Austin is one of the leading American cities for film production, so it should come as no surprise that many of your favorite movies were filmed here. Whether you want to live out the last scene of Blood Simple (let's hope not) or show off your Office Space flare, check out this list of famous Austin movie locations you can visit.
Like many filmmakers, The Coen Brothers are big fans of shooting in and around Texas; No Country for Old Men was filmed in West Texas and True Grit and Blood Simple were shot in Austin. You might spot The Old Pecan St. Cafe in Blood Simple; the Sixth street, brick-laden establishment acted as both Abby's (Frances McDormand) apartment and where the agita-inducing finale took place. They've since cleaned up the blood and Old Pecan Street Cafe is now an eatery and event space. If you see M. Emmet Walsh roaming the halls, run or grab your butter knife!
You might recognize Saint Mary's Cathedral as the exterior of good ol' Cheech Marin's church in the shoot em' up flick Machete. I'm assuming the interior scenes weren't shot (literally) in the church, or filmmaker Robert Rodriguez had one heck of a mess to clean up. This beautiful church sits in the middle of downtown Austin. Saint Mary's pretends to be both a place of worship and school, but let's not kid ourselves- it's an underground playground for gratuitous film violence.
You might recognize Guero's in the opening sequence of Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof. This famous South Congress eatery was featured heavily in the beginning of the film before the main characters moved over to the delightful Texas Chili Parlor. Austinites have a love-hate relationship with this restaurant; some say the food is mediocre, but the location and convenience of bringing out-of-towners can't be beat. If you think their Mexican cuisine is subpar, hit their patio for some live music and delicious top-shelf margaritas.
Like Richard Linklater, filmmaker Robert Rodriguez calls Austin home and shoots the majority of his movies in Austin or on location at his Austin-based Troublemaker Studios. His flick, The Faculty, was filmed primarily at the Texas School for the Deaf. The beautiful school and campus, constructed in 1857, moonlighted as Herrington High, a creepy high school filled with alien teachers and a goateed Jon Stewart. The Texas School for the Deaf is also where a magical moment recently occurred: Ryan Gosling, in town shooting Terrence Malick's newest movie, took a break from filming and randomly showed up at one of the school's charity events BECAUSE HE'S THAT AWESOME.
Filmmaker Richard Linklater moved to Austin in the 80s and has never left. The friendly and generous filmmaker continues to shoot the majority of films in the Capital City. Similar to his previous film Slacker, Dazed and Confused is a film about Austin and highlights many local landmarks including Top Notch. You might recognize this burger drive-in as showcasing Matthew McConaughey's glorious rat 'stache. Though the nerds claim that their jalapeno burger and fries are soggy, that is not the case today. Check out Top Notch if you want to relive the glory days of 1976 (and rat 'staches).
For you Friday Night Lights movie and TV show fans, you might recognize Westlake High School's Chaparral Stadium. This 10,000 seat stadium built in 2002 was used for some of the film's home games, but used more predominantly on the TV show. In fact, Friday Night Lights the TV series was completely shot in and around Austin. If you're a FNL nerd, Google "Friday Night Lights tour" and get your Austin-based Explosions in the Sky CDs ready for a road trip.
Before it became Austin's most beloved pint-size healthy cafe, this North Lamar spot used to be GM Steakhouse. Yes, believe it or not, a steakhouse packed itself into this 20-seat eatery. Though you may have never eaten at GM, you're probably familiar with its famous film guest and her shouts of "you should quit traumatizing women with sexual intercourse. I should know, I'm a medical doctor!" to random people. Richard Linklater's bipolar love letter to Austin, Slacker, was shot in various locations all over town, but it's GM that is arguably the most iconic. Though many Austinites miss the days of yesteryear, GM was replaced with a delicious successor; Counter Cafe offers award-winning burger and pancakes that will haunt your dreams (in good way- unlike the creepy "medical doctor" sitting at the counter in Slacker). This tiny eatery is so good, it was featured on Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives!
Located in one of South Lamar's many old-school strip malls, this pub was formerly The Alligator Grill a.k.a. Chotchkie's in the cult comedy Office Space. This is where a non-annoying Jennifer Aniston dazzled us with her flair. Since Office Space was shot in Austin and is arguably about life in Austin, there are plenty of other Office Space locations to check out, but none are as satiating as this locale. If reenacting Mike Judge's finest work isn't your thing, then check out Baker Street's classy pub grub including Sesame Ginger Chicken and Quinoa Salad or London Platter (fried cod, shrimp and fries with vinegar)!
Whoever came up with the double entendre name of a strip club near the airport deserves a medal. This scout has never stepped foot into The Landing Strip (she's a Yellow Rose of Texas kind of girl, thank you very much), though she's read that Varsity Blues and scenes from Friday Night Lights the TV series were filmed here. That's all I know. I'm sure the food is excellent (you can never go wrong with $3.99 sirloin steak), but I'm assuming that's not why people visit here. They probably visit for the nightly poker games (not a double entendre).