While Oklahoma is not exactly the movie capital of the world, there have been some fairly significant films made entirely or at least in part within the state. From the more famous such as the small Oklahoma towns in Twister to the relatively obscure like the OSU Student Union's appearance in a campy thriller, here are some to check out.
The Outsiders (1983) makes the cut over Oklahoma-native S.E. Hinton's other novel turned Francis Ford Coppola film, Rumble Fish. It's the story of rival gangs, Greasers and Socs, in 1963 Tulsa. Two young boys are on the run after killing a rival in self-defense.
Watch for Tulsa's Admiral Twin Drive-In as well as extensive scenes filmed throughout Tulsa including downtown and Tulsa Regional Medical Center.
The 1988 Best Picture Oscar winner Rain Man tells the story of Raymond Babbitt (Dustin Hoffman), an autistic savant whose brother Charlie (Tom Cruise) "kidnaps" him because their father has left Raymond the family fortune. It's a humorous and touching road trip in a Buick Roadmaster as the two form an unlikely bond.
Watch for the streets of Guthrie when Raymond is taken to a clinic doctor as well as El Reno's Big 8 Motel that "plays" an Amarillo motel in the film.
It's no cinematic masterpiece, but this 1996 disaster pic with Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton may be the quintessential Oklahoma film because of the state's prominence in the story. Written by Michael Crichton, the movie about tornado trackers was a box office success.
Watch for the small town of Wakita, Oklahoma where "Aunt Meg" lives, and the University of Oklahoma's Owen Field hides itself well as the site of a destroyed house through which the characters drive.
This 1987 horror movie about a group of traveling vampires is not exactly an award-winner. In fact, it's rather silly and yet brutal all at the same time. Nevertheless, the Bill Paxton flick, directed by eventual Oscar winner Kathryn Bigelow has become a cult classic.
It's a bit hard to tell you what to watch for here, though, as the majority of the filming was done on Oklahoma roads and rural locations.
Far and Away
Another Tom Cruise movie filmed partially in Oklahoma Far and Away co-starred Nicole Kidman and was directed by Ron Howard. It was supposed to be the kind of big-budget epic that takes home Oscars. Unfortunately, the story of romance during the Oklahoma Land Run received mixed reviews back in 1992.
Most of the movie was not filmed in Oklahoma. Even the Land Run was shot in Montana, but the Oklahoma Film Commission says there were portions filmed in the state.
This 1996 John Travolta-with-super powers tear-jerker seems to be a love it or hate it kind of a movie. After seeing a strange light, car mechanic George Malley (Travolta) suddenly becomes very intelligent, even possessing telekinesis. Everyone wants to know the reason for his change, but George wants to court Jace (Kyra Sedgwick), a single mother new to town.
Watch for various areas in and around Tulsa, one of 10 filming locations for the movie.
This 2005 Cameron Crowe romantic dramedy largely disappointed critics. Orlando Bloom is a desperate young man who returns to his Kentucky hometown after his father passes away. Falling in love with a flight attendant (Kirsten Dunst), though, can cure many ills.
Another critical disappointment, The Frighteners (1996) was directed by Peter Jackson who would go on to make the Lord of the Rings trilogy and King Kong. Starring Michael J. Fox, the comedy-horror tells the story of a psychic who finds himself in a mystery when small-town inhabitants begin dying mysteriously.
Filmed mostly in New Zealand, Tulsa is the only US location in which the movie filmed, but identifying the scenes is certainly difficult.
If you haven't seen this early 70's gangster favorite about the notorious John Dillinger, look for it.
The cool thing about this one is that you can very easily drive by where it was filmed. Dilapidated but still standing at the corner of NE 63rd and Sooner Road, the gas station was the primary location for the solid 2008 horror film about a killer parasite.
This 1992 campy B thriller directed by Anson Williams (Potsie from The Happy Days) stars Christopher Walken and utilizes the Oklahoma State campus prominently. It's also simply not a good movie.
Watch for the burning body being thrown off the balcony of Oklahoma State's Student Union. Many of the campus house scenes were filmed on the streets around the University of Tulsa campus.