15 Movies to Inspire your Trip to Utah

LOVE IT. SHARE IT.
Share on pinterest
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email
Share on pinterest
Pinterest
Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on email
Email

This post may contain affiliate links.
Please read my disclosure.

15 Movies to Inspire your Trip to Utah

Take a trip to the Utah through the movies. 

Utah’s breathtaking landscapes were discovered by John Ford in the 1940’s and the southwest corner of Utah called Monument Valley became synonymous with America’s image of the SouthWest and Westerns.  Hollywood keeps coming back to film westerns, alien adventures and road-trip scenes requiring gorgeous views.  According to the Utah Film Commission, as of June 2017, nearly 1,000 films have been shot in Utah.

Get inspired for your trip to Utah through these movies.

1

Director John Ford introduced Monument Valley to the world in this Western about a stagecoach threatened by Geronimo. It also made Monument Valley, a valley on the Arizona/Utah border, synonymous with Westerns and John Wayne. John Ford would return nine more times to film Westerns here. There is even now a popular lookout point called John Ford’s point.

Utah location: Monument Valley

2

Another of the 9 John Ford films that put Monument Valley on the border of Arizona & Utah on the map. This film is reputed to be John Ford’s best Western in which John Wayne play a Civil War veteran determined to rescue his niece from Indian captors. The film was inspired by the real-life abduction of Texan Cynthia Ann Parker (played by Natalie Wood) by a Comanche warrior. Monument Valley stands in for Texas in this classic Western.

Utah location: Monument Valley

3

Robert Redford fell in love with Utah thanks to this movie and moved to the state soon after. The film explores the exploits of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.  In the 1890s these real-life outlaws captivated the American newspapers. The two robbed banks and trains in the West and then seemingly vanishing into thin air creating fodder for the national news and the basis of rumors and myth.

Utah locations: Grafton, Snow Canyon, St. George, Zion National Park

4

Robert Redford stars in this powerful epic of a man who turns his back on civilization and learns a new code of survival in a brutal land of isolated mountains and hostile Indians. Robert Redford filmed in nearly 100 locations across the state in this tribute to Utah’s scenery.

Utah locations: Alpine Loop and Mt. Timpanogos, Ashley National Forest, Leeds, Snow Canyon, St. George, Sundance, Uinta National Forest, Wasatch-Cache National Forest, Zion National Park

5

This movie starring Armie Hammer as the Lone Ranger and Johnny Depp as Tonto reboots another American classic hero and Western.

Utah locations: Dead Horse Point State Park, Moab, Monument Valley

6

If this movie does not make you take safety precautions before hiking in the desert… I don’t know what will. The movie chronicles real-life adventurer Aron Ralston (James Franco) on a solo hiking weekend trip to Moab. Aron falls into a remote slot canyon just outside Canyonlands and gets his arm pinned by a boulder. Over five days, Ralston examines his life then amputates his own arm and makes his way back to civilization.

Utah locations: Blue John Canyon in Canyonlands National Park , Salt Lake City

7

While this movie does not feature Utah’s stunning landscape, it does capture an American classic tale – growing up playing baseball.
Shot entirely in Utah, the legendary sandlot is in Salt Lake City, between Glenrose Drive and Navajo Streets and is now a Utah Film Location Historical Landmark.

Utah locations: Ogden, Rose Park, Glendale, Midvale, American Fork

Movie Scenes

These movies were not entirely filmed in Utah, but have some very memorable scenes featuring Utah’s iconic sites.

8

The opening scene of the third Indiana Jones movie flashes back to young Indy played by River Phoenix finding a treasure in the Utah desert and making a daring escape as only Indy can.

Utah locations: Arches National Park – Double Arch, Moab

9

In the 1992/93, George Lucas created a 22 mini-movies about the Young Indiana Jones age 10 and also ages 17-20.  Indiana explores history with his father and during World War I amazingly present at what seems like every major event and meeting many important figures of the early 1900’s.  It’s a great show and the DVD’s also have documentaries on the events and figures of the time.  Episode 22 highlights Indy’s adventures in Hollywood with John Ford.

Utah location: Monument Valley

10

A Ridley Scott film, two women become unlikely outlaws during a road trip from Arkansas to the Grand Canyon meeting Brad Pitt along the way. Most of the scenes were filmed in California and Utah

Utah locations: La Sal Mountains, Route 46, Arches National Park,  Canyonlands National Park, Dead Horse Point State Park

11

In his travels across the country and abroad, Forrest Gump stops running at this epic site in Monument Valley.  This is the road between Mexican Hat heading South toward the Arizona border in Monument Valley.

Utah locations: Monument Valley, Mexican Hat

12

Tom Cruise reprised his role as Ethan Hunt in the Mission Impossible series. The opening rock climbing scene was filmed at Dead Horse State Park as Ethan free climbs on a cliff edge about 600 feet to the talus slope and another 2,000 feet to the river.

Utah location: Dead Horse Point State Park

13

Tom Cruise again starring in the opening scene of the third Austin Powers movie. This time he plays the hip secret agent, Austin Powers. He is back at Dead Horse Point again in this scene, which has our groovy protagonist parachuting into a speeding car, playing chicken with an assault helicopter, and destroying the helicopter with dual machine guns while flying through the air. Parody at its finest.

Utah location: Dead Horse Point State Park

14

The scene for the bleached desert of ‘Davy Jones’s Locker’ was filmed in Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats. 

The Bonneville flats cover over 30,000 acres or 45 square miles and were formed when the ancient Lake Bonneville receded and evaporation left large concentrations of dissolved minerals deposited in surrounding soils.

Utah location: Bonneville Salt Flats

15

Elle Woods heads off to DC in the movie, but most of it was filmed in California and Utah with the Utah State Capitol filling in for a legislative look.

Utah location: Salt Lake City – Utah State Capitol Building

Music Video

16

Jon Bon Jovi - Blaze of Glory

If you are Gen-X and sang Bon Jovi while cruising on a Saturday, you will remember his Blaze of Glory video.

Utah Location: Moab – Professor Valley at The Rectory

Inspired to visit Utah?

LOVE IT. SHARE IT. PIN IT.

Share on pinterest
Pinterest
Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on email
Email
Share on pinterest
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email