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Monday, July 22, 2019


The film history of Death Valley contrasts with that of Lone Pine in that there are many fewer westerns made in Death Valley. In the silent days, most films were westerns but from the 1940's the films represented many genres. Science fiction and horror dominated most recently. Exploitation films, stories about modern culture, and unique independent films also appear on the film list. Most of the films today are small budget. There are also a lot of documentaries, particular those produced by BBC. The most familiar film names are Star Wars, U2 The Joshua Tree, One Eyed Jacks, The Sun of All Fears, Lost Highway, Easy Rider and The Doors.  - Chris Langley

Movies and Television With Scenes Filmed in Death Valley and Desert Areas of Inyo County and Environs

Movies (Features, shorts and Documentaries)

 1909   Trip to Death Valley
Tourist documentary shot on route of Tonopah and Tidewater Rainroad and used in promotions across the country.

1916   Life’s Whirlpool
Based on McTeague, after shooting in Ft. Lee, New Jersey, World Pictures unit came to Death Valley in December 1915 to finish film.

1918    The Dawn of Understanding
               Directed by Charles R. Seeling. Starring Bessie Love, G.A. Williams

               1918   Hell’s Crater
               Directed by W.B. Pearson. Starring Grace Cunard, George McDaniel.

1924  Wanderer of the Wasteland
               Director: Irvin Willat, Paramount Pictures. Based on Zane Grey’s novel. Hollywood’s first all color film.

1924  Greed
               Director: Eric von Strohiem. Starring: Jean Hersholt, Zazu Pitts and Gibson Gowland

1925  The Air Mail
               Director Irvin Willat, Warner Baxter, Billie Dove, Mary Brian 
               Filmed at Rhyolite. Willat restored the “Bottle House” to use in this film

1927   The Brute
Director: Irving Cummings, Monte Blue, Leila Hyams, Clyde Cook

               1927  The Chinese Parrot
               Directed by Paul Leni. Starring Marion Nixon, Hobart Bosworth. (First Chalie Chan film)

1928   Unknown Cavalier
               Starring: Ken Maynard. Warner Brothers, Inc.

               1927  Death Valley
Directed by Paul Powell. Starring: Carroll Nye, Beda Rae, Sam Wells, Raymond Wells, Grace Lord and Rex the collie.

               1929  The Rainbow
               Starring: Dorothy Sebastian, Lawrence Gray, Harvey Clark, Sam Hardy and Kate Price.

               1928  The Water Hole
               Directed by F. Richard Jones. Starring Jack Holt, Nancy Carroll.

1929    Behind That Curtain
               Directed by Irving Cummings. Starring Walter Baxter, Lois Moran

1931    Hot Sands
               Alf Goulding. Starring Billy Wayne, Thelma White.

1936   The Border Patrolman
Starring George O’Brian  Furnace Creek Inn, etc.

1937   Fair Warning
               Directed by Norman Foster. Starring J. Edward Bromber, Betty Furness.

1939   Rough Riders' Round up
Starring Roy Rogers Rhyolite

1940   20 (Twenty) Mule Team
Director Richard Thorpe.  Starring: Wallace Beery & Leo Carrillo. Metro-Goldwin Mayer. Filmed in Golden Canyon.  Story about an Arizona borax mine.

1941   The Bride Came C.O.D.
               Director: William Kieghley. Starring: James Cagney and Bette Davis.  Warner Brothers, Inc.  Shot at Sand Dunes.

1944   Day in Death Valley
               Documentary. Directed by James A. Fitzpatrick. Starring Walter Scott, Albert Johnson.

1945   Escape In the Desert
               Director: Edward A. Blatt. Starring: Irene Manning and Alan Hale. Warner Brothers, Inc. Remake of Petrified Forest.

1946   Death Valley
Starring Helen Gilbert, Robert Lowery, Nat Pendelton, Sterling Halloway and Paul Hirst.  Filmed in Twenty Mule Canyon.  May have actually been a television show.

1948   Yellow Sky
               Director William Weldman. Starring: Gregory Peck, Anne Baxter, and Richard Widmark. Twentieth Century Fox. Filmed near Ranch. About a search for a lost mine in Arizona.

               1948  Three Godfathers
               Director: John Ford. Starring: John Wayne, Ward Bond, Harry Carey, Jr. and Pedro Armendarys. RKO Argosy Pictures. Filmed near Ranch

               1949  The Walking Hills
Director John Sturges. Starring Randolph Scott & Ella Raines. Columbia Pictures. Filmed near Stovepipe.

1950   The Gunfighter
Director Henry King. Starring Gregory Peck, Helen Westcott & Millard Mitchell. The opening titles were filmed in Death Valley.

