No stranger to the silver screen, the Centennial State has long been popular with filmmakers who utilize our stunning landscapes as the backdrop for their movie magic. From laugh-out-loud comedies to old-fashioned Westerns, take a look at where a handful of notable films were shot.
Hallmarked by the jagged San Juan Mountains, this region has set the tone for flicks like writer and director Quentin Tarantino’s "The Hateful Eight." Released in January 2016, it was filmed in the wilderness outside of the Victorian-era hamlet of Telluride; the fourteeners surrounding the town and the San Miguel River are seen throughout. Drop by the Telluride Elks Park, where Tarantino and actor Samuel L. Jackson took part in a ceremonial burning of skis — a local ritual to bring more snow.
Many Westerns have been filmed in these parts, such as 1969’s "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," which features train robbery scenes that were shot on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad (you can still take a scenic ride today!), plus the New Sheridan Bar in Telluride was used for a bar scene. "How the West Was Won" — with its all-star cast led by John Wayne and Gregory Peck — spanned filming in Silverton, Durango and Montrose, while the Ouray County Courthouse, Gunnison and Ridgway played host to yet another John Wayne epic, "True Grit." Grab a bite at the True Grit Cafe in Ridgway, built in honor of the film.
And who could forget Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon’s turn as a pair of friends on the lam in "Thelma & Louise"? On their journey the duo cruises around Unaweep Canyon outside of Gateway and makes a stop at the general store in Bedrock, near the border of Utah.
Though the loveable "Dumb and Dumber" goofballs Lloyd and Harry (Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels) were portrayed hitting the ski slopes in Aspen, they actually went to the town of Breckenridge and the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park to film the comedy. The scene where Lloyd waited only to be stood up by his dream girl took place in the hotel’s Cascades Whiskey Bar. Those who want to learn about the Stanley’s haunting history can book a guided tour, and might just hear a tale about Carrey’s own experience during his stay.
Glenwood Springs draws visitors to its hot springs pools and the gorgeous scenery of Glenwood Canyon, including the hike to waterfall-laden Hanging Lake. The 12.5-mile-long canyon was also the site of a climbing chase scene between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s assassin characters in "Mr. & Mrs. Smith," filmed in 2005.
Denver & the Front Range
Boulder got some screen time for the 2006 comedy/drama "Catch and Release," starring Jennifer Garner, whose character Gray Wheeler discovers the extent of her late fiance’s secrets as she walks the Pearl Street Mall. Take your own stroll to experience the historic buildings, boutiques, restaurants and street performers. Along with the iconic pedestrian street, several other locations throughout the town were used.
Filming for the political satire/murder mystery "Silver City," in which an inept politician is making a play to be elected governor of Colorado, was spread across several Front Range spots: Argo Gold Mine in Idaho Springs, where the state’s mining history is on full display; Sedalia’s Cherokee Ranch & Castle; as well as locales around Denver.
One of the wildest stunts in "Furious 7" was the "airdrop scene," when cars were dropped out of a plane into the mountains below, with the help of parachutes. The complicated shoot was done on Pikes Peak (aka "America’s Mountain") near Colorado Springs, and along Monarch Pass. Travel by car or bike to the 14,115-foot summit to get your own thrills — and amazing views.
The likes of Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer descended on Creede and Alamosa for the remake of Western film "The Lone Ranger" in 2013. Situated in a former volcanic caldera, Creede especially made an impact on Depp, as he was quoted speaking about what a special place it was to him. As he filmed the role of Tonto, he was also spotted signing autographs at the Town Hall and shopping at a local gallery of treasures, Rare Things.
Make a circuit around the rural towns of Rocky Ford, La Junta and Las Animas to see where "Badlands" — the 1973 debut from writer and director Terrence Malick about love gone wrong — was created. Two places you can check out today were used for the rich man’s home in the movie: exterior shots at the historic Bloom Mansion in Trinidad and the interior at Pueblo’s Rosemont Museum, an 1893 mansion with nearly all of its original decor and furnishings on display.
Based on James Michener’s classic novel of the same name, "Centennial" is actually a TV miniseries from 1978. The story follows the history of a fictional Colorado town called Centennial (not to be confused with the actual town of Centennial) from the late 1700s to the 1970s. The northeast part of the state influenced Michener in writing the book, and then became the area where filming occurred, from the tiny community of Orchard near Fort Morgan to the windswept plains and buttes of Pawnee National Grassland. Explore this popular birding spot with a relaxing day hike at the Chalk Bluffs, where raptors nest.