It isn’t an exaggeration to say that everything about Texas is big. From its 268,596 square miles to its almost 30 million residents, its takes second in both size and population. It’s even home to three of the most populous cities in the US (Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio).
If you’re still not convinced of how big the 28th state to enter the union really is, consider that it is actually bigger than any country in all of Europe. And speaking of countries, Texas was actually it’s own from 1836 to 1845.
Other things that set the Lone Star State apart? They have their own power grid, the only state to keeps theirs separate from the rest. In Bracken Cave, you’ll find the biggest known bat colony on the continent. At 311 feet high, they also have the tallest capitol building in the US, including the nation’s in Washington, DC.
They also like things fast, which is why they have a 40-mile stretch of road on Texas State Highway 130 with an 85 mph speed limit, the highest in the country. And it shouldn’t be a surprise that they have the fastest legal speed limit average at 78.3 mph.
There have also been quite a few famous things that came out of Texas. Dr. Pepper was first invented in Waco in 1885. And thank Dallas for inventing frozen margaritas in 1971. If you’ve ever been to a Six Flags amusement park, know that it first came to be in Arlington in 1961 with Six Flags Over Texas. Today, there are 27 parks in the US.
The state has a whopping 62.6 million acres of forested land, 80 state parks, and even two National Parks, the 76,293-acre Guadalupe Mountains National Park and the much larger 801,200-acre Big Bend National Park.
With all this space to utilize, it’s no wonder that the state has frequently been chosen as the backdrop for Hollywood movies. And it’s not just movies set in Texas or only movies about football, either (although are definitely some!). See below for a list of some of the most interesting:
Movies filmed in Texas
Office Space (1999)
This comedy was both written and directed by Beavis and Butthead creator Mike Judge. It’s set at a software company where the workers have all become despondent about their jobs. Main stars included Ron Livingston, Gary Cole, Stephen Root, and Jennifer Aniston. Filming was done in Dallas and Austin.
1 h 29 min | R
Dazed and Confused (1993)
Directed Richard Linklater’s third film, this comedy had an ensemble cast, including Jason London, Cole Hauser, Ben Affleck, Parker Posey, and Matthew McConaughey. Set in 1976, it’s time for the juniors to become seniors and for the middle school kids to move up. Filming locations included Austin, Sunset Valley, Sequin, and Dripping Spring.
1 h 43 min | R
Problem Child (1990)
This comedy starred John Ritter, Amy Yasbeck, and Michael Oliver. When Ben and Flo realize that they are unable to conceive, they adopt a seven-year-old boy named Junior. But Junior ends up being quite a bit more to handle than they had anticipated. Filming was done in Dallas, Mesquite, Irving, Farmers Branch, and Fort Worth.
1 h 21 min | PG
Friday Night Lights (2004)
This sports drama was based on a 1990 book by H.G. Bissinger, which was based on a real 1988 football team in Odessa. Like many towns in Texas, football is extremely important, and worth the strife it can cause. The movie was set in Texas with filming done in Odessa, Austin, Houston, Taylor, and Elgin.
1 h 57 min | PG-13
Necessary Roughness (1991)
This football sports comedy starred Hector Elizondo, Scott Bakula, and Robert Loggia. When a football team is almost completely disbanded after breaking several important college rules, it must be rebuilt. The film was set at a fictional Texas University with filming done in Denton, Azle, Fort Worth, and Dallas.
1 h 48 min | PG-13
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? (1993)
This drama starred Johnny Depp as a young man responsible for both his extremely obese mother (Darlene Cates) as well as his mentally challenged brother (Leonardo DiCaprio). Juliette Lewis also costarred. It was based on a 1991 book by Peter Hedges. The film was set in Iowa with some filming done in Denton, Georgetown, Manor, and Lockhart.
1 h 57 min | PG-13
This biopic was about singer Selena Quintanilla-Pérez and her rise to stardom, followed by her murder in 1995. It had Jennifer Lopez in the title role as well as Edward James Olmos and Constance Marie. The film was partly set in Texas with filming done in San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Poteet, Houston, Lake Jackson, and Aransas Pass.
2 h 7 min | PG
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
This movie was the first of eight different versions, sequels, and reboots of the franchise. While visiting an old homestead, a group of friends find themselves in danger when they cross paths with a sadistic family. Filming was done in Round Rock, Bastrop, Leander, San Marcos, Watterson, Kingsland, and Austin.
1 h 23 min | 18+
Varsity Blues (1999)
Another football sports drama, this one starred James Van Der Beek, Paul Walker, Ron Lester, and Jon Voight. Although a small town, West Canaan is big on high school football. Which puts an enormous amount of pressure on its teenaged players. Filming was done in Austin, Georgetown, Elgin, Taylor, and Coupland.
1 h 44 min | R
Reality Bites (1994)
This romcom was actor Ben Stiller’s second directed movie. He also starred in it alongside Winona Ryder, Ethan Hawke, Janeane Garofalo, and Steve Zahn. Four friends in their early 20s try to navigate life and love post-college, 90s style. The movie was set in Houston with filming done there.
1 h 39 min | PG-13
Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
This biopic was based upon the very real partners in crime who committed a laundry list of felonies, including bank robbery and murder, from 1932-1934 before being gunned down by authorities in Louisiana. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were in the title roles. Filming was done all over Texas, including Rowlett, Red Oak, Pilot Point, and Garland.
1 h 50 min | R
Johnny Be Good (1988)
Decades before he was Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr. co-starred with Anthony Michael Hall, Uma Thurman, and a host of others in this comedy. The film’s title is in reference to Chuck Berry’s 1958 song and was about a popular high school football player’s college recruitments. Filming was done in Georgetown, San Antonio, Alamo Heights, and Irving.
1 h 25 min | PG-13
No Country for Old Men (2007)
This crime thriller was directed by the Coen brothers and was based on a 2005 novel by Cormac McCarthy. It told the story of what happens when you take drug money that isn’t yours. It starred Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, and Tommy Lee Jones. Some filming was done in Marfa and Big Bend National Park.
2 h 2 min | R
Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995)
The sequel to Ace Ventura: Pet Detective had Jim Carrey returning to his role, and this time, he’s been tasked to find a missing bat in Africa, whose disappearance might start a civil war between two different tribes. Some filming was done in San Antonio and Hondo.
1 h 34 min | PG-13
Any Given Sunday (1999)
Yet another football movie, this one number fourteen from director Oliver Stone. Among the large cast included Al Pacino, Dennis Quaid, Cameron Diaz, James Woods, and Jamie Foxx. It was loosely based on Pat Toomay’s 1984 book about the fictional Miami Sharks football team. The movie was set in Miami, with some filming done in Dallas and Irving.
2 h 37 min | R
The Faculty (1998)
This horror movie was written by Kevin Williamson, best known for the Scream franchise. It starred Josh Hartnett, Shawn Hatosy, Clea Duvall, Jordana Brewster, and many others. When aliens invade Earth and begin controlling humans, it’s up to a bunch of teenagers to put a stop to it. Some filming was done in Lockhart, Austin, and San Marcos.
1 h 44 min | R
The Last Picture Show (1971)
This drama was number four for director Peter Bogdanovich and film role number one for Cybill Shepherd. Other actors included Timothy Bottoms, Jeff Bridges, and Ellen Burstyn. It was based on a 1966 novel by Larry McMurtry and set in 1950s Texas. Filming was done in Archer City, Olney, Wichita Falls, and Holliday.
2 h 6 min | R
This is just a short list of movies that have Texas to thank for their scenery. There are a great deal more that have already been released, and a great deal more to come in the future, no doubt.