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Movies and Television Series Filmed on the Cape

Photograph of a Movie Scene-- three women toasting with wine glasses on a beach, with text, "Our picturesque movie set. Movies and TV series filmed on the cape"

Hollywood will be coming to Cape Cod after Memorial Day, as a brand new television series that will air on the Starz network will begin filming here in May and June.

Hightown, a crime drama set on the Cape, will use parts of Commercial Street in Provincetown, including the Provincetown Marina and MacMillan Pier, for key scenes as it wraps up its first season of production.

The project will bring 125 cast and crew to the area, including Chicago Fire star Monica Raymund and James Badge Dale of Rubicon fame, and will feature a fake Provincetown Carnival parade down Commercial Street.

With the news that this upcoming television series will film on Cape Cod this spring, it seems like a good time to look back at other shows and movies that have used our picturesque part of the world as a set.


Rip Van Winkle

There’s a good chance you haven’t seen the film Rip Van Winkle because it is one of the first movies ever made. The oldest surviving motion picture in the world is Roundhay Garden Scene, which was filmed in 1888, but Rip Van Winkle, filmed in Buzzards Bay in 1896 and released as a serial made up of eight short films in 1903, is up there, as well. In fact, this is one of the first motion pictures to actually tell a story, as other films of this period focused on the spectacle of the moving picture, rather than the plot.


The Lightkeepers

The 2009 film The Lightkeepers is set on Cape Cod in 1912 and follows the story of two lighthouse keepers, played by Richard Dreyfuss and Tom Wisdom, who swear off women entirely. Things change, however, when two women move into a nearby cottage for the summer and the men are forced to interact with them. Scenes for this movie were filmed at Chatham Light and Race Point Light, in addition to other locations all over the Cape.


That's My Boy

One of Adam Sandler’s most memorable movies in recent years is That’s My Boy, which also stars Andy Samberg, James Caan, and Vanilla Ice. In the film, there is a scene where the characters play baseball on a field with a replica of Fenway Park’s Green Monster on it. That replica was built on the baseball field at Dennis Middle School, and the cast spent about two weeks in the town while filming.


One Crazy Summer

Demi Moore and John Cusack star in One Crazy Summer, a 1986 film about a group of teens planning to spend the summer on Nantucket, but are sidetracked along the way. Scenes prior to the group heading to the island were filmed at Hyannis West Elementary School, and lots of locals were used as extras during those shots.


Year by the Sea

Year by the Sea was released in 2017 and follows the story of a woman who moves to Cape Cod after becoming an empty nester in hopes of re-finding herself. The film is based on a memoir by Joan Anderson and scenes were filmed on the Cape Cod National Seashore, Eastham, Brewster, Wellfleet, Chatham, and Orleans.


Tough Guys Don't Dance

Tough Guys Don't Dance stars Ryan O'Neal and Isabella Rossellini and was released in 1987. The film is set and filmed in Provincetown, making it the last production to do so until Hightown. The film wasn't well received by critics, but it's still worth a watch because you'll be able to pick out some local landmarks, even more than 30 years later.


Dawson’s Creek

Most episodes of Dawson’s Creek were filmed in Wilmington, North Carolina, but the classic television series was set in the fictitious mid-Cape town of Capeside, and some scenes were actually filmed on Cape Cod, as well. In similar fashion, Summer Catch, perhaps the most well-known movie set on the Cape, was shot in South Carolina due to its winter film schedule.


More Hollywood to Come?

As you can see, Hollywood’s relationship with Cape Cod isn’t a new thing, and we’re sure to have more filming taking place here in the near future. For now, if you’re in the Provincetown area, producers will be looking for locals to fill the roles of extras in Hightown, and if the series is picked up for a second season, we’re sure to have additional scenes filmed on the Cape.

If you’re at all interested in checking out Provincetown as Hightown is filmed, keep an eye on the news for more information.

Published May 26, 2019 in Did You Know?, Get to Know Cape Cod