10 Awesome Movies Straight Out of Phoenix

10 Awesome Movies Straight Out of Phoenix

10 Awesome Movies Straight Out of Phoenix

The capital city of the State of Arizona and popular as the Valley of the Sun, Phoenix has several landmarks that attract filmmakers to the city and its surrounding, including the views offered by Downtown Phoenix, Mystery Castle, the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, the Arizona Biltmore Hotel, Montezuma’s Castle, the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, and more. Anf course, the setting offered by the city and its people prove to be great influencers too. And the films in this list of 10 Awesome Movies Straight Out of Phoenix will tell you on both accounts!

Psycho (1960 and 1998)

The storyline of Pyscho has been so influential in the film industry that there have been several attempts to capture the essence of the story through different films made over several decades. The ones we thought would suit this list the most are the two versions that were released in 1960 and 1998. The first one, directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, John Gavin, Martin Balsam, and others, was released in 1960 and had Alfred Hitchcock sending his assistant director Hilton A. Green to scout for suitable locations for filming. Although an aerial shot of the City of Phoenix was supposed to be included in the film, the constant shaking in the helicopter delivered shots that were a little too shaky. However, despite this deletion, there were several other locations in the city that made it into the movie. In the other version that was released in 1998, director Gus Van Sant kept most of the storyline connecting Phoenix to the plot intact, and this proved to be yet another version of Psycho that played out in the city. And frankly, whenever there is mention of the films and their storylines or even a mention of the plot itself, there is bound to be a conversation around how the story plays itself out in Phoenix!

Phoenix Forgotten

The found footage genre has always been an interesting one, and although very few films have explored this style of filmmaking, the ones that have experimented with it have mostly been worth watching. Even if it wasn’t for the plot, the acting, or the storyline, the technique itself proves to be an interesting one. One such film that experimented with this genre was Phoenix Forgotten, a film directed by Justin Barber and starring Chelsea Lopez, Florence Hartigan, Justin Mathews, and Luke Spencer Roberts in the lead roles. Revolving around the general feeling of anxiety and adventure surrounding the famous and unexplained phenomenon of the “Phoenix Lights”, the film shows a bunch of friends trying to explore the circumstances surrounding the occurrence and trying to uncover the truth, only to face one hurdle after another, until they all disappear under equally mysterious circumstances. Lending even more credibility to the storyline of Phoenix Forgotten is a concluding declaration during the closing captions that the government has denied any connection between the appearance of the Phoenix Lights and the disappearance of the youngsters.

Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure

A comedy film that explores the genre of science fiction, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure is the first installment of the Bill & Ted franchise and stars a young Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter in the lead roles. The film also features Robert V. Barron, Terry Camilleri, Clifford David, Al Leong, Rod Loomis, Dan Shor, Tony Steedman, Jane Wiedlin, Bernie Casey, and the inimitable George Carlin as part of the supporting cast. Set in a futuristic world, in the year 2688 to be precise, the entire foundation of humanity rests on the ways set by the Two Great Ones, Bill S. Preston, Esq., and “Ted” Theodore Logan. However, to make sure that such a society does indeed form in the future, it is necessary that the Bill and Ted of 1988 live their lives according to plan. And thus begins a weird and funny journey that is filled with misadventures as well as the “guest appearances” of several historical figures ranging from Billy the Kid and Socrates to Joan of Arc and Sigmund Freud who fall prey to this hilarious plot. And to think that all that goes down in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure goes down so that Bill and Ted pass history class and keep their fledgling band intact. As for the Phoenix connection, the film has loads of landmarks and locations from the city featuring in it!

A Star is Born

Making his debut as a director, Bradley Cooper also co-produces, stars, and takes care of the screenplay in the musical romantic drama A Star is Born. With Lady Gaga, Andrew Dice Clay, Dave Chappelle, Sam Elliott, and others lending their acting talents and making up a starry cast, the film turned out to be a highly successful one, with multiple nominations at the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes as well as the Grammy Awards. The movie turned out to be a biggie for Lady Gaga, enabling her to latch on to the historic accomplishment of being the first woman ever to win an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, a BAFTA Award, and a Grammy Award, all in a single year. These wins came her way for the hit song “Shallow” as well as her contribution to the film’s soundtrack which sold over six million copies across the globe and won several Grammy nominations. Of course, since there’s no denying that the film does have an Arizona connection, we figured it was enough of a connection to validate its addition to this list! A favorite for moviegoers as well as music fans, and a winner in the eyes of critics too — even making the Top Ten list of various notable critics from the industry — A Star is Born was indeed a journey in itself!

The Getaway

Shot in Yuma, Phoenix, and at The Apache Lodge in Prescott, Arizona, The Getaway is an all-out Phoenix film alright, and although it didn’t do quite well at the box office, there are enough reasons to watch this movie. Directed by Roger Donaldson, the film stars Alec Baldwin, Kim Basinger, Michael Madsen, Jennifer Tilly, Richard Farnsworth, and James Woods, and is based on the 1958 novel written by Jim Thompson. With the main actors in love — Kim and Alec had fallen in love while filming for their previous film The Marrying Man — the filming was a breezy affair, and with enough intimate scenes thrown in, was quite bold too. A storyline based on the actions and reactions of different characters with the underlying theme of how mistrust leads to violence and mayhem, the film is indeed a must-watch for those who like to explore plots that are different. Both Alec and Kim had their say in the way the script flowed and many parts were rewritten in line with their inputs. Of course, while the movie itself bombed at the box office, with critics bombarding it with negative reviews and the audience not taking a particular liking to it either, director Michael Madsen still remains proud of The Getaway and believes it could have fared better with a wider release.


