Montana’s mountain ranges and meandering rivers have long made a choice backdrop for directors and producers. When we’re talking about filming locations in the Treasure State, it’s basically a bucket list of spots to visit that writes itself. Here are some of the most famous titles in film and television that have featured shots of Montana.
The Yellowstone phenomenon has been covered extensively as the show has put a spotlight on the Treasure State. The historic Chief Joseph Ranch is the location for the Dutton family ranch, located in Darby, Montana, south of Missoula.
Most of the Montana town scenes for this new prequel for the show Yellowstone were shot in uptown Butte. Interiors and exteriors from the Butte Civic Center and Carpenter’s Union Hall feature in the show. It’s no surprise that historic Butte would make the best backdrop for an old Western town.
Forrest traveled to many well-known locations across the country in his famous running sequence. Glacier National Park’s Going-to-the-Sun Road is on the list, as well as a golden wheat field near Cut Bank (though the internet still debates whether this shot was used in the film).
Even if you couldn’t find Montana on a map, you’re still probably familiar with A River Runs Through It. The story is set in Missoula and along the Blackfoot River. But filming for the movie took place mostly in south-central Montana, near Bozeman and Livingston. The river from the film was a composite of the Gallatin, upper Yellowstone, and Boulder Rivers.
The Revenant took home an armful of awards when it came out in 2015. Most of the movie was filmed in Canada, but (spoilers!) the protagonist’s escape down a rapid-churned river was shot in Montana. Kootenai Falls near Libby is one of the tallest waterfalls in the country, and its rapids made an ideal shooting location. The falls were also featured in River Wild, a 1994 Meryl Streep film.
Anyone who’s seen the movie should recognize the scenic vistas of Glacier National Park in the background of this childhood favorite. When you’re watching the film, keep an eye out for the mountain peaks and lakes in the background of shots.
Calling Heaven’s Gate cool might be a bit of a stretch. Widely regarded as one of the biggest flops in Hollywood history, it’s maybe more famous for being bad than being cool. But it certainly does have beautiful scenery. This film was primarily shot in and around Glacier, with a town set built at Two Medicine. Other scenes were shot up the North Fork. Park officials eventually revoked the production’s permit to film in Glacier because of harm caused to the habitat.
Glacier National Park has a sneaky cameo in the opening scenes of this classic horror favorite (we’re talking the Stanley Kubrick version). As the film opens, an aerial shot follows a car along the Going-to-the-Sun Road on the east side of Glacier. You can see Wild Goose Island, Heavy Runner Mountain, and the tunnel on the west side of the park, among other famous sites.
If you’re visiting filming locations from your favorite show or movie, or you just want to experience a place that has inspired art for generations, Big Sky Country should be your next trip. Book your stay with Starry Night Lodging, and explore Montana.