Arts/Culture

15 Movies and TV Series With Famous Miami Film Locations

Miami has some of the best-preserved history in the country, making it the perfect filming location. From Scarface and The Birdcage at Ocean Drive to the less known Magic City television series and the new HBO series Ballers, check out this guide for the rundown on what was filmed and where in this vibrant, tropical city.

15. Ballers

In the new HBO series Ballers, follow retired NFL player Spencer Strassmore (Dwayne Johnson) as he cruises around Miami hotspots and tries to break into the sports management industry. Get an inside look into Star Island when he throws a yacht party to attract potential clients. Then he talks shop with NFL stars at the Biltmore, a lavish resort in Coral Gables that dates back to the 1920s. If you’re party of the royalty set, you’ll get used to extravagant lunches on their opulent garden terrace. For the Ballers, it’s just a typical day in paradise.

Star Island Miami

14. Burn Notice

In the campy spy series Burn Notice, follow down and out former agent Michael Weston (Jeffrey Donovan) as he outsmarts bad guys and comes up with clever DIY spy gadgets. In the show you’ll find him on Ocean Drive where he schemes with his partners in crime on his latest case. In another episode, he does some charity work for one hapless man who lives at Sherita apartments, the art deco building looking worse for wear and standing out among the posh boutique hotels and condos in the Collins Park neighborhood of South Beach. Looks like there’s trouble in paradise.

Collins Park Miami

13. Dexter

Although most of the Dexter series was shot in Long Beach, California and meant to resemble Miami, the first few episodes were filmed in Magic City. In fact, the pilot opens with Dexter (Michael C. Hall) cruising down Ocean Drive and checking out the heart of South Beach and its glorious art deco. As dead bodies begin to pile up and a serial killer on the loose, things get even more messy when a body of a prostitute is found at Seven Seas Motel on Biscayne Boulevard. For a psychopath targeting call girls, the old motel is the perfect setting for PG13, television horrors.

12. Goldfinger

It all starts at the Fontainebleau when James Bond (Sean Connery) finds Auric Goldfinger (Gert Frobe) cheating at cards. For the first installment in the Bond franchise to be filmed in Miami, what better place to start than the opulent and historic Fontainbleau, which is considered by many as one of the most luxurious resorts in Miami Beach. You’ll find it situated among the sleek condos and old money mansions of Millionaire’s Row. Designed by Morris Lapidus in 1954, it is one of the architect’s finest achievements, and cheers to him because the Fontainebleau has been featured in so many movies, it’s a movie star itself. So pick a posh spot at the bar for a martini, shaken, not stirred.

11. Notorious

While Alfred Hitchcock’s 1946 mystery thriller Notorious is set in Miami, most of it was filmed on a set in Hollywood. Opening with the title “Miami, Florida, 3:20pm, April, 20th, 1946” get ready for Hollywood’s take on Miami in the 1940s with palm trees swaying under the tropical sun and art deco sets modeled after the historic Ocean Drive. Still buzzing from their success of Spellbound (1945), the movie star dream team Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman forge an unlikely romance under the Miami Beach sun with the help of palm trees, lots of martinis, and a classic Hollywood wardrobe. The magic happens in a Hollywood studio, but the spirit of Miami permeates every scene.

Ocean Drive Miami

10. Reno 911: Miami

When the rag-tag Reno Police Department heads to Miami for a conference in Reno 911: Miami, things get messy when a bio weapon threat quarantines the Miami Police force. Now it’s up to Lieutenant Dangle (Thomas Lennon) and the gang to keep the city safe. What could possibly go wrong? Follow the kooky crew to all the South Beach hotspots like Lummus Park across from Ocean drive where they spot Terry (Nick Swardson) being indecent, again. Then, Dangle and Officer Trudy (Kerri Kenney) run into some mishaps in the bedroom at the shabby International Inn on Normandy Drive. In between all-night partying and unfortunate tattoos, it’s back to serious police work at the Miami Beach Police Department on Washington Ave. For the degenerates at Reno PD, Miami feels right at home.

Lummus Park Miami

9. Birdcage

In a wonderful clash of cultures, watch two worlds collide when a young couple in love gets engaged in the classic screwball comedy Birdcage (1996). Staring America’s favorite comedy duo Nathan Lane and Robin Williams, the story centers around a flaming cabaret queen (Nathan Lane) who tries to pass as a right wing housewife to meet the new in-laws. Looks like a recipe for disaster and comedy gold. Along the way, there’s a stop at the Lincoln Road Farmer’s Market that still happens every Sunday afternoon. Then it’s time for the big show at the Birdcage club on Ocean Drive. Standing in for the club is the Carlyle Hotel, the famed art deco marvel in the heart of South Beach.

8. Flying Down to Rio

Hollywood has been mesmerized by the allure of the tropics since the early days of film making. In the 1933 classic Flying Down to Rio, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers make their first appearance together, which marked the beginning of a stellar dancing duo legacy to come. In the lively musical extravaganza, follow the world’s best dance team as they tap, twirl, and croon their way across Miami and Rio. It all starts at Hotel Hibiscus, a studio set modeled after Miami’s historic art deco buildings. Although most of the movie was filmed on a studio set, it captures the spirit of Miami with lavish art deco interiors and Hollywood’s version of Ocean Drive in the 1930s.

