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What Is The Most Texas Movie Of All-Time?

April 17, 2020 709 votes 121 voters 2.1k views19 items

List RulesVote up the movies - set in Texas AND filmed in Texas - that best exemplify the Lone Star State.

There are a lot of famous Texas movies, but which one represents the state most fully? Filmmakers have long been drawn to Texas, thanks to the variety of its locations, which include major cities, small towns, and desert areas. You certainly couldn't find a more beautiful state in which to shoot. 

At the same time, Texas has kind of its own culture. The hard-working cowboy ethic is still alive and kicking there. It's overwhelmingly a red state, with pockets of liberal thought. Residents of the state are known, perhaps a bit stereotypically, for being tough and no-nonsense. These and other factors are all addressed in some of the best films about Texas.

Filmmakers as varied as the Coen Brothers, Richard Linklater, Peter Bogdanovich, and Wes Anderson have dealt with the state's noteworthy traits onscreen. In the process, they delivered movies that are specific to Texas in setting, but relatable to everyone in theme.

Which of the following titles, all of which were filmed in the state, are the most Texas movies? Vote up the ones you think best depict the Lone Star state of mind.

  • Texas has always been associated with law enforcement. Joel and Ethan Coen's No Country for Old Men, based on Cormac McCarthy's novel, takes viewers deep inside one case of criminal activity run amok. Tommy Lee Jones plays a sheriff on the hunt for a psychopath (Oscar winner Javier Bardem), who in turn is on the hunt for the guy (Josh Brolin) who swiped two million bucks in a deal gone wrong.

    From 1836 to 1845, Texas was its own country. Although it eventually joined the United States, it maintains a distinct, standalone image in the minds of many people - especially Texans themselves. No Country for Old Men taps into that, portraying a world that makes it own rules, possesses its own fractured moral compass, and has its own particular brand of justice.

    • Actors: Javier Bardem, Tommy Lee Jones, Woody Harrelson, Josh Brolin, Kelly Macdonald
    • Released: 2007
    • Directed by: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
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  • Richard Linklater's Dazed and Confused is one of the most popular coming-of-age movies out there. It's set on the last day of school in 1976, and follows a bunch of high schoolers as they celebrate the start of summer vacation. Alcohol is consumed, substances are inhaled, and parties are attended. The cast includes a bunch of actors who went on to become A-list stars, including Matthew McConaughey, Renee Zellweger, and Ben Affleck.

    Dazed and Confused is special because it manages to be universal and specific at the same time. No matter where you live or when you graduated, you can relate to the story's themes of youth and rebellion. That said, it's the Texas locations that distinguish the movie from all the other cinematic coming-of-age stories. The locations, backdrops, and settings are pure, 100% Austin. The city, with its unique look, is practically a character in the film.

    • Actors: Ben Affleck, Milla Jovovich, Matthew McConaughey, Renée Zellweger, Parker Posey
    • Released: 1993
    • Directed by: Richard Linklater
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  • It has often been said that football is a religion in Texas. Friday Night Lights shows how accurate that statement is. Based on a true story, the movie is set in West Odessa, where the high school football coach (Billy Bob Thornton) has been tasked with delivering a state championship. The penalty if he fails is losing his job.

    Several of the players are prominent supporting characters, and they reinforce the football-as-religion theme. Most notable among them is Don Billingsley (Garrett Hedlund), whose father Charles (Tim McGraw), won a state championship when he was in high school and now demands the same from his son. Friday Night Lights provides psychological insight into the intense football culture in Texas, where the sport is much more than just a game.

    • Actors: Amber Heard, Connie Britton, Tim McGraw, Billy Bob Thornton, Terry Funk
    • Released: 2004
    • Directed by: Peter Berg
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  • Two things are definitely true about Texas: It's got a bunch of small towns, and football is a way of life. Varsity Blues shows how those two facts intersect. James Van Der Beek plays Jonathan "Mox" Moxon, a high school football player elevated to starting quarterback after the starter - Mox's close friend - is injured. He's hoping to use football to get out of his tiny town and into Brown University in Rhode Island. His chance of doing that is hindered by Bud Kilmer (Jon Voight), the domineering coach who is more than willing to risk his players' safety in the name of victory.

    Athletic scholarships are a great way for teenagers to get into college. Varsity Blues is about a number of things, but setting the story in Texas - where Jonathan Moxons are a dime a dozen - really makes the "football as springboard to something else" idea hit home.

    • Actors: Ali Larter, Paul Walker, Amy Smart, Jon Voight, James Van Der Beek
    • Released: 1999
    • Directed by: Brian Robbins
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