7 Point Break
We’re obviously talking about the 1991 cult classic starring Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze and not the abysmal cash grab 2015 remake. In Point Break, Keanu Reeves plays an FBI agent who goes deep undercover as a bodacious Californian surfer to infiltrate a group of bank robbers who also super love surfing. It’s basically The Fast and the Furious but with surfboards instead of motorcars. Shot across California’s most beautiful locations—Malibu, Manhattan Beach, Santa Monica and Venice—the beaches are almost as beautiful as Patrick Swayze’s luscious blond locks.
Anyone who was around during the 90s remembers Baywatch, for a number of different reasons, I’m sure. The show and its stars, David Hasselhoff, Pamela Anderson and Carmen Elektra, were ubiquitous at the time. The show became a cultural phenomenon, so it’s hardly surprising that it was later adapted into a feature length movie in 2016, this time around with Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron as our hunky heroes. While Baywatch wasn’t exactly a hit with the critics, it did showcase the beauty of Florida’s ‘Magic City’ Miami. With miles of delightful beaches, it’s enough to persuade anyone to get onboard a direct flight as soon as possible, especially if they know they’ll be in the safe hands of the Rock, should anything go awry at sea.
5 Lilo and Stitch
This masterfully animated Walt Disney Classic manages to perfectly capture the beauty of Hawaii’s golden beaches, and then some. The film’s story revolves around two mischievous little hellraisersl, Lilo, a cheeky young girl and a blue extraterrestrial koala-like creature called Stitch. Despite the madness, hijinks and extra-terrestrial shenanigans occurring throughout, the scenic Hawaiian backdrop never seems any less appealing. The Disney team’s watercolor backgrounds contrasted with the vibrant foregrounds of palm trees and sandy shores is enough to entice even the most parochial of people to the Aloha State. Yes, we know Lilo & Stitch is just an animation, but come on.
4 Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Written by and starring Jason Segel, this Judd Apatow produced movie was a commercial and box office hit at the time of its release, and it’s not hard to see why. Alongside Jason Segel, the audience is treated to some top comedic performances from the likes of Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis, Jonah Hil and Russell Brand. Forgetting Sarah Marshall manages to nicely blend gross out humor with genuine pathos and emotion and the setting is stunning. After Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell) abruptly ends her relationship with Peter (Segel), he decides to take a trip to Hawaii to clear his head only to discover she is at the same resort with her new British Rock star boyfriend (portrayed by Russell Brand at his bombastic best, doing his best Keith Richards impersonation). Not ideal, as you would imagine, but at least it all takes place on one of the most beautiful islands on the planet.
3 Mamma Mia!
Your appreciation of the 2008 Jukebox musical Mamma Mia! is likely to be based on where you stand on the music of Abba. Abba are one of the most successful pop acts of all time, but there’s no denying their cheese laden sing-alongs are somewhat divisive. The same can be said for the film. Not looking to be anything too deep, this feel-good summer sing-along blockbuster is one of the world’s most successful musical films of all time. That’s not to say it’s not without its critics, with Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian giving it one star and expressing a “need to vomit” while watching. Regardless of your views on the movies or the music, there’s no denying the beauty of its setting. Filmed on the small Greek island of Skopelos, the island’s rustic charm and the secluded shorelines are enough to make even the biggest Abba skeptics wish they were invited to that wedding in Skopelos.
Another animated entry from Disney, but this time its computer generated, and the location is an unknown remote Polynesian island. Moana has it all: great original songs written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Opetaia Foa’i and Mark Mancina, a great voice cast including Dwayne Johnson, Rachel House and Temuera Morrison, and a delightful story with plenty of action, adventure and heart. As we’ve come to expect from Disney, the animation is second to none and, seeing as so much of the story revolves around the water, extra attention is paid to every ripple of every wave which makes you feel as if you can feel it flowing between your fingers.
1 The Beach
The Beach is a 2000 drama film directed by Danny Boyle, based on the 1996 Alex Garland novel of the same name. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Tilda Swinton and Robert Carlyle and was filmed on the incredibly idyllic Thai island of Ko Phi Phi Le. Okay, so this movie descends into chaos involving sex, drugs, murder and betrayal, but if you’re able to put all that aside, you’ll notice how incredible the actual ‘beach’ is. Unfortunately, it’s been reported that the ‘real-life’ beach paradise at which it was filmed was severely damaged as a result of the production. Also, because of the sheer beauty on display there was a significant increase in tourism to the beach as a result of the film. This also resulted in environmental damage to the bay and the nearby coral reefs, prompting Thai authorities to close the beach until 2021. If watching The Beach teaches us anything, it is to respect your surroundings.