Waterfalls in the Movies

It’s not just nature enthusiasts, waterfallers, hikers, and holiday makers that love waterfalls. Hollywood loves them, too! In fact, they’re featured in many movies and their presence in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy even influenced our decision to honeymoon in Jackson’s home country of New Zealand. Indeed, I remember vividly the scenes of Gollum getting caught at the Forbidden Pool (The Two Towers), Aragorn sending Boromir’s corpse on a raft over the waterfall at Tol Brandir (The Fellowship of the Ring), and the plethora of waterfalls at the Elven enclave of Rivendell (The Fellowship of the Ring; The Return of the King).

So this got me to wonder: which other movies have waterfalls in them?

One of the most recent that comes to mind is the latest installment of Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones adventure – Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull where the mighty Iguazu Falls featured prominently. Although some creative liberties were taken with this waterfall (e.g. that there were three drops, that you could survive going over the Devil’s Throat, and that there was some hidden lost word somewhere behind the waterfall), the movie made us look back upon our experience at the falls and identify where the camera crew got their shots from.

Plus, who can forget the waterfalls in Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park series (e.g. Manawaiopuna Falls in Kaua’i and Honokohau Falls in Maui come to mind)?

Or what about the 1980 movie The Blue Lagoon (1980) starring Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins, where they slid down the Waitavala Water Slide in Taveuni, Fiji?

Even waterfalls that weren’t filmed on location like in the movie I remember seeing as a kid The Goonies (1985), which had a young Sean Astin (you know, Sam – Frodo’s sidekick) and a young Cory Feldman amongst others. The scene I’m thinking about had a waterfall in some underground cavern that eventually became the scene of the kids’ escape back into the outside world.

Some other examples of waterfalls in the movies that are out there include:

  • Niagara (1953) starring Marilyn Monroe
  • Dr No (1962), a James Bond movie starring Sean Connery
  • Cocktail (1988) starring Tom Cruise
  • Blue Hawaii (1961) starring Elvis Presley
  • Lilo & Stitch (2002) the animated Disney flick

And finally, there’s the soon-to-be-released movie starring Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman in Baz Luhrmann’s Australia where movie trailers have shown the remote Mitchell Falls in the Kimberley and the Emma Gorge Waterfall near the exclusive El Questro Lodge on the Gibb’s River Road west of Kununurra. In fact, Kidman claims that she and allegedly several other women got pregnant after waterfall swims because the waters near Kununurra somehow enhanced fertility.

Indeed, Hollywood is attracted to waterfalls and I guess that also makes them waterfall fans like me!

Johnny T. Cheng is author of the award-winning A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls (Story Nature Press). Find out more about his book and the waterfalls he’s visited at http://www.world-of-waterfalls.com

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