               1950  The Rocketship X-M
               Director Kurt Neuman. Starring Hugh O’Brien, Lloyd Bridges, Ona Musen, John Emory & Noah Beery, Jr.  Filmed at Sand Dunes. Originally titled “Rocket Ship to the Moon”.

               1950  King Solomon’s Mines
               Director Compton Bennett.  Starring: Deborah Kerr , Stewart Granger and Richard Carlson. Metro-Goldwin Mayer.

               1951  Cattle Drive

               Director: Kurt Neuman. Starring: Joel McCrea, Dean Stockwell and Chill Wills. Universal Pictures.

1951   The Golden Horde
               Director: Sherman. Starring: Ann Blyth and David Farrer. Univeral Pictures.

               1952  Tarzan’s Savage Fury
               Directed by Cy Enfield. Starring Lex Barker, Dorothy Hart

1953   Escape from Fort Bravo (Ropes End production title)
               Director John Sturges. Starring William Holden, Elenor Parker and John Forsythe.  Metro-Goldwin Mayer.

               1926  War Paint 
Clyde Cook Director: W.S. Van Dyke
  Tim McCoy, Pauline Starke, Charles K. French

Director: Lesley Selander. Starring Robert Stack, Joann Taylor , Charles McGraw and Peter Graves.  United Artists

1954   The Egyptian

1956   Pharaoh’s Curse
               aka The Curse of the Pharoah

1957   The Law and Jack Wade
Director: John Sturges.  Starring: Robert Taylor, Richard Widmark and Patricia  Owens.  Metro-Goldwin Mayer.  Filmed at Artist Drive, Badwater and Zabriskie  Point.

1958   Desert Hell
               Director: Charles Marquis Warren.  Starring: Brian Keith and Barbara Hale. Filmed at Sand Dunes. French Foreign Legion battles warring Arabs.

1960   Spartacus
               Director Stanley Kubrick.  Starring: Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier, Jean Simmons and Tony Curtis.  Filmed at Ryan Borax Mine and Zabriskie Point.

1961   One-Eyed Jacks
Director: Marlon Brando.  Starring: Marlon Brando, and Karl Malden.  Paramount Pictures

1964   Robinson Crusoe on Mars
               Director: Byron Haskin. Starring: Paul Mantee, Vic Ludin and Adam West. Paramount Pictures.

               The Lively Set
Director: Jack Arnold. Starring: James Darren, Pamela Tiffin and Doug McClure. Universal Pictures. Filmed at Emigrant. Furnace Creek.

 1965  The Greatest Story Ever Told
               Director: George Stevens.  Starring: Max Von Sydow, Charlton Heston, and  Carroll Baker.  Test shots were filmed at Dante’s View but unknown if scenes made the final cut.

               The Reward
Director: Serge Bourquignon.  Starring Man von Sydow, Ivettex Mimieux, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. and Gilbert Roland.  Twentieth Century Fox. Filmed at Indian Villiage, Salt Creek, Devil’s Golf Course and Zabriskie Point.

1966   The Professionals
Director: Richard Brooks.  Starring Burt Lancaster, Lee Marvin and Jack Palance.  Columbia Pictures. Filmed at Sand Dunes, Stovepipe Wells and Desolation       Canyon.

1969   Easy Rider Director: Dennis Hopper. Starring Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Jack Nicholson. Ballarat when Wyatt throws away his Rollex.

1970   Zabriskie Point
               Director: Michelangelo Antonioni.  Starring Mark Frechette, Daria Halprin and Harrison Ford.  Metro-Goldwin Mayer.

1971  Vanishing Point
               Director: Richard Sarafian. Starring: Barry Newman, Cleavon Little and Dean  Jagaer.  Filmed at Goldfield

1972   Manson
               aka Manson and Squeaky Fromme

1973   Jonathan Livingston Seagull
               Director Hall Bartlett

1977   Star Wars
               Director: George Lucus. Starring: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford.    20th Century Fox. Re-released in 1997.  Filmed between Stovepipe Wells and Death Valley Junction, Ubehebe Crater and Badwater.

1979   Winter Kills
Director: William Richert . Starring: John Hutson, Elizabeth Taylor, Jeff Bridges and Anthony Perkins. Re-release in 1983.  Filmed in and around Furnace Creek Inn.

1980   Devices
               Short. Directed by Alan Bloom. Starring Thomas Creamer, Bob Saget.

1982   Death Valley
               Director: Dick Richards. Starring: Peter Billingsley, Paul LeMatand Catherine Kicks.  Universal Pictures.

1983   The Fourth Wiseman
               Starring Martin Sheen and Alan Arkin.  Filmed at Artist Drive, Twenty Mule               

               Team Canyon and Sand Dunes.  May have been a television show.

