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Iconic Movie Locations in Southern AZ You've Never Heard of

By Amanda Oien

Take a ride through the dramatic Sonoran desert landscape that inspired Hollywood stars and directors. Old Tucson—known as Old Tucson Studios back when—has played host to more than 300 movies and television shows, and it can’t be matched for its sets. However, few know that movies filmed there often featured the panoramic backdrop of Marana's rocky slopes and Saguaro-studded plains. Filming in this area began as early as 1910.  Iconic western films and television shows were set under the vast blue skies, rugged mountain ranges and sweeping expanses of arid desert around the city.

For a true, immersive, Old West experience book a stay at the White Stallion Ranch, a family-run dude ranch on 3,000 acres of pristine Sonoran desert bordering Saguaro National Park West. Saddle up and ride where movie stars made silver screen history. Explore a landscape that hasn’t changed much since cowboys chased outlaws and cattle across the windswept ridges. The ranch even offers film history tours to its overnight guests. 

Marana and its ranches continue to be the setting for movies, television shows, and commercials today. Our spectacular terrain is featured in a nature documentary, Jeep promotional video, Sports Illustrated swimsuit shoot, several independent films, and an episode of TLC’s “Four Weddings.”

Discover Marana’s rich cinematic history, a contemporary oasis surrounded by the panoramic vistas of the Old West.

Tip: Get to Old Tucson from Phoenix via Saguaro National Park West through Marana. Take exit 236 off I-10 (Marana Road) and you’ll see two of the wonders of Southern Arizona in one majestic drive.

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