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...and Welcome to South Seas Cinema! Home of Tikis, Volcanoes, Palm Trees, Taboos, Waterfalls, Moonlit Lagoons, Sandy & Sunny Beaches, Outrigger Canoes and Beautiful, Barely Clad Wahines found on the big and small screen.



MUTINY ON THE BOUNTYSouth Seas Cinema is a motion picture genre that is set on the tropical islands of the Pacific. More specifically the isles of Oceania (Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia). South Seas Cinema is not a new genre but an unrecognized film category. This website will help in educating all of this genre's reality and to help promote its existence. Important note:Although generally located north of the equator the settings of the Polynesian island chain of Hawaii and Micronesia are very much included in this "South Seas" genre. The term "South Seas" although geographically means South of the equator has also a popular or "Hollywood" meaning of any tropical Oceanic isle. This popular definition, whether incorrect or not, is the meaning used to define this "Hollywood" and world-wide motion picture genre.


A "motion picture" (the literal meaning not the popular meaning of feature film) or "moving images" is any major production where motion photography is used. For example, film features or shorts, television programming, commercials, cartoons, music videos, etc.. A "genre" means a category or grouping by common characteristics of artistic work. General film genres are defined by two methods, "emotional" and "geographic". Popular emotional genres are "Romance", "Comedy" or "Drama". Well known examples of geographic movie genres are "Space"or the "Western". South Seas Cinema is obviously a geographic genre. Emotional and geographic genres can inter-cross. For example a Comedy or Drama can be set in different settings like in Space or in the West, equally so a Western or a South Seas movie can also be an emotional film with Romance or say Suspense. This inter-cross of genre types makes it, at times, difficult for those who want to organize their film collections but for this website the discussion is centered on the geographic genre of the South Seas regardless of the emotions these productions emote.


By the definition above, common characteristics of South Seas films or videos are, first and foremost the same setting (a tropical Pacific isle), typical images (palm tree, hula maiden in grass skirt or sarong, aloha shirts, leis, moonlit beaches, lagoons with waterfalls, etc..), steel guitar or ukulele music, trope plots and cliché situations. Cases of scene tropes are the canoe greeting scene, the big luau feast, the seductive dance, the sacred tiki god, the fleeing exploding volcano scene and oh those taboos. As one can see by these similar scenes it is by in large a fun and adventurous genre. It is also know as the "Escape to Paradise genre" because escapism is a major theme in this movie category. What must be also recognized in establishing this genre is its age (the first shorts where shot in Hawaii by an Edison film crew in 1898), its popularity as a subject in other media as in art and literature, and it's numbers. The South Seas Cinema Society which sponsors this website has researched and found over 600 feature films, many shorts, numerous documentaries, hundreds of television shows and special episodes, countless cartoons and several titles in other major film, video or digital productions.

This website will list all the titles that has been discovered over the years in some of these motion picture categories. One can find these titles with related data by clicking on the SHOWS pages on the above Bamboo Page Bar (on the top of most pages) or the colored underlined title word (scattered throughout the website). Hopefully more titles will be added by this sites viewers. Input will be welcome by contacting us by clicking on CONTACTS on the Bamboo Page Bar. Furthermore, helping to establish this genre as a valued film type are the many quality filmmakers and actors involved with these movies and TV shows. Click on these colored and underscored words BEACH of FAME or SHOWS or on these same page titles listed on the Bamboo Page Bar (again, found on the top of most pages) to see and read about many of these legends.

Now that you have an ideal how to navigate through the website, one can learn more about the site with the Q & A below.


There are many ways to divide this genre but for this website the many South Seas show titles will be simply divided unto these production types: FEATURES, SHORTS-SERIALS, TV-CABLE MOVIES & MINIS, TV SHOWS, TV-ADS and TOONS. All found on the SHOWS pages. One can quickly discover that included with theses titles are other important information like, year released, producing studio or U.S. distribution company, foreign country of origin (if not listed the title was made by the U.S.). Also stars, producers, directors, and writers of interest, Polynesian actors, and a brief description of each story. Sometimes within the description are the location of story or it's set (Tahiti, Hawaii, Samoa, etc.) and shooting location (L.A. stage, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, etc.). Note: the set of story and the shooting location can be different. For example the 1978 "FANTASY ISLAND" was shot at a Southern California location but set on a Pacific island (note the leis and Polynesian canoe on the still photo to the left).


