Movies Filmed in the Florida Keys – 1942 to 1979

There is a long history of filming in the Florida Keys. The unique ocean views, both above and below the water, continue to attract filmmakers. Listed below, by date, are movies filmed in the Florida Keys between 1942 to 1979, at least in part. The location information came from IMDb.

You can read more by clicking on these links Movies Filmed in the Florida Keys between 1980 to 1998 and 2000 to 2017

1942 – Reap the Wild Wind – Cast: Ray Milland, John Wayne
Florida ship salvager, Loxi, falls for Jack, captain of a shipwrecked on the Key West shore. However, their romance is complicated by the arrival of another suitor and eventually leads to tragedy.
Locations: Key West

1944 – Lifeboat – Cast: Tallulah Bankhead, John Hodiak, Walter Slezak – Writer: John Steinbeck – Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Several survivors of a torpedoed ship find themselves in the same boat with one of the men who sunk it.
Locations: Florida Keys

1945 – They Were Expendable – Cast: Robert Montgomery, John Wayne, Donna Reed – Director: John Ford
A dramatized account of the role of the American PT Boats in the defense of the Philippines in World War II.
Locations: Florida Keys

Movies Filmed in the Florida Keys1948 – Key Largo – Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Edward G. Robinson, Lionel Barrymore, Claire Trevor
A man visits his old friend’s hotel and finds a gangster running things. As a hurricane approaches, the two end up confronting each other.
They did some preliminary shots around the Florida Keys including Key Largo’s Caribbean Club but the rest of the movie was filmed in California.
Locations: Overseas Highway Key Largo, Key West, Seven Mile Bridge.

1951 The Frogmen – Cast: Richard Widmark, Dana Andrews
The new commander of a Navy Underwater Demolition Team–nicknamed “Frogmen”–must earn the respect of the men in his unit, who are still grieving over the death of their former commander and resentful of the new one.
Locations: Key West

1953 – Beneath the 12-Mile Reef – Cast: Robert Wagner, Terry Moore, Gilbert Roland
Fierce competition among sponge fishermen forces a Greek-American family to fish in the dangerous 12-mile reef area off the western coast of Florida.
Locations: Key West

1955 — The Rose Tattoo – Cast: Burt Lancaster, Anna Magnani – Written by Tennessee Williams
An Italian-American neighborhood in Louisiana is disturbed when truck driver Rosario Delle Rose is killed by police while smuggling. His buxom widow Serafina miscarries, then over a period of years draws more and more into herself, trying to force her lovely teenaged daughter Rosa to do likewise. On one eventful day, Rose finally breaks away; Serafina learns of Rosario’s affair with another woman; and a new carefree, handsome Italian truck driver enters her life… Written by Rod Crawford
Locations: This movie is set in Louisiana but filmed in Key West.

1957 – Carib Gold – Cast: Ethel Waters, Coley Wallace, Cecil Cunningham
The hard-working but struggling crew of a shrimp boat discover a sunken treasure. Trouble ensues in this dramatic black-cast production.
Location: Key West

1959 — Operation Petticoat – Cast: Tony Curtis, Cary Grant
During World War II, a commander finds himself stuck with a decrepit (and pink) submarine, a con man executive officer, and a group of army nurses.
Location: Key West, Key West Naval Station

1962 – All Fall Down – Cast: Eva Marie Saint, Warren Beatty, Karl Malden
Ralph and Annabell Willart are a feuding couple who are constantly bickering over their worthless, good-for nothing son Berry-Berry. When Berry-Berry begins yet another meaningless love.
Location: Key West

1962 — PT 109 – Cast: Cliff Robertson, Robert Culp, Ty Hardin
During WW2, Lieut. John F. Kennedy takes command of PT 109 to fight the Japanese in the Solomon Islands.
Location: Little Palm Island

1963 – Escape from Hell Island – Cast: Mark Stevens, Jack Donner, Linda Gaye Scott
A Florida boat captain loses his license after an attempt to smuggle some Cuban refugees results in a woman dying in the process.
Location: Key West

1967 – Clambake – Cast: Elvis Presley, Shelly Fabares – Bill Bixby
The heir to an oil fortune trades places with a water-ski instructor at a Florida hotel to see if girls will like him for himself, rather than his father’s money.
Location: Florida Keys, Everglades National Park

1967 – Tony Rome – Cast: Frank Sinatra, Jill St. John
Tony Rome, a tough Miami PI living on a houseboat, is hired by a local millionaire to find jewelry stolen from his daughter, and in the process has several encounters with local hoods as well as the Miami Beach PD.
Location: Marathon, Vaca Cut Botel

1973 – Hell Up in Harlem – Cast: Fred Williamson, Julius Harris, Gloria Hendry
A gangster in Harlem must rescue his ex-wife, who has been kidnapped by the Mafia.
Location: Florida Keys

1975 — 92 in the Shade – Cast: Peter Fonda, Burgess Meredith, Warren Oates, Margot Kidder
A young drifter returns to his home in Key West and attempts to open a fishing charter business, provoking a dangerous feud with a rival fishing sea captain.
Location: Key West, 336 Duval Street

1976 – Mako: The Jaws of Death – Cast: Richard Jaeckel, Jennifer Bishop, Buffy Dee
A man accidentally learns that he has a mystical connection with sharks, and is given a strange medallion by a shaman. Becoming more and more alienated from normal society, he develops an ability to communicate with sharks telepathically, setting out to destroy anybody who harms sharks.
Location: Key West

1976 – Treasure of Matecumbe – Cast: Robert Foxworth, Joah Hackett, Peter Ustinov, Vic Morrow, Jane Wyatt, Dick Van Patten, George Lindsey
In 1869 Kentucky, a young boy and his friends set out to find a treasure chest hidden by his late father in the Florida Everglades during the Civil War.
Location: Florida Keys

1978 – Hunters of the Reef – Cast: Michael Parks, Mary Louise Weller, William Windom
A salvage vessel captain finds himself in competition with a better equipped boat in a race to raise a wreck on the Florida coast.
Location: Key West

1979 – Butterflies in Heat – Cast: Alvin Alexis, Barbara Baxley, Pat Carroll, Eartha Kitt
A male hustler drifts into Key West, where he becomes involved in a series of steamy interludes with disreputable locals intertwined in various political intrigues.
Location: Key West

1979 – Firepower – Cast: Sophia Loren, James Coburn, O.J. Simpson, Eli Wallach, Jake LaMotta
A mercenary is hired by the FBI to track down a powerful recluse criminal. A woman is also trying to track him down for her own personal vendetta.
Location: Key Largo

Continue Reading – Movies Filmed in the Florida Keys 1980 to 1998 – 2000 to 2017

2 thoughts on “Movies Filmed in the Florida Keys – 1942 to 1979”

    • Thanks for your comment Julia.

      I originally had this movie on the list but couldn’t find any documentation that any filming was done in the Florida Keys. The Florida Keys are mentioned in the movie as a location of some of the action “Harry suspects that Delly may be trying to seduce her mother’s ex-lovers and travels to the Florida Keys, where her stepfather Tom Iverson (John Crawford) lives.” but it seems that the Florida scenes were filmed in Sanibel Island or Wakulla Springs. So I left it out.

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