“Capt. Sickel: Well? What’s wrong? Telegraph operator: The line went dead, sir.
Capt. Sickel: What have you got here? Telegraph operator: Only the first word, sir.
Capt. Sickel: (reading) Geronimo.” ~movie quote from Stagecoach
The same climate and beautiful scenery that make Arizona a popular tourist destination also make it a popular filming location. Arizona boasts warm temperatures, perpetual sunshine, historic towns, modern cities, and an infinite variety of landscapes – plus it’s not too far from Hollywood, the movie capital of the world. Many movies have been made in Arizona, from the silent westerns of the 1920’s to modern science fiction films.
Below is a list of movies that have been either wholly or partly filmed in Arizona. How many of them have you seen? Can you recognize the scenes that take place in Arizona?
Cars, 2006, G (Based on real people and places along Route 66).
Hulk, 2003, PG-13 (Lake Powell).
Vertical Limit, 2003, PG-13 (Monument Valley).
DreamKeeper, 2003, Tucson (Saguaro National Monument).
Eight Legged Freaks, 2002, PG-13 (Superior, Glendale, Tonopah, Page).
Windtalkers, 2002, R (Monument Valley).
Dinotopia, 2002, PG (Navajo Nation).
Planet of the Apes, 2001, PG-13 (Lake Powell).
Dinosaur, 2000, PG (Canyon de Chelly).
The Lost Child, 2000 (Superior, Navajo Nation).
Breakdown, 1997, R (Sedona).
Star Trek: First Contact, 1996, PG-13 (Titan Missile Museum).
The Fantasticks, 2000, PG (Sonoita, San Rafael Valley).
Forrest Gump, 1994, PG-13 (Monument Valley, Twin Arrows Trading Post on Route 66 east of Flagstaff).
Terminal Velocity, 1994, PG-13 (Phoenix, Tucson, Douglas, Little Colorado River Canyon).
Wyatt Earp: Return to Tombstone, 1994 (Old Tombstone).
Pontiac Moon, 1994, PG-13 (Cochise County, Monument Valley).
Maverick, 1994, PG (Lake Powell, Lees Ferry, Marble Canyon).
Tombstone, 1993, R (Old Tucson, Mescal, Sonoita).
Universal Soldier, 1992, R (Ashfork, Chloride, Clarkdale, Verde Valley, Kingman, Hoover Dam, Sedona, Veterans Medical Center in Prescott) .
Beyond the Law, 1992, R (New River, Phoenix, Scottsdale).
Dark Wind, 1991, R (Tuba City, Navajo and Hopi Reservation).
Back to the Future III, 1990, PG (Monument Valley).
Young Guns II, 1990, PG-13 (Old Tucson, Bisbee, Tumacacori).
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, 1989, PG (AMF Tempe Village Lanes, Chuck E. Cheese, Circle K, Coronado High School, Golfland-Sunsplash, Metrocenter, police station, and a house in Phoenix).
Raising Arizona, 1987, PG-13 (Camelback Mountain, Carefree, Florence, Lost Dutchman State Park, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe Police Station).
Can’t Buy Me Love, 1987, PG-13 (Hill Farm in Tucson, Pima Air Museum, Scoops on Speedway Blvd., Tucson High School, Tucson Mall).
Midnight Run, 1988, R (Cameron, Casa Grande, Cottonwood, Flagstaff, Globe, Salt River Canyon, Sedona, Williams).
Over the Top, 1987, PG (Monument Valley).
Spaceballs, 1987, PG (Yuma desert).
Three Amigos, 1986, PG (Old Tucson, Coronado National Forest).
American Anthem, 1986, PG-13 (Phoenix, Flagstaff, Sedona).
Desert Bloom, 1986, PG (Tucson).
Murphy’s Romance, 1985, PG-13 (Florence).
The Karate Kid, 1984, PG (Canyon Portal Hotel, Sedona).
Koyaanisqatsi, 1983 (Grand Canyon, Navajo Reservation, Glen Canyon Dam).
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, 1982, PG (Yuma).
Superman III, 1982, PG (Glen Canyon Dam, Page).
Used Cars, 1980, R (Phoenix City Hall, ASU, Mesa used car lot).
Kenny Rogers’ The Gambler, 1979 (Old Tucson, Carefree Studio).
Kingdom of the Spiders, 1977, PG (Camp Verde, Sedona).
