5 Island Movies to Make You Pack Your Bag

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By Randee Dawn

Summer isn’t all that far behind us (and technically, fall doesn’t even start until Sept. 23) but we know you’re already longing for a nice lounge on an empty beach somewhere, with the water breaking over your toes and frozen cocktails delivered on the hour. We can’t send you there right now, but we can help you plan for the next time you can make a beach escape! Here are five movies to help you get in the right frame of mind, and maybe help inspire your next foray into paradise. Just lie back and let the cinema wash over you….

Swiss Family Robinson (1960)

A rollicking Disney family adventure that also just so happens to be about a family shipwrecked on an island that battles pirates for control of their resources.

The real star: The film was made entirely on the small Caribbean Island of Tobago, with a lot of the action on Bacolet Bay beach. Lush with palms and almond trees, the sea is shallow a long way out making it perfect for bathers. Though far from deserted – Bacolet is one of the area’s most developed areas – it is still a picture-perfect spot for island relaxation.

The Blue Lagoon (1980)

Two children and a galley cook are stranded on a (mostly) deserted island; after the cook dies the two children grow up together as innocents and eventually fall in love (and why not; as young adults they’re played by Christopher Atkins and Brooke Shields). The movie wasn’t loved by critics, but audiences ate it up – no doubt in part thanks to the eye candy…and we don’t necessarily mean the actors.

The real star: Jamaica also made an appearance in the film, but then-privately-owned Turtle Island (Nanuya Levu) in Fiji. stood in for the island, and it was truly a paradise (an unknown species of iguanas on the island were discovered thanks to the presence of the film). Good news: The island of giant banyans and flowing streams is now open to the public.

How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1988)

Arguably, Stella (Angela Bassett) is not out of a groove: She’s got a great career and a son, but her pal talks her into taking an expensive Jamaica vacation to get herself out of a rut. And boy howdy, does she – Stella falls for a local (Taye Diggs) some years her junior and rethinks her priorities.

The real star: It’s clear that anyone visiting would get their groove back splashing around in the turquoise waters of Montego Bay’s Round Hill Hotel and Villas, where the film was largely shot.

Nim’s Island (2008)

Here’s a family-friendly movie to get anyone geared up for the beach: Nim (Abigail Breslin) lives on a South Pacific island and pals around with sea lions, bearded dragons, pelicans and sea turtles. Her favorite author (Jodie Foster) visits and has a less idyllic time, but the island even wins her over eventually.

The real star: Hinchinbrook Island, which stands in for Nim’s home, is the largest island on the Great Barrier Reef. Just off the coast of Australia, it is a protected area and so has no full-time residents, making it green, idyllic and unspoiled.

Eat, Pray, Love (2010)

Much of the journey of the soul-searching lead character (Julia Roberts) has nothing to do with islands, but once she lands in Bali, Indonesia the game changes significantly. Sure, she finds true love there, but the impressive, sprawling Padang Padang Beach and green ravines of the Gianyar regency are eye-popping and astounding.

The real star: Ubud and its surrounding area on Bali, including that incredible beach. But beware; so many have been inspired by the film that locals now call those tourists and expats “EPLs.”

Randee Dawn is a contributor for InsureMyTrip.

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