Best and Worst Movies Shot in Miami Beach, From Scarface to Sly Stallone's The Specialist

For years, wealthy Miami Beach residents -- including celebs like Alex Rodriguez -- have pimped out their mansions as movie studios. Now, however, it seems locals are finally getting pissed off over the scenic island getting turned into a giant film set.

Is the neighborhood nuisance worth it? Well, it injects nearly $90 million per year into the Miami Beach economy. But the product is hit or miss.

We decided to rank some of the best and worst flicks filmed on Miami Beach, from the coke-fueled classic Scarface to Sly Stallone's superbad The Specialist.

See Also:
- As A-Rod Battles His Neighbor, Miami Beach's Film Industry Hangs in the Balance

Starting with the best movies Miami Beach has played host to...

Scarface (1983)
By now, everyone in Miami knows by heart the story of Tony Montana, a murderous Marielito who snorts and shoots his way to the top of the city's crime scene. Mostly filmed south of Fifth Street on the Beach, the movie is much more than Pacino's icon snarl. It's a meditation on soul-destroying pursuit of power.

Goldfinger (1964)
Gold-coated corpses, killer hats, Sean Connery as 007, and Pussy Galore. As close to movie perfection as you can get. Its opening sequence was filmed at The Fontainebleau.

The Birdcage (1996)
Nathan Lane and Robin Williams drive this comedy, filmed on Española Way in South Beach. A box-office hit, The Birdcage lovingly pokes fun at South Florida's gay culture while taking serious shots at Antisemitism, homophobia, and close-minded conservatism.

Miami Beach's mediocre movies...

Tony Rome (1967)
Frank Sinatra does his best Humphrey Bogart impersonation in this noir flick filmed at The Fontainebleau. Sinatra lived in one of the penthouses during the shoot and performed at the hotel in the evenings. According to local historian Dr. Paul George, the fastidious crooner hung his suits in the shower to make sure there were no wrinkles.

The Bellboy (1960)
It may be hard to believe, but before Jerry Lewis started those annoying charity fund-raising telethons on public television, he was something of a slap-stick genius. In this black and white movie (also filmed at The Fontainebleau), Lewis bumbles from one over-the-top scene to the next. Like it or not, Lewis's antics paved the path for modern movie idiots like Sacha Baron Cohen, Leslie Nielson, and Chris Farley.

The Bodyguard (1992)
Sometimes a killer theme song can make a kind of crappy movie worth watching. So it is with The Bodyguard, an early 90s movie with Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston that is most remembered for the pop singer's anthem "I Will Always Love You." Thanks largely to her and Costner's chemistry, the film raked in nearly half a billion dollars around the world.

And the worst movies made on Miami Beach...

Step Up Revolution (2012)
Every once in a while, a movie so captures the soul of a place that it is forever inextricably linked with that location in the minds of millions. This is not one of those movies. Instead, Step Up Revolution is a mash-up of pop-culture phenomenons like break dancing or flash mobs and Miami stereotypes. The result is hyper-vibrant nonsense that purports to say something about how gentrification and development are ruining Miami Beach, but instead is really a two hour trailer for tits and ass.

2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
Compared to this movie, Step Up Revolution deserves an Oscar. 2 Fast 2 Furious is pure car porn, just like its predecessor. Filmed in Miami and Miami Beach.

The Specialist (1994)
Sylvester Stallone is a Miami Beach-based bomb-maker with a heart of gold. What could go wrong? Um... everything. Despite making nearly $200 million at box offices worldwide, The Specialist is especially sh*tty.

And a few of Miami Beach's cult classics...

Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach (1988)
This one's pretty self-explanatory.

Flesh Feast (1970)
Florida Nazis bent on conquering the world try to reanimate the body of Adolf Hitler. Filmed on Miami Beach because... why the hell not?

Nightmare Beach (1989)
Miami Beach is a hellish, sex-obsessed land of devilish bike gangs. So what if this movie only got two out of three right? It's still worth watching for the absurd murders, including a bizarre biker electrocution scene. There's also T&A aplenty, and -- for the ladies -- muscle-bound men in mesh t-shirts. Oh yeah.

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes. Follow this journalist on Twitter @MikeMillerMiami.

KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael E. Miller was a staff writer at Miami New Times for five years. His work for New Times won many national awards, including back-to-back-to-back Sigma Delta Chi medallions. He now covers local enterprise for the Washington Post.