7. Caddyshack

The classic 1980 comedy Caddyshack was primarily filmed at golf resorts in Plantation and Ft. Lauderdale, but the hilarious boating scene with Rodney Dangerfield was filmed at a yacht club in Biscayne Bay. While an old man (Ted Knight) shows off his modest sailboat, Dangerfield comes roaring past in a huge yacht near the Rusty Pelican restaurant off the Rickenbacker Causeway. It starts out with a few boat jokes before he revs the engines and blasts past the marina at full speed. He may have destroyed his little boat, but he got a scratch on Dangerfield’s anchor. The nerve of that guy. Some people just don’t belong in paradise.

Miami Yacht Club

6. Pain and Gain

Michael Bay’s campy, over-the-top action movie Pain and Gain is actually based on the true story of the Sun Gym Gang and their slew of murders, thefts, and general Miami mayhem. In the Hollywood version, it’s Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson wreaking their special brand of havoc all over the tropical city. The first stop is Biscayne Boulevard outside of mural of a topless Latina by local artist Krave, a place where leader Daniel Lugo (Wahlberg) ponders his next move. Then, after their big score, Johnson rolls up to Fontainbleau, the historic hotel on Collins in Millionaire Row. With his luxury ride, tons of dirty money, and smoking hot arm candy, he’s living the dream, South Beach style.

5. Magic City

The original Starz series Magic City only lasted two seasons, which is a shame because it is one of the only newer shows set in the 1950s in Miami. Even better, much of the show was filmed on location in spots you might recognize. While hotel mogul Ike Evans (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) juggles the hotel business and dangerous gangsters, follow him around the historic art deco hotels on Ocean Drive and Millionaire Row. Meanwhile, his son Danny (Christian Cooke) heads to seedy Washington Ave circa 1959 where he tries to save a good girl gone bad. After picking up the pretty blonde from the wrong side of the tracks, they have a heart to heart over beers at Club Deuce, a Miami institution since the 1950s.

4. Miami Vice

Dust off your white leisure suit from the 1980s and follow in the footsteps of Don Johnson’s James Crockett as he battles with gangsters and their illegal White China in the hit show Miami Vice. Now a Kenneth Cole store on Collins Ave, the little counter service bodega used to be the place where Crockett stops for a café con leche and a smoke while talking shop with informants and detectives. Further north on Washington Ave, Cameo nightclub is the spot where Detective Crockett gets a shakedown from a dangerous criminal. Now a hip-hop hotspot with lap dance Tuesdays and twerking contests, Cameo still has its original façade that you’ll recognize from the legendary hit television series. For Detective James Crockett, it’s all about looking cool, feeling cool, and catching bad guys.

3. Marley and Me

In the family tearjerker Marley and Me (2008), follow columnist John (Owen Wilson) as he makes a home with his wife Jenny (Jennifer Aniston). When Jenny gets a raise they celebrate over Cuban food at Latin American Café situated at the Bayside Marketplace, a popular dining and shopping area off Biscayne Boulevard in downtown Miami. Then it’s a family outing with Marley at the Dolphin Stadium in Miami Gardens. Heading west over the Rickenbacker Causey to Brickell Ave at SE 11th street, John and Jenny share precious moments with their fuzzy little bundle of love. You’ll also catch a shot of Crandon Beach Park at Key Biscayne in the scene where the couple walks hand in hand on the beach and ponders starting a family. Cute dogs, family life, and walks on the beach. It doesn’t get more wholesome than that.

Crandon Beach Park Miami

2. Ace Venture: Pet Detective

With Snowflake, the beloved Miami Dolphin mascot kidnapped, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994) captures the heart and spirit of this vibrant city. Naturally, there are quite a few scenes filmed at Dolphins Stadium in Miami Gardens where Snowflake gets taken. In between sniffing around the stadium for clues, Ace Ventura (Jim Carrey) calls Campton Apartments home sweet home. The run down apartments on Washington Ave are currently undergoing major renovations. Then, catch a peek into the debauchery of high rollers when Ventura searches for clues at a mansion party at Vizcaya, the 1916 villa in Coconut Grove that is a must-see on your next trip to Miami.

1. Scarface

Jackie Gleason may have put Miami on the map with his iconic Fillmore and art deco influence, but Brian de Palma’s Scarface (1983) immortalized its party image with a twisted update on a gangster classic. Fresh off the boat from Cuba, Tony Montana (Al Pacino) wreaks havoc on Miami when he becomes the ringleader of a powerful cocaine operation. At the glitzy Ocean Drive at 13th St., Montana gets his first taste of freedom and the American Dream. But first he survives a potential chainsaw massacre at an art deco apartment, which is now Johnny Rockets at 728 Ocean Drive. His name might be Tony Montana, but he’ll forever be remembered as Scarface.

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