Colorado's mountain wilderness makes the perfect backdrop for a film.

Colorado’s dramatic mountain backdrop, breathtaking and timeless in its appeal, adds something special to a movie. It’s no wonder so many films have been shot on location in the Rocky Mountain state. Here’s a look at some of the best-known films shot in or set in Denver and or elsewhere in Colorado. 

The Shining (1980)

In spite of it being filmed primarily in England, the 1980 film adaptation of Stephen King’s novel The Shining is set in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. And the 1997 miniseries was filmed in Denver, Arvada, and Estes Park. In the film, Jack Nicholson plays a struggling writer who becomes the caretaker of the isolated Overlook Hotel. The suspense and horror that ensue put viewers on the edge of their seats for much of the film. The Overlook Hotel was based on Estes Park’s Stanley Hotel, an hour’s drive from AMLI at Interlocken. You can check out the hotel and—if you dare—spend the night.

About Schmidt

Another Jack Nicholson classic, the 2002 comedy-drama About Schmidt follows recent retiree Warren Smith on an RV journey across the Midwest. Smith’s goal is to make an appearance at his estranged daughter’s wedding. Along the way, Smith learns more about himself and his worldview than he did in decades living a daily grind. Many of the film’s scenes were shot on location in Boulder and Denver.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Loosely based on the story of Wild West outlaws Robert LeRoy Parker and Harry Longabaugh, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid takes viewers on an action-packed adventure through some beautiful southwestern U.S. landscapes. Paul Newman and Robert Redford, a UC-Boulder alum and Colorado enthusiast, star in the film. Telluride is the most famous of several Colorado locations that make appearances in the 1969 cult classic.

True Grit (1969)

Another iconic Western produced in 1969, True Grit stars Glen Campbell, Kim Darby, and John Wayne. Follow a hardheaded U.S. Marshall with a passion for drink and a Texas Ranger who help a stubborn teen track down his father’s killer. The film was shot primarily in Ouray, Ridgewood, and Montrose, Colorado. It’s possible to relive the “Sleeping Rock” scene at the summit of Owl Creek Pass. It’s a long day trip to Ridgway Town Park from Denver. But you can plan a weekend visit to the Telluride area and check out the park and the stately Ouray County Courthouse, which features prominently in the film. It’s located at 541 Fourth St. in Ouray.

Furious 7

In the seventh installment of the Fast and the Furious franchise, Deckard Shaw seeks revenge against Domoinic Toretto and his family for his comatose brother. Scenes from Furious 7, Hollywood heartthrob Paul Walker’s last film, were shot along Pikes Peak Highway and at Monarch Pass. You can explore both on a day-trip from your Denver or Broomfield apartment.

Dumb and Dumber

Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels’s 1994 comedy is one of America’s most beloved comedies. Utilizing slapstick comedy and other humorous turns of events, the movie tells the story of two absurd friends who journey across the country in order to return a briefcase full of money to its rightful owner. One of the film’s most memorable scenes, the hilarious scooter scene, takes place in the Rocky Mountains. Much of Dumb & Dumber was shot in Aspen, but Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, and Estes Park were also used as filming locations.

The Lucky Ones

During a 30-day leave at home between deployments to Iraq, three military service people find themselves stranded at JFK. Instead of wait things out until flights are running again, the trio rents a car to reach their respective destinations. They end up road tripping across much of the country together and becoming close friends. Scenes from this heartwarming 2008 drama, starring Michael Pena, Rachel McAdams, and Tim Robbins, were shot in Denver.

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About Jason Ernst


Jason received degrees in International Studies, Economics, and German Literature from the University of Arizona in 2011, and has worked as a freelance writer ever since. His research and writing interests include interior decoration and design, home entertainment, history, art, architecture, and travel. He is currently a regular contributor to the AMLI Residential lifestyle blog. Circle Jason on Google+