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Utah Celebrates “Film-versaries” for Hollywood Classics in 2021

January 20, 2021 Visit USA No Comments

January puts Utah on the world map each year. It’s the month Utah’s world famous ski town, Park City hosts the Sundance Film Festival. A-list celebrities and movie industry Hall of Famers gather for film premiers, parties and awards celebrations.

This year the 43rd Sundance Film Festival will be presented in a different light amidst the COVID pandemic. Running from January 28th to February 3rd the festival will be a seven-day online event accessible to movie fans across the USA. US festival goers will be to view 72 feature films on a custom online platform this year.  Details of all the movies are here.

However, the Sundance Film Festival is not the only drawcard when it comes to films in Utah. Utah is a fitting location for the largest independent film festival in the USA, with its majestic mountains and national parks forming the backdrop to more over 900 movies. Added to this, big budget TV shows, like HBO’s multi-award winning Westworld, use the Beehive State as their film set.

Even the Utah Film Commission is now using the official trademark: Utah. America’s Film Set®, recognizing that Utah has acted as the backdrop over the decards for hundreds of award-winning movies playing the role of many destinations both on this earth and off (think Mars).

Here, to mark the 2021 awards season and the launch of this year’s Sundance Film Festival, are some of the biggest Utah-filmed movies celebrating their ‘Film-versaries’, signalling when they were released into cinemas:

Grand Canyon (30 years) – January 1991
Starring: Danny Glover, Kevin Kline, Steve Martin
Utah locations: Snow Canyon State Park

Broken Arrow (25 years) – February 1996
Starring: John Travolta, Christian Slater, Samantha Mathis
Utah locations: Lake Powell, Glen Canyon National Recreational Area

Spy Kids (20 years) – March 2001
Starring: Alexa PeneVega, Daryl Sabara, Antonio Banderas
Utah locations: Salt Lake City

Mulholland Falls (25 years) – April 1996
Starring: Nick Nolte, Melanie Griffith, Jennifer Connelly
Utah locations: Wendover

Thelma & Louise (30 years) – May 1991
Starring: Susan Sarandon, Geena Davis, Harvey Keitel, Brad Pitt
Utah locations: Canyonlands National Park, Moab, Dead Horse Point State Park, Valley of the Gods Mexican Hat, Cisco, West Valley City, Thompson Springs, Arches National Park, La Sal Mountains

Billy the Kid (80 years) – May 1941
Starring: Robert Taylor, Brian Donlevy, Ian Hunter, Mary Howard
Utah locations: Kanab, Kanab Movie Ranch, Monument Valley

Independence Day (25 years) – July 1996
Starring: Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum
Utah locations: Bonneville Salt Flats, Wendover Airport, Tooele, Lakepoint, Skull Valley

Jurassic Park III (20 years) – July 2001
Starring: Sam Neill, William H Macy, Tea Leoni
Utah locations: Wendover

Planet of the Apes (20 years) – July 2001
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Helena Bonham Carter, Tim Roth
Utah locations: Lake Powell, Kanab

Joy Ride (20 years) – October 2001
Starring: Steve Zahn, Paul Walker, Leelee Sobieski
Utah locations: Grantsville, Delle, Skull Valley

The Tree of Life (10 years) – October 2011
Starring: Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain
Utah locations: Goblin Valley State Park

Larger Than Life (25 years) – November 1996
Starring: Bill Murray, Matthew McConaughey, Jerry Adler
Utah locations: Moab

Westward the Women (70 years) – December 1951
Starring: Robert Taylor, Denise Darcel, Hope Emerson, John McIntire
Utah locations: Johnson Canyon & Paria Canyon – Kanab, Kanab Movie Ranch, Surprise Valley
TV Series:
Promised Land (25 years) – September 1996
‘Touched by an Angel’ spin-off
Starring: Gerald McRaney, Wendy Phillips, Austin O’Brien
Utah locations: Salt Lake City, Huntsville, Ogden, Rush Valley, St George, Stockton, University of Utah

Westworld (5 years) – October 2016
Starring: Evan Rachel Wood, Jeffrey Wright, Ed Harris
Utah locations: Dead Horse Point State Park, Moab,

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