Cowboy bootsWhen you think about the American movie business, chances are you'll picture the Hollywood sign standing proud above Los Angeles or the steamy streets of New York, with its glitz, glamour and grit. Well, maybe it's time to consider another major player in the business of cinema: Texas.

The second largest state in the US, has been providing locations for movies since the first cameras started rolling over a hundred years ago, its rugged landscape, arid desert, rolling prairies and beautiful cities providing a backdrop for a huge array of motion pictures productions.

Remarkably, the film Wings, which was set in Texas, won an Oscar way back in 1927 and since then the state has continued to produce multi award winning films, like The Last Picture Show and No Country For Old Men (see below for more on those). The 1984 Academy Awards were a particular triumph with seven out of eight of the top Oscar winning films being mostly set in Texas.

So, for all you movie lovers out there with the urge to travel, we have seven reasons why you should visit the Lone Star State after the jump... Cowboy bootsWhen you think about the American movie business, chances are you'll picture the Hollywood sign standing proud above Los Angeles or the steamy streets of New York, with its glitz, glamour and grit. Well, maybe it's time to consider another major player in the business of cinema: Texas.

The second largest state in the US, has been providing locations for movies since the first cameras started rolling over a hundred years ago, its rugged landscape, arid desert, rolling prairies and beautiful cities providing a backdrop for a huge array of motion pictures productions.

Remarkably, the film Wings, which was set in Texas, won an Oscar way back in 1927 and since then the state has continued to produce multi award winning films, like The Last Picture Show and No Country For Old Men (see below for more on those). The 1984 Academy Awards were a particular triumph with seven out of eight of the top Oscar winning films being mostly set in Texas.

So, for all you movie lovers out there with the urge to travel, here's seven reasons why you should visit the Lone Star State...

No Country For Old Men: Having filmed their debut Blood Simple in Texas, the Coen Brothers returned there for the 2008 adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's crime thriller. In the small town of Sanderson (population: 861) you'll find the trailer park where Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) lives and the town of Marfa (situated in Presidio County and the location of James Dean's last film, Giant) was also used for filming, as Moss travels across the county to escape Javier Bardem's unstoppable hitman. No Country For Old Men would go on to be nominated for eight Academy Awards, ultimately winning four (including Best Picture and Best Director).

Watch the intro to No Country For Old Men, highlighting the beautiful landscapes of West Texas:



Film Festivals: Texas plays host to a staggering bunch of film festivals throughout the year, with every cinematic taste catered for. The capital Austin has a hugely influential festival, the independent Flatland Festival (which also provides filmmaking workshops) takes place in the Northwestern city of Lubbock and the fourth annual Texas Black Film Festival recently took place in Dallas. For those that like some live music with their movies, Austin also plays host to the successful SXSW festival, combining the best of contemporary music and cutting edge cinema.

El Paso's Star on the MountainEl Paso:
This famous city, the fourth largest in the state, has featured in many great films (and some not so great). David Lynch's classic road movie Wild At Heart takes place in and around El Paso, as does Wim Wenders Paris, Texas (more of that in a bit). For fans of action and martial arts, the wedding chapel in Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill is situated outside the city and Bruce Willis's Last Man Standing (a remake of Kurosawa's Yojimbo) was also filmed there. Other notable films featuring El Paso include the aforementioned No Country For Old Men, The Day After Tomorrow and Steven Soderbergh's Oscar winning Traffic.

The Last Picture Show: this classic 1971 coming of age drama is set in the sleepy town of Archer City (renamed Anarene in the movie). Directed by Peter Bogdanovich, the then-unkwown cast includes Jeff Bridges, Ben Johnson, Cybill Shepherd and Ellyn Burstyn, with Johnson going on to win an Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (the film also garnered many other nominations). Perfectly summing up the mood of a quiet town in the early fifties, Bogdanovich returned to Archer City for sequel Texasville.

Watch a compilation of clips from The Last Picture Show...



Birthplace of Great Actors and Directors: Texas has produced a staggering amount of cinematic talent, from independent directors to award winning actors. Across the state you'll find the birthplaces of geniuses such as Gene Roddenberry, Terrence Malick and King Vidor, whilst contemporary actors raised there include Tommy Lee Jones, Owen Wilson and Gary Busey. The Royal Tennenbaums' Wes Anderson was born and raised in Houston (basing his first film Rushmore on his youthful experiences); the USA's fourth largest city was also home to Dennis and Randy Quaid, Renee Zellweger and the late Patrick Swayze. For those of you who like animation Tex Avery, father of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Droopy, was born in the city of Taylor, whilst Matt Stone, co-creator of South Park, comes from Houston.

The Alamo: John Wayne's 1960 epic, based on one of the Texan Revolution's main battles, originally started production in Mexico although the cost of filming soon became prohibitive (the film would become the most expensive film of its time). Shooting moved to Brackettville, about 100 miles west of San Antonio, where the crew built a full size replica of the Alamo Mission. The set, which has expanded over the years, is now known as Alamo Village and is a hugely popular tourist attraction. Fact fans will note that Wayne hired the Godfather of the Western, John Ford, to he lp with filming but then sent him away to take care of the second unit when the great director meddled with Wayne's vision for the film.

Watch the trailer for The Alamo:



Paris, Texas: Wim Wender's 1984 classic, about a man (Harry Dean Stanton) who is trying to piece the last four years of his life together, is a stunning travelogue of the Texan landscape. Robby Muller's cinematography highlight the sprawling deserts and endless roads, with some of the most well-known scenes shot in downtown Houston. The film went on to win many awards, including all of the jury prizes at Cannes Film Festival.

Watch scenery from Paris, Texas with music by Ry Cooder:





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