Hollywood in Houston: Top 13 movies filmed in the Bayou City

KTRK logo
Tuesday, February 27, 2024
Top 5 movies filmed in Houston
Have you seen all five?

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- While all eyes are on Hollywood ahead of the Oscars, Hollywood has long set its sights on Houston as a shooting location for movies.

From a futuristic space city, to a lush countryside, to gorgeous shores, and, of course, NASA, the Bayou City is as versatile as some of the world's best actors, playing itself and other locations on the silver screen.

1 of 13
IFC Films

Here are 13 of our favorite flicks shot right here in Houston:

"Boyhood" (2014)

The Richard Linklater epic shot over a 12-year period features scenes on the University of Houston main campus, in addition to the George R. Brown Convention Center.

Actress Patricia Arquette won the Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in 2015 for her part in the film. It was also nominated for Best Picture, Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Achievement in Directing, Best Original Screenplay and Best Film Editing.

"Terms of Endearment" (1983)

If you live in Houston, you know this movie. Debra Winger, Shirley MacClaine, and Jack Nicholson star in a dramedy about love and slightly dysfunctional family members.

Houston plays a prominent role, with scenes filmed in the River Oaks, at a home on Locke Lane (where Aurora lived), at a garage apartment on Heights Boulevard (where Emma and Flap lived), and at Brennan's restaurant, where Aurora and ex-astronaut Garrett Breedlove dined.

"Reality Bites" (1994)

This coming of age film is a favorite of any Houstonian who grew up in the 90s. Winona Ryder and Ethan Hawke shined in this film about love, work, and life after college. It's a gem of a film.

The cast and crew spent 42 days in Houston during production, crossing town from The Heights, to Tranquility Park downtown, to Lelaina and Vickie's apartment on West Clay Street in Montrose.

"Rushmore" (1998)

We love Oscar nominee Wes Anderson, and his flick about adorably weird Max Fischer's flirtation with a teacher and academic expulsion is one of our favorites. Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray give some of the most memorable performances of any Houston-made movie in "Rushmore. "

Houston is also featured prominently, with St. John's School doubling as Rushmore; Lamar High School doubling as Grover Cleveland High School; and the Warwick Hotel (now Hotel Zaza) and Museum District making appearances.

"Urban Cowboy" (1980)

John Travolta painted the town red in James Bridges' film about a young cowboy who learns about life and love in a big city bar. Pasadena and Deer Park residents got up close and personal with the stars, and Gilley's nightclub was a star in the film itself.

"Pearl Harbor" (2001)

The movie about that date which will live in infamy -- the day Pearl Harbor was attacked -- includes scenes shot on the Battleship Texas. The one warship played both aircraft carrier "Hornet" and battleship "West Virginia," which is where Cuba Gooding, Jr's character Doris 'Cookie' Miller was stationed.

Filming lasted a week, and pulled hundreds of extras to the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site.

Three Space-Aged Greats

An overwhelming number of films and TV shows are shot at NASA, but three of the best are "Armageddon" (1998), "Apollo 13" (1995), and "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" (2011).

Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck completed an astronaut training course in Johnson Space Center's six million-gallon water tank. Meantime, in Michael Bay's third installment of the Transformers series, more than 100 extras were needed to complete their shots.

We'd be remiss if we didn't mention that an ABC13 news truck can be seen parked outside Jim Lovell's residence in the movie "Apollo 13." That's a great scene, but the ones featuring Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, and Kevin Bacon are even better.

"Logan's Run" (1976)

Michael York and Corpus Christi native Farrah Fawcett starred in a better-than-decent sci-fi flick about a future in which everyone must die when they reach 30 years old. The Hyatt Regency Hotel on Louisiana Avenue makes an appearance in the film, set in the year 2274.

"Tree of Life" (2011)

The film starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn was produced completely in Texas, and that includes an office at 1100 Louisiana Street in downtown Houston, where character Jack works as an architect.

"Tin Cup" (1996)

If you lived anywhere on the northside in the late 90s, all people could talk about was getting a glimpse of Kevin Costner or Rene Russo. The golf movie was set in North Carolina, but filmed at Kingwood Country Club for much of the film.

"RoboCop 2" (1990)

Okay, we'll admit it: The sequel about the cyborg law enforcer RoboCop isn't the finest film ever made. But, you have to appreciate all the Houston landmarks and buildings that doubled for Detroit, and there are a lot of them:

  • The Murphy home, at 1811 McDuffie Street
  • Wortham Theater Center
  • Scenes shot on Lyons Avenue, in Fifth Ward
  • Intersection of Andrews and Wilson Street
  • Intersection of Congress and La Branch, outside the HPD station
  • Intersection of Rusk and Fannin (the stereo shop scene)
  • Intersection of Prairie and Main (opening bag lady scene)
  • Jefferson Davis Hospital, on Elder Street
  • The Americas (former El Mercado Del Sol), 2115 Runnels Street
  • Houston City Hall
  • The Hiram Clarke power plant

BONUS: Two movies (probably) not filmed in Houston

For as many movies as there were filmed in the Bayou City (more than a thousand in all, according to IMDB), Houston Film Commission Executive Director Rick Ferguson says there are two that weren't, but people think they are: "Selena" and "The Martian".

On the biographical picture about Mexican-American superstar Selena Quintanilla, Ferguson says he worked with the filmmakers during pre-production. But (brace yourselves), the famous Astrodome concert scene at RodeoHouston was actually filmed in San Antonio's Alamodome.

"The Martian," meantime, seems like it would have been made at NASA. But, it probably wasn't.

"We would have loved both of them to have been filmed in Houston," Ferguson said. "But, not to my knowledge, they weren't, at least not first unit."