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Hawaii (1966 film)

original 1966 Spanish language film poster
Directed by George Roy Hill
Produced by Walter Mirisch
Screenplay by Daniel Taradash
Dalton Trumbo
Based on Hawaii
by James A. Michener
Starring Julie Andrews
Max von Sydow
Richard Harris
Gene Hackman
Jocelyne LaGarde
Carroll O'Connor
Music by Elmer Bernstein
Cinematography Russell Harlan
Edited by Stuart Gilmore
Distributed by United Artists (1966, original) MGM (2005, DVD)
Release dates
  • October 10, 1966 (1966-10-10)
Running time
189 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $15 million[1]
Box office $34,562,222[2]

Hawaii is a 1966 American film directed by George Roy Hill and based on the novel of the same name by James A. Michener. It tells the story of an 1820s Yale University divinity student (Max von Sydow) who, accompanied by his new bride (Julie Andrews), becomes a Calvinist missionary in the Hawaiian Islands. It was filmed at Old Sturbridge Village, in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, and on the island of Oahu in Hawaii.


The story follows Prince Keoki Kanakoa, the Reverend Abner Hale and his wife Jerusha, who join the prince on mission to the Islands of Hawaii for the Calvinist church with the promise to make Kanakoa a minister. Upon their arrival to the islands, the ship stops in Lahaina, Maui before going on to Honolulu, Oahu where the main church has been established. There they are greeted by the aliʻi nui, Malama Kanakoa, Keoki's mother, who stops the Hales from traveling further when she demands Jerusha remain in Lahaina to teach her to write. Reverend Hale attempts to teach her of the Christian God first but she refuses until she, herself can write. Only after that will she listen to Abner's Christian teachings. As Hale learns, there is a serious difference between a destiny calling to him and the call to recognize the needs of others.


The film was based on the book's third chapter, From the Farm of Bitterness, which covered the settlement of the island kingdom by its first American missionaries.[3] Needing a Polynesian female for the key role of Malama, the Alii Nui, the producers hired a native Tahitian for the role. French-speaking Jocelyne LaGarde had never acted before and could not speak English; however, her screen test showed a powerful presence, and the producers hired a coach to train her phonetically to handle the character's dialogue. Of the all-star cast, LaGarde would be the only one to earn an Academy Award nomination and the only one to win a Golden Globe Award. Making early screen appearances in this film were Bette Midler, John Cullum, and future Oscar winner Gene Hackman. The film was also the highest-grossing film of 1966, and critically praised for its stars and story. Originally, it was to be directed by Fred Zinnemann, the man who made From Here to Eternity, but Zinnemann had fought with United Artists a few years before the film was made and left the production to go to England, to work on A Man for All Seasons. Director George Roy Hill was subsequently asked to work on the film, which he agreed to do, and the film became the only epic he directed. He would do other films, but none as successful or on a scale as epic as this, with the exception of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Sting. The film would also feature appearances from Henrik von Sydow and Clas von Sydow, the real sons of star Max von Sydow, who play Abner's son Micah at different ages. The film inspired the sequel The Hawaiians, which got released four years later and was set 40 years after the events in this film: it starred Charlton Heston, John Phillip Law and Geraldine Chaplin.

Availability of different versions

The film as originally released ran 189 minutes (including overture, intermission, entr'acte, and exit music). This roadshow version would be issued on VHS and LaserDisc from the best available elements. For general release, this was then subsequently cut by United Artists to 162 minutes and is the version seen on the 2005 DVD release from MGM Home Video (as the best elements suitable for DVD came from the general release). Both versions have been broadcast on Turner Classic Movies and This TV Network.


The principal characters in the film were portrayed as follows:

Bette Midler also had her first on-screen movie appearance in Hawaii as a ship passenger with no dialogue.

Award wins

Award nominations

See also


  1. ^ Tino Balio, United Artists: The Company The Changed the Film Industry, Uni of Wisconsin Press, 1987 p 181
  2. ^ "Hawaii, Box Office Information". The Numbers. Retrieved April 16, 2012. 
  3. ^ Canby, Vincent. The New York Times  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ "The 39th Academy Awards (1967) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved 2011-08-24. 

External links