Vacation and travel plans have been upended and social distancing is our new normal. We get it, life is tough right now. If you can’t (temporarily) enjoy all of Greater Fort Lauderdale’s beauty in person, we’ve found a way for you to travel around Broward County without leaving the comfort of your couch or bed, thanks to movie and television magic. Many popular movies and TV shows have been filmed here, so cue up Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, OnDemand, or other streaming services for some of these hits where Greater Fort Lauderdale makes a cameo or even plays a starring role.
Where The Boys Are
Spring Break doesn’t have to be cancelled—at least not in this classic throwback movie that propelled Fort Lauderdale into the limelight as a prime beach destination. Go back in time with this 1960s coming-of-age movie that follows several Midwestern college co-eds during their spring break on the beaches of Fort Lauderdale. You’ll be transported to the famous A1A scenic highway, our white-sand beaches with turquoise-hued waters, and even bars like the always-ready-to-party Elbo Room.
If you really need a beach-and-babes fix—think eye candy like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Zac Efron—cue up this 2017 reboot of the ‘90s TV series about a group of lifeguards who are always torn between saving lives in the ocean and solving crimes. The Baywatch crew took over many Greater Fort Lauderdale locations, with a good chunk of the movie (including a life-saving scene) shot on Deerfield Beach near the International Fishing Pier. Other scenes include the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina, open water outside of the Port Everglades Inlet, Hollywood Beach, and the popular Hollywood Beach Broadwalk.
All about the new? This 2019 high-profile production was developed right here in South Florida, where director and writer Trey Edward Shults began penning the story when he was frequenting the beaches of Dania Beach and Hollywood. The movie, set and filmed in South Florida, is about a suburban family dealing with the emotional ups and downs after suffering a tragic loss, and there are plenty of Broward landscapes that you’ll recognize throughout the movie.
Marley & Me
This is the feel-good flick that we all can agree on right now. Cute dog: check. Scenes all over beautiful South Florida: check, check. A couple played by Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston, gets a badly behaved yellow lab named Marley, who ultimately takes the family on a wild adventure and helps them through life’s many milestones from new jobs to homes and parenthood. The 2008 movie is based on a novel penned by a former Sun Sentinel columnist (Wilson plays a newspaper columnist in the film), and the office scenes were shot in the newsroom of the Sun Sentinel.
There’s Something About Mary
We all need a giggle or two right now, and this late ‘90s comedy starring Cameron Diaz and Ben Stiller delivers epic laughs. In case you’re one of the few who’s never seen it, Ted (played by Stiller) and a bunch of other dudes are all in love with Mary (played by Diaz) and do outrageous things to try and win her heart. The famous high school prom flashback scene featuring Stiller and Diaz was shot at Plantation’s City Hall.
Featuring stars Robert De Niro and Billy Crystal, this 1999 comedy is about a brutal mob boss (De Niro) who seeks the help of a psychiatrist (Crystal) after having panic attacks. A famous scene where the two explode into a big confrontation—De Niro’s character accusing Crystal’s character of not him curing him in their five-minute session—happens at the historic Wreck Bar, which is located in the now B Ocean Resort. The scene highlights the portholes and windows where mermaids swim in the underwater tank, something that still happens today. You can catch those famous mermaid shows, and even a burlesque underwater show, on the weekends at the bar.
Rock of Ages
Wanna rock? This 2005 movie, packed with an A-list cast consisting of Tom Cruise, Julianne Hough, Russell Brand, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Alec Baldwin, is based in the ‘80s and is about two young people chasing their Hollywood dreams. Best part: hair-metal jams including Bon Jovi, Journey, and Def Leppard—we won’t judge if you’re singing out loud in your pajamas. Though the movie is based in Los Angeles, much of the flick was shot all over Broward County, with prime scenes at hot music venue Revolution Live in downtown Fort Lauderdale; a concert scene at Hard Rock Live at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood; the always-good-for-a-stroll Hollywood Beach Broadwalk doubled as Venice Beach; and even the iconic Hollywood Sign was raised in the Monarch Hill Landfill in Pompano Beach right next to the Florida Turnpike.
Iron Man 3
Nothing lifts your spirits like a superhero saving the world, or in this case, a superhero that now has to save his personal life from a dark enemy. In this third and final installment of the superhero action series based on the Marvel Comics, Robert Downey Jr. returns as Iron Man, and while much of the action-packed movie was shot in North Carolina, the crew also filmed scenes in Dania Beach and other South Florida locales.
Turn on the Tube
Of course, there are plenty of television shows that have Broward County in their lens, from HGTV’s “House Hunters” to Food Network’s “Diners Drive-Ins and Dives” to shows about love and heartbreak like ABC’s “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” (who’ve had numerous castmates from Fort Lauderdale, like 2018’s racecar driver Arie Luyendyk Jr. who jets off on an airboat ride in the Everglades and strolls through the historic Bonnet House) and TLC’s “90 Day Fiance: What Now.”
Whether it’s a movie or television show, Greater Fort Lauderdale and all its beauty (and even the imaginary storylines) are only a click away.