Simply go to any page on this website (click on any page title on the Bamboo page title bar above), Once on a page click "EDIT" on most browsers and point down until one hits the title "Find on this Page..." then a dialog box will open. In the dialog box just type in any keyword or keywords and click on the "Next" button. When continuously hitting the "NEXT" button one can see how many times certain actors, clichés, locations and other data are repeated within the genre. When using the "NEXT" button over and over one can form ones own sub-list for personal reference and for statistical use. This repetition also makes for interesting study and helps legitimize South Seas Cinema as a genre.


Another page topic on the Bamboo Page Bar is IMAGES which contains many South Seas posters of various sizes. These posters produced by the film studios are interesting because they show common trope or cliched images of this genre. Also found in the IMAGES page are a couple of fun sections, TOON IMAGES and POLY POP POSTERS. The TOON IMAGES section are a mixture of animated images that can be found in both a South Ses setting and in a setting outside of Oceania but illustrate a Pacific Island influence. This same Oceanic influence outside of the Pacific can be observed in the POLY POP POSTERS section of the IMAGES page. Not only are there posters here in this section but many screen captures as well that demonstare the differences between South Seas and Poly Pop images.

Also on the BEACH of FAME page on the Bamboo Page Bar, besides finding noted actors and filmmakers from Hollywood and elsewhere, one can find a Beach of Fame list of actors and filmmakers of Polynesian descent. One can observe in this section of POLYNESIAN PERSONALITIES that one maybe surprised to find the some of these personalities have a part Polynesian genetic background. Below this section is the section of POLYNESIAN ACTOR ACTION FIGURES, a unique collection of Polynesian Actors under the heavy alien makeup or sci-fi costumes. A new page added is the Polynesian Pop Pictures page or labeled POLY POP PICTS on the Bamboo Page Bar. On this Poly Pop page one will find film, shorts, TV shows and cartoons with Pacific Island influences in scenes with a setting outside the Pacific, ie. tiki bars or college frat luau themed parties. For more illustrations of the Poly Pop Culture experiences on film check out the POLY POP POSTERS section also found in the IMAGES page.

IMPORTANT NOTE for images with no captions (different web browsers have different processes): in Windows Internet Explorer, right click over the image, scroll down and click on "Properties", on bottom of small window read the name of the image for more information like show titles. In Google Crome right click on image, a menu will appear, find the word "Inspect" and click on it. The screen will split into two windows and code will appear. The code of your image, that you clicked on in the first place, will be highlighted and within that highlighted code one can see the title of image and other simple information. Microsoft Edge and Firefox are similar to Crome but after right clicking a image a menu will appear, then here click on the words "Inspect Element" and the code will appear in a bottom split window but unlike Crome more information like styles will appear to the right of the highlighted line code, which info is not needed, so drag the dividing bar to the right to see more of the line code on the left. In Apple's Safari it is a little more complicated. First make sure Safari enables "Show develop menu in menu bar" which is located in the bottom of the "Advance" options in the "Preferences" menu. Once this is established "Contol" click the internet page then click "Inspect Element", select images on the left then as one clicks through the images in the list one we see the image information on the right.

Novarro & Janis in THE PAGAN w capsFinally there is the ABOUT S.S.C.S. Page which is information on the South Seas Cinema Society (who sponsor's this website) and the CONTACTS page where one can contact the webmaster of this website. Go explore the site, like one explores an idyllic South Seas Island, discover your own things and have fun.


The authors of this website adhere to the original spirit of the World Wide Web where research and images were shared without any fees nor repercussions. The fact of the matter is while the data collected on the website was from years of research most of the images on this website were founded and shared via the World Wide Web. Some images have watermarks to help identify the entity who digitized the original image for viewing on the net and this website will attempt not to remove them unless the watermarks where outside the final image size and had to be cropped out. *Important note: Many of these images originated from movie studios. Most of images on this website are from the publicity and marketing departments of these studios (like stills, posters and trailers). Many items, that are represented by images within this site, were handed out freely or used for advertising purposes. The open trade of these publicity items, over the years, have constituted a "common practice" for the spirit of the modern U.S. copyright laws. Almost all images are credited with producing studio along with title, released date and noted actors (if any) within an image and show descriptions, with such information one could look up show titles for purchase. The intention and spirit of this website however is of a resource and educational nature. As authors of this website we implore any users of this site to reuse or copy any hard earn data or images (with proper citation or original source information) for the same purposes of research and education and not for selfish commercial gain. Freely receive freely give - not SELL! One of the most important aspects of the South Seas Cinema genre are the paradisiacal, colorful and sensual images that were produced by the studios to attract the potential audience to the theatres or to "escape" from the mundane 9 to 5 cement world we normally live and work in. The authors of this website would be amiss not to include the commonality of some of these images to recognize tropes of this movie category and in doing so helps legitimize South Seas Cinema as a film genre. One should view and compare these images as to establish this commonality. This website makes viewing these images not only convenient and educational but indirectly entertaining and fun, just like the genre itself. These images (promotional stills and trailers and screen captures) are found throughout this site and more so under page titles SHOWS, BEACH of FAME, POLY POP PICTS, and IMAGES. To access these pages click on the page titles listed on the Bamboo page title bar near the top of this and other pages or on the title page words themselves if they are colored and underlined like the words in the previous sentence.


