It may surprise you. But, a number of Hollywood types have chosen to film their movies in Spokane! Once you get to know the area, however, you’ll understand why it can make for a perfect on-screen location.
As of 2018, 17 films have had on-set locations in Spokane. In this article, we’ll take a look at all of the, some of which have famous landmarks featured in the film that you can visit as a resident or on vacation. A handful of these films were even mega-famous blockbusters!
Most Famous Movies in Spokane: Benny and Joon (1993) Tops the List
Benny and Joon is arguably the most famous movie to have had a filming location in Spokane, Washington. This eccentric early 1990s movie features Johnny Depp and Julianne Moore as two outcasts who end up falling in love. Most of the movie was filmed in Spokane, with most of the train scenes in other parts of Washington.
You can find the Benny and Joon house at 301 N. Cedar Street in Peaceful Valley. Although it was once a private home, the owners have turned it into an Air BnB and its decorated as though the main characters had a hand in it. Most of the exterior scenes of the house were shot there, but some interior scenes in the home were filmed on a soundstage.
The restaurant that the characters frequent are two merged into one. The exteriors were shot at Mary Lou’s Milk Bottle, while the interiors got their movie debut from Ferguson’s Cafe. Both had extensive fire damage in 2011, but reopened the next year. You can find them at 802-804 Garland.
You can also see Ruthie’s apartment, which looks identical to how it did in 1993 at 1303 W. 10th Street, though the apartments are private.
The most recent film to have Spokane as its location is Tag. The story of 10 real-life friends who engage in a never-ending game of tag. Tag stars John Hamm, Jeremy Renner, and Ed Helms. Based on a true story, it enjoyed a summer of 2018 release date.
Although some of the film featured Spokane, the principal shooting took place in Atlanta, Georgia. The real-life Spokane friends whom the story was based on still continue to play tag to this day. You might even catch them downtown and try to join in!
At Middleton (2013)
This 2013 film brings together Vera Farmiga and Andy Garcia. A romantic comedy, it chronicles the lives of two divorcees who meet one another while looking at colleges for their kids. Much of the film takes place in Spokane, with parts at Gonzaga University and Washington State University representing the universities they’re visiting.
Camilla Dickinson (2012)
This 2012 film features Spokane masquerading as 1940s postwar New York City. The coming-of-age feature stars Adelaide Clemen as 15-year-old girl finding her way in the world after her parents’ divorce.
The Hit List (2011)
Starring Cuba Gooding, Jr., this film which takes place in Spokane, follows a man who meets another at a bar after a very bad day. He tells the stranger about the people he wishes were dead, and one-by-one, he learns that they are dead after the conversation. This film went direct-to-DVD.
You can see Alan’s apartment at 115 S. Adams Street, or go to the Lamp Post Tavern where some of the crucial scenes took place. You can find the pub on 408 W. Sprague Avenue.
The Ward (2010)
The Ward stars none other than Meryl Streep’s daughter, Mamie Gummer. It chronicles the lives of several young women at a mental institution, and most of the scenes were filmed at Eastern State Hospital in Medical Lake.
Home of the Brave (2006)
Starring Samuel L. Jackson, this 2006 feature follows four Army National Guard soldiers throughout their tour in Iraq and their lives after they’ve returned home. Also in pivotal roles are Christina Ricci, Jessica Biel, Chad Michael Murray and 50 Cent. Directors filmed the movie in both Spokane and Morocco.
Mozart and the Whale (2005)
This romantic comedy stars Josh Hartnett and Radha Mitchell who fall in love at a support group for people with autism. The characters play two individuals affected with Asperger’s and is loosely based on real-life events.
The film takes place in Spokane, with Josh Hartnett’s character working as a taxi driver. Much of the principal photography took place at Gonzaga University and Riverfront Park.
The Basket (1999)
This film, set in Spokane just after World War I, tells the story of a man, Martin Conlon, who helps the town heal from its losses by inventing a new game: basketball.
Smoke Signals (1998)
This film is one of the first and only films to feature an all Native American cast and crew. Shot mostly on the Coeur D’Alene Indian Reservation in Idaho, it has a few scenes in Spokane. These include Riverfront Park and the old Greyhound station on Sprague Avenue.
Vision Quest (1985)
This coming-of-age film was based on the novel of the same name. It follows a Spokane high school wrestler who falls in love with an older woman from New Jersey. Most of the filming took place in local high schools, including Rodgers High School, Ferris High School, Shadle Park High School and North Central High School.
Ferguson Cafe on Garland is also featured in this film, as the characters eat at the iconic countertops.
Why Would I Lie? (1980)
This 1980 comedy/drama follows a man named Cletus, played by Treat Williams. He finds work as a social worker and tries to find a home for a young man named Jorge. During his quest, he falls in love with a fellow social worker, who happens to be Jorge’s mother.
Films in Spokane
As you can see, there are several films who have had Spokane, Washington as its background. Some of them feature Spokane as a character in itself, while some of them have the city masquerading as another. Whatever the reason the movies in Spokane feature the city in the films, there is no doubt there are plenty of films in which the city plays a part.
For more tips about visiting or living in Spokane, visit our blog at Clever Neighbor.