Best Science Fiction Movie Filmed in Arizona - 2012
Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure
As any local cinema buff can tell you, Arizona has been a popular destination for film crews since the 1930s. It's due in part to our state's abundance of harsh desert terrain, which has proved an ideal setting for hundreds of Westerns. Ditto for science fiction flicks, particularly post-apocalyptic yarns like Planet of the Apes — both the original and its execrable 2001 remake — or tales involving barren desert planets. (That doesn't include Return of the Jedi, because it was shot just across the border from Yuma in California.) Other non-desert settings in Arizona have been seen in sci-fi films, including Starman, Star Trek: First Contact, and our personal favorite, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. The zany 1989 time-travel comedy was largely lensed in the Valley, which stood in for San Dimas, California. Watching the film is a cinematic tour though such local landmarks as Golfland Sunsplash in Mesa, Metrocenter, and the Ralph Haver-designed Coronado High School in Scottsdale. (A few of the locations are sadly no longer in existence, such as Metro's iconic basement ice-skating rink, below the food court.) We still get a chuckle whenever we drive past the Circle K at Hardy Drive and Southern Avenue in Tempe — the location where Bill and Ted meet their future selves — and invoke the memorable line from the same scene: "Strange things are afoot at the Circle K."