Shot in Phoenix

Still from “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure”

It’s always fun seeing your home town pop up in movies, so we’ve gathered together a handful of well-liked films that shot on location in the Phoenix area. Throw one on tonight and see how many landmarks you can spot!

“Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” 

The pandemic and ongoing economic crisis has claimed another culturally significant casualty: the iconic Circle K in Tempe that was the shooting location for the opening scenes of “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.” The parking lot where Bill and Ted first met George Carlin’s Rufus in a time traveling phone booth closed in May after more than 30 years of service and plenty of photo-ops for bodacious die-hards.

“A Star Is Born” (1976)

The most recent version of the frequently remade musical romance “A Star Is Born” starred Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper and spawned an unavoidably massive hit single and one million memes. That one didn’t shoot in the Phoenix area at all, but the similarly acclaimed 1976 version, featuring Barbara Streisand and Kris Kristofferson, did, at a massive concert organized specifically for the film that had a turnout of more than 50,000 people. In the middle of a huge rock show at Sun Devil Stadium, co-headlined by Peter Frampton and Santana, Streisand, then one of the most famous people alive, strolled out to an already hyped crowd to perform a handful of songs, including the film’s award-winning theme, “Evergreen.” The energy is palpable in footage of the performance, a thrilling piece of 1970s music history.

“Days of Thunder”

Filmed in the middle of Tom Cruise’s first decade of superstardom, “Days of Thunder” was a thrilling crowd-pleaser of an action/romance/sports flick. Cruise, as the hilariously named Cole Trickle, is a magnetic, ambitious driver who attempts to rise among the NASCAR ranks. Trickle’s first race as a NASCAR driver is in Phoenix, shot on location at the Phoenix International Raceway.

“Waiting to Exhale”

The well-loved 1995 romance movie “Waiting to Exhale,” starring Whitney Houston and Angela Bassett, is perhaps the most Phoenix-centric film on the list. Plenty of iconic locations pop up throughout the film, including the Arizona Supreme Court building, the Biltmore Resort & Spa, and the Hermosa Inn, home to the lavish New Year’s Eve party near the film’s climax. Eagle-eyed viewers can enjoy plenty of 1990s-era Phoenix vibes, from the fashion to the architecture.

“Jerry Maguire”

“Jerry Maguire” came to Phoenix to shoot in a few locations, combining two elements of films mentioned earlier in this piece: Tom Cruise movies and the Sun Devil Stadium. The stadium is used for the Monday Night Football scene near the end of the film where Cuba Gooding Jr’s character is dramatically injured after scoring a touchdown. Another memorable scene, which explores the concept of “shoplifting the pootie,” was filmed in Lost Dutchman State Park.

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