What Makes Texas “Texas”? • A Hollywood Destination

Texans won’t deny the #1 and #2 ranking that California and New York hold as the states with the most television and movie projects; that’s where most of the movie companies live, after all. Fortunately for Texans, our state ranks number three and we don’t live in either of those other states. 

As of 2018, when data was compiled from the Internet Movie Database (IMDB.com), Texas has been the setting for 8,164 movies and shows filmed. Within Texas, the most filmed cities were Austin (2,257), Dallas (1,537), Houston (1,279), San Antonio (564), Fort Worth (331), Arlington (179), El Paso (177), Denton (137), Corpus Christi (97), and Plano (85). 


On the business side, there are more than 160 Film Friendly Certified communities in Texas and the Governor’s Film Friendly Texas program is working to add more. The program involves certification and marketing by the Texas Film Commission. Communities in the program receive training and guidance about media industry standards, best practices and how to effectively accommodate media production in their cities and communities. It is a valuable resource that helps maintain Texas as a premier destination for media production. Close to home, Williamson County has eight certified communities. 

For the creatives, nothing compares to the history and romance that sets Texas apart in many ways, and none more so than in entertainment. The distinctive scenery and landscapes, colorful history, and unique character of Texans themselves have provided plenty of inspiration and content for filmmakers. More than a setting for classic westerns, Texas provides a full spectrum of angst-filled teens, big city business, and quirky folks who make Texas so “Texas” all over the world. 


Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Filmed in Round Rock, Bastrop, and Leander. The owners of the film’s gas station in Bastrop held a grand reopening in 2016. There are four creepy little cabins on the property so fans can spend a night. There’s a sign out front that says, “We Slaughter Barbecue.”

  • Pee Wee’s Big Adventure: Hopefully people aren’t still looking for his bike in the basement of the Alamo. 
  • Urban Cowboy started the modern wave of cowboy fashion and made Gilley’s famous nationwide.
  • Dazed and Confused: Matthew McConaughey’s breakout hit. (Alright, alright, alright!)
  • Lonesome Dove, The Last Picture Show, Hud; all based on books by Larry McMurtry. 
  • Blood Simple, a Coen brothers’ thriller about a jealous husband, filmed in Pflugerville and Hutto. 
  • Office Space. The Initech Office is real, but goes by a different name; filmed in Austin at 4120 Freidrich Lane.


While you may not recognize Georgetown in every movie and TV show, our city has 60 entries in the database, from major motion pictures to shorts. Popular projects include the iconic “Friday Night Lights” television show and, in film, “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?”, “Johnny B. Goode,” and “Varsity Blues.”  While not in Texas’ top ten, it’s worth mentioning that “Bernie,” starring Matthew McConaughey, was filmed here and also featured his mom, Kay, a resident of Sun City. 

  • “Temple Grandin” was filmed in Schwertner and Temple herself helped redesign the facility at the ranch where filming took place. 
  • Hutto has been featured on film 20 times, and just recently wrapped initial filming for a new Nicole Kidman project.  
  • Known for its late 19th- and early 20th-century architecture, Bartlett was the site for the filming of movies including “The Stars Fell on Henrietta” and “The Newton Boys,” as well as two seasons of the NBC television drama “Revolution.”
  • Last February, Round Rock had to close a few roads while “Fear the Walking Dead” filmed part of season 4. 

CLICK HERE and take a trip down memory lane with the Texas Classics Film Trail, highlighting 25 film destinations from some of Texas’ most iconic projects.