5 Iconic Movies or TV Shows With Links to Tampa, Florida

    Tampa, Florida, has been a backdrop for numerous iconic movies and TV shows. From riveting dramas to hilarious comedies, the diversity and charm of Tampa have attracted filmmakers looking to capture its beauty on screen.

    In this post, we’ll explore five unforgettable movies and TV shows that have left their mark on Tampa. Whether you’re a film enthusiast or simply looking to add a dash of cinematic magic to your next Tampa visit, this list is your perfect starting point.

    The Infiltrator 

    The Infiltrator is a crime drama that takes place in the 1980s and follows the true story of undercover agent Robert Mazur as he works to take down Pablo Escobar’s infamous Medellín Cartel. While the majority of the film takes place in Miami and Colombia, there are some notable links to Tampa, Florida.

    Scenes were filmed at the now-closed Cephas HotShop, the iconic Derby Lane, the Dolphin Motel, Tampa Theatre, and Port Tampa. The Infiltrator may not be entirely set in Tampa, but it still manages to leave a mark on the city.  So, for all you potential Tampa residents, don’t worry– the streets are much safer now, thanks to the work of brave agents like Robert Mazur.

    Boardwalk Empire 

    While primarily set in Atlantic City during the roaring twenties, Boardwalk Empire, the acclaimed TV series, takes a memorable detour to sunny Tampa, Florida. In its fourth season, the series explores the lucrative, albeit murky, world of rum-running, a venture that brings several characters to the Tampa Bay area.

    This storyline not only introduces viewers to a warmer, more exotic locale than the chilly boardwalks of New Jersey but also showcases Tampa’s historical connection to the Prohibition era’s spirited (pun intended) underworld.

    With scenes that highlight Tampa’s tropical scenery and its then-burgeoning rum business, Boardwalk Empire offers a glimpse of the city’s less-known role in America’s colorful Prohibition history. For those considering making Tampa their home, rest assured that the only spirits you’ll encounter today are the friendly locals!


    When it comes to classic mob movies, Goodfellas stands out as a cinematic masterpiece. Though primarily set in New York, the film has an interesting yet lesser-known connection to Tampa, Florida.

    This connection unfolds when the characters, seeking to expand their empire, find themselves entangled in a scheme involving a Tampa-based business. Though brief, the scenes shot in Tampa add a layer of warmth and color to the film’s complex story.

    While Tampa’s cameo in Goodfellas isn’t as extensive as other cities, it serves as a quirky reminder of how even gangsters can’t resist the allure of Florida’s inviting climate and vibrant landscapes. Today, Tampa is much more about welcoming communities than wiseguy schemes, promising a great lifestyle far removed from the world of Henry Hill and his crew.

    Edward Scissorhands 

    In the imaginative world of Edward Scissorhands, Tampa’s unique charm is on full display – though not in the way you might expect. With its whimsical yet poignant storyline, this fantastical tale was filmed in the Tampa suburb of Lutz, transforming the area into the pastel paradise of Edward’s neighborhood.

    The film cleverly juxtaposes the area’s sunny, inviting environment with the protagonist’s sharp-edged dilemmas, offering a metaphorical slice of Tampa’s ability to blend diverse elements into something truly special. For those considering making Tampa their home, know that the city’s neighborhoods might not feature topiary masterpieces or homes in a kaleidoscope of colors. Still, the sense of community and warmth is just as palpable.

    Tiger King

    After the pandemic-era hit, this list would be remiss not to include the infamous Tiger King documentary, which took the world by storm in 2020. While the wild story of Joe Exotic and his eccentric cohorts primarily took place in Oklahoma, viewers may have noticed glimpses of Tampa sprinkled throughout the series thanks to Carol Baskin’s Big Cat Rescue.

    From shady business dealings to shocking characters, Tiger King is a larger-than-life tale that could only come out of Florida. While Tampa may not have its own private zoo, this city boasts many other exciting attractions and experiences that are just waiting to be discovered.

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