These Movies Were Made Right Here In Abilene And The Surrounding Area
You might be surprised to find out how many movies were actually filmed in and around the Abilene area. When I started looking into it, I discovered at least half a dozen movies that were shot right here in our own backyard. Check it out and see what you think.
"Friday Night Lights" (2003)
Billy Bob Thornton and Tim McGraw star in 'Friday Night Lights' a movie about the Odessa Permian Panthers high school football team during the '80s. The oil industry was tanking and so was the winning-est high school football team in Texas.
This movie was shot primarily in and around Odessa Texas, with a couple of scenes filmed in Abilene during actual games when Permian played Cooper and Abilene High Schools.
"Friday Night Lights"
"The Stars Fell on Henrietta" (1995)
An elderly, down on his luck 'oil man' played by Robert Duvall finds himself in Henrietta, Texas. Using some unconventional methods, Duvall convinces a poor farmer that there's oil on the farmer's land.
The film also stars Brian Dennehy, Billy Bob Thornton and was produced by Clint Eastwood. This movie was shot at a farmhouse just outside the city limits of Abilene, representing the town of Henrietta.
"The Stars Fell On Henrietta"
"The Whole Wide World" (1996)
This film is a true story about Robert Howard the man that wrote: "Connan the Barbarian" played by Vincent D'Onofrio and the young lady that captures his heart played by Renée Zellweger.
The producers and director wanted to keep it as close to authentic as possible. So, this movie was shot in the Cross Plains and Brownwood area.
"The Whole Wide World"
"Grand Champion" (2002)
'Grand Champion' is a tale of a young boy played by Jacob Fisher and his prize-winning calf, as they climb up the ranks of Texas stock shows trying to achieve the title of Grand Champion.
The film also stars Emma Roberts, Joey Lauren Adams, and a very young (high school age) Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks. This movie was shot in Alpine, Midland, and just down the road in Snyder, Texas.
"Independence Day" (1983)
This movie stars David Keith and Kathleen Quinlan who loves her tiny hometown of Mercury, Texas. She dreams of moving away to the big city and becoming a successful photographer. However, Keith wins her heart and wants her to stay.
I remember like it was yesterday when this movie was shot primarily just north of Abilene in Anson, Texas with a couple of scenes being shot next door in Merkel, Texas.
Jeff Bryant plays the technical director for the town's historic theater. Jeff gets trapped inside the old theater building overnight, which is scary enough as it is. However, Bryant discovers a ventriloquist "Dummy" that seems to come to life.
Dummy was filmed nearly entirely at the Paramount Theatre in downtown Abilene.
"Under The Stadium Lights" (2021)
Under the Stadium Lights is the 2021 sports film that is based on the nonfiction book titled "My Brother's Keeper" written by Al Pickett and Chad Mitchell. The movie was directed by Todd Randall and stars Milo Gibson and Laurence Fishburne. The film is based on the true story of the 2009 Winningest Abilene High School football team its players, coach, and team chaplain.
Part's on the movie was filmed at Shotwell Stadium in Abilene where a lot of games are still played today.
"Under The Stadium Lights"
I found that a lot of movies that mentioned Abilene, Texas in them, but these were the only ones that I discovered were actually filmed or had a scene or scenes filmed in the Abilene area. So, if I missed one, please reach out to me so that I can include it in this article.