Perhaps Los Angeles gets most of the fame and glory as the movie making capital of the USA, if not the world, but dig a little deeper and you’ll find that Miami follows closely behind in the movie making stakes. Let’s take a look at the best-known films made in Miami and the famous Miami sights that made appearances on the silver screen.
Scarface – the 1980s film about a Cuban immigrant who takes over a drug cartel - was set and filmed in Miami. Starring Al Pacino and Michelle Pfeiffer, the film takes up Tony Montana’s story, following him from his time in a Florida refugee camp to his violent pursuit of a twisted version of the American Dream. The infamous chainsaw scene was filmed on Ocean Drive, in an Art Deco building that’s now Johnny Rockets. Further filming took place at the Fontainebleau Hotel, Miami Beach, Key Biscayne, Brickell Avenue and Miami’s most exclusive neighborhood – Star Island.
Al Pacino, in the 1983 blockbuster Scarface that was set and filmed in Miami.
The third James Bond movie was said to have a relatively modest budget, and the scene where Auric Goldfinger cheats at cards was filmed at the Fontainebleau Hotel, Miami. However, Sean Connery filmed his scenes at a mock up of the hotel back in Pinewood Studios, London, England. The Fontainebleau is quite the movie star – it was the setting for the AIDS benefit concert that Whitney Houston’s Rachel performed at – protected by Kevin Costner - in the 1990s hit The Bodyguard. The hotel was also a setting for Jerry Lewis when he was The Bellboy, in the film of the same name in the 1960s.
The Fontainebleau Hotel Miami – a film star in its own right.
Ace Ventura Pet Detective
This was the film that reportedly ‘made’ Jim Carrey. He took on the starring role of the Pet Detective that went in search of the missing Miami Dolphins mascot – a Dolphin (obviously) that had gone missing prior to the all important Super Bowl. The film was shot in and around Miami – including in Villa Vizcaya, Orange Bowl, Greenwich Studios and Miami Beach.
Iron Man 3
Marvel’s Iron Man 3 – the superhero film based on the comic character of the same name - starring Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow, was primarily shot in North Carolina at EUE/Screen Gems Studios, but the crew moved to Miami in Fall 2012 to shoot scenes at the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens and Miami Beach. The film outranked its predecessors bringing in a whopping $1.2 billion worldwide – the second highest grossing film of the year in 2013.
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Miami appears in the movie hits Iron Man 3 and Ace Ventura Pet Detective.
There’s Something About Mary
This romcom starring Cameron Diaz, Lee Evans and Ben Stiller was about a group of men, who were vying for the affections of Mary (Diaz). It’s ranked as the 27th funniest film in the American Film Institute’s 100 Years, 100 Laughs chart. The movie was mostly shot in Miami – including at the Cardozo Hotel, Ocean Drive, Miami Beach. The High School is Plantation City Hall and the Big Pink Restaurant is on Collins Avenue south of SoBe’s Art Deco District.
The 1995 cop action movie was the first of the Bad Boys movie franchise, starring Martin Lawrence and Will Smith as two Miami detectives investigating the disappearance of $100 million dollars worth of Mafia seized heroin. It was shot in the Dade Tire Company near Downtown Miami, South Beach’s Tides Hotel, Miami’s Alfred DuPont building and a freighter on the Miami River that was a drug lab. The film raked in over $141 million at the box office.
Downtown Miami acted as a backdrop to some scenes in the Bad Boys movie in 1995.
The second film in the infamous trilogy – Godfather II - produced by Frances Ford Coppola stars Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. It’s based on the story of Michael Corleone, the new Don of the Corleone crime family. It was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and was the first sequel to win a Best Picture award, as well as five other awards for Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Music Score and Best Art Direction. The film was shot in New York, Sicily, Las Vegas, Dominican Republic and Miami. Specifically, the infamous scene when Michael visits Hyman Roth was filmed at a house on Surfside, a small beachside town in Miami.
So, Miami definitely rates highly in the movie making stakes, and quite a few successful films have made use of this unique backdrop. You can spot some of these locations when you take one of our tours around town – hop over to the Gray Line Miami website at graylinemiami.com for a whole host of options on how to tour the city when you visit Miami.