Filmmaking has been happening in northeast Oklahoma since the turn of the 20th century, and the 101 Ranch was the birthplace for most of these early films. Modern filmmaking in Tulsa and the surrounding area began in the late 1940s with the production of the film Tulsa. In the early 1980s, Tulsa experienced a filmmaking boom with the production of movies based on novels written by local author S.E. Hinton. Tulsa and its surrounding communities are currently experiencing a renewed interest in filmmaking with several recently-made major motion pictures.
While this guide does not provide a comprehensive list of films that have been made in the greater Tulsa area, it does include some of the most noteworthy titles.
Below are several resources to explore if you have further interest in films made in or near Tulsa:
Directed by Jeremy Lamberton and fimed in Tulsa, Biker Fox takes a look at the life of Frank P. DeLarzelere III, aka "Biker Fox", who is a health-conscious & motivational bicyclist, nature conservationist and muscle car enthusiast. Known for his colorful attire & personality, it's hard to miss him around town when he's out on his bicycle.
This film tells a story that led to Wilma Mankiller's becoming the first modern female Chief of the Cherokee Nation. Filming began in September 2011 in the Tahlequah area (downtown, Northeastern State University & the Illinois River) and premiered in the Fall of 2012 at the Circle Cinema in Tulsa & the Tahlequah Dream Theater.
Another Sundance selected film (1999), Chillicothe was written and directed by Todd Edwards. While not a native Tulsan, he and his brother Cory have strong ties to the city. This film was made in Tulsa.
This Casey Affleck and Jessica Alba film was shot in several locations around the area including Guthrie, Enid and Tulsa. Look closely for a scene shot just outside the Atlas Life building in downtown Tulsa.
Perhaps the most well-known film made in Tulsa, The Outsiders was written by S.E. Hinton while she was a student at Will Rogers High School. There are many known places that are easy to find in the Tulsa area including the newly rebuilt Admiral Twin drive-in and several of the homes used in the production.
This was the 1st film produced that was based on an S.E. Hinton novel and set the stage for several more films to be made in Tulsa in the early 1980s. Tex (along with The Outsiders and Rumble Fish) also helped launch the Hollywood careers of Matt Dillion, Tom Cruise and Emilio Estevez. Check out these filming locations for Tex, The Outsiders and Rumble Fish. Filmed in Tulsa, Broken Arrow & Bixby.
While this is the first known major film to be shot in Tulsa, most of Tulsa was filmed in Hollywood, CA. There are, however, some wonderful interior shots of the old Hotel Tulsa as well as some great city scape footage. Fore more info about this movie check out the book Sooner Cinema or the video Let's Go Downtown (available from the local public library)and view footage from Tulsa's largest parade in history in honor of the World Premiere of Tulsa in 1949. You can also read about it in this article written by Scott Gregory for Tulsa People. In addition, this film is in the public domain and may be viewed legally online.
This film was shot in several of the surrounding communities including Ponca City, Pauls Valley and Guthrie. Keep a close eye out for former Tulsa KJRH meteorologist Jeff Lazalier in the film.
This family film, based on the classic book by the same name, is about a young boy living in the Oklahoma Ozark mountains during the depression. Filming locations included West Siloam Springs, Tahlequah, Vian, and the small town of Scraper.
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