From desert terrain to mountains

Filmed in Utah

Utah is a state known for its diverse landscapes and natural wonders, making it a great location to film movies. From the rugged desert terrain to the majestic mountains, Utah’s stunning backdrop has been the setting of numerous films over the years. Whether you’re in search of some classic westerns or contemporary thrillers, Utah has been the backdrop for them all. From cult classics to award-winners, here’s a look at some of the best movies filmed in Utah.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

Starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was one of the first big-budget westerns shot in Utah. The movie follows the titular outlaws as they flee from a relentless posse across the spectacular natural landscapes of southern Utah. The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Cinematography.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

One of the most iconic films to ever be filmed in Utah is Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The film was shot mainly at Arches National Park, which serves as a stunning backdrop for the movie's climactic sequence. In this action-packed film, Indiana (Harrison Ford) attempts to find the legendary Holy Grail, which is said to be hidden somewhere in Utah.

Thelma & Louise (1991)

Thelma & Louise is one of the most iconic road trip movies ever made. The movie follows two friends as they embark on a journey from Arkansas to Utah, where their final showdown takes place in the canyons near Moab. The movie was nominated for six Academy Awards and took home one—Best Original Screenplay—for its writer, Callie Khouri.

Forrest Gump (1994)

Forrest Gump is one of the most beloved movies ever made. The movie follows Forrest, a slow-witted but good-natured man, as he takes part in some of America’s defining moments throughout the 20th century. The film wasn’t actually shot in Utah—it was primarily filmed in North Carolina—but one of the film’s most iconic scenes took place at Monument Valley, an area on the Arizona-Utah border.

Independence Day (1996)

The 1996 classic Independence Day is a sci-fi thriller about an alien invasion of Earth. Much of the movie was filmed in Utah, particularly in the stunning landscapes around Moab and Monument Valley. Although the aliens don’t actually land in Utah, many of the iconic scenes were filmed there, including those of the White House being destroyed.

Mission: Impossible II (2000)

Tom Cruise returns as Ethan Hunt in this action-packed sequel to the original Mission: Impossible. Filmed mostly in Utah, the movie features stunning scenes of Moab’s red rock vistas and Arches National Park. While not a box office success, Mission: Impossible II was praised by critics for its spectacular visuals and thrilling action sequences.

High School Musical (2006)

The first High School Musical movie was a surprise hit in 2006, and it’s now become one of Disney Channel’s most beloved franchises. Although the movie was shot mostly in California, some scenes were filmed in Utah—specifically at East High School in Salt Lake City. The stories of Troy and Gabriella, the film’s teenage stars, captured the imagination of viewers everywhere.

127 Hours (2010)

Based on a true story, 127 Hours follows a mountain climber who finds himself trapped in a remote canyon in Utah. The film was shot entirely in Utah and takes viewers through some of the state’s most breathtaking landscapes, including Arches National Park and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The movie was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and took home one—Best Adapted Screenplay—for its writer, Danny Boyle.
Utah has been home to some of the most iconic films in Hollywood history, from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid to High School Musical. Many of these movies feature breathtaking landscapes that showcase Utah’s natural beauty. Whether you’re a fan of Westerns or sci-fi thrillers, there’s something for everyone in Utah’s impressive filmography. The locations these movies were filmed in are some of the most iconic places in Utah. So, the next time you’re in Utah, why not take a trip back in time and explore some of the locations that made these classic films so memorable? You won’t regret it.