'From Here to Eternity' is one of the most decorated and beloved films in movie history, having earned eight Academy Awards, including those for Best Picture and Best Director. With an all-star cast that includes Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Donna Reed, Deborah Kerr and ol' blue eyes himself, Frank Sinatra, the story of a group of soldiers stationed on Hawai'i in the days leading up to Pearl Harbor was an instant landmark in American pop culture history.
But beyond the film's metaphorical landmarks, 'From Here to Eternity' also boasts a very real landmark thanks to one of the most famous scenes in movie history: the kissing-on-the-beach sequence where Lancaster and Kerr roll around in the Pacific Ocean's frothy waves, lips locked as the surf washes over them.
Which has led to generations of move fans wondering one thing: we know where "Here" is, but where exactly is "Eternity?"
Location as Character: The rendezvous between First Sergeant Milton Warden (Lancaster), and his lover, Karen Holmes (Kerr), is a rather illicit one considering that Holmes is married to Warden's commanding officer. It's also the high point of their fling, as Warden later refuses to become an officer, leaving the upwardly mobile Holmes to dump him in search of a more career-oriented man on the side.
As infamous as their kissing sequence is, though, it's actually surprisingly short, lasting all of about six seconds before they jump up and run to drier ground. That may be in part because of censorship concerns and the moral concerns of the time; in the book, the duo is depicted as having full-on sex during this sequence, something the film's producers could only hint at obliquely with their cascading tide.
Historical Significance: While some tour guides might steer you wrong by telling you that 'From Here to Eternity' was filmed at Hanauma Bay, don't listen; they're just being lazy. Actually, it was filmed in a tiny cove nearby. Though its official name is Hālona Cove, it's also known by the slightly more colorful nicknames of "The Peering Place" (thanks to its scenic view) and "Cockroach Cove" (for reasons we'd rather not guess at). Since the movie hit it big, though, it's taken on a much more obvious name -- "From Here to Eternity Beach."
Fun Fact: The beach romp is probably 'From here to Eternity's' most famous scene, but rumor has it another infamous movie scene came out of production as well -- the horse head sequence from 'The Godfather'! Though all parties deny it, whispers have circulated for years that the opening sequence of 'The Godfather' -- in which the mafia strongarms a movie exec into casting a hot young crooner in his next pic -- is based on true events surrounding Sinatra's selection for 'From Here to Eternity.'
Directions: Hālona Cove is handily located just a few miles outside of Honolulu on Oahu, so getting there is a fairly simple task. Take Interstate H-1 east until it turns into state route 72 -- also known as Kalanianaole Highway -- and continue just a couple miles to Hanauma Bay. Once Past Hanauma, look for a scenic overlook on your right called Hālona Blowhole Overlook; you can park here and walk down to the beach.
And now you finally know how to get from here to eternity.
Visitor Info: Hālona Cove is beautiful, but it is also dangerous. The tiny cove acts as a bottleneck, causing surprisingly strong tides that disguise hidden rocks beneath the waves; swimmers are advised to be very careful, as there are no lifeguards and the current can be deceptively powerful. The walk down to the beach is no picnic either, as it's both steep and rocky, so you'll need to take caution right from the moment you leave your car.