One can find VHS, DVD, Blue Ray, and 4K Disc titles that are sold on many movie websites. This website does not sell anything but suggest readers to find these titles to buy them on the regular market at an authorized brick and mortar store or online sales. Although this is a research and educational site we encourage all viewers of this website to buy or rent these movies. Personally watching these movies is the best way to research and enjoy these titles. This site is just a convenient resource to find and study these titles and ultimately to view these films. The authors of this website does not mind this site also being labeled as a publicity tool to sell these films and TV shows as in the same spirit the studios does not mind us using their publicity images for promotional purposes. Again all images are captioned or titled with the important information to look up and buy these films and TV titles. Also important to note that the authors of this website encourage only the legal and legitimate trade of all copyrighted copies of these movies. Please do not search on the web and buy, view or copy so-called "black" or "gray" market illegal copies of these titles. If the studios, networks or independent filmmakers lose money they may not continue to produce more South Seas Cinema titles and more so it is illegal to buy, sell, or trade these black or gray market titles in most countries.


For one's information, a few important sub-genres have also been recognized. i.e. "WWII in the Pacific", "The Surf Flick", "Ship- or Plane-wrecked on an Island" and "Travel over or on the Pacific". Also other known titles for this genre besides the "Escape to Paradise Genre"are: "Polynesian Movies","Polynesian Pictures","Pollywood", "South Pacific Movies", Oceanic Cinema, or "South Seas Movies" and "Hawaiian Movies". These other titles could also be sub-genre titles or in the net world "tags"for "South Seas Cinema"

Especially now with the "Polynesian Pop" revival throughout the modern world, this genre, whatever the name, is catching on. This current "Polynesian Pop" movement is about the recognition of the influences of Polynesia in popular American and other global or western cultures. This influence has merit with the returning G.Is from WWII Pacific bringing home some of their South Seas experiences in the form of Oceanic trinkets to the Tiki Bar and an Architectural style found on motels and restaurants thoughout 50s and 60s America. This is all making a comeback in this new century. Now one can buy shower curtains and throw pillows with a South Seas theme and one can easily find new supplies to build and maintain a personal Tiki Bar.

Of course early popular South Seas stories in book form, major stageplays, popular sheet music, and Polynesian themed restaurants (with some music coming from real native musicians) were all in vogue before WWII but no one can deny what influences the early South Seas Movies had on the western culture as a whole. Whether good or bad, politically or culturally correct from sexual permissiveness to interracial marriage, from tattoos, bikinis (real pacific native words), steel guitars, ukuleles, surfing and its derivative sports, this genre, as well as the real cultures it represents, has a profound impact on the modern way of western life.


Although, as established, South Seas Cinema can be a fun genre, but it also represents the peoples and cultures of the Oceania.  As primarily a western Hollywood construct for the western audiences, almost all of these films are centered on the “white” characters who “escaped” the western “9 to 5” rat-race of Euro/American modern society.  The paradisiacal scenery of the islands, shown on the screen, contrasts with the paved and cemented cities of the continents.  For the most part, and especially western produced South Seas Cinema productions, the island beauty as well as the local islanders are merely background.  Most Oceanic cultures portrayed in these films are incorrectly or haphazardly represented.  The irony is (and there are many ironies on this subject) that for a western escapist to the Pacific today, one will find the same cement, paved parking lots; 9 to 5 plus work schedules; ill health caused by modern processed foods, tobacco, alcohol and drugs; the need for health care and insurance, diseases; invasive species; taxes; laws; Christian morality; and all the other high cost of living or modern ills, one tries to escape from in the first place. 

