As we plan for the tourism recovery, we know that group and FIT travelers often want to visit the locations of some of their favorite films. Here in Western Montana’s Glacier Country take in the cinematic landscapes that have long inspired film producers, setting the stage for legendary films like “A River Runs Through It” and binge-worthy TV shows like “Yellowstone.” Take a look at some of the famous films produced here and find inspiration for your next itinerary in Montana.
A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT
One of the most famous movies to come out of Montana is “A River Runs Through It.” If you haven’t seen it yet, this is a must-watch-before-visiting movie. Based on the book written by Norman Maclean, a former Missoula Montana resident, the movie stars Brad Pitt and follows the life of a stern minister’s two sons growing up in rural Montana. The movie won an Oscar for Best Cinematography. Filmed almost entirely in Montana, you won’t want to miss the iconic scene locations in Western Montana. Plan a day fly-fishing the Blackfoot River and pretend you are Brad Pitt for a moment.
Season three is currently airing on the Paramount Network of this fictional drama television series set in Montana. “Yellowstone” details the life and challenges of a ranching family who owns the largest contiguous ranch in the U.S. At opposition with political and social forces, Kevin Costner stars as John Dutton, the patriarch of the family, who is in a constant struggle to defend his land. Scenes at the Dutton Ranch are filmed in Darby and the surrounding areas including Missoula and Bozeman. More of Montana will be evident in season four as all of the production is set to move to Western Montana. Live like the Dutton’s and plan a getaway at a dude ranch in Western Montana.
Set in the 1820s, “The Revenant” is based on the book of the same name written by Missoula Montana resident, Michael Punke, and the waterfall scenes were filmed in northwestern Montana at Kootenai Falls. The movie is about the true story of Hugh Glass, a trapper who embarks on a fur trading expedition. While scouting he is mauled by a grizzly bear, and though he is not expected to survive, his company orders two men to stay behind and tend to Hugh as he dies. Instead, the men abandon him. Driven by revenge, Hugh becomes determined to live so he can find the men for retribution. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant” won three Oscars: Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, Best Achievement in Directing and Best Achievement in Cinematography. For a bit of an adrenaline rush, plan to visit the Kootenai Falls Swinging Bridge, a suspension bridge located above Kootenai Falls near Libby.
THE RIVER WILD
The 1994 thriller, “The River Wild” starring Meryl Streep and Kevin Bacon is about a family on a whitewater rafting trip who encounter two violent criminals and a spectacularly violent river. Production of the whitewater scenes were filmed in part along the Middle Fork of the Flathead River and the Kootenai River near Libby. Many of the whitewater scenes were filmed near Kootenai Falls on the Kootenai River. The River Wild received Golden Globe and Screen Actor Guild nominations for both Streep and Bacon for their performances. Take on the rivers and to take a professionally guided whitewater rafting trip in Western Montana.
A beloved American classic, the tale of “Forrest Gump” details the presidencies of Kennedy and Johnson, events of Vietnam, Watergate and more through the eyes of an Alabama man. Although Forrest has an IQ of 75, he doesn’t let that stop him from being a college football star, fighting in Vietnam, captaining a shrimp boat, or loving Jenny, his sweet but troubled childhood friend. Forrest inspires people with his optimism. The scenes filmed in Western Montana include his famous running from coast to coast included a stunning scene at the St. Mary entrance to Glacier National Park and wheat fields in Cut Bank. Forrest Gump won six Oscars: Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Director, Best Writing, Best Film Editing and Best Visual Effects. Plan to take a step back in time at a museum or historical site in Glacier Country.
Although we certainly don’t want your trip to Western Montana to be like “The Shining,” fans of horror movies must watch this cult classic. A writer, Jack takes on a caretaker job at a remote hotel in Colorado, hoping to cure his writer’s block. He brings his wife and his son, who begins to have disturbing psychic premonitions. As Jack discovers the hotel’s dark secrets, he begins to have homicidal thoughts of his family. Aerial shots in the opening scenes include Saint Mary Lake in Glacier National Park and the Volkswagen Beetle driving along the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Include a visit to Garnet Ghost Town and get your spook on.
Places to visit on this itinerary:
– Going-to-the-Sun Road, Glacier National Park
– St. Mary Lake, East side of Glacier National Park
Set in 1890, “Hidalgo” is the tale of Frank Hopkins, a rugged cowboy and expert horseman who enters the deadly cross desert horse race in Arabia. Riding his American mustang against the best riders and horses in the world, he races to win for the sake of his reputation, and his life. Filming took place in Kalispell, Glacier National Park and on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation (currently closed to visitors due to COVID-19). Plan to take a guided horseback ride in Western Montana.
NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE
An Oscar winner for Best Achievement in Makeup (no small feat, if you’ve seen the movie), the magical story of Narnia has enchanted all ages since its release. Four children are sent away to the countryside during wartime and find a magical wardrobe that leads to another world, Narnia. Here they discover their destiny is tied with Narnia’s freedom from the White Witch, under the guidance of a mystical lion. The lakes and mountain peaks of Glacier National Park are featured in this film. Plan to visit Glacier National Park and let your imagination roam; it’s not hard to picture it as another world completely.
Places to visit on this itinerary:
– Glacier National Park
If you need help adding a famous movie stop into one or your future itineraries, let us help.
Please remember to travel responsibly. Face coverings are required indoors or when social distancing in groups is not possible outside. Social distancing is required to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Thankfully, we’ve got plenty of space for social distancing activities and recreation in Western Montana, from hiking and biking to exploring lakes and rivers. It’s vital, however, to maintain a 6-foot distance from others, even outdoors. Please be mindful of our small businesses, art galleries and museums, which have had to adapt to the change and may face limitations this year—always call ahead. Take the Tourism Pledge to travel responsibly in Glacier Country.
August 10, 2020
Related: Bitterroot Valley, Blackfeet Nation, Darby, East Glacier Park, FIT, Fly Fishing, Glacier National Park, Group Tours, Horseback Riding, Hot Springs, Kalispell, Libby, Lolo, Missoula, Seeley-Swan Valley, Tour Operator, West Glacier