What are the best movies filmed in or about Arizona?

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Other topics: Arizona
Short answer:
  • Shot in Arizona: Forrest Gump, Psycho, etc.
  • About Arizona: Raising Arizona, The Gauntlet, etc.

Best movies shot in Arizona[edit]

This is a two part question. The first part is about films shot in Arizona, or at least partly shot there. And how much of the film is shot in Arizona to qualify. For instance, Forrest Gump, while mostly not shot in Arizona, does have one of its pivotal scenes shot in the state: in Monument Hill, when Gump finally stops running after three years, or the scene where mud is splashed on his face and he wipes it off on t-shirt, creating the first smiley t-shirt, which was shot at Twin Arrows, Arizona.[1] Or Psycho, which was mostly shot in studio, but Phoenix served as the backdrop for the opening sequence; or the 1953 version of War of the Worlds, where Phoenix is used for the city the aliens attack.[2] Then there are the films which had significant scenes shot in Arizona, like the stadium scenes from Jerry Maguire, which were shot at Sun Devils Stadium in Tempe, Arizona, or the scenes in the original Planet of the Apes which were shot in Lake Powell, and several other northern Arizona locations. Another major film was the 1976 version of A Star is Born, which used Arizona State University, Gammage Memorial Auditorium, and areas of Tucson. And of course their was the final scene in Thelma and Louise.[3] Then there are the films shot mostly in Arizona, like Revenge of the Nerds, Little Miss Sunshine, Midnight Run, Three Kings, the original 1957 3:10 To Yuma, Waiting to Exhale, Transamerica, and of course, Raising Arizona.[3] If you're a fan of westerns, there are quite a few filmed in Arizona. In addition to the already mentioned 3:10 To Yuma, there were the John Wayne films, Rio Bravo, The Searchers, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, and Stagecoach, were all filmed at least partly in Arizona.[4][5][6] And the films, Tombstone,[7] and the other major film about the famous gunfight, Gunfight at the O. K. Corral.[8] The musical, Oklahoma! was shot in around Nogales, Arizona.[9] The comedies, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and ¡Three Amigos! were shot entirely in Arizona.[10] The dune scenes in Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi were shot near Yuma.[11]

Best movies about Arizona[edit]

Films about Arizona include Raising Arizona (which was also shot there)[12], Clint Eastwood's The Gauntlet,[13] of course Tombstone,[14] Kevin Costner's 1994 Wyatt Earp, [15] John Ford's 3 Godfathers,[16] Academy Award nominated Murphy's Romance,[17] both the original 1957 film, 3:10 To Yuma, and it's 2007 remake. The 1940 Academy Award nominated film Arizona, [18] Cowboys & Aliens,[19] John Ford's Fort Apache[20] were all set in Arizona. As was the final segment of the 1963 epic, How The West Was Won.[21] Comedies include the Abbott & Costello film, "Ride 'Em Cowboy"[22] and A Million Ways to Die in the West.[23] The ending of the science fiction, The Starman, takes place in Arizona,[24] as doTransamerica and There Was a Crooked Man...[25]


  1. Geiling, Natasha (3 July 2014). "Visit These Iconic Forrest Gump Filming Locations". Smithsonianmag.com.
  2. Dugan, Bryan Scott. "Top 10 Movies Shot in (and around) Phoenix". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved 2022-10-03.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "These 34 movies were made in Arizona. Here's how you can watch them". Arizona Republic. Retrieved 2022-10-03.
  4. Wiley, Rick. "Photos: Expansion of Old Tucson and filming of "Rio Bravo" in 1958". Arizona Daily Star. Retrieved 2022-10-03.
  5. "Filming Locations for John Ford's The Searchers (1956), in Arizona, Colorado, Utah and California". The Worldwide Guide to Movie Locations. Retrieved 2022-10-03.
  6. "Filming Locations for She Wore A Yellow Ribbon (1949), in Arizona and Utah". The Worldwide Guide to Movie Locations. Retrieved 2022-10-03.
  7. World, Republic. "Tombstone filming location; Here are all the locations where the movie was shot". Republic World. Retrieved 2022-10-04.
  8. "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral: Overview". Turner Classic Movies. 3 October 2022.
  9. "Turner Classic Movies - TCM.com". www.tcm.com. Retrieved 2022-10-04.
  10. "15 Movies You Didn't Know Were Filmed in Arizona". bestthingsaz.com. Retrieved 2022-10-04.
  11. "Imperial Sand Dunes National Recreation Area - Welcome To Yuma, Arizona - On The River's Edge". www.visityuma.com. Retrieved 2022-10-04.
  12. ":: rogerebert.com :: Raising Arizona". web.archive.org. 2005-10-27. Retrieved 2022-10-04.
  13. "Gene Siskel Movie Review—THE GAUNTLET (12-22-77)". Chicago Tribune. 1977-12-22. p. 19. Retrieved 2022-10-04.
  14. "Tombstone (R)". web.archive.org. 2019-01-02. Retrieved 2022-10-04.
  15. Ebert, Roger. "Wyatt Earp movie review & film summary (1994) | Roger Ebert". Rogerebert.com. Retrieved 2022-10-04.
  16. "3 Godfathers: Synopsis". Turner Classic Movies. 3 October 2022.
  17. "Murphy's Romance: Synopsis". Turner Classic Movies. 3 October 2022.
  18. "Arizona: Synopsis". Turner Classic Movies. 3 October 2022.
  19. "Cowboys & Aliens". Turner Classic Movies. 3 October 2022.
  20. "Fort Apache: Synopsis". Turner Classic Movies. 3 October 2022.
  21. "How the West Was Won: Synopsis". Turner Classic Movies. 3 October 2022.
  22. "Ride 'Em Cowboy: Synopsis". Turner Classic Movies. 3 October 2022.
  23. Foundas, Scott (2014-05-28). "Film Review: 'A Million Ways to Die in the West'". Variety. Retrieved 2022-10-04.
  24. "AFI|Catalog". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved 2022-10-04.
  25. "AFI|Catalog". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved 2022-10-04.