While a small idyllic deserted island may still exist in the Pacific it would be hard to find one today with the agreedable yet exotic peoples and cultures of pre and early contact Oceania.  Most of today’s contemporary South Seas film and TV titles that are produced by indigenous islanders, expatriates or colonials living on these isles, will reflect this modernality or reality.  Sadly and ironically, this "ideal" paradise may now ONLY exist on the big and small screen of South Seas Cinema itself.  Furthermore, this idyllic utopia or so-called "heaven on earth" of this imagined Pacific islands are inhabited on film as brownpainted westerners or Asians, but almost all are typecasted, as non-agressive, lazy and ignorant natives with no morality, no culture and with agreeable natures (noble savages & dusky maidens) that just invites the westerner to visit or colonize them or convert them to a so-called better life. Nothing could be farther from the truth. These were intelligent people having rich cultures and deep histories of their own. History has shown that the indigenous peoples of the Pacific had governed themselves for centuries. They could navagate the vast Pacific hundreds of years before Magellan or Cook. Their arts and crafts as well as song, dance and even sports were as developed as any European societies at the time of discovery. Also some other major omitted representation or misrepresentions on film and TV were; the devastation by western introduction of desease, innocent and unintentional island sexuality, first contact violence with massive killings of unsuspecting native islanders, the real meanings of tabu or kapu systems, and western colonization, modernization, and tourism with their negative impacts. Perhaps a “Warning” screen that should read before each title: “The Representations of the Pacific Peoples and Their Cultures in the Following Film or TV Show May or May Not Be Depicted Correctly” or a rating of IR or Incorrect Representation.

Homework or research in this programs could of made and will make all the difference, but for some in Hollywood, homework is money, and money is everything. Anther irony, while money and profit meant everthing for the western portrayers of Pacifica, but for the early and pre-western contact Pacific islanders depicted, money and profit meant nothing, for there was no need for a monetary system in such a Polynesian society.  Also, a modern, indigenous, independent filmmaker can do a culturally correct film for almost nothing, compared to a Hollywood film, why? Because to the islander there is minimal homework involved just portraying life as they naturally know it, within their own natural Pacific Island locations.  For the Hollywood filmmaker the portrayal of any Pacific Island background means travel, lodging, shipping or creating a faux South Seas environment within their soundstage walls, all expensive endeavors. Now building or recreating any paradisiacal environment will cost the same, it is only a matter of doing it correct or not.  With the inexpensive and exhaustive internet, proper homework can be fast and cheap.  There should not be any excuses for a badly portrayed South Seas movie today. Critical obseravation of these films show that those titles filmed on the actual island a story is set in, will usually be portrayed more correctly. Access to native cultural advisors, authentic props and sets, and native casting for at least the bit parts along with actual beautiful backgrounds, always add tremendously to the production values of a film.

Alas, there is history.  The South Seas Cinema titles listed on this website are, not only disasters or masterpieces, but now a matter of historic record.  A record, we wish to document and expand on, whether for the use by simple movie lovers, who are looking for fun or looking for an escape or for serious Pacific Island scholars who want to research the film archives for native misrepresentation by the west. 

The final irony is that some observations have shown that Oceanic indigenous audiences who see some of these Hollywood South Seas pictures are not offended but laugh at the contents of these films, even when the storylines are dramatic, why?  The theory is that misrepresentations are funny for them, similar to a male impersonating a female, it never looks right, so for many it is construed as funny. Also local island audiences viewing a western film representing their islands, are more interested in the background, places where they personally visit, shop or trade in real life or in the case of an older film, places where they used to go or where the elders used to talk about.  The historic and nostalgic value of the background in these films are more important than the foreground of white centric characters in a white centered plot. 

No matter what one’s intent or background, please enjoy the content of history of this website.

SSC Links Bamboo Bar

Hollywood Hula - Great site for Pacific Island filmmakers and their fans
Moving Images of the Pacific Islands - Large database of films and videos
Tiki Chris Presents South Seas Cinema - Another site that recognizes S.S.C.
TV Acres: Hawaiian & South Seas - Early site that categorized S.S.C. TV
Sonny Watson's Street Swing: Hula - Another fun webpage on hula in films & TV
Beachbum Berry - Lots of great "TIKI" bar sites, this is one of the best
South Pacific Organizer - Great Pacific Island travel site, check out Films page
Tiki Central - Open 24 hours, giant forum site on anything Tiki
Critiki - Great reference for "Finding Tiki" look up, add to or Critikize any
Tiki location with Polynesian Pop architecture from Tiki bars to Tiki bowling alleys

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