There are enough references to Phoenix, Arizona, in the film to help it notch a place on our list here, so Twilight makes for quite the addition! The first installment of The Twilight Saga — the others in the series included The Twilight Saga: New Moon, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1, and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 — there is no denying that the immense success of this first movie inspired makers to carry on with their impressive storytelling onscreen. Starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Billy Burke, Peter Facinelli, and others, the film made the lead pair a hit with audiences and also had them enter a relationship for a brief period. Of course, with a good old storyline explored through innovative filmmaking, the film itself was as good as romantic fantasies can get. Raking in a whopping $407.1 million against the initial investment of a relatively meager $37 million, Twilight fueled the series and helped it become one of the most successful ones in the fantasy genre.

The Bus Stop

A romantic comedy-drama that has its plot revolving around the Blue Dragon Cafe in Phoenix and then the bus stop that is Grace’s Diner, The Bus Stop is a sweet comedy with the beautiful Marilyn Monroe and Don Murray in the lead. The supporting cast consists of Arthur O’Connell, Betty Field, and Ellen Heckart, among others. Released in 1956, the storyline of the film is based on a young, inexperienced, but pushy lad who is out of his home for the first time and decided that he has found the woman of his dreams. Thereafter, he doesn’t just force his love upon her but even forces her to get on to a bus with him so that they can go on to his home in Montana and live together. And teaching the brattish lad the lesson of a lifetime are his beau, his father, and others at the diner they stop at, only so they show him how he is wrong, not in falling in love with the girl, but in the ways in which he has been showing his love. However, as naive as he may be, he does have a pure heart, and towards the end, the young man accepts his shortcomings and turns over a new leaf, impressing his gal and finally winning her over. A hit with the audiences as well as critics, The Bus Stop did quite well at the box office too, raking in $7.27 million against the $2.2 million it cost for production.

Waiting to Exhale

Whitney Houston did not just have an angelic voice but a face that could carry a movie too, and this is why we love the movies she has starred in — and Waiting to Exhale is one of them. Directed by Forest Whitaker and starring Angela Bassett, Loretta Divine, and Lela Rochon, the film revolves around the beautiful friendship between four women living in Phoenix, Arizona, and how they all have their own shares of struggles in life, including their difficulty in finding the right man. As the storyline takes audiences through the different challenges in each one’s life and shows how each situation comes to a resolution, some through a few tweaks by the women and some by fate itself. A hit at the box office, raking in $82 million against the original cost of production of $16 million, Waiting to Exhale stands testimony to Whitney’s acting talents and proves her worth on screen too. Of course, there’s also no denying the magic the other lead actresses bring to the film either!

A Fire in the Sky

A disaster movie made for TV, A Fire in the Sky is a movie that has a large comet crashing into the planet near Phoenix, Arizona, and depicts the lives of those in the days leading up to the impact and then, the stories of survivors after it. Directed by Jerry Jameson and starring Richard Crenna, Elizabeth Ashley, David Dukes, Joanna Miles, Lloyd Bochner, Merlin Olsen, Andrew Duggan, and others, the film begins with the discovery of a new comet and the eventual deduction that it is bound to hit Planet Earth. With denials from certain quarters and acceptance from others, the decision is finally taken that the comet is indeed heading towards the planet, and countermeasures such as the deployment of rockets to divert its path are taken. The plans, however, fail miserably, and it is now time for people living around the Phoenix to evacuate their homes and flee for their lives. Of course, this is easier said than done, and thus plays out the drama surrounding the lives of different people. Eventually, the asteroid does indeed hit, leaving behind the survivors to take another look at their lives and make fresh promises. With a mix of adventure, science fiction, drama, and romance, A Fire in the Sky makes for a cool television film indeed!

Mixed Company

America, just like other countries and regions around the world, has been learning its ways and changing them around the topics of racial discrimination, and while most of these stories are disturbing, there are also others that are amusing, leaving behind the same lessons but in unique ways. And among the movies that manage to do this only too well is the 1974 comedy-drama Mixed Company. Starring Barbara Harris, Joseph Bologna, Tom Bosley, and Lisa Garritsen, among others, the film was directed, co-written, and produced by Melville Shavelson. Revolving around the storyline of having a family with children from different races, the comedy shows how the issue of racism is deeply entrenched in society and even family and how one woman’s determination to change this leads to hilarious episodes that leave everyone involved with some great life lessons. A comedy that also has moral values to teach the audience, Mixed Company is a funny yet powerful film indeed!

Let’s Wave Phoenix Goodbye For Now!

A city with loads of landmarks and locations and even more history, the city of Phoenix offers quite the backdrop for films, whether it is simply serving on the virtual end of things or contributing in terms of storylines. And although not all the films based in or out of Phoenix haven’t been phenomenal hits, with some of them even tanking at the box office, the one thing that remains common is that they are indeed different from the usual! And we sure hope you enjoyed our list of 10 Awesome Movies Straight Out of Phoenix as much as we did putting it together!Alec Baldwin

Start a Discussion

Main Heading Goes Here
Sub Heading Goes Here
No, thank you. I do not want.
100% secure your website.