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Best Movies Set in Texas

Every state is known for something. As you work your way through the list, don’t miss the best movies set in Texas. While you're at it, check out the best books set in Texas, too.

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Texas is a state in the South Central region of the United States. At 268,596 square miles, and with more than 30 million residents in 2023, it is the second-largest U.S. state by both area and population.

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What themes are in Movies Set in Texas?

Movies set in Texas often explore a variety of themes, reflecting the diversity and rich cultural history of the state. Here are some common themes found in movies set in Texas:

  1. Independence and Individualism:
    • Texas has a strong cultural identity associated with independence and individualism. Many films set in Texas explore characters who embody these traits, often portraying them as self-reliant and resilient.
  2. Wild West and Frontier Spirit:
    • Given its history as part of the Wild West, Texas often serves as a backdrop for stories that capture the frontier spirit. Westerns set in Texas depict rugged landscapes, cowboys, and the challenges of taming the frontier.
  3. Family and Tradition:
    • Family values and traditions play a significant role in Texan culture. Movies set in Texas frequently delve into family dynamics, exploring relationships, legacies, and the importance of tradition in the face of change.
  4. Oil and Industry:
    • Texas has a prominent role in the oil and energy industry. Some films set in Texas focus on the impact of the oil business on communities and individuals, addressing themes such as wealth, power, and environmental concerns.
  5. Race and Cultural Diversity:
    • Texas is a melting pot of cultures, and films set in the state often explore issues of race and cultural diversity. These movies may address historical events, civil rights struggles, or contemporary issues related to race relations.
  6. Southern Gothic:
    • Some Texas-based films adopt a Southern Gothic aesthetic, blending elements of dark humor, grotesque characters, and a sense of decay. This genre often explores the darker aspects of Southern culture, including family secrets and societal decay.
  7. Border and Immigration Issues:
    • Given its proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border, some films set in Texas address border and immigration issues. These movies may explore the complexities of border life, identity, and the impact of immigration policies.
  8. Small-Town Life:
    • Texas is home to numerous small towns, and films set in these environments often examine the close-knit communities, their quirks, and the challenges residents face in rural settings.
  9. Texas Music and Culture:
    • Texas has a rich musical heritage, particularly in genres like country, blues, and rock. Movies set in Texas may feature music as a central theme, showcasing the state's vibrant musical culture.
  10. The Natural Environment:
    • The diverse landscapes of Texas, from deserts to forests, can play a crucial role in films. Some movies set in Texas emphasize the connection between characters and the natural environment.
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These themes can be found in a range of genres, including Westerns, dramas, comedies, and crime films, providing a multifaceted view of Texas and its cultural tapestry.

How to Create a State Unit Study for Texas

If you are an educator or homeschooler, here's how you can create a state unit study for Utah, in addition to watching movies set in this state.

  1. Define educational objectives.
  2. Select topics like history, geography, and culture.
  3. Gather diverse resources (books, documentaries, etc.).
  4. Create organized lesson plans.
  5. Include hands-on activities and projects.
  6. Plan field trips or virtual tours.
  7. Integrate STEM concepts related to Texas.
  8. Connect with Texan literature and authors.
  9. Explore Texan art and culture.
  10. Develop assessments for understanding.
  11. Consider a culminating event.
  12. Stay flexible and adapt to learners' interests.
  13. Celebrate Texan holidays and traditions.
  14. Connect with locals for real-life perspectives.

Best Movies Set in Texas

Lone Star (1996)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Ron Canada, Chris Cooper, Clifton James (Actors)

Lone Star

Year: 1996

Lone Star is a riveting mystery drama directed by John Sayles. Set in a Texas border town, Sheriff Sam Deeds (Chris Cooper) reopens a cold case, delving into a complex web of secrets, racial tensions, and personal histories. As he uncovers the truth, the film weaves a poignant tale of love, betrayal, and redemption, exploring the impact of the past on present-day relationships in a community grappling with its history and identity.

A Perfect World
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Brenda Sykes, Clint Eastwood, Laura Dern (Actors)

A Perfect World

Year: 1993

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Set in Texas, “A Perfect World” (1993) unfolds as an escaped convict evades a pursuing Texas Ranger, taking a hostage in the process—a fatherless young boy confined to a strictly controlled and unhappy life. Directed by Clint Eastwood, the film navigates the dynamics of their unexpected connection, delving into themes of redemption and the pursuit of utopia in an imperfect world, with Kevin Costner delivering a nuanced performance.

From Dusk Till Dawn
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino, Harvey Keitel (Actors)

From Dusk Till Dawn

Year: 1996

The movie follows the Gecko brothers, Seth (George Clooney) and Richie (Quentin Tarantino), as they go on a violent crime spree. The story turns wild when they seek refuge in a Mexican strip club, only to discover it's infested with vampires. Blending crime, horror, and humor, the film delivers unexpected thrills and a unique cinematic experience.

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The Alamo
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Dennis Quaid, Billy Bob Thornton, Jason Patric (Actors)

The Alamo

Year: 2004

“The Alamo” (2004) is a historical drama directed by John Lee Hancock. Set during the Texas Revolution, the film depicts the pivotal Battle of the Alamo in 1836. Starring Dennis Quaid as Sam Houston, Billy Bob Thornton as Davy Crockett, and Jason Patric as Jim Bowie, the movie explores the bravery and sacrifice of a diverse group of defenders against the overwhelming forces of General Santa Anna, showcasing the spirit of American resilience.

The Life of David Gale
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Kate Winslet, Cleo King, Constance Jones (Actors)

The Life of David Gale

Year: 2003

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“The Life of David Gale” (2003) is a gripping thriller directed by Alan Parker. Kevin Spacey portrays David Gale, a former death penalty opponent now on death row for the alleged murder of a colleague. Journalist Bitsey Bloom (Kate Winslet) investigates Gale's story, uncovering a complex web of deception and morality.

The film challenges perspectives on justice, capital punishment, and ethics, delivering intense performances and a thought-provoking narrative that keeps viewers questioning until the end.

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Now that you’ve completed the list of the best movies set in this state, why not check out some others? Here are the Best Movies Set in All 50 States.


Click here to download this printable. It has a list of movies in all 50 states, including the Best Movies Set in Texas.

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Further Reading About the State:

Related Posts:

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