San Antonio movie locations
Get to know San Antonio before you arrive!
As you prepare for your trip to San Antonio this month, you can become familiar with some its most notable locations and Downtown by checking out these movies that were filmed in the Alamo City.
Each Summer, TPR Cinema hosts Cinema Tuesdays, a series of classic movies curated by Nathan Cone TPR’s Vice President of Cultural & Community Engagement. Cinema Tuesdays is now in its 23rd year and benefits Texas Public Radio.
This list was inspired by a special Cinema Tuesday series in 2018 for San Antonio’s Tricentennial.
Grab some popcorn and enjoy! We’ll see you in San Antonio.
Although your time in San Antonio may not allow a visit its filming locations, the very first movie to ever win “Best Picture” at the Oscars was shot in San Antonio. “Wings” is a silent movie about two World War I flyboys and the girl they love. Training sequences were shot at Kelly Field (later Kelly Air Force Base, now Port San Antonio), and most identifiably in the movie, at Fort Sam Houston’s famous Quadrangle building.
VIVA MAX! (1969)
This farce, based on a novel by the late journalist Jim Lehrer, imagines what would happen if a modern-day Mexican general were to go rogue and re-capture the Alamo. Peter Ustinov plays the title character; look for supporting roles by Jonathan Winters and Harry Morgan. The film was shot on location in downtown San Antonio, but crews were not allowed on the grounds of the Alamo, per the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, who strenuously protested the film. (P.S. Now there’s an apartment complex named after the film https://vivamaxsa.com/)
THE GETAWAY (1972)
Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw are lovers on the run in Sam Peckinpah’s violent heist film, which filmed scenes on the Riverwalk, as well as at Sunset Station, just north of the Alamodome, adjacent to Commerce Street.
CLOAK & DAGGER (1984)
“E.T.” star Henry Thomas is from San Antonio, and two years after his breakout role, he filmed this kid-spy adventure film in his hometown. There are lots of shots of the Riverwalk, as well as the Japanese Tea Garden, north of downtown.
The queen of Tejano music was memorialized and immortalized in Gregory Nava’s fantastic film “Selena,” which has yet to be topped for sheer emotion, its kinetic concert sequences, and a star-making performance by Jennifer Lopez. Scenes set in Monterrey, Mexico were filmed atop San Antonio’s enchilada-red main library downtown (building also seen in 2001’s “Spy Kids”). Outdoor concert scenes were shot in Poteet, south of San Antonio, and the Alamodome was dressed up to stand-in for Selena’s famous concert at the Astrodome in Houston.
MISS CONGENIALITY (2000)
Sandra Bullock plays an F.B.I. agent on the case of a potential terrorist plot to strike during a beauty pageant held in San Antonio. One of the film’s most memorable scenes takes place at the Arneson River Theater, when William Shatner famously asks Miss Rhode Island to describe her perfect date. The answer? “April 25th, because it’s not too hot, not too cold. All you need is a light jacket.”