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Idaho on Set!

David Nielsen, MBA

David Nielsen loves helping people transition. He understands that, for many people, your home is your largest investment...

David Nielsen loves helping people transition. He understands that, for many people, your home is your largest investment...

Aug 12 5 minutes read

There's a reason Idaho is best known for potatoes.

Because we're good at growing them.

No no no.

We're not good at growing them. We're the best at growing them.

We even celebrate our talent with the Boise Potato Drop on New Year's Eve.

But there's so much more about Idaho and Boise and, sometimes, the world doesn’t even know it's staring right at us.

Boise and southern Idaho have been chosen as locations for some pretty cool movies.

Let's check in with some of the bigger ones!

Movies filmed around Boise

We have gorgeous, unique scenery in Idaho: stately mountains, river rapids, expansive farm and ranch lands, and rustic small towns.

Our warm climate, along with long summer days, makes for some easy scheduling.

Most film companies have chosen their locations outside Boise but one in particular stuck to our beautiful metro area.

Do you know which one?

Bronco Billy

Location: Boise

Shot in the fall of 1979, Bronco Billy starred Clint Eastwood as Bronco Billy McCoy, the feature performer of a rundown traveling circus. The film was a modest box office success, grossing four to five times its cost. Sandra Locke, who starred opposite Eastwood, earned ignominious recognition for her efforts, being nominated for Worst Actress in the Golden Raspberries. She wasn't even bad enough to win.

Napoleon Dynamite

Locations: Preston and Franklin

Of all the movies filmed in Idaho, this one ranks as our office favorite. Of course, it's a cult classic, ranking right up there with Heathers and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. It tracks the bizarre family life of ho-hum teenager Napoleon Dynamite and gives eternal infamy to moon boots. If you can't appreciate Jon Heder's dance scene as Napoleon, you aren't human! Oh … and vote for Pedro!

Dante's Peak

Location: Wallace

If only Dante's Peak hadn't debuted at the same time as a special re-release of Star Wars in 1997, it would have been the No. 1 opener for that February weekend. It was a box office success but, man, it bombed with the critics. While it also filmed at Mount St. Helens and Baker Hot Springs in Washington and Agua Dulce in California, Wallace in North Idaho was the principal filming location. It's a disaster thriller, starring Pierce Brosnan and Linda Hamilton, and tracks the events of survival following a volcanic eruption.

Bus Stop

Location: Sun Valley and Ketchum

Marilyn Monroe. In Idaho. It happened. Filmed in 1956 and released later that year, the scenery magically looks like Idaho but the movie is set in Montana and Arizona. The script strayed from Monroe's normal comedic track and leaned towards a dramatic piece. Don Murray plays her love interest, Beauregard Decker, and tries to squire Monroe's Cherie from her Arizona saloon singing job back to his ranch in Montana.

Breakfast of Champions

Locations: Twin Falls

Bruce Willis and Nick Nolte take us deep into the culture of a weird little town full of characters with an array of idiosyncrasies and neuroses. It was panned by critics for a disjointed storyline and lame visual gimmicks. But, hey, Twin Falls looked good!

Wild Wild West

Locations: The Camas Prairie Railroad

Idaho plays a small part in Wild Wild West but we had to mention it because it's just so bad. Like so bad, the DVD should be wrapped with a warning label. Not for explicit content but for bad content. Bad. Horrible. We wonder what Will Smith, Kevin Kline, Salma Hayek and Kenneth Branagh—all actors with some serious acting chops—were thinking. It's just bad. Baaaaaaad.

Local movie culture is thriving

Now let's not mind the big guns in Hollywood. Let's give some serious props (props … get it? Ha!) to the local film culture.

The Boise Film Foundation is working on grants, education and outreach for local filmmakers. It also assists with marketing the region as a film location.

It also hosts the Summer Film Series, showing classics at the Payette Brewing Co. every Wednesday evening.

We're also blessed to have a number of film festivals throughout the year.

Put these on your calendar:

Idaho Horror Film Festival, October 17-19 at the Egyptian

Sun Valley Film Festival, March 18-22, 2020, at Sun Valley

i48, a creation festival held every June, October and February at the Egyptian

Filmfort, part of Treefort, every March in Boise (we wrote about Treefort earlier this year!)

Get watching

Is it too hot outside? Maybe it's time to crank up the air conditioning and catch one of the movies we talked mentioned. Or cue up one of the other movies filmed in Idaho, the beautiful Gem state. There's a full list on this Wikipedia page for you to check out.

Then head over to our Facebook page and tell us how it went.

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