World War II Motion Pictures Shot on Oahu

Halona Cove on Oahu.

Halona Cove on Oahu, where scenes From Here to Eternity were shot.

The Aloha State has been the setting for many major motion pictures too many to mention. It should be no surprise that many of such pictures were filmed on the island of Oahu, particularly when their plots involve the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. In addition to being the location where America first entered World War II, Oahu served as one of the Allies’ primary location for staging its Pacific Basin operations. Such motion pictures set on Hawaii’s Gathering Isle are identified below.

From Here to Eternity – This 1953 star-studded movie featured Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Cliff, Deborah Kerr, Donna Reed, Ernest Borgnine and Frank Sinatra. The film, about the life in the Army right before the period before December 7, 1941, won 8 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. Frank Sinatra won an Academy Award in a supporting role and launched his career as a major motion picture star. The picture, shot in many locations throughout Oahu including the Schofield Barracks US Army base in the town of Wahiawa, is the film shot in Hawaii with the most Academy Awards. This movie is so acclaimed that it has been included on the American Film Institute’s list of the top 100 films of all time.

In Harm’s Way – This 1965 epic war epic was produced and directed by Otto Preminger and was one of the last big time war movies shot in black and white. Another star-laden film, it featured big name actors such as John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, Henry Fonda, Patricia Neal, Burgess Meredith, Dana Andrews and many more. The movie tells the saga about US Navy officers from the time of the days leading up to that faithful day of December 7, 1941 to the duration of the war in the Pacific Basin theatre. Scenes from Pearl Harbor and Honolulu were prominently featured throughout the film.

Tora! Tora! Tora! – This 1970 collaboratively produced Japanese-American movie dramatizes the events leading up to and through the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. The film, directed by Richard Fleischer on the American side and Toshio Masuda and Kinji Fukasaku on the Japanese side, starred Martin Balsam, Joseph Cotten, E. G. Marshall, James Whitmore, Jason Robards in addition to a number of other marquee name actors from the US and Japan. In this film, much time and effort was spent in the recreation of Battleship Row and of ships that were berthed there in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

Pearl Harbor – This 2001 romantic action war film featured Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett, Kate Beckinsale, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Tom Sizemore, Jon Voight and Alec Baldwin. The movie presents a dramatized (some say over-dramatized) version of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the Doolittle raid on Japan, which was the American response to the Japanese attack. This film, which had many shots filmed throughout Oahu, was considered a major box office success despite having mostly negative reviews from many movie critics. The movie marked the first time an Academy Award winning film (for Best Sound Editing) was also a Golden Raspberry Award nominee for Worst-Picture.

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