Several top movies have been made in Colorado or used the state as a backdrop. In terms of the most famous film set in Colorado, they do not come much bigger than Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
Released in 1969, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid stars Paul Newman and Robert Redford, who superbly bring William Goldman’s Oscar-winning screenplay to life. The Colorado filming locations used include Durango, Silverton, and Telluride among others and although Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid may have some historical inaccuracies, it does not deter from the story. There is one scene in a tavern where Sundance goes head-to-head with a tough gambler and if you become tempted to have a gamble yourself, always use a licensed mobile operator. The final image of the duo before their death is poignant and there is no doubt Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is one of the best films set in Colorado.
Another of the best films set in Colorado has to be Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. This film was released in 1989 and was set in various Colorado locations, including Alamosa, Cortez, and Pagosa Springs. Regarded by many as being the second best of the Indiana Jones films, the Last Crusade sees Sean Connery as Indy’s dad and there are some great pieces of dialogue between the James Bond legend and Harrison Ford. The story and action may be a little far-fetched but the action is great and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is one of the top films to be set in Colorado.
Heading back to 1939 and we come to Stagecoach, a film shot in Cañon City. This film is full of everything, including drama, action, and comedy. The film moves effortlessly between scenes, combining the best of the scenery and a stagecoach full of interesting characters. Starring John Wayne, Stagecoach was the film that launched his career in the big time and it remains a classic to this day.
Moving on and we come to Badlands, a film shot in Rocky Ford, La Junta, Las Animas, and Trinidad, among other Colorado locations. The plot is a fictionalization of the Charlie Starkweather murders and stars Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek. The background to this film is of the relationship between and man (Kit) and girl (Holly), who end up on the run when Kit kills the girls father. He goes on to kill again and despite the gruesome backdrop to the film, there is a glow to this movie thanks to the places used in Colorado, some of which are relatively unknown to those outside the state.
Finally, we come to the most recent film in our list, About Schmidt. Starring Jack Nicholson, the film uses Boulder and Denver and sees Nicholson travel to his estranged daughter’s wedding. The trip teaches him more about himself than he could ever have imagined and the combination of humor and melancholia produced by writer/director Alexander Payne is perfect.