Getting to Know Miami Beach Through TV and Movies
With its picture-perfect beaches and pastel-colored Art Deco buildings, Miami Beach has long been sought after by tourists and residents alike, as they revel in the neighborhood’s glamor and partake in its many attractions, both on and off the sand.
Unsurprisingly, it has also been sought after by television and movie producers over the past several decades, who have filmed dozens of TV shows and films here.
Those who want to know just how many were filmed here, along with the precise locations of shoots, can explore “Filmed on the Beach,” an interactive digital tour developed by Miami Beach Arts & Culture. Or, you can explore on your own by visiting locations in the following areas.
From the picturesque roads that lead to Miami Beach—the McArthur and Venetian causeways—to the glamorous Ocean Drive and the famous 5th Street Gym, South Beach is chock full of locations (32 in all!) where TV shows and films have been shot dating back to the early 1960s through the present day.
It’s such an alluring location that it’s inspired some shows to relocate, including the “Jackie Gleason Show,” which moved from New York City to Miami Beach in 1966 and was filmed in what is now the Fillmore.
Anybody who’s driven from the high-rise environs of Downtown Miami to South Beach via the McArthur Causeway can’t help but notice how dramatically the atmosphere changes. Your surroundings go from looking like an average urban downtown to a scene, well, straight out of a movie.
What some people might not realize, though, is that the driving scenes featuring Elvis Presley in “Clambake” (1967) were shot between Hibiscus Island and MacArthur Causeway. At nearby Star Island, the first episode of “Burn Notice" (2007-13) was filmed, along with the scene in “Bad Boys” (1995) where Mike and Marcus discover the corrupt ventilation installer.
Shortly after entering South Beach, you’ll drive past the 5th Street Gym, which has ties to celebrities dating back to as early as 1967 when the movie “Tony Rome” (1967) featuring Frank Sinatra was filmed here. The Beatles visited the gym to much fanfare in 1964 and Muhammad Ali, Jackie Gleason, and Burt Lancaster also paid visits.
Moving further east to the southernmost point of the neighborhood, you’ll reach South Pointe which has been the site of the climax scene of “2 Fast 2 Furious” (2003), along with the beach scenes from “Any Given Sunday” (1999), and “Mean Season” (1985), “Bizarre Foods” (2012-19), “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” (2009 - 2019), and “Man vs Food” (2010 - 2019).
Moving north to Ocean Drive, the infamous "chainsaw scene" from “Scarface” (1983) was filmed at 728 Ocean Dr. and a scene from the first episode of “Burn Notice” (2007-13) involving the meeting with Sam was filmed at 660 Ocean Dr. Also filmed on Ocean Drive was “Dexter” (2006-13) and “Miami Vice” (1984-1990).
Washington Avenue has also been a hot spot for filming. The New York City night club featured in Miami Vice’s first episode was actually filmed on 1235 Washington Ave. The 2006 remake of the movie also featured the site as a night club; in this movie, it was a Miami-based night club.
Just a little north on Lincoln Drive, you’ll find spots were some of the scenes of Armand and Albert walking through the market in "The Birdcage” (1996) were filmed. Also filmed at the 1111 Lincoln Road parking garage was the music video “No Guidance” with Chris Brown featuring Drake.
Though it might not have the same name recognition as its neighbor to the south, Mid-Beach still has enough cache to be an attractive location to Hollywood. Home to Millionaire’s Row and several high-profile hotels, it has also been the site of Hollywood sets for decades.
If there’s an epicenter of filming in Mid-Beach, it is the Fontainebleau Miami Beach where the list of TV shows and movies shot here is long: “The Bodyguard” (1992), “Scarface” (1983), “A Hole in the Head” (1959), “007 Goldfinger” (1959), “The Frank Sinatra Timex Show: Welcome Home Elvis” (1960), “The Bellboy” (1960), “The Sopranos” (2002), “Miami Vice” (1984), and “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (2019).
Further north on Collins Avenue is where “Miami Vice” filmed the car and boat chase for the pilot episode of the series. This is also where the show’s main characters, Crockett and Tubbs, met for the first time. Nearby, at 5225 Collins Ave., “Man vs Food” filmed an episode where Adam tried to eat a 48-ounce steak at Shula’s restaurant.
While North Beach has a decidedly more low-key atmosphere than areas south on the beach, it has also been the site of several classic film locations, along with some newer productions. “Bad Boys III” (2019) and the training scenes from “Bay Watch” (2017). Music videos by the Jonas Brothers (“Cool”) and Pitbull “Fun” were also shot at the Ocean Terrace hotel beachfront area.
One of the most important moments in music history was filmed at the Deauville Hotel where the Beatles performed live in 1964 on the “Ed Sullivan Show.” At the 63rd Street Bridge, you’ll find the area used for filming many of the establishing street shots of Miami Beach in “The Godfather II” (1974).