The 10 Best Movies Filmed in Houston

While it's not Hollywood, Houston has long been a favorite movie location among LA-based directors. Its subtropical climate, complete with a Wild West feel and home to multiple NASA space stations, makes Houston a comfortable shooting locale and an interesting set. Add to that its easy accessibility—with an international airport residing just outside city limits—allowing actors and set crews to buzz in and out during a multi-month shoot. And while you may not realize it, a few favorite films have been shot here. Think "Twins," "Robocop 2," and Rutger Hauer's cinematic masterpiece "Blind Fury."

  • 01 of 10
    Urban Cowboy

    Ask anyone from Pasadena (a prominent Houston suburb and the seventh most populous city in Texas) what their town is most known for and they'll boast about the classic film "Urban Cowboy." And how could they not? This love story that was filmed in Pasadena in the 80s creatively chronicles the volatile relationship between the main characters Bud and Sissy (a cowboy and cowgirl, respectively). Arguably, it's one of the most famous iconic Texas films out there.

  • 02 of 10
    Tin Cup

    Though only a portion of the movie "Tin Cup" was shot near Houston, this movie makes our list based solely on the gut-wrenching golf course meltdown that Roy (Tin Cup) McAvoy—played by Kevin Costner—suffers at the end of the film. Any true golfer can relate to the two-dollar-a-bucket driving range portrayed in the film and the diehard way McAvoy pursues the sport (and also his true love). 

  • 03 of 10
    Apollo 13

    "Houston, we have a problem ..."

    No one can forget that tense phrase from Ron Howard's movie "Apollo 13," one of the greatest astronaut movies of all time. Not only was this movie shot at one of Houston's most prominent attractions—NASA's Johnson Space Center. But it was also staged to take place there. Check out this throwback film on IMAX, if you get the chance, for an adventure-based ride through space.

  • 04 of 10

    At the complete opposite end of the reality spectrum is Bruce Willis's 1998 summer smash "Armageddon." Disney's most expensive film at the time, this space movie is action-packed and introduced the concept of "the end of the world" at a time before anyone even considered it. Catch this classic on television and you'll get misty-eyed when—spoiler alert—Willis swaps places with Ben Afleck at the end of the movie.

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  • 05 of 10
    Friday Night Lights

    Any film that makes mention of the Astrodome must show up on this list. And "Friday Night Lights" was a startlingly good movie at that. This movie focuses on the football team, the coach, and the adults who define themselves around their relationship to the sport. The scene where Boobie Miles starts screaming in the car when he realizes the bleakness of his own future sheds light on the stress of becoming a sports star. 

  • 06 of 10
    Best Little Whorehouse

    This flashback film features Dolly Parton and Burt Reynolds in their prime. And, apparently, the Melvin P. Thorpe's character (played by Dom DeLuise) was based on one of Houston's most beloved reporters, Marvin Zindler. Add to that the fact that this movie has inspired countless spin-offs, parodies, and imitations and you've got yourself a bonafide cult classic.

  • 07 of 10

    Two men (well actually, one teenager and one man) feud for the love of a woman in the movie "Rushmore." Precocious Max Fischer lives for school, where he's not particularly a scholar but enjoys a host of extracurricular activities, including a crush on his teacher. This movie transformed Bill Murray's career from a movie star to an indie-movie star, quite the opposite of most other actors.

  • 08 of 10
    Reality Bites

    You'd be hard pressed to find a character more inherently disagreeable than Ethan Hawke's in this movie. Starring Hawks and Winona Ryder, "Reality Bites" follows the trials and tribulations of growing into your twenties. Scenes from this film were shot in several Houston locations, including Houston Heights, a collection of neighborhoods often referred to as "The Heights."

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  • 09 of 10
    Tree of Life

    This movie—released in 2011 and filmed in Houston and several other Texas cities—features both Sean Penn and Brad Pitt. This heartwarming film about a family growing up in the country's Midlands gives a glimpse into the lives of boys wanting to grow up too fast. Watching "The Tree of Life" now brings us back to the days when kids called other parents by their proper names, rather than their first names.  

  • 10 of 10
    Space Cowboys

    "Space Cowboys" with Clint Eastwood combines two things that Houston is best known for: NASA and cowboys. This 2001 film highlights the lives of four men who are destined to live out their heroic dream to travel to space. The opportunity presents itself when a Russian satellite malfunctions and the main character, played by Eastwood, is sent to repair it, alongside his cohorts.

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