• Arizona Can Be Paradise for a First-Time Visiting Movie Fan

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    There probably isn’t an inch of Arizona that hasn’t been pictured in a movie by now. From Tombstone to Tucson and from Phoenix to Flagstaff, the state is living movie history.

    Even today, if you say “Arizona” to someone who’s never been there, chances are their minds will fill up with visions of old cowboy and Indian movies. What that’s not fair, you can certainly understand why. Scores of westerns, both classic and forgettable, have been filmed in Arizona. A good portion of those movies were shot in Monument Valley and surrounding Arizona towns that actually helped create the “Old West” mystique.

    If you come to Arizona specifically looking for movie sets, you won’t be disappointed. However you will have some traveling to do if you want to see more than one. Old Tucson is a good place to start. It’s a real, working outdoor Old West movie studio and theme park. Scores of movies and TV shows have been filmed there. However, the sets have been replaced many times over the years, destroyed by age or fire. If you’re lucky, you may get to see a movie being filmed there. Even if you don’t, there’s plenty to keep you busy, including staged fun fights, a museum and a souvenir store.

    If the “red rock” scenery of John Ford westerns is more of what you’re looking for, head to Northern Arizona for a visit. The city of Sedona, nestled in “Red Rock Country,” even has a movie store on the main drag through town. There you can see a huge posted list of the movies filmed in and around the town. Take a guided Jeep tour from one of several companies and you’ll see first hand why the area made for such amazing cowboy pictures.

    Then of course there’s Monument Valley on the Arizona Utah border. Say the words “Western,” “cattle drive” or “cowboys and Indians” to yourself and Monument Valley will immediately fill your mind. As well it should; the area’s relative closeness to Hollywood, plus its ancient combination of curiosity and desolate mystery have made it a favorite of directors since the very first movies of the silent days.

    If you’re a movie buff, Arizona certainly has a lot for you to see for yourself. Do some research before you come, and plan your own route to see the places that are already playing in your mind’s movie theatre.

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