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Idaho State

3 Movies with the main filming location in Idaho

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Kilyan Sockalingum / Unsplash

The state of Idaho is home to a vast number of filmmakers eager to show the entire world what it has to offer.

Like other states in the U.S., people began to migrate to Idaho after discovering that gold existed in the region. The Nez Perce and Shoshone tribes lived there for thousands of years before, surviving hunting local wildlife and growing beans and corn. However, a remote location and challenging geography made this state the last to be discovered by European colonists.

Starting in 1805, Lewis and Clark, along with their guide Sacagawea, explored the region. Fur traders began working in the area only five years after Fort Henry was completed. Families along the Oregon Trail made their way west, but some settled in Idaho instead, creating the first permanent settlement in Franklin in 1860.

For a long time, Idaho was claimed simultaneously by Britain and the United States. There was a significant push to make Orofino Creek part of the United States after Elias Pierce found gold in 1848. Civil War veterans consider it to be one of the most significant battles in American history.

With these facts in mind, it is clear that Idaho is a U.S. power, but it also appears in countless movies, with the most notable being:

Magic Valley (2011)

Magic Valley is about an Idaho high school student named TJ Waggs who holds a terrible secret in his small town of Buhl. A local fish farmer confronts selfish neighbors who have carelessly poisoned his crop. The shifty county sheriff misuses his patrol car for personal gain, and a worried mom doesn't notice her daughter's disappearance. Even worse, two preschoolers playing in the fields have picked an unusual playmate, the common thread that binds all these characters. A pensive look at a bored and numb town on the brink of a wake-up call, Jaffe Zinn's atmospheric vision offers a reflective look at a dull and boring village that needs a wake-up call. Furthermore, his keen voice also emphasizes the disconnection between community and the decline of morale in a struggling recession-weary American society. With restrained elegance and starring rising talent Kyle Gallner, Zinn's Magic Valley intends to capture who and where we are before the next defining moment happens.

Filming locations:

  • Idaho, USA
  • Twin Falls, Idaho, USA

Napoleon Dynamite (2004)

Napoleon Dynamite is about an alienated teenager who helps his new friend win the class presidency in a western high school. At the same time, he deals with his absurd family situation back home. Preston, Idaho's most intriguing resident, Napoleon Dynamite, lives with his grandma and his 32-year-old brother (who cruises chat rooms for women) and works to help his best friend Pedro snag the Student Body President title from Summer Wheatley. Unfortunately, she is known to be very mean. Napoleon Dynamite (Jon Heder) is a bit of a weirdo living in Preston, Idaho, and doesn't care. Instead, he crafts his fantasy world of phantasmagorical creatures (including a "liger," a cross between a lion and a tiger) and perfects his tether-ball game. This is a very endearing film about wacky teenaged characters and one that is very entertaining. The movie was great at the Sundance Festival and named Best Feature Film at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival. Despite taking place in a high school setting where humiliation and pain are constant companions, director Jared Hess has crafted an unforgettably heartbreaking storyline that challenges us to imagine ourselves in the character's shoes.

Filming locations:

  • Preston, Idaho, USA
  • Franklin, Idaho, USA
  • Sykesville, Pennsylvania, USA
  • Lamont Reservoir, Idaho, USA

Breakfast Champions (1999)

Breakfast Champions is about an affluent car dealer who is losing his mind. His son resides in a bomb shelter, and his suicidal wife has an affair with the transvestite sales manager. Additionally, the movie depicts a relatively normal town in the midwest inhabited by characters that are slightly neurotic and idiosyncratic. Despite the fact he owns an exclusive car dealership, Dwayne Hoover is well on the brink of suicidal thoughts.

Filming locations:

  • Twin Falls, Idaho, USA
  • Idaho, USA

Bonus: More movies filmed in Idaho:

  • Town & Country (2001)
  • Bronco Billy (1980)
  • Moving (1988)
  • Dante’s Peak (1997)
  • Wild Wild West (1999)

Are there more movies that you know were filmed in Idaho? Let us know in the comment section below!