It’s no surprise that Cape Town and the Islands are a top destination not only for summer tourists and retirees, but also for filmmakers of all genres.
The area has served as the backdrop for many popular movies and TV shows over the years, leaving a trail of places we can visit to see for ourselves what has attracted writers, producers, directors and actors. in this seaside region.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of six films or TV shows filmed on Cape Town and the Islands:
Steven Spielberg’s 1975 smash hit “Jaws” is usually what comes to mind when you think of films set in Cape Town and the Islands – or more generally, the summer blockbuster.
Based on Peter Benchley’s bestselling novel, the film was filmed on Martha’s Vineyard but is set in the fictional New England town of Amity.
Calamity strikes when a great white shark attacks and kills a young woman, and townspeople fear the impact it will have on their tourism-dependent economy. Police Chief Martin Brody, played by Murray Hamilton, ichthyologist Matt Hooper, played by Richard Dreyfuss, and ship captain Quint, played by Robert Shaw, set out to take down the killer shark.
CapeCast:Jump off the ‘Jaws’ Bridge onto Martha’s Vineyard
Martha’s Vineyard locations such as South Beach in Edgartown, Joseph Sylvia State Beach in Oak Bluffs, and Main Street in Edgartown can be seen throughout the film. Arguably the most iconic location in the film is the American Legion Memorial Bridge between Oak Bluffs and Edgartown, better known as the “Jaws Bridge”.
“The most beautiful hours”, 2016
Directed by Craig Gillespie, ‘The Finest Hours’ depicts the true story of a 1952 Northeast that split the ship SS Pendleton in two, trapping sailors inside and prompting the Chatham Coastguard to launch a dangerous rescue operation.
The film was based on the book “The Finest Hours: The True Story of the US Coast Guard’s Most Daring Sea Rescue” written by Michael Tougias and Barnstable native Casey Sherman. It features big names such as Chris Pine, Casey Affleck and Holliday Grainger.
Movie set:Chatham returns to 1952 for the filming of ‘The Finest Hours’
Although parts of the film were shot in Duxbury, Marshfield and Cohasset, Gillespie wanted to include the town of Chatham in the film, which sought authenticity that was true to the era. If you’re watching “The Finest Hours,” keep an eye out for Chatham Lighthouse and Champlain Road.
“It’s my boy”, 2012
Until ‘The Finest Hours’, ‘That’s My Boy’ was the highest budget film ever made in Cape Town, grossing around $70 million. Directed by Sean Anders, the film follows the story of Donny, played by Adam Sandler, who attempts to reconnect with his son Todd, played by Andy Samberg, on the eve of Todd’s wedding.
Despite its less than stellar performance in theaters and in the eyes of film critics, it was a big deal when “That’s My Boy” was filmed in Cape Town.
To hell with the reviews:Cape Angle lures moviegoers to Sandler’s box office bomb
Youngsters of the day may remember auditioning for a scene filmed at the Performing Arts Center at Barnstable High School, where panning shots no doubt show a familiar face or two. Wedding scenes were filmed at Wychmere Harbor Club in Harwich Port, and a replica of Fenway Park was built in Dennis.
The Bourne Bridge was briefly closed for filming, and a former visitor center in Hyannis was turned into a Classy Rick’s Bacon and Leggs strip club for the film.
“Upper Town”, 2020
“Hightown,” a crime drama series on the Starz Network, is set in Provincetown and tells the story of Jackie Quiñones, a National Marine Fisheries Service agent tasked with solving a murder.
Generally well received by critics and audiences, the show was filmed on the other side of Cape Town. The opening sequence features well-known landmarks such as the Sagamore Bridge and Commercial Street in Provincetown. Provincetown’s famous Pride Month Carnival Parade was recreated for the pilot episode. Hyannis, Bourne, and even New Bedford are named throughout the series.
Provincetown drama:Creators And Cast Share Their Thoughts On “Hightown”
Despite its general positive acceptance, some Cape Codders may feel conflicted with the way it portrays Cape Town and the opioid epidemic, with the murder kicking off the show’s plot apparently caused by a powerful drug dealer. On the other hand, a less-than-perfect Cape Cod story that clashes with sand dunes and the idyllic picture of salty air could have been a much-needed breath of fresh air for viewers and locals alike.
“American Horror Story”, 2021
Perhaps the minds behind the hit FX series “American Horror Story” watched “Hightown” and saw the potential in Provincetown.
“American Horror Story: Double Feature” is the 10th season of the series, with the first half of the season, “Red Tide,” set off-season in Provincetown.
The series follows screenwriter Harry Gardner, played by Finn Wittrock, who moves to the small seaside town with his pregnant wife, Doris, played by Lily Rabe, and their daughter, Alma.
Curious minds:What does Provincetown think of ‘American Horror Story’ as the ‘Red Tide’ finale airs?
Gardner’s attempts to complete his overdue script are foiled by, as an August 31, 2021 Wicked Local article put it: “Quirky locals, writers, artists, strange pale creatures, chewed-up mammals. Drugs and creative obsession. And blood, lots of blood.
“A Christmas on Cape Cod”, 2021
Moving on from the murder and mayhem of “Hightown” and “American Horror Story,” in 2021, Falmouth was featured in “A Cape Cod Christmas,” a cable holiday and romance film.
“A Cape Cod Christmas” tells the story of a children’s author, played by Katie LeClerc, who reunites her family for one last holiday celebration at their vacation home. She reconnects with an old flame, played by Brent Bailey, a local artist.
Love story:Romantic TV movie ‘Cape Cod Christmas’ premieres as stars take part in the Falmouth Holiday Parade
Falmouth can be seen throughout the film, from favorite locations such as Eight Cousins Books and Pickle Jar Kitchen to Falmouth Village Green and Main Street.