We all know JAWS was filmed on Martha’s Vineyard right? That’s a big one, and one that will surely never be forgotten (JAWS 2 and JAWS: The Revenge were also filmed here too). To this day you’re hard pressed to visit Martha’s Vineyard without being confronted with JAWS merchandise, or offered a JAWS tour where you can visit locations where the movie was filmed. We even have a bridge names after the movie. JAWS is an inherent part of our culture and what put us on the map so to speak. In 1975, JAWS became the original summer blockbuster and visitors soon began flocking to the real life Amity island.
While JAWS dominates much of the cinematic fanfare synonymous with our island there are several other movies that have been filmed here over the years, as well as movies that have been set here but filmed elsewhere. For those movie lovers and Martha’s Vineyard lovers out there here’s a round up of some of Hollywood’s other film with Vineyard ties that will make you nostalgic for Martha’s Vineyard again and again. So settle in and plan a movie marathon to the theme of Martha’s Vineyard.
Director John Curran revisits what happened on the Dike Bridge on Chappaquiddick the night that Sen. Ted Kennedy drove his car off the bridge in a late night accident that killed a young woman, Mary Jo Kopechne in 1969. The film follows the investigation, media maelstrom, and Kennedy family crisis that followed. Most of the movie was filmed elsewhere in coastal Massachusetts, but some filming took place on the Vineyard, including on Chappaquiddick and at the Chappy ferry, made to look as it did in 1969.
Off Season (2017)
This independent film is a is a horror-laced thriller that tells the story of a woman who takes refuge on Martha’s Vineyard during the off-season, after her husband is convicted of a financial fraud. She befriends a 10-year-old girl through whom she discovers a dark and murderous past. The film was shot on Martha’s Vineyard in April of 2013, primarily at Flat Point Farm and Nip ’n’ Tuck Farm in West Tisbury. Several local Islanders appear in the film, including the actor that plays the 10-year old girl.
Da Sweet Blood of Jesus (2014)
Director and seasonal Vineyard resident Spike Lee, chose the island as the setting for his 2014 love story, one that centers on an addiction to blood that once doomed a long forgotten ancient African tribe. Much of the movie takes place on the Vineyard — although, aside from a few shots outside the Martha’s Vineyard Airport, the Island scenes are limited to one remote beach house and its surroundings.
Clear History (2013)
A marketing executive at an electric-car start-up company played by played by seasonal resident Larry David, quits after an argument with his boss, played by Jon Hamm. He is subsequently crushed when the company hits the big time, so he tries to reinvent his life under a different name in the peace and quiet of Martha's Vineyard. Other than some scenic and aerial shots no parts of the movie were filmed on the Vineyard.
Jumping the Broom (2011)
This comedic drama from director Salim Akil brings two very different families together on Martha’s Vineyard one weekend for a wedding. Scenes shot aboard the ferry, and several scenic shots of the Vineyard were filmed on location while much of it was filmed in Blue Rocks, Nova Scotia as a stand in for the Island. Starring Paula Patton, Laz Alonso, and Angela Bassett.
The Ghost Writer (2010)
Roman Polanski directed this political thriller about a ghost writer, hired to complete the memoirs of a former British Prime Minister, who is in hiding on Martha’s Vineyard. He uncovers secrets that put his own life in jeopardy. While much of it was filmed off-Island, including Cape Cod, scenes of the writer in the BMW most closely resemble Martha’s Vineyard. Starring Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan, and Olivia Williams.
Stuck on You (2003)
This slapstick comedy from filmmaker brothers and seasonal residents Bobby and Peter Farrelly brings Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear together, literally as conjoined twins from Martha’s Vineyard. The duo moves to Los Angeles so Greg Kinnear’s character can pursue an acting career. Other parts of coastal Massachusetts were filmed to portray Martha’s Vineyard, with some isolated shots of our local harbors and other scenic island shots were used.
A 90s remake of a 1954 original, Sabrina, with Harrison Ford and Julia Ormond, is a love story with a twist and was filmed in Chilmark and Vineyard Haven on Martha’s Vineyard. The cottage used in the film once allegedly belonged to Billy Joel and overlooks Chilmark Harbor.
The Bostonians (1984)
This romantic drama from director James Ivory is about a Boston feminist and a conservative Southern lawyer contend for the heart and mind of a beautiful and bright girl unsure of her future. Set in 1875, Martha’s Vineyard is one of several locations the film was photographed at. Starring Christopher Reeve, Vanessa Redgrave, Jessica Tandy.
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