If you’re planning a trip to the South Pacific—Tahiti, Fiji or even more remote isles such as Vanuatu or Palau—pop in a DVD of any of these classic films or television shows shot there to get an entertaining preview. Just don't rent South Pacific -- it was filmed in Hawaii.
This 2009 Vince Vaughn-Jon Favreau comedy was shot at the St. Regis Resort Bora Bora, which appeared onscreen as the "Eden" resort.
The plot centers around four couples, each battling relationship issues, and their forced foray into unconventional couples therapy, not to mention, farcical yoga positions, as part of their resort stay. The humor sometimes sinks to lowbrow levels, but the camera loves Bora Bora. This magical island has never looked better.
Also starring Kristin Davis, Jason Bateman, Malin Akerman, Kristen Bell, and Faizon Love.
Tom Hanks was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for this virtual one-man show, filmed on a tiny Monuriki island in Fiji's Mamanuca group.
Directed by Robert Zemeckis, the 2000 film tells the tale of a Chuck Noland, a FedEx executive who is the sole survivor of a plane crash and is presumed dead. Very much alive, Noland dons a loincloth to battle the sun, the sea and his own demons as life as he knew it (and his girlfriend, Kelly) go on without him. He awaits rescue with only his silent pal Wilson for company.
Also starring Helen Hunt.
"The Bachelorette" Season 6 Finale
Beguiling Tahiti is a pretty amazing place to find love—and that’s what Bachelorette Ali Fedotowski seems to have done as she romanced a trio of men (Roberto, Chris, and Frank) in this two-part season finale filmed in 2010 on the Tahitian islands of Taha’a and Bora Bora.
The decision-making and heartbreaking unfolded at two resorts, Le Taha'a Island Resort & Spa, a secluded private island property with panoramic views of Bora Bora and the Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa, set on a lush motu overlooking a spectacular section of Bora Bora's famed lagoon. Ali chose Roberto, so stay tuned to see if they have a happily ever after.
"Mutiny on the Bounty," 1935
This Hollywood favorite, based on the true 18th-century story of Captain Bligh and the mutinous men of the HMS Bounty, led by Fletcher Christian, has been made into a feature film three times under two titles, namely Mutiny on the Bounty and The Bounty.
The 1935 version of Mutiny on the Bounty stars Clark Gable as a dashing Christian and Charles Laughton as a villainous Bligh (and won the Oscar for Best Picture). It is a classic, but since it’s a black-and-white film and parts of it were filmed on an MGM back lot, it doesn't give viewers the full cinematic impact of the beauty of the South Pacific.
"Mutiny on the Bounty," 1962
This 1962 remake stars screen icon Marlon Brando as a more tortured Christian and Trevor Howard as a paranoid Bligh.
Filmed in Technicolor, mainly near Bora Bora, this version packs a sweeping visual punch and is interesting because it marks the beginning of Brando's love affair with Tahiti (and his lovely Tahitian co-star Tarita).
Shot partially on Moorea, this vibrant 1984 remake starring Mel Gibson as Fletcher Christian and Sir Anthony Hopkins as Captain Bligh offers a flashback-centric twist on the classic rebellion saga. Breaking with his predecessors' more over-the-top performances, Gibson's Christian is a man of few words (per the script), and Hopkins' Bligh is dutiful yet disconnected from reality.
The scenes filmed in Tahiti offer a wonderful panorama of this wild, blue paradise so alluring that an entire ship of sailors didn't want to leave. The film also stars Liam Neeson and Sir Laurence Olivier.
Often credited with spawning the reality TV craze, the original Survivor series that planted 16 ordinary folks on a remote island off of Borneo for 30 days in 2000 has filmed 8 of its 21 seasons in the South Pacific.
Host Jeff Probst has been there as everyone but the $1 million winners were “voted off the island,” including Marquesas (2002), Vanuatu (2004), Palau (2005), Cook Islands (2006), Fiji (2007), Micronesia/Palau (2008), Samoa (2009), and Heroes Vs. Villains/Samoa (2010). You can relive all the backstabbing game playing on Survivor DVD's.
"The Blue Lagoon"
Deemed both controversial and corny at the time of its release, this 1980 tale of two shipwrecked children who grow into barely-dressed, hormonally-possessed teens Em and Richard (played by Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins) while alone on a tropical isle, has not improved with age—unless one is a fan of its kitsch factor.
Filmed on Nanuya Levu, an island in Fiji's Yasawa group, the film's cinematography magnificently showcases the South Pacific’s scenic splendors despite its laughable script and awful acting.
"Return to the Blue Lagoon"
If you thought the first film was bad, it seems brilliant compared to this convoluted 1991 sequel starring Milla Jovovich and Brian Krause. The cinematography alone makes this worth seeing.
He's the son of Em and Richard, rescued from the raft as a baby and re-marooned shortly thereafter on the very same island in Fiji's Yasawa group on which he was born with his adopted mother and her young daughter. Mom dies. The kids grow up and fall for each other while fending off a sleazy bearded sailor.
"The Ultimate Wave Tahiti 3D"
For an in-your-face experience, this 2010 IMAX 3D film American surf champion Kelly Slater and Tahitian surfer Raimana Van Bastolaer as they attempt to conquer the most awesome big wave experiences in the islands of Tahiti.
Slater may be the draw, but the amazing reef break at Teahupo'o is the visual star. Hold onto your popcorn as these big blue curls hurl at you in big-screen 3D.