Movies Filmed in Colorado

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 at 12:01 am

Films Made in Colorado

The next time you pop in a DVD or Blu-ray, don’t be surprised to find the scenic beauty of Colorado staring back at you. That’s because the Centennial State has served as the backdrop for hundreds of films since the invention of motion pictures, appearing in everything from Westerns to gross-out comedies. This list takes a look at movies filmed in Colorado, so prepare yourself for breathtaking vistas and snow-capped mountains aplenty.

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Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) – Loosely based on a true story (very loosely), this non-traditional Western follows likable outlaws Butch Cassidy (Paul Newman) and the Sundance Kid (Robert Redford) as they pull a series of robberies, run afoul of authorities, and then flee to Bolivia to start a new life of crime. Combining comedy and Old West grit, the movie was the top-grossing release at the U.S. box office in 1969. It also won four Academy Awards, including Best Original Score, Best Song, Best Cinematography, and Best Original Screenplay.

Dumb and Dumber (1994) – Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels are Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne, a pair of well-meaning but moronic pals who bumble into a kidnapping plot and a suitcase filled with cash. A hilarious mixture of gross-out and slapstick comedy, the film’s success would catapult directors Bobby and Peter Farrelly to stardom, ensuring a string of movies such as There’s Something About Mary, Kingpin, and Hall Pass.

True Grit (1969) – John Wayne brings his distinctive gait and voice to the role of Rooster Cogburn, a one-eyed lawman hired by a young girl to track down the man who killed her father. If you’re a fan of the 2010 remake starring Jeff Bridges, I suggest you give this one a try.

Vanishing Point (1971) – Barry Newman stars as Kowalski, a troubled Vietnam vet and former cop who’s trying to deliver a 1970 Dodge Challenger to San Francisco under a deadline. His rate of speed draws the attention of the law, and soon a frantic car chase is conducted across Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and California. An existential look at the nature of freedom and those forces which conspire to hold us down. Cleavon Little co-stars as Super Soul, a blind radio DJ who speaks to Kowalski via the airwaves.

Cliffhanger (1993) – Haunted by a recent accident, a veteran mountaineer (Sylvester Stallone) is called upon to rescue a group of stranded climbers, but he winds up captured by hardened criminals in search of $100 million lost in the Rocky Mountains. Renny Harlin sits in the director’s chair, and the supporting cast of this adrenalin-fueled action movie includes John Lithgow (as the villain), Janine Turner, and Michael Rooker.

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How the West Was Won (1962) – Taking place between the years of 1839 and 1889, this MGM epic follows multiple generations of the Prescott family as they pursue their slice of manifest destiny in the still-wild United States. Nominated for eight Academy Awards, the film is broken into multiple segments highlighting important events ranging from the Civil War to the rise of railroads. Starring (among others) Henry Fonda, James Stewart, John Wayne, Gregory Peck, Carroll Baker, Karl Malden, and Richard Widmark.

For Love of the Game (1999) – Director Sam Raimi is known for movies like Spider-Man and The Evil Dead, but here he deftly melds sports and romance to create a compelling character study of a 40-year-old baseball pitcher (Kevin Costner) who reminisces about a five-year romance while working on a perfect game. Kelly Preston is radiant as the love interest, and John C. Reilly co-stars as the lead’s best friend and catcher.

The Magnificent Seven (1960) – Based on Akira Kurosawa’s epic Seven Samurai, this iconic Western follows a group of hired gunslingers as they attempt to defend a farming community from a group of bandits. Yul Brynner is the stoic leader of the white hats, while Eli Wallach plays the heavy. The rest of the guns-for-hire are rounded out by Steve McQueen, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn, and Charles Bronson. The film generated three sequels, a television series, and numerous imitators (although, in fairness, it was an imitator itself). And as good as the movie was, the score by Elmer Bernstein almost steals the show.

WarGames (1983) – When a high school slacker (Matthew Broderick) unwittingly hacks into a NORAD supercomputer, he begins a deadly game that could result in World War III. The box office hit gave us the term “firewall,” and helped propel Broderick to stardom in only his second film. Co-starring favorites from the 1980s such as Ally Sheedy and Dabney Coleman.

About Schmidt (2002) – Jack Nicholson is Warren Schmidt, a recent retiree who’s lost his wife and is estranged from his only child. Sensing the utter futility of his life, he goes on a road trip to attend his daughter’s wedding and reflect on his past. A somber and frequently touching film (especially the final scene), About Schmidt earned Oscar nominations for both Nicholson and co-star Kathy Bates.

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Whether you’re pining for your birthplace or just want to see a fine piece of entertainment, these movies filmed in Colorado will transport you to a land where the air is clean and the sunsets majestic. If you’re not careful, you may find yourself planning the next family vacation before the end credits even roll.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 at 12:01 am and is filed under Good Movies. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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