The Best Movie Sets in Texas

Texas is no stranger to Hollywood magic. Countless television shows and blockbusters have been filmed here, from Walker, Texas Ranger to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. While many exterior sets have long been dismantled, the Lone Star State is still home to a few iconic locations that fans will instantly recognize. Here are four of our favorites:

Dallas, TX: Southfork Ranch

It’s time to break out your Stetson hat and cowboy boots! Southfork Ranch was the official home of Dallas’ Ewing family from 1978 to 1989, and again for the 2012 series reboot. There were also two reunion film specials filmed here. Today, Southfork is a popular tourist destination and venue for weddings, reunions and corporate events. Guests can take a guided tour of the Ewing Mansion and the surrounding property for just $15, or schedule trail rides and horse riding lessons for an additional fee. Fans will spot memorabilia from the show including Lucy’s wedding dress and the Ewing family’s breakfast table. Stop into Lincoln’s and Longhorns gift shop on your way out to pick up a Texas-sized souvenir and see Jock’s 1978 Lincoln Continental from the original show.

Blanco, TX: The True Grit Courthouse

A remake of the 1969 western starring John Wayne, True Grit follows a U.S. Marshall and a young farm girl on a journey to find the criminals responsible for her family’s death. Directed by the Coen Brothers, the 2010 flick features Jeff Bridges as trash-talking lawman Rooster Cogburn. Take the drive to Blanco, about 50 miles north of San Antonio, and you’ll find the beige stone building where Cogburn stood trial for murder in the film. There’s no official tour of the Old Blanco County Courthouse, but visitors can pop by from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Austin, TX: Top Notch 

You won’t feel Dazed & Confused biting into a juicy burger at this popular Austin roadside hangout. Easily the most iconic shooting spot in the 1993 coming-of-age flick, Top Notch is featured in the scene where Matthew McConaughey utters his catch-phrase, “alright, alright, alright.” Though the burger palace shut down in 2008 following the death of its owner, it’s now back up and running with a 4-star Yelp rating – likely from the movie’s fans. Cruise in for a #4 Longhorn Special with double meat and cheese, paired with a frosty milkshake and crispy onion rings. Don’t forget to snap a selfie with the distinctive vintage Top Notch sign on the way out! The eatery is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, and offers curbside service.

Pilot Point, TX: Bonnie & Clyde’s Bank

Though the real robbers never set foot in this small town, movie director Arthur Penn thought it was the perfect filming site for his 1967 flick Bonnie & Clyde starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. Located about an hour north of Dallas, Pilot Point hosts an annual Bonnie & Clyde festival in the town square every fall, with actors playing the infamous gangsters. Tourists can also visit the Farmer's and Merchant's Bank where one of the movie robberies was filmed. Today, the circa-1896 block building is a contemporary art gallery and pottery store that’s only open weekends or by appointment. Take a few candid shots outside of the bank, then wander in to browse the wide selection of antiques and landscape art. 

Ideally, movie and TV buffs could visit several of the locations on our list in one trip, and include a few side trips to smaller filming locations like Ray’s BBQ in Austin, featured in Friday Night Lights, or the water tower from one of Leonardo DiCaprio’s earlier films, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (Manor, TX). Get your Texas movie and TV tour started at Southfork Ranch, filming site of one of TV’s longest-running and most popular primetime dramas. Call 972-442-7800 or book your visit online today. 

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