               Star Wars Episode VI- Return of the Jedi
               Director: George Lucas Starring: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher & Harrison Ford

Directed by Harold Ramos. Chevy Chase. Sand dunes. Some scenes shot were not included.. AKA National Lampoon’s Vacation. Amercian Vacation

1984   The Visitor
               Tri-productions Film Company. Filmed at Zabriskie Point, Golden Canyon, and Badwater.  Based on an old Ray Bradbury script.

               The Oasis
               aka Savage Hunter

1986   The Hitcher
               Starring Rutger Hauer, C. Thomas Howell and Jennifer Jason Leigh.  One gruesome scene filmed at Shoshone and Death Valley Junction.

1988   Cherry 2000
               Director: Steve DeJarnett. Starring: Melanie Griffith, Ben Johnson and Harry Carey, Jr. Filmed in Goldfield

1989   Charles Manson Superstar

               Directed by Christian Blackwood. Starring Tom Willet.

               Ghost Towns of the Old West
               Directed by Sam Harrison. Starring Rip Torn.

1990   Homer and Eddie
               Director: Andrei Konchalovsky. Starring: Whoopie Goldberg and James Belushi. Filmed in Goldfield.

1991   The Doors
               Director: Oliver Stone. Starring: Val Kilmer, Meg Ryan, Frank Whaley and Kevin   Dillon.  Scenes filmed at the Sand Dunes.

               Directed by Carl Colpaert. Starring Jim Metzler. Jennifer Rubin,

1992    Ultraviolet
               Directed by Mark Griffiths. Starring Esai Morales, Patricia Healy

1994   Confessions of a Hitman
               aka Fallen Angels

               Death Valley Memories
               Documentary. Directed by Ted Faye.

1996   Stripshow
               Shot at Death Valley Junction and Amargosa Opera House grounds.

1997    Bleak Future
               Directed by Brian S. O’Malley. Starring Frank Kowal III, Brad Rockhold.

               Lost Highway
               Directed by David Lynch. Starring Bill Pullman, Patricia Arquette.

1998    Six-String Samurai
               Directed by Lance Mungia. Starring Jeffrey Falcon

               Welcome to Serendipity
               Direcetd By Irene Barnett. Starring Irene Barnett Robert Black.

               Documentary. Directed by James Benning.

1999   Behold the Asian: How One Becomes what one Is
Short. James Hong

2000   Running on the Sun: The Badwater 135

               The Twenty Mule Team of Death Valley
               Documentary. Directed by Ted Faye.

2001   Twice as Dead

               The Whirlwind
               Directed by Frank Robak. Starring Mark Atienza, Scott Rudolph.

               The Great Desert Railroad Race.
               Documentary. Directed by Ted Faye.

2002    The Sum of All Fears
Directed by Phil Alden Robinson. Ben Afleck, Liev Schreiber. Shot at China Ranch

Death Valley Diary

               Dust: An Extraordinary Correspondence

Directed by Gus Van Sandt. Starring Casey Afleck and Matt Damon.  Multiple sites.

               Short. Directed by Frederick E.O. Toye.  Starring Bodhi Elfman.

               Thousands of Miles

               Directed by Gary Dean Orona. Starriing Marty Kove, Tane McClure.

               Red Mamba

               Short. Directed by James Jackson. Starring Jason Lorcher, Chuck McDown.

2003    Paradise
Directed by Roger Steinman. Starring Dee Wallace Stone, Mickey Rooney, Timothy Bottoms. Story of singer Patricia Paradise.

               Directed by Raimin Niami. Starring Chad Allen, Bai Ling, James Russo,

               The Endless Desert, or How I learned to Love the Sand

Short. USC thesis film. Directed by Joe Lewis. Starring Jordan Little.

2004   Hindsight is 20/20
Short. Directed by Barry Levinso. Starring Jerry Seinfeld. Almost a commercial for credit card.


Short. Directed by Helmut Kobler. Starring Matt McCoy, Catalina Larranaga


Short. Directed by Steve Petersen. Starring Dalia Albassam, Hyder Albassam..

Kill Bill, Vol.2

Directed by Quentiin Tarrantino. Starring Uma Thurman, David Carradine.

2005   The Last Eve
               Directed by Young Man Kang. Starring Bruce Kahn, Jourdan Lee Khoo.

               Thousands of Miles
               Directed by Derek Lebrero. Starring Derek Lebreror, David Jacob Blais.

2006    Alpha Omega
               Ficticious credits to protect the filmmaker.

               Stephen Perkins: A drummer’s Life
               Documentary.Directed by Geoffrey McNeil. Starring Wes Borland, Nels Cline.

               Daft Punk’s Electroma
               Directed by Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel De Homem-Christo.

2007    Bone Dry
               Directed by Brett A. Hart. Starring Lance Hendrickson, Luke Goss.

               The Legend of God’s Gun
               Directed by Mike Bruce. Starring Robert Bones, Kirpatrick Thomas.

               Short. Directed by Zander Villayne. Starring Gilles Dargere, Zander Villayne. 