The Gauntlet, 1977, R (Phoenix, Tempe, Superior).
Fire in the Sky, 1977 (Phoenix).
A Star is Born, 1976, R (Tempe, ASU).
Damnation Alley, 1976, PG (Meteor Crater).
Mission to Glory: The Father Kino Story, 1976 (Cave Creek, Tucson).
The Outlaw Josey Wales, 1976, PG (Lake Powell, Patagonia, Mescal, Old Tucson).
The Eiger Sanction, 1974, R (Monument Valley).
Mark of Zorro, 1974 (Old Tucson, San Xavier del Bac Mission).
Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, 1974, PG (Tucson, and the Big Horn Restaurant in Amado, Arizona).
The Six Million Dollar Man (original TV movie), 1973 (Yuma desert).
Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, 1972, PG (Old Tucson, Mescal).
Rio Lobo, 1970, G (Old Tucson).
Young Billy Young, 1969, G (Old Tucson).
Planet of the Apes, 1967, G (Lake Powell, Page).
El Dorado, 1966, G (Old Tucson).
Flight of the Phoenix, 1965 (Yuma, Buttercup Valley).
Greatest Story Ever Told, 1965, G (Lake Powell, Page).
Cheyenne Autumn, 1964 (Monument Valley).
The Nutty Professor, 1963 (Arizona State University).
Lilies of the Field, 1963, G (Tucson).
McLintock, 1963 (Nogales, Old Tucson, San Rafael Ranch State Park).
How the West Was Won, 1962, G (Monument Valley, Oatman, Perkinsville, Superior, Tonto National Forest, Tucson).
Psycho, 1960, R (Phoenix skyline, Central Avenue, Jefferson Hotel).
Rio Bravo, 1959 (Old Tucson).
The Lone Ranger and the Lost City of Gold, 1958 (Tucson, San Xavier del Bac Mission, Old Tucson).
The Big Country, 1958 (Canyon de Chelly).
Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, 1957 (Elgin, Old Tucson, Phoenix).
Oklahoma, 1955, G (Elgin, San Raphael Ranch State Park, Nogales).
Tarantula, 1955, PG (Arizona desert).
Apache, 1954, G (Red Rock Crossing, Sedona).
The War of the Worlds, 1953, G (Florence, Phoenix).
Desert Fox: The Story of Rommel, 1951 (Yuma).
Copper Canyon, 1950 (Cathedral Rock, Red Rock Crossing, Sedona).
Rio Grande, 1950 (Old Tucson).
Angel and the Badman, 1947 (Sedona).
The Grapes of Wrath, 1940 (Chambers, Petrified Forest National Park, Topock bridge crossing into California).
The Gentlemen from Arizona, 1939 (Phoenix, Gillespie Ranch).
Stagecoach, 1938 (Kayenta, Monument Valley, view of Superstition Mtn. from Mesa).
The Painted Desert, 1931 (Dinosaur Canyon, Painted Desert, Petrified Forest National Park, Tuba City).
Did You Know…? The Arizona Chamber of Commerce has a Film Office that serves as a liaison between studios, the government (local, county, state, federal and tribal), and the community. For initial location scouting they have a photo gallery of buildings, homes, churches, parks, farms, rivers, mountains, deserts, and more. They also offer a variety of other services and resources.
www.azcommerce.com/Film/default.asp (Download a 184-page “Arizona Filmography” listing movies and TV series filmed in Arizona from 1923-2003.)
www.phoenix.gov/filmphx/index.html (Events, news, jobs, and other stuff about filming in the city of Phoenix, from the Phoenix Film Office.)
www.thepepper.com/tucson_film_locations.html (Scroll down for a list of movies filmed on location in Arizona, organized by county.)
http://arizona.southwestmovies.com (Here you can find detailed information and pictures of where your favorite Arizona films were shot. Browse by region or title.)
www.imdb.com/LocationTree?Arizona,+USA (Filming locations in Arizona, from the Internet Movie Database. Click on a place name to see what movies were filmed there.)
http://dizzy.library.arizona.edu/images/eng102/tucsonstudio/hollywood.html (History of Old Tucson Studios.)
www.fast-rewind.com/cgi-bin/search.cgi?target=AZ&searchtype=LocState (Visit the filming locations used for your favorite 80’s movies.)
http://phoenix.about.com/library/weekly/aa112200a.htm (Movies filmed in Arizona.)