The 46th state to enter the Union, Oklahoma is a lot more than just the name of a 1943 musical. Just some of the state’s accolades include the invention of the shopping cart in 1936, the use of the first parking meter in 1935, and the first sale of a Girl Scout cookie in 1917.
Part of what the US calls “Tornado Alley”, the “Sooner State” is, of course, steeped in tornado history. From the first-ever Tornado Warning issued in 1948 to its 1999 tornado in Moore, which recorded a wind speed of 301 mph, the highest speed ever anywhere in the world.
Within its 69,919 square miles, it ranks number 18 in size and has 51 state parks and 12 million acres of forest land. And aside from tornados, other OK products include wheat, cattle and calf production, pecans, peanuts and peaches.
Although the state ranks 27th in overall population with over 3.2 million residents, at close to 300,000, it has more Native Americans than just about any other state. And with over 200, it also has the most man-made lakes. And the multi-arched Pensacola Dam in Disney happens to be the longest of its kind in the entire world.
Behind Anchorage, AK and Jacksonville, FL, Oklahoma City, the state’s capital is the third-largest US city, at 608 square miles. Another unique attribute of the state? Well, it’s also been the background for a variety of different movies over the years. Check out this list of some of the most interesting:
Table of Contents
- Movies filmed in Oklahoma
- Minari (2020)
- Twister (1996)
- Logan (2017)
- The House of the Dead (1978)
- Stillwater (2021)
- The Frighteners (1996)
- The Outsiders (1983)
- UHF (1989)
- To The Wonder (2012)
- The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
- Splinter (2008)
- Rumble Fish (1983)
- Rudderless (2014)
- All My Heroes Have Been Cowboys (1991)
- The Killer Inside Me (2010)
- Tex (1982)
- All American Murder (1991)
Movies filmed in Oklahoma
This drama was written and directed by Lee Issac Chung, as well as loosely based on his upbringing in rural Arkansas in the 1980s. Main stars included Steven Yeun, Han Ye-ri, Youn Yuh-jung, and Alan Kim. Yuh-jung won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar, the first Korean to do so. Filming was done in Rose and Tulsa.
It’s no surprise that a movie about tornados was both set and also filmed in Oklahoma. This disaster movie starred Helen Hunt, Bill Paxton, Jami Gertz, and Cary Elwes as storm chasers. Some filming was done in Ponca City, Wakita, Guthrie, Norman, Pauls Valley, Maysville, Waurika, Kaw City, Fairfax, Carney, and Ralston.
Movie number 10 within the X-Men series and movie number three in the Wolverine trilogy, this superhero film had Hugh Jackman reprising his role as the title character. Except here, both Wolverine and Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) are not in great condition. Some shots were done in Oklahoma City and Pauls Valley.
The House of the Dead (1978)
This horror anthology movie starred John Ericson, Ivor Francis, Judith Novgrod, and a host of others. Four stories are told throughout, each of them connected to a corpse located in a mortician’s house, and told to a man seeking refuge during a storm. Filming was done in Ponca City, Stillwater, and Yale.
A little more than halfway through a nine-year prison sentence for murder, an Oklahoma father heads to France to make it his mission to prove his daughter’s innocence of the crime. That is, if she actually is. The film starred Matt Damon, Camille Cottin, and Abigail Breslin. Filming was done in Stillwater, El Reno, Arcadia, and Chickasha.
The Frighteners (1996)
This horror-comedy was director Peter Jackson’s fifth movie and starred Michael J. Fox, Trini Alvarado, and Peter Dobson, among others. After his wife is killed, Frank develops the ability to not only see, but also communicate with ghosts. It’s all fun and games until he meets one that is able to attack the living. Some filming was done in Tulsa.
The Outsiders (1983)
This drama was director Francis Ford Coppola’s 10th movie. Based upon S.E. Hinton’s 1967 novel, the film featured an ensemble cast (mostly unknown then) which included C. Thomas Howell, Ralph Macchio, Rob Lowe, Matt Dillon, Tom Cruise, Emilio Estevez, and Patrick Swayze. The film was set in 1960s Tulsa with some filming done there.
This comedy film starred “Weird Al” Yankovic as a manager of Channel 62, a low-budget UHF television station. When his choices for programming start to bring success, they also bring anger from bigger networks. Other actors in the movie included Fran Drescher, Victoria Jackson, and Michael Richards. Most of the film was done in Tulsa.
To The Wonder (2012)
This romance was director Terrence Malick’s sixth film and had Ben Affleck, Javier Bardem, Olga Kurylenko, and Rachel McAdams leading. Neil, an American, and Marina, a Ukrainian, meet and fall in love in Paris, but once they move to the US, things crumble. The movie was partly set in OK with some filming done in Pawhuska and Tulsa.
The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
This film was directed by John Ford and was based upon a 1939 novel by John Steinbeck. Main actors included Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell, and John Carradine. The film details the Joad family’s journey from Oklahoma’s Dust Bowl to California in hopes for jobs and better lives. Some shots were done in McAlester and Sayre.
This horror film was made strictly in Oklahoma City. It starred Jill Wagner, Shea Whigham, and Paulo Costanzo. A romantic getaway turns into a fight for their lives after a couple is first car-jacked and then must deal with escaping (and avoiding becoming) zombie-like creatures.
Rumble Fish (1983)
This is another S.E. Hinton novel adaptation (her 1975 novel) with director Francis Ford Coppola and starring Matt Dillon. Other cast members included Mickey Rourke, Diane Lane, and Dennis Hopper. Rourke and Dillon are brothers, one trying to escape gang life and the other trying to join it. The movie was set in Tulsa with filming done there.
This drama was William H. Macy’s first directed film and starred Felicity Huffman, Billy Crudup, Anton Yelchin, Laurence Fishburne, and Selena Gomez. After losing his son in a college school shooting, Sam Manning moves far away from family and friends to try and pick up the pieces. Filming was done in Oklahoma City, Guthrie, and Edmond.
All My Heroes Have Been Cowboys (1991)
This western starred Scott Glenn and Kate Capshaw. After a career-ending injury, a bull rider moves back to his hometown in Oklahoma, only to find that just about everything he had previously known has changed, and not for the better. And the only way to fix things is to get back into the saddle. Filming was done in Guthrie.
The Killer Inside Me (2010)
This film was a remake of a 1976 movie, both based upon a 1952 novel by Jim Thompson. Casey Affleck, Kate Hudson, and Jessica Alba starred. Known by most as a law-abiding deputy sheriff, Lou Ford is anything but that, as he has been a sexual predator since his youth. Some filming was done in Oklahoma City, Guthrie, Cordell, and Tulsa.
Yet another S.E. Hinton book adaptation, this drama again had Matt Dillon in a lead role, alongside Jim Metzler and Meg Tilly. Dillon and Metzler play brothers struggling to live in Oklahoma after they are abandoned by their father following their mother’s death. Filming was done in Tulsa, Bixby, and Broken Arrow.
All American Murder (1991)
Director Anson William’s 12th movie, this thriller starred Christopher Walken and Charlie Schlatter. Things are going really well for Artie at Fairfield College, even the girl of his dreams agrees to finally let him take her on a date. But after she is found murdered, he becomes the prime suspect. Filming was done in Tulsa and Stillwater.
With some much unique land as well as weather patterns and sheer size, it’s no surprise that so many filmmakers see Oklahoma as the perfect spot for creating their masterpieces.