When you take a trip to Fort Lauderdale, you may quickly discover that many of the beaches and other sites around the city look familiar. That’s because the “Venice of America” is a popular location for Hollywood film shoots – even, in some cases, standing in for Hollywood itself. Here are some of the big-name flicks that rolled film in southeast Florida:
- Caddyshack (1980) – A comedy classic that follows the travails of a young caddy as he gets tangled in hijinks involving the eclectic and ridiculous members of Bushwood Country Club. Voted by Premiere magazine as one of “The 50 Greatest Comedies of All Time,” the film was largely shot in Fort Lauderdale (at the Rolling Hills Country Club), despite the fact that Bushwood is supposed to be in Nebraska.
- The Champ (1979) – In this powerful remake of the 1931 weepie, Jon Voight stars as an ex-pugilist turned horse trainer who’s locked in a battle with his rich, remarried ex-wife (Faye Dunaway) for custody of their son (Ricky Schroder). In order to raise money for the court battle, Voight returns to the ring. The film is set in Florida, and the yacht scenes were filmed on the Intercoastal Waterway in Fort Lauderdale.
- Porky’s (1981) – This infamous comedy takes an unabashed look at adolescence in the 1950s. Six teenagers, desperate to find sexual satisfaction at the notorious honky-tonk strip joint Porky’s, are ripped off and thrown out. But they plot unforgettable revenge — and wreak havoc on their high school teachers. Although set in and filmed entirely in Florida (including Fort Lauderdale), “Porky’s” was a Canadian production, and up until 2006 was the highest-grossing Canadian film of all time.
- Flight of the Navigator (1986) – It’s 1978, and 12-year-old David Freeman (Joey Cramer) leads a good but slightly annoying (thanks to his kid brother) life in Florida. But after losing consciousness in the woods, David wakes to discover that eight years have passed — even though he’s still 12. What exactly happened? With the help of his now-16-year-old younger brother and a robot named Max, he’ll find out … and hopefully set things straight. The house used for the main characters’ home was located at 615 Idlewyld Drive in Fort Lauderdale.
- Cape Fear (1991) – After serving a hellish 14-year prison sentence for a brutal rape, sadistic Max Cady seeks revenge on the defense attorney from his trial, who withheld information about Cady’s victim that might have led to his acquittal. Nominated for Academy Awards for star Robert DeNiro and newcomer Juliette Lewis. Though set in North Carolina, the film was shot almost entirely in Florida (specifically Fort Lauderdale) and Georgia.
- Striptease (1996) – This one was based on a book by Fort Lauderdale native Carl Hiaasen. Bounced from her job, Erin Grant (Demi Moore) needs money if she’s to have any chance of winning back custody of her child. But, eventually, she must confront the naked truth: to take on the system, she’ll have to take it all off. Erin strips to conquer, but she faces unintended circumstances when a hound dog of a Congressman zeroes in on her and sharpens the shady tools at his fingertips, including blackmail and murder. The interior set for the Eager Beaver club was constructed in a ballroom dance studio in a Fort Lauderdale strip mall.
- Donnie Brasco (1997) – When FBI agent Joe Pistone goes undercover and rechristens himself Donnie Brasco to infiltrate the mob, he increasingly identifies with the made men he’s charged with taking down in this engrossing crime drama based on a true story. Although primarily a New York story, scenes were shot at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
- Any Given Sunday (1999) – Master director Oliver Stone crafted this look at the gritty world of professional football, capturing the trials and tribulations of the fictional Miami Sharks, a team beset by unnecessary roughness on and off the field. Stone’s brilliant ensemble cast includes Al Pacino, Jamie Foxx, Cameron Diaz and Dennis Quaid in a full-blown assault on the senses, portraying every tackle, pass – and torn ligament – in vivid detail. While it is a Miami story, some scenes were shot in Harbor Beach in Fort Lauderdale.
- Hoot (2006) – A young man moves from Montana to Florida with his family, where he’s compelled to engage in a fight to protect a population of endangered owls. Based on a young-adult novel by Carl Hiaasen (who makes a cameo appearance), the film tackles many of the author’s favorite concerns, including environmental causes and the over-development of Florida. Some scenes were filmed in Fort Lauderdale.
- Marley & Me (2008) – A family learns important life lessons from their adorable, but naughty and neurotic dog. Starring Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston, the film was shot in various locations around Florida, including Fort Lauderdale.
- Rock of Ages (2012) – Based on the hit Broadway show, this 1980s-set musical (pictured) pays tribute to the hair metal heroes of the day. Los Angeles’ famed Sunset Strip is pulsing to a beat that attracts waitress Sherrie and busboy Drew, who fall in love and chase fame while working at the Bourbon Room, a club catering to rock royalty like Stacee Jaxx. An all-star cast (including Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Russell Brand and Julianne Hough) sings its way through hits by Twisted Sister, Journey, REO Speedwagon, Guns N Roses, Def Leppard and more. Despite being set in Hollywood, “Rock of Ages” was filmed entirely in Florida. The interior Bourbon Room scenes were filmed at the Fort Lauderdale nightclub Revolution.
To take your own tour of Fort Lauderdale – a city that’s quickly becoming Hollywood East (and located less than 10 miles from the actual Hollywood, Florida) – or any of our other film-worthy destinations, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.