As hammock lovers, there’s a certain thrill whenever we spot our beloved hanging bed on the silver screen. Whether in the background or at center stage, hammocks have helped advance the storyline in plenty of films, from black-and-white Hollywood classics to today’s cutting-edge 4D animation. So grab a bowl of popcorn, kick back and relax as La Siesta presents six of the hammock’s golden movie moments.
This 2009 sci-fi blockbuster by James Cameron presents a very positive view of the hammock. The Na’vi, who live on the lush planet Pandora, are intelligent, peaceful creatures who care for and respect their environment—so of course they sleep in hammocks!
Na’vi culture prizes hammocks, not only for safety and rest, but also to facilitate family bonding. Hammock lovers should note the Na’vi language includes specific references to hammocks that translate as ‘cradles’ that keep them safe.
A reaffirming depiction of the mixture of pleasure and utility offered by the hammock is found The Muppets. Originally created by Jim Henson in the 1950’s, this furry cast of characters have been living the show-biz dream for more than half a century. Their 2011 film charmed long-time fans and drew a new generations of followers.
Hammock lovers may recall when Kermit finds Rowlf laying back in a hammock on his front porch. Here the hammock serves as a symbol of relaxing and of the good life. Later in the film, the hammock provides rest and respite when the Muppets, tired from a long day of rehearsing their song-and-dance routine, all fall asleep in hammocks strung from the roof.
On Stranger Tides
Hammocks have been used by sailors for centuries, so it’s no surprise that they would show up in any seafaring movie worth its salt. Hammocks were used by sailors to rest, sleep…and sometimes, to plot mutiny.
The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise made Captain Jack Sparrow into the world’s most-loved pirate. The 2011 film On Stranger Tides, starring Johnny Depp, pulls out all the stops to entertain the masses, with stormy seas, swashbuckling sword fights and plenty of sailors in hammocks, dreaming of mermaids and treasure chests. And of course, when it comes to pondering plunder and treachery, there’s no better backdrop than a hammock.
Master and Commander
Set during the Napoleonic Wars of the 1800’s, amidst European rivalry for dominance of the high seas, this 2003 film starring Russell Crowe gets top marks for historical accuracy—at least where hammocks are concerned. The ship’s sailors use hammocks for sleeping and relaxing. One hammock is even pulled into duty as a method of recovery for wounded men.
This film about the Vietnam had a big impact on American audiences when it was released in 1986. It didn’t shy away from showing the costs of war. The dirty laundry of the American military was suddenly on display, and not surprisingly, the movie was lauded and derided in equal measure.
For hammock lovers, perhaps the most memorable scene involves a shirtless William Defoe eating a banana while lounging in low-sling hammock — an image that became emblematic of the complete breakdown of military regimentation and codes of conduct.
Night of the Iguana
Richard Burton was already famous when he started filming Night of the Iguana in Mexico. As details of the film’s story line leaked out—a disgraced priest drinking and battling his demons in a tropical setting—temperatures were rising in Hollywood and anticipation was mounting.
Hammock lovers beware! There’s nothing enjoyable about seeing Burton tied up in his hammock, doing battle with his demons. Therapeutic uses aside, the film doesn’t make hammocks look very enjoyable … but then again, as they say in show biz, maybe there’s no such thing as bad publicity.There are many ways to sit in a hammock. How many of them do you know?