.”
The Amber Museum in Puerta Plata appeared in Jurassic Park. Also, the fourth and seventh installments of the seemingly never ending Fast And The Furious franchise were shot on Dominican beaches.
6. St. Lucia
Pirates of the Caribbean made a stop in the Piton Mountains of St. Lucia for The Curse Of The Black Pearl.
Captain Jack Sparrow encounters the skeletons of doomed pirates at Marigot Bay.
A famous vessel, Brig Unicorn, appeared in three of the Pirates movies. It made the news in 2014 after sinking off the coast of St. Lucia, with no injuries or fatalities.
7. US Virgin Islands
The US Virgin Islands, particularly St. Croix and St. Thomas, have been the backdrop for some well-known movies.
The Island of Doctor Moreau and The Shawshank Redemption were shot on St. Croix. One of Eddie Murphy’s earliest works, Trading Places, was also filmed there.
Breaking Dawn, part of the Twilight saga, and The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button had scenes on St. Thomas.