You can say Old Tucson Studios is a great place to shoot a western. You can film a gunfight or a saloon brawl. However, it is also a great place to bring the family and experience the wild wild west. You can watch dramas, comedies, gunfights and stunt shows. You can also enjoy musicals like Lady Vivian and her girls. You can have a cold beer at one of the many watering holes. For most that love film making, it’s an amazing place to relive a bit of Tucson movie making hostory.

The story behind Old Tucson Studios is interesting. Columbia Studios decided to build a replica of the 1860’s Tucson for the film Arizona (1940). Built in 1939 for $150,000, it was the first western studio set that brought these types of films to life. It set a new standard for how they were shot. The film was directed by Wesly Ruggles and starred Jean Arthur, William Holden, and Warren William. Ironically, after the success of the film, Old Town Studios went forgotten. It was not used again until a new trend of western movies started about 5 years later. Between 1945 to 1959, over 30 movies were shot there. Those include titles such as The Bells of St. Mary’s (1945), Winchester ’73 (1950), Broken Arrow (1950), 3:10 to Yuma (1957), and Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957).

Then, in the year 1959, an entrepreneur by the name of Robert Shelton leased the property from Pima County and restored the aging facility of Old Tucson Studios. He reopened it as a film studio and theme park in 1960. He did a great job with the big Hollywood stars of the day; “The Duke” John Wayne was like a permanent fixture in Old Tucson in the ’60s. It started with Rio Bravo (1959), followed by McLintock! (1963), El Dorado (1966), and topped off the decade with Rio Lobo (1970). Other big names followed, like Kirk Douglas, Frank Sinatra, Clint Eastwood, Robert Duvall, Ronald Reagan, and Paul Newman. Read More

If you are interested in filming a location contact the Old Tucson Film office. Phone (520) 908-4831 Website

The location offers:
Southwestern Street
Saloon and Hotel
Town Hall
Reno Locomotive
Young Riders Park
Rodeo Grounds

If you are looking for a hand our Blare Films Arizona’s producers can help. The can contact this venue or help you look for other options. There are a few other areas in Arizona that can work as western sets. If you are not in need of a western set but only desert terrain our producers can scout, take pictures, and contact the prefer permitting office. If you are just look for some advice you can schedule a free consultation.  Visit our Contact Page for more information. We want to facilitate and bring back the golden years of film making in Arizona.