Colorado has a rich film history. Nearly 400 movies have been shot here in more than 100 years. But, as explained in this week's cover story "The Reel West," Colorado is experiencing a bit of a film drought lately, something that lawmakers and industry folks hope to reverse. Instead of shooting in the Centennial State, moviemakers often venture to cheaper locales -- even when the films are set in Colorado.
Here, we present 10 movies or TV shows set here but filmed elsewhere.
Take Me Home: The John Denver Story Filmed in Vancouver Really? Really? His name isn't John Canada! The biopic, starring Chad Lowe as Denver, aired on CBS in 2000. In 1999, Michael Klein, then-director of the Colorado Film Commission, told Westword, "We were heavily into negotiations when they decided it was cheaper to shoot in Canada. ... I challenged them to prove it, and they did point out some areas where they got better breaks, but it was merely a function of money, plain and simple."
Red Dawn Filmed in New Mexico Patrick Swayze brings his hot ass to Colorado -- except not really. Shot in New Mexico, 1984's Red Dawn tells the story of a group of Centennial State teens (Lea Thompson! Charlie Sheen!) who flee to the mountains after Soviet and Cuban troops land on their school's football field and start effing stuff up. "Wolverines!"
The Hallelujah Trail Filmed in Hollywood The plot of this 1965 Burt Lancaster film? That the winter of 1867 is predicted to be a tough one and -- the horror! -- Denver might run out of whiskey. According to the Internet Movie Database, "Chaos ensues as the Temperance League, the U.S. cavalry, the miners and the local Indians all try to take control of the valuable cargo." Too bad all chaos and hilarity (the flick was a comedy) was shot in California and New Mexico.
Dynasty Filmed in California ABC's drama about an oil-rich but morally poor businessman and his kidnapped, pampered and hidden children, Dynasty was a sordid hit from 1981 to 1989. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) for Denver, the show had little do to with the actual city; it wasn't filmed here -- not even the house in the opening credits.
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman Filmed in California A lady doctor? Huh? That was roughly the plot of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, an hour-long family drama that ran on CBS from 1993 to 1998. Set in Colorado Springs, it was actually filmed on a Hollywood backlot.
Community Filmed in California Set at the fictional Greendale Community College in fictional Greendale, Colorado, the NBC show follows a group of unlikely friends as they hilariously (and unrealistically -- Chevy Chase? What?) navigate college. Not unsurprisingly, it's filmed in Los Angeles. Do we still get to be pissed even though Greendale doesn't exist?
Mork & Mindy Filmed in California Robin Williams is an alien who flies to Earth in an egg and lands in Boulder. Typical. The opening scene of the show, which aired from 1978 to 1982, was shot in Boulder; that's a real Colorado flower that a surprisingly hunky and rainbow-suspendered Robin Williams eats! But everything else was filmed in L.A.
Battlefield Earth Filmed in Quebec We're actually glad this one wasn't filmed here. Scientology? John Travolta's creepy hair? A slave camp built over the ruins of Denver? No, thanks. Not to mention that this movie, released in 2000 and based on a book by L. Ron Hubbard, sucked. Like, a lot.
Aliens v. Predator: Requiem Filmed in British Columbia That goes for this one, too. In this 2007 flick starring nobody impressive, Gunnison is overrun by disgusting scariness. There's lots of screaming, lots of squishy, slithering noises, and lots of killing. Thank heavens it happened in Canada.
Misery Filmed in California, Nevada and New York City Kathy Bates is an obsessive fan who "rescues" a famous romance novelist when he crashes his car on a snowy road in Colorado in this 1990 movie. Except she's really a mallet-wielding psycho ... in grandma cardigans and schoolteacher jumpers. And it was filmed in California, not Colorado. No matter. It's still badass.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.