The Caribbean's stunning beauty helped to attract colonists to these islands for hundreds of years. In more recent times, tourists have flocked to this stunning region. Now the beauty of the islands is now attracting a different kind of traveler: the filmmaker.
The scenery of the Caribbean is being immortalized on film, and its people have also begun to film on their own, making movies about life in these unique locations.
Most Caribbean nations have their own film commission or similar entity to help would-be filmmakers in the Caribbean get in and out of the country, set up sites, and serve as the local film liaison. These film commissions have plenty of reason to do so: Film is a multi-million dollar industry, and these islands offer a wide variety of unique settings, including exotic natural locations and historic colonial buildings.
While most islands boast being the main setting for at least one or two Hollywood movies, you might be surprised to learn that a great deal of Hollywood's top movies are shot, at least in part, in the Caribbean. The following list of movies is far from complete, but gives a feel for the wide range of movies that have been filmed in parts of the Caribbean.
After the Sunset (2004), the Bahamas
Amistad (1997), Puerto Rico
Apocalypse Now (1979), Dominican Republic
Captain Ron (1992), Puerto Rico
Casino Royal (2006), the Bahamas
Cocoon I & II (1985, 1988), the Bahamas
Contact (1997), Puerto Rico
The Dogs of War (1981), Belize
The Godfather II (1974), Dominican Republic
Goldeneye (1995), Puerto Rico
Heart of Darkness (TV) (1994), Belize
Into The Blue (2005), the Bahamas
Miami Vice (2006), Dominican Republic
Miracle at St. Anna (2008), the Bahamas
Never Say Never Again (1983), the Bahamas
Open Water (2003), U.S. Virgin Islands
Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl and sequels (2003, 2006, 2007), St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominican Republic, The Bahamas, Dominica, and Bermuda
The Shawshank Redemption (1994), U.S. Virgin Islands
Silence of The Lambs (1991), the Bahamas
Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997), Guadeloupe, St. Martin
Splash (1984), the Bahamas
Swiss Family Robinson (1960), Trinidad and Tobago
Trading Places (1983), U.S. Virgin Islands
The Thomas Crown Affair (1999), Martinique
Arguably one of the most popular movies in recent years, Pirates of the Caribbean has brought the islands and their scenery to people's attention. However, its sequel, which came out in 2006, has spawned some outrage among the local islanders. Dominica's Caribs object to the second movie's portrayal of the Caribs as cannibals.
The Caribbean islands have been portrayed a number of ways throughout history, and many modern movies (and documentaries) take a closer look at island life. However, viewers should be warned that these portrayals, like that of the Caribs, may be fictionalized for the sake of the story - particularly in Hollywood movies.
Though film making is an expensive endeavor, an increasing number of Caribbean nations are taking part in this form of expression. Their films tell tales of life in their own country or in others. Some islands have found enough local talent to put together annual film festivals.
These festivals provide a venue in which burgeoning filmmakers can share their work with audiences. St. Barthélemy, Belize, and other islands host festivals to feature local and regional talent. Some of these works can also be seen at Latin American and Caribbean film festivals in the U.S.
Whether you're looking to catch a glimpse of an island before you visit, or just hoping to get a feel for Caribbean life, there are many ways to see and hear the Caribbean on film. Documentaries and blockbuster movies are popular, but the growing island film industry also has plenty to offer.
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