1. Where The Boys Are (1960)
Obviously, the list starts here. The 1960 film about four co-eds solidified Fort Lauderdale’s status as the Spring Break capital. For people who only know it by reputation, a viewing can be something of a surprise – it’s got elements of light comedy, but it also gets into elements of sex and sexuality that were not always seen onscreen in 1960.
2. Marley and Me (2008)
Not only was this 2008 film shot in and around Fort Lauderdale, it was based on the bestselling book by former Sun-Sentinel columnist John Grogan. The tale of a newspaper journalist, his wife and the perpetually misbehaving dog that provides so much fodder for his column, this one remains a favorite with dog-lovers a decade later.
3. Flight of the Navigator (1986)
The plot of this 1986 family-friendly science fiction film involves extraterrestrials, NASA, time travel…it takes some explaining. Less explaining is needed for the role Fort Lauderdale plays in the film. The beach, the Intracoastal, drawbridges, the much smaller downtown of 1986 – Fort Lauderdale is practically a co-star here.
4. Girl Happy (1965)
Two caveats about Girl Happy. One, it’s not a great film – this is one of those forgettable movies Elvis Presley made in the ’60s. Two, while it was set in Fort Lauderdale, it wasn’t really filmed here; the MGM lot and Southern California beaches fill in for that. But it’s worth the price of admission just for Elvis’ cheesy musical ode to the city, “Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce.” (Sample lyric: Any male in Fort Lauderdale/who is not pursuing a cute female/Will automatically land in jail/That’s the law in Fort Lauderdale.)
5. Fair Game (1995)
This is a bad film. It’s a bad 1990s film starring Cindy Crawford as a lawyer who gets mixed up with underworld bad dudes and Billy Baldwin as the cop charged with protecting her. And it’s a bad film that was mostly filmed elsewhere in Florida. But Google “Fair Game apartment explosion” to see the one scene that was quite clearly shot on Las Olas. We’ll leave it to you to decide if the scene, like the rest of the film, is so-bad-it’s-kinda-good or just bad.