Posted by: Jerry Garrett | December 27, 2016

HELL OR HIGH WATER: Not Filmed In Texas – or Oklahoma

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“Is that Texas over there?”

HOLLYWOOD

The 2016 movie “Hell or High Water” is set principally in Texas, with a couple of quick excursions into Oklahoma.

Actually, not a single shot of the movie was filmed in either Texas, or Oklahoma. It was all done in New Mexico – in many areas adjacent to old U.S. Route 66.

If you thought a lot of the scenery looked like the Texas Panhandle, you weren’t far wrong: Filming locations in two eastern New Mexico counties, and cities such as Clovis and Portales, were within spittin’ distance of the Texas State Line. Indeed, signs are visible for U.S. 70, which crosses the Texas Panhandle. But it runs through both of those cities – where a lot of the movie was shot – before it heads into Texas.

The New Mexico locations included Albuquerque, where the Route 66 Casino doubled as the fictional “Comanche 66 Casino” somewhere in Oklahoma. (It wouldn’t have been too hard to find an actual casino in Oklahoma: there are 124 of them – owned by 30 different tribal entities).

The giveaway here – visually – that this is not the Texas Panhandle, which is as flat as a flapjack, are the Sandia Mountains above Albuquerque; they are almost constantly seen in the background. Other iconic locales are the Alamogordo Valley, Llano Estacato (Luciano Mesa area), Tucumcari, Estancia and empty stretches of Quay County.

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The Llano Estacato, above Alamogordo Valley

Why New Mexico? Answer: Tax credits for filmmakers, which have lured hundreds of productions in recent years – from “Due Date”, to the latest “True Grit”, and the new “Magnificent Seven”. Texas isn’t similarly generous.

Speaking of Jeff Bridges movies (of course he is the Texas Ranger in this one), two of the towns in this movie are named “Archer City” and “Olney” – which were actual Texas towns in the 1971 classic “The Last Picture Show”. Now, that one was filmed in Texas!

Jerry Garrett

December 27, 2016

 

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