Do you ever ask yourself what major motion pictures have been produced in your own backyard? Well, so did we and it was pretty surprising what we dug our of this concrete pretzel called Dallas/Fort Worth. Here's a list of 10 prominent D/FW filmed flicks (in alphabetic order)! A few of them may even surprise you...
Armageddon While Michael Bay's 1998 space epic about oil drillers turned astronauts/world savers wasn't wholly shot here (it was shot on an asteroid...in space...duh), there were a few scenes shot outside of Dallas, right there in Denton. While I couldn't track down what exactly, my best guess is some of the establishing shots, as well as some of the stuff with hometown hero Owen Wilson - like when his cowboy character Oscar Choi rides over a hill on a horse with a helicopter tracking him down in true Bayhem style. Hey, with a movie about an asteroid the size of Texas what better place to come film than the little D outside of the Big D!
Batman & Robin Holy cowboy boots, Batman! Turns out that whole JFK assassination isn't the only red in our city's ledger. What...you didn't know that the worst Batman movie ever made to date was shot right here in our hometown? Well, neither did I. And I'm guessing neither do most people. Seems the suits of our city have worked hard to cover it up as I couldn't find as much as a hint to what Sir Schumacher & Co. filmed here and, while I hold myself to the utmost journalistic integrity, I wasn't about to make myself sit through the film just to try and guess. So, the caped crusade is up to you, Jr. Bat-Detectives. If you happen to know, leave it in the comments below!
Bottle Rocket The aforementioned boy wonder Owen Wilson, part of the dynamic duo +1 known as the three Wilson brothers (along with Luke & Andrew), put Indie film and our cinematic city on the map in a big way with 1996's Bottle Rocket - co-written by Owen and directed by a then unknown but soon-to-be nerd auteur named Wes Anderson. The film not only robbed our hearts but birthed the careers of both the Wilson's and Anderson. And it all started right here, with what is almost a love letter to the spots where the young ruffian Wilson's spent the days of their youth. Highland Park Pharmacy, Deep Ellum, St. Marks, the Country Club. The list goes on and on...enough to turn it into a drinking game! Every time you spot a recognizable location, shout it out and everyone drinks! Then yell out Applejack just for fun.
JFK The Zapruder Film isn't the only notable JFK-themed movie that's been made here. Oliver Stone returned to Dallas just 2 years after filming Born on the Fourth of July here to tell the tragedy and subsequent conspiracy of that fateful day on Friday, November 22, 1963 when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated right here in Dallas, forever causing the other 49 states to give us dirty looks (Hey, don't blame us! Lee Harvey Oswald was born in New Orleans!)
Logan's Run "A dystopian future society in which population and the consumption of resources are managed and maintained in equilibrium by the simple expedient of killing everyone who reaches the age of thirty, preventing overpopulation." Yep, sounds like Dallas!
Office Space Mike Judge loves DFW! Not only is his animated "King of the Hill" set in Arlen, Texas (kind of sounds like Garland, don't it?), he chose to film the bible of all "I hate my job!" films right here in Las Colinas. Judge played it smart by keeping the film's locations nondescript, but there are moments where you can identify a few different recognizable spots out of car windows. And while Chotchkie's may not be a real restaurant, coincidentally T.G.I. Friday's just happens to have its HQ here in Carrolton.
Primer As much as we're known for hosting the productions of bigger budget films, we've also presented some pretty respected Indie films by Dallas-based directors. That's just the case with 2004's Primer - a tale of tragedy and time travel written, directed by, and starring local Shane Carruth. Made on a shoestring budget of $7,000 and shot in Richardson, the film went on to win the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. I don't claim to understand the film but I do claim to love it! And I imagine that once you see it (if you haven't already) then you will too.
RoboCop Like Logan's Run in '76, Paul Verhoeven chose Dallas for his '80s cyborg sci-fi actioner because, at the time, Dallas looked futuristic. Never mind that the film was actually set in Detroit...we fanboys still claim it all the same! The film even starred a UNT alum, Peter Weller, and made good use of exotic Dallas locales like The Bomb Factory, our iconic city hall, and lots of shots of that big microphone-shaped ball thing.
The Tree of Life What I like to refer to as "the Star Wars of Independent cinema," Terrence Malick's beautifully composed opus of life, living, and death just happened to be partly composed in Dallas (the rest mostly all around Texas, including Austin, Houston, Waco, and others). You may have been so keen to notice our gorgeous Meyerson Symphony Center, Chapel of Thanksgiving, and a few other prominent buildings downtown. If not, well, now you have another reason to go back and watch the film besides dinosaurs.
True Stories One of the best bands of the '80s, The Talking Heads, made one of the most underrated films of the decade, True Stories, right here. Written by Oak Cliff-native and famed character actor Stephen Tobolowsky along with Heads frontman David Byrne (who also directed and starred in the film, sporting that fantastic green suit complete with cowboy boots and 10-gallon hat), the plot of True Stories is that of what would be a modern indie dramedy...just way before it's time. With a very retro NorthPark Mall and other notable landmarks as it's backdrop.
Honorable Mention: Irish American Ninja I had no idea what this was before I started writing this fun little list but the name alone got me. Surprisingly, and sadly, it does not star Chuck Norris and is not a documentary about his life. But the awesome poster should tell you all you need to know.
To see a full list of all 1,150 films and TV shows show in Dallas, check this out!
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.