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Miami plays a double role as the lavish metropolis fancied for its pristine beaches and sexy nightlife, and the gritty, drug-hub, crime-plagued town of the ’80s. Just as opulent and glamorous now as it was once dangerous, here are 10 film posters that capture the essence of Miami.
A remake of the 1932 film with the same name, the cult classic film Scarface recounts Miami’s drug era in the ’80s. The film portrays the influx of Cuban immigration to the city, expatriates who left Cuba when Fidel Castro came to power, and those who arrived later for economic reasons during the Mariel boatlift crisis. Tony Montana, played by Al Pacino, captures the stereotypical Cuban refugee who arrives in Miami on a boat and later gets into the cocaine business with Colombian drug dealers.
A comedy film mixed with crime gives a fun twist to Miami’s sports world. The eccentric pet detective, Ace Ventura (played by Jim Carrey), is on a mission to discover who stole the Miami Dolphins football team mascot, a bottlenose dolphin named Snowflake. With cameos by the team’s quarterback Dan Marino, the film captures the fanaticism of Miami’s football fans.
Shot in the famous Fontainebleau Hotel on Collins Avenue on Miami Beach, the movie features no plot but shows the main character, Stanley the hotel bellboy, getting into clumsy situations. The 1960’s film showcases Jerry Lewis as the idiotic bellboy, and a look into the hotel life in one of Miami’s most distinguished and glamorous hotels.
Sexy, fun and funny, this romantic comedy film stars Sarah Jessica Parker, Antonio Banderas, and Mia Farrow. Parker (as Gwyn Marcus) has just accepted a proposal from her boyfriend, but has second thoughts as she learns her own family is having multiple affairs. The scenery is set on Miami’s piers and beaches, and bears a comical lightness that captures the playful attitude of the city.
The sequel to the 2001 movie The Fast and the Furious, this movie showcases Miami’s raunchy nightlife and stereotypical crime scene. Filmed at Miami Beach, the Seven Mile Bridge, and Sylvester Stallone’s mansion in Coral Gables, the car racing flick stages the sexy Miami style with a plot involving violence, crooked cops, and money laundering—all very familiar themes in the city.
A Hole in the Head tells the story of an eccentric, irresponsible widower (Frank Sinatra) who is on the verge of losing his Miami hotel, the “Garden of Eden,” due to a mounting debt. His shopping addiction and dreams of luxury are akin to the real-life Miami culture that spends on sports cars, expensive suits and women. Set on the glamorous Ocean Drive in Miami Beach, the film shines a light on Miami’s Art Deco architecture, the 1950s Cadillacs and the glitzy, glamorous side of the city.
Directed by Michael Bay, the buddy-cop action film stars Martin Lawrence as Marcus Burnett, and Will Smith as Mike Lowrey as narcotics-division detectives investigating the smuggling of ecstasy into the city. Once dubbed the “drug capital of the world,” Miami had a series of drug wars in the 1970s and ’80s between the United States government and drug cartels. Smugglers were found with $100 million worth of cocaine in the Miami International Airport. The film plays on the drug trafficking the city was once a popular hub for.
The fourth installment in the “Step Up” film series, Step Up Revolution opens up on Ocean Drive to the sight of colorful vintage convertible cars blocking the street and dancers feeling the heat of the city as music is blasting led by the flash-mob “M.O.B.” The steamy dance scenes and backdrop of the beaches is characteristic of a Miami vibe where the heat is felt under the sunny skies and palm trees, and sex is always an underlying theme.
Two sisters, Kay and Barbara Latimer (played by Betty Grable and Carole Landis), decide to move to Miami to marry a rich man when they realize their inheritance will be only $4,000, not $55,000 as expected. They take the trip with a third friend and check into the famous Flamingo Hotel. Famous for its wealthy visitors, the real-life Flamingo Hotel opened from the 1920s–’50s perched along the Biscayne Bay on Miami Beach. The 1940s film gives a look into Miami’s high society and the middle class who aims to enter it.
Based on the 1980s TV series, the film Miami Vice is directed by Michael Mann, and stars Colin Farrell as Crockett, and Jamie Foxx as Tubbs, who are on an investigation to root out drug cartels. The typical drug cartel stories tell of a dark Miami deeply plagued by organized crime and greed.