Ever since Julie and I honeymooned in New Zealand back in 2004, we’ve been keenly aware that waterfalls show up frequently in the movies and on television. As you can guess, the Lord of the Rings movies certainly helped to reinforce our waterfalling obsession as they featured quite a few.
Since then, as we’ve visited more waterfalls, we’ve also paid more attention to them when they’d happen to show up both in the movies and even on television shows.
As a matter of fact, Julie and I started to engage in a little game where we would try to identify such waterfalls in real-time or on a search after the fact. Julie would frequently remark, “Where’s that? I wanna go there!”
Heck, we even started paying more attention to syndicated shows or movies on those odd lazy days channel surfing when we might stumble upon a waterfall scene and suddenly perk up our interest again!
So given this little game of identifying waterfalls and the show or flick that featured them, here’s a brief run down of some works where we definitely saw waterfalls…
Waterfalls In Movies Shot On Location
Perhaps the most famous waterfall scene that I can tell is the appearance of Manawaiopuna Falls in Jurassic Park. It appeared in the helicopter landing scene just as the main characters first arrived at the namesake park.
In Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the main characters were going over one waterfall after another. The first two drops were part of the side waterfalls from the Argentina side of Iguazu Falls. However, the very last drop just happened to be the Devil’s Throat!
Sticking with the international theme, we saw in the Baz Luhrmann movie Australia, it featured Mitchell Falls in the trailer and what I thought might be King George Falls in a very short scene. Meanwhile, the swimming scenes may be one of the smaller waterfalls within El Questro or other parts of the 4wd road between Kununurra and Drysdale River Road.
Finally, Julie and I immediately noticed the waterfall in the background when Katniss went looking for Peeta in The Hunger Games movie. This was a case where we didn’t know about the waterfall when we first saw the movie. However, when we later visited Triple Falls in North Carolina, we finally made the connection!
Real-life Inspired CGI Waterfalls In Movies
The movies that I mentioned above don’t even include computer-enhanced or computer-generated waterfalls appearing in movies. Having visited these waterfalls, we knew the real-life waterfalls clearly inspired their CGI doppelgangers.
You could even make the argument that the imaginary floating island waterfalls in the movie Avatar were similarly inspired by Angel Falls. Meanwhile, Iguazu Falls, Kaieteur Falls, or other wide rainforest waterfalls found in South America and Africa inspired the wider CGI waterfalls appearing in the movie.
In the Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Mangawhero Falls became the Forbidden Pool. In that scene, an oblivious Gollum went to catch fish under the watchful eyes of Faramir and Frodo.
And if you’re a Twilight saga fan (whether you admit it or not), a modified Multnomah Falls made a few cameos in the Vampire Baseball scene. This waterfall also showed up on the closing credits of that first movie in the series.
Waterfalls That Appeared In Television Shows
What about waterfalls that appeared in TV shows?
One show that brings me back to my very young childhood (yes, I’m probably dating myself by saying this) was the show Fantasy Island. The double-barreled Wailua Falls made repeated cameos in the opening credits of Season 2.
During the height of the whole vampire phenomenon, the Vampire Diaries featured a waterfall scene. Specifically, the main character Elena spent her last day as a human climbing up towards the top of Amicalola Falls.
Julie and I also used to watch the show Covert Affairs where Annie Walker was supposed to vacation at Niagara Falls with her sister Danielle. However, drama from her job at the CIA started to creep into her time off.
Although the setting of the show took place in Lawrenceton, Georgia, the real-life waterfall was in the town of Montour Falls, New York.
I’m sure there are many more examples that I’m missing. Any others that you can think of?
Waterfalls That Appeared In Television Commercials
We even started seeing familiar waterfalls show up in TV commercials that aren’t travel agency or tourist board ads.
The first one that comes to mind is the Jeep Wrangler TV Commercial featuring Telluride’s Bridal Veil Falls. In this advertisement, an attractive female dropped a note to a guy she was interested in. The note contained GPS coordinates, because “Jeep Wrangler owners speak their own language.”
Then, there’s the curious Carl’s Jr. TV Commercial featuring the Plitvice Waterfalls at the very beginning of the ad before a burger suddenly appears and covers up most of the screen.
With the proliferation of energy beverages these days, we noticed that a Five Hour Tea commercial had featured a gushing waterfall. I’m still trying to figure out which waterfall they featured, but I can’t say for sure. My guess is that it’s Oregon.
Finally, there’s another Jeep commercial featuring a wide (and noisy) waterfall in a lush forested setting. I don’t think we’ve been to that waterfall, and I’m still trying to figure out which one it is.
Commercials come and go so it’s hard to track the various other commercials featuring waterfalls. Do you know of any others?
So what is it about seeing waterfalls in the media that makes us remember them? Is it because we’re waterfallers so we happen to be paying more attention to them on a medium as well-watched as the silver screen or television screen?
Is Hollywood just as passionate about waterfalls as us?
And as there’s a greater proliferation of low-budget and self-made videos popping up on video sites like YouTube and Vimeo as well as in social media, we’re also seeing the blurring of the line between the well-produced shows in the media versus amateur and semi-pro videos from the internet.
I can definitely foresee the day when the importance of TV and the movies takes a back seat to popular videos that went viral on social media (if it hasn’t happened already).
But in the mean time, we’ll still be enjoying the game of identifying waterfalls that we just so happen to come across in a movie, TV show, or commercial.
It’s just in our DNA, I guess…
Which Waterfalls In The Movies Or On TV Shows Are You Curious About?
Any movies or TV shows or TV commercials where you’ve seen waterfalls featured?
Feel free to pose your question (you can add also add clips or images), answer, or comment below, and see if we can all learn a bit more about these waterfalls and the shows or films where they made appearances…