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Lights, Camera, Action—on the Cape & Islands!

Jennie Sparrow | 1/6/2018

Winter is the perfect season for watching movies. Whether you choose to gather the family in your living room to watch together, or bundle up and head out to your local theater, enjoying a movie is a great way to spend time while you wait for warmer weather! A number of pretty big name movies that have been filmed on the Cape and Islands—how many have you seen?

Released in 2017, Year by the Sea includes the National Seashore among its Cape filming locations. Based on Joan Anderson’s memoir, the film is about an empty nester who retreats to Cape Cod to reclaim the person she was before marriage and children.

      Filmed on Cape Cod in 2015, The Finest Hours stars Chris Pine, Casey Affleck, and Holliday Granger. Based on the book by Casey Sherman (Barnstable High School ’87) and Michael J. Tougias, The Finest Hours chronicles the February 1952 events of two oil tankers, the SS Pendletonand the SS Fort Mercer. The two ships encountered one of the worst storms to ever hit New England. Due to rough seas, both tankers literally broke in half ten miles off the coast of Chatham. What follows is an extraordinary and heroic rescue of the crewmen by the US Coast Guard.

      The Finest Hours being filmed on Cape Cod
      The Finest Hours being filmed on Cape Cod

      These are not the first movies to be filmed on location on Cape Cod and the Islands. Over 25 movies have been filmed entirely or in part in the area. Of course, not all were blockbusters. Below are just a few:

      1. Rip Van Winkle, the story of a man who slept for 20 years and awakens to find a very different world, was filmed in Barnstable in 1903.
      2. Jaws
        Jaws, courtesy of
      3. The blockbuster, Jaws, released in 1975, is the story of a shark and the small island community it terrorizes. The movie was filmed in various locations throughout Martha’s Vineyard as well as in Falmouth. One of the most recognizable sites is the American Legion Memorial Bridge, which sits between Oak Bluffs and Edgartown and is now often referred to as the "Jaws Bridge."
      4. Much of Jaws was filmed in Menemsha
        Much of Jaws was filmed in Menemsha; photo courtesy of property 17189
      5. The 80’s film, One Crazy Summer, starring John Cusak and Demi Moore, and was filmed almost entirely on Nantucket.

      6. A 1995 remake of a 1954 original, Sabrina, with Harrison Ford and Julia Ormond, is a love story with a twist. It was filmed in Chilmark and Vineyard Haven on Martha’s Vineyard. The cottage used in the film once belonged to Billy Joel and overlooks Chilmark Harbor.
      7. Race Point Light in Provincetown
        Race Point Light in Provincetown
      8. The 2009 film, The Light Keepers, filmed on location throughout Cape Cod, has a large number of scenes filmed at Race Point Light in Provincetown and Chatham Light. The story line follows a lightkeeper who does not want to associate with women but is forced to reconsider when two female visitors move into a cottage nearby for the summer.

      9. The 2012 movie, That's My Boy, starring Adam Sandler, features a replica of Fenway Park’s left field wall, the Green Monster. It was built at Dennis Middle School, and the cast and crew spent about two weeks filming on location in Dennis.
      10. Replica of Fenway Park’s Green Monster
        Replica of Fenway Park’s Green Monster

      Before embarking on your next Cape and Islands vacation, rent a few of these films, and then see if you can scout out some of the movie locations while visiting. If you are a real movie buff, consider renting a home that features a media room or entertainment center ( Eastham Vacation Rental - ID 28900, Siasconset Vacation Rental - ID 12838, Orleans Vacation Rental - ID 16720, Nantucket Vacation Rental - ID 21041.) Then you can watch these movies (and others) in a theater-like atmosphere while vacationing on the Cape and Islands!

      Enjoy a movie while munching popcorn in this home theater located in Oak Bluffs - Vacation Rental - ID 28062

      You may not give all these movies two thumbs up, but when you choose one of’s rental homes for your next vacation, you will certainly give your vacation two thumbs up!