Movies Filmed in Jamaica

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Many people think of Jamaican culture as a blend of history, customs and music however, there is yet another, culture in the form of art, film and literature.

The art scene in Jamaica is thriving and one of the most fascinating aspects of it is the film. Over the last six decades or so, the island’s natural beauty has made Jamaica one of the most sought after locations in the world for filming. Top international film producers have used our pristine beaches, turquoise colored waters, and enchanting rainforests as backdrops and scenery in numerous blockbuster films inlcuding:

  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea filmed in 1954
  • Dr. No of James Bond filmed in 1962
  • Live and Let Die filmed in 1973
  • The Blue Lagoon filmed in 1980
  • Cocktail filmed in 1988
  • Cool Runnings filmed in 1993
  • How Stella Got Her Groove Back filmed in 1998

While the scenery is the main draw for many foreign film producers, Jamaica has also developed its own film industry. It is on a much smaller scale but a number of impressive films have been directed locally over the years. For example, the 1972 film, “The Harder They Come” which became an international hit showcasing Jamaican music, fashion and style highlighted the social injustice, struggle by inner-city youth and their strong will to make it in a bigger world.

Other Jamaican classics include “Dancehall Queen” filmed in 1997 and “Third World Cop” in 1999 followed by the 2003 film, “One Love” featuring Ky-mani Marley and Cherine Anderson, a story about a young rasta falling in love with the daughter of a pastor, a kind of Jamaican Romeo and Juliet.

In 2011, one of the most successful local films called "Ghett’a Life" was set in downtown Kingston. It became such a success that the tickets were sold out daily at Jamaican cinemas. It is about a boy who wants to become a professional boxer. It effectively depicts a series of challenges he faces as a son of a political activist/preacher and having to cross "dividing line" to the rival constituency to join the boxing gym. What was most significant about this film was that Ghett’a Life probably was the first film that was a completely Jamaican project, as the entire crew including the director (Chris Browne) and actors were all Jamaicans. Chris Browne says, “The story was inspired in Jamaica by Jamaicans. The cast, crew and funding are all Jamaican. It was suggested to me many times that I should cast known, foreign actors to make the film more marketable to the world audience but I wanted this film to feel authentic to the Jamaicans watching it in Jamaica and abroad.”

Ghett'a Life has won numerous international film awards including "Best Script at the Cannes Film Festival", "Hartley Merrill International Screenplay Award", "Best International Film at the San Francisco Black Film Festival" and shared the "Jury Award at the Aruba International Film Festival".

Jamaica is extremely diverse. In addition to all the tourist attractions like sightseeing, water sports, and cruises, an entirely different side of Jamaica exists. To fully appreciate Jamaica, we recommend spending some time researching the island’s culture. With this, every detail of the trip is enhanced.