Weird Tales # 1: Death Valley’s Ancient Underground
               Documentary. Directed by Ted Faye.

2008    Escape From Darwin
                Directed by Istvan Criste. Starring Keith Anton, Emerson Brooks.

Thinking About Evolution

Directed by Asif Ahmed. Starring Reverie Fey, Chaka Small.

Madness in the First Degree

Short. Directed by Geoff Searle.

Weird Tales #2: Into Death Valley’s Underground.

Documentary. Directed by Ted Faye.

2012   The Tree Of Life


Television Shows

 Nov. 8, 1951      Tarzan
                              Producer Sol Lesser Filmed at the Sand Dunes

June 1952       Death Valley Days
                              Flying A Studios- Gene Autry Production.

Feb. 1953       Death Valley Days
                              Episode “She Burns Green” Flying A Studios- Gene Autry Productions

Nov. 1953       Death Valley Days
                              Episode “The Big Team Rolls,” “Jim Dayton’s Treasure,” “Yaller.” Flying A Studios- Gene Autry Productions

Apr. 2, 1958  Ambush at Stovepipe Wells
                              Superintendent appears in this briefly

1959       Bonanza
                              Named changed to “Ponderosa” in US reruns in 1972.

June 1959       The Twilight Zone
Episode: “The Lonely” Aired: 1/16/60 Producer: Metro-Goldwin Mayer

Jan. 1959        Branded
                              Starring: Chuck Connors.  Producer: Cecil Baker. Madison Production

 Sept 24, 1965              Death Valley Days
                              Episode: “The Dry Water Sailors” “The Red Shawl”  Producer Madison                                              Productions.

Oct. 1966        The Trek
Producer: Milas Henshaw.  Bill Burrud Productions. Documentary about   Manly and Rogers narrated by Victor Dory.

Oct. 1967        Death Valley Days
Episode: “Green is the Color of Gold” (aired 3/26/68), “Out of the Valley of Death” (aired 4/9/68), “Dress for a Desert Girl” (aired4/16/68), “A Friend Indeed” (aired 4/27/68).  Filmed at Ranch Inn, Mustard Canyon, Gold Course, Badwater, etc

1971                   Jean Shepherd’s America
                              TV series.

Jan 2-7 1979            Cosmos
                              Episode: V- “Mars and the Mind of Man”

Aug 8-9 1979               In Search of
                              Filmed at Marble and Emigrant Canyons

1980                  CBS Afternoon Playhouse
                              Episode: “Escape from Death Valley”  Filmed at salt Springs, Artist  Drive, Zabriskie Point, 20 Mule Team Canyon and Sand Dunes.

                              The Jackass Trail
                              Producer: JDH Productions.  About Jean Dehave’s cross country trip.

June 6, 1983 The Hitchhiker
                              Producer Corzaon Productions (Canada) The series titles were filmed at the curve north of Harmony Borax and at Badwater.  The series originally aired on HBO and now airs on USA.

1998                   Earth Story
                              Television series documentary. Audrey Manning, presenter.

2000                   Into Pitch Black
Directed by M. David Melvin. Starring Vin Diesel. Refilmed for theater release.

2001                   Calfornia Condor: Edge of Extinction, Saving the Endangered Species


 Films Associated With Death Valley And Environs But Not Filmed There.

 The Secret of Death Valley (1906

 Death Valley Scotty’s Mine Produced  by Kalem Pictures and starring Scotty but made in Santa Monica and Ventura.

Chimmie Fadden Out West 1915 Cecil B. DeMille. Filmed in Santa Monica and Ventura.

Bandits of Death Valley (1915)

Parson of Panamint (1916)

Death Valley Kid (1920)

Mystery Ranch (1932, aka "Death Valley" - USA (pre-release title

The Man from Death Valley(1931,

The Rider of Death Valley (1932, Albert Rogell¹)

Laughing with Medbury in Death Valley (1932

Panamint’s Badman (1938)

Saga of Death Valley (1939,

Riders of Death Valley (1941

Death Valley Outlaws (1941

Parson of Panamint (1941)

Death Valley Manhunt (1943,

Death Valley Rangers (1943,

Death Valley Gunfighter (1949,

South of Death Valley aka "Destry of Death Valley" - USA (working title)(1949

Death Valley Days (1984 TV movie

Facade  (1999

 aka "Death Valley"

Death Valley (2004, aka "Death Valley" - USA (working title) ,

Death Valley 69 (1986 short,

Death Valley Superstar (2008 documentary short)


Draft 3/14/2009

The compilation of Death Valley films and TV Shows presented here was prepared by Chris Lagley - Author of Dust Doom, Death and Destruction: The Complete History of Filming in Death Valley (forthcoming) Derived from Weekender, NPS, IMDB.Com and Xanterra Lists.

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