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Denzel Washington spent time here. So did Ernest Borgnine and Sean Connery and Jayne Mansfield, to name a few.

From the Everglades to Boca Grande, Southwest Florida has served as a scenic and steamy backdrop for movies for more than a half century. 

Here's a rundown of movies that include the Paradise Coast in their backdrop, from an entire film to glimpses in a scene or two.

"Adaptation" (2006) — Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park figured prominently in the movie based on Susan Orlean's non-fiction book "The Orchid Thief" and a screenwriter's experience trying to adapt the book into a screenplay while suffering from writer's block. The book is about the arrest of a poacher (Chris Cooper's character) and Seminole Indians for stealing rare ghost orchids from Fakahatchee. The film was a critical and box office success, co-starring Nicolas Cage, Meryl Streep and Cooper, who won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

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"Hoot" (2006) — A comedy, "Hoot" centers around children trying to save an owl habitat in a small Florida town. Luke Wilson and Brie Larson co-star (with Jimmy Buffett in a minimal role but who also co-produced it) in the film based on Carl Hiaasen's novel of the same name. Mainly filmed on Florida's east coast (including Fort Lauderdale), other locations featured Boca Grande and Gasparilla Island on the Gulf Coast.

"Out of Time" (2003) — Boca Grande stars again, this time in a thriller featuring actress Eva Mendes and actor Denzel Washington who plays a police officer of a fictional Florida Keys city. Critics were lukewarm about the film, but few could complain about the Gulf-side setting.

"Palmetto" (1998) — Woody Harrelson plays a journalist jailed in a corruption scandal, with Elisabeth Shue co-starring. Fort Myers plays a small role in the movie that received a 38 percent score from Rotten Tomatoes.

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"Gone Fishin'" (1997) — This Disney comedy co-starring Danny Glover and Joe Pesci is about two goofy buddies from New Jersey who go fishing in Florida. The movie was filmed near Marco Island, Naples and other parts of Southwest Florida but was a box office flop. And a stuntwoman died during filming when a stunt boat went out of control and hit the woman in another boat north of Goodland Bay. Her husband and others on the set suffered minor injuries.

"Striptease" (1996) — Demi Moore bared more than her soul in this film that also stars Burt Reynolds and is based on the 1993 Carl Hiaasen novel of the same name. Primarily filmed in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Clewiston also played a role in this comedy that critics widely panned and some believe contributed to the demise of Moore's cinematic career.

"Just Cause" (1995) — Sean Connery plays a Harvard professor, and Laurence Fishbourne a detective. The thriller's movie poster reads: "Deep in the Florida Everglades is a secret that can save an innocent man or let a killer kill again." Filming took place throughout Florida, including parts of Lee and Collier counties and Bonita Springs and Fort Myers.

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"Captiva Island" (1995) — Amazon doesn't even sell it in DVD or VHS form and, if it did, save your money unless you want to see the serene scenery shot on this Southwest Florida treasure. Ernest Borgnine and Arte Johnson co-star in the comedy about a teen who finds an attractive girl while visiting the Gulf island while also meeting three goofy pensioners always hatching schemes. 

"Coupe de Ville" (1990) — Shot partially in Cape Coral, the comedy drama starred Patrick Dempsey is one of three brothers asked by their father to drive a 1954 Cadillac from Detroit to Florida for their mother. A box office bomb, the movie generated less than $70,000 revenue in its opening weekend across the U.S. that spring. 

Interactive map: Locations of movies filmed in Florida


Chefs from Punta Gorda to Marco Island have competed on Food Network cooking competitions, including on "Beat Bobby Flay," "Kid's BBQ Championship" and "Cupcake Wars." Naples

"Day of the Dead" (1985) — This American zombie film is about zombies who have overtaken the world and scientists and soldiers hidden in an Everglades facility working to find a solution. Fort Myers figures prominently in the George A. Romero film, completing his "Night of the Living Dead" trilogy. 

"Night Moves" (1975) — Gene Hackman portrays a retired football player in Los Angeles. In his new job as a private investigator, he finds that his wife (Susan Clark) is having an affair with another man while working another case. The story eventually shifts to Florida, with Sanibel Island appearing in the film considered by one reviewer "a seminal modern noir work from the 1970s."

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"The Fat Spy" (1966) — Filming began in Cape Coral in 1965 and "The Fat Spy" starred Phyllis Diller, Jack E. Leonard, Brian Donlevy and Jayne Mansfield (who would die in a car crash two years later). Cape developers used the name to help publicize the region but few actually saw the film when it came out because it was so bad.

'Wind Across the Everglades" (1958) — Burl Ives, Christopher Plummer and Gypsy Rose Lee visited Southwest Florida for filming in Chokoloskee. The movie is about bird poachers who want the feathers for women's hats. Director Nicholas Ray ("Rebel Without A Cause") beautifully captures the region. The movie also marks the big-screen debut of Peter Falk ("Columbo," popular cop show in the 1970s). 

The film also features the handicraft of Budd Schulberg, who, along with his brother Stuart, wrote and co-produced the film. Budd Schulberg was best known for his original screenplay in the 1954 crime drama classic "On The Waterfront," which won him an Academy Award.


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