March is when Miami's attention turns to movies. It's the month for the Miami International Film Festival, which draws movies and filmmakers from allover the world.
The number of art film houses in Miami has grown in recent years, too, and you can see the latest independent film in Miami Beach, Miami Shores, Wynwood or Coral Gables.
Movies Filmed in Miami
The searing 2016 film "Moonlight," which won the Golden Globe award for Best Drama, is based on a play by Miami native and actor Tarell Alvin McCraney. The film includes scenes shot in Liberty City, where McCraney grew up, as well as at Jimmy's Eastside Diner on the Upper Eastside.
This 1960 comedy was filmed at Miami Beach's iconic Fontainebleau Hotel, which has also appeared in other films, including the 1964 James Bond film "Goldfinger" and Whitney Houston's "The Bodyguard" (1992). Jerry Lewis, who directed "The Bellboy," also played both the title character and himself as a famous hotel guest. During the four weeks of filming, he performed in the hotel's club at night.
Absence of Malice
This 1981 journalism field starring Sally Field and Paul Newman filmed scenes at a number of iconic Miami locations, including inside the The Miami Herald newsroom. That Bayfront building was torn down in 2015. But the 1928 Dade County Courthouse and the Villa Vizcaya Museum and Gardens are still around.
This 1983 film starred Al Pacino as a Cuban American drug lord. The film focused on the underworld of the cocaine trade and made the city look a lot scarier than"Miami Vice" did. All of the fancy estates were really in California, and if you don't recognize Little Havana, it's because those scenes were shot in the Little Tokyo neighborhood of Los Angeles.
Ace Ventura Pet Detective
This 1989 film starring Jim Carrey as a pet detective hired to track down the Miami Dolphins' kidnapped mascot used a number of popular Miami locations, including the real stadium where the Dolphins play. The place where Ace finds a shark in the basement is Villa Vizcaya.
The Bird Cage
This 1996 film was set in the South Beach nightclub scene. Robin Williams and Nathan Lane star as a gay couple whose son is marrying the daughter (Calista Flockhart) of a conservative senator (Gene Hackman.) The comedy showcases the Art Deco area of Miami Beach, including the Carlyle Hotel.
There’s Something About Mary
Most of this 1998 film was shot in and around Miami, though the "high school" where Ted and Mary go was actually the city hall in Plantation, a suburb of Fort Lauderdale. The Big Pink restaurant where Matt Dillon meets Jeffrey Tambor is still open, but the waterfront bar is in Rhode Island.
Any Given Sunday
This 1999 Oliver Stone sports drama about the fictional Miami Sharks football team used a number of Miami sports locations, including the current football stadium, the old Orange Bowl stadium (torn down in 2008) and the Homestead Sports Complex baseball training site. The Cardozo Hotel in South Beach and Vizcaya also make appearances. The house used as the home of quarterback Jack Rooney was actually the real home of Dan Marino, former quarterback for the real Miami Dolphins, in suburban Weston.
Marley and Me
Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston play newspaper reporters who relocate to South Florida (the real house used was in Hollywood, Florida) and adopt a dog to test out their parenting chops before they start a family in this 2008 film. The dog proves to be incorrigible, but they love him anyway and his antics became fodder for Wilson's columns and helped him discover his true talent as a columnist. Scenes were filmed at Bayside Marketplace in Miami, on Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale, at the football stadium in Miami Gardens and at Monty's Raw Bar in Coconut Grove. Fun fact: Marley was played by 22 different yellow labs.
TV Shows Filmed in Miami
Miami also has been the scene of a number of TV shows, including "Burn Notice," "The Jackson Gleason Show" and HBO's "Ballers."
But it was the TV show "Miami Vice" that really put the city on the map as a film location. When the series was announced, Miami's city fathers were unhappy, fearing that a story about crime would draw even more attention to a city that had been labeled "Paradise Lost" by Time magazine just a few years earlier. But the neon visuals and MTV-style of "Miami Vice" made the city look not just gritty but glamorous.
It also encouraged the preservation of South Beach's Art Deco architecture and made the city a desirable place to visit. Seeing the visuals on TV of a glamorous Miami that didn't really exist yet, filmmakers and producers of catalogs began using the city for a backdrop that entrepreneurs rushed to create in Miami Beach.
TV Shows Based in Miami
A number of TV shows were set in Miami but not filmed there, including "Golden Girls" and "C.S.I. Miami," which were both filmed in Los Angeles, though "C.S.I. Miami" does include some scene-setting shots.