Hawaii

Critics Consensus

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67%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 9

51%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,531
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Hawaii Photos

Movie Info

Hawaii hadn't even begun filming when director Fred Zinnemann was replaced by George Roy Hill; similarly, the role intended for Charlton Heston ended up being played by Richard Harris (though Heston would eventually star in the 1970 sequel, The Hawaiians). Based on James A. Michener's best-selling novel, the time frame of which was spread out over several centuries, the film concentrates only on the years 1820 to 1841. Still, Michener's basic point, that the virginal sanctity of the Hawaiian islands was forever shattered by the incursion of the white man, remains intact. Max Von Sydow stars as Abner Hale, an imperious minister who settles in Hawaii with his wife, Jerusha Bromley Hale (Julie Andrews). While Abner expects the islanders to adapt to him rather than the other way around, Jerusha goes out of her way to understand and appreciate her new neighbors. She eventually seeks comfort in the arms of her former lover Rafer Hoxworth (Richard Harris). Despite the lush location footage and such spectacular highlights as pagan ceremonies and an outsized typhoon, the scene most filmgoers remember is Julie Andrews' agonizingly convincing childbirth sequence. All told, it took seven years to translate Hawaii from script to screen -- and almost that long to make back its 15-million-dollar cost. In the early scenes of Hawaii (the 171-minute version, rather than the 151-minute reissue), Bette Midler plays a bit part as a ship passenger.

Cast

Julie Andrews
as Jerusha Hale
Max von Sydow
as Abner Hale
Richard Harris
as Rafer Hoxworth
Torin Thatcher
as Rev. Dr. Thorn
Carroll O'Connor
as Charles Bromley
Elizabeth Cole
as Abigail Bromley
Diane Sherry
as Charity Bromley
Heather Menzies
as Mercy Bromley
Gene Hackman
as John Whipple
John Cullum
as Rev. Immanuel Quigley
Lou Antonio
as Rev. Abraham Hewlett
Jocelyne La Garde
as Queen Malama
Malcolm Atterbury
as Gideon Hale
Dorothy Jeakins
as Hepzibah Hale
George Rose
as Capt. Janders
John Harding
as Collins
Robert Oakley
as Micah (age 4)
Henrik von Sydow
as Micah (age 7)
Clas S. von Sydow
as Micah (age 12)
Bertil Werjefelt
as Micah (age 18)
Bette Midler
as Passenger
View All

Critic Reviews for Hawaii

All Critics (9) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (6) | Rotten (3)

  • Hawaii, as it happens, is a normal, lively, fairly intelligent ten-ton mouse.

    Jul 22, 2013 | Full Review…
    TIME Magazine
    Top Critic
  • Hill's direction, solid in the intimate dramatic scenes, is as good in crowd shots which rep the major external events.

    Mar 26, 2009 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • The conflict between naïve dogma and naïve innocence is effectively established, but the spectacle is always broader than it is deep.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…
    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Although the film tells the sadly ironic story of the extinction of one culture upon invasion by another, one comes out of the theater not so much moved as numbed.

    May 9, 2005 | Rating: 2/5
  • The film features a towering performance by Max von Sydow ... although it's Jocelyne LaGarde who nabbed the most praise for her delightful turn.

    Feb 6, 2016 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • It cost more than $15 million, and every penny is on the screen.

    Jul 22, 2013 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Hawaii

  • Mar 20, 2019
    Apparently, a historical work presented through an entertainment format, this is not exactly to everyone's taste, concerning a young couple (Max von Sydow & Julie Andrews, both excellent) sent to indoctrinate the native islanders to the joys of Christ. Or so it would seem. Actually they are the unknowing vanguard of out and out colonization. Shown with an even hand and avoiding moralizing, it is an exceptional dramatization and, to my mind, not to be missed. If it is disturbing, then it has performed a mighty function. My favorite of director George Roy Hill.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Nov 18, 2010
    Turgid, overlong epic has beautiful location scenery and a story with possibilities- organized religion's arrogant assumption that what it believes is right even if it destroys a civilization is right. While it conveys that in many ways something is ultimely missing from the overall film that keeps it from being involving keeping the viewer at a distance. Von Sydow is a fine actor but his Reverend Hale is such a pompous, small minded autocrat that spending over 2 1/2 hours with him is a trial. Julie Andrews is wasted although she does have one good scene near the end.
    jay n Super Reviewer
  • Jul 16, 2008
    Interesting to see the effects of over zealous Christians.
    Anthony V Super Reviewer

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