Murphy's Romance movie cover Movie Locations Guide

Where was Murphy's Romance filmed?

1985

About Murphy's Romance

Is an age gap an insurmountable barrier to true love? That’s the question asked by Murphy’s Romance, a much-loved 1985 romantic comedy directed by Martin Ritt.

The film tells the story of Emma (Sally Field), who has left her deadbeat ex-husband Bobby Jack (Brian Kerwin) to start a new life in the small town of Eunice, Arizona. With her 12-year-old son Jake (Corey Haim) in tow, Emma is ready for a second chance at happiness.

But finding a place to call home in Eunice isn’t going to be easy. Not only do Emma and Jake now live on a dilapidated ranch well in need of plenty of repairs, but Emma struggles to find work as a horse trainer and boarder.

But there’s one bright spot in Emma’s life during her early days in town: the friendship she forms with eccentric local pharmacist Murphy (James Garner). A widower who is close to 30 years older than Emma, Murphy is a much-loved local with more than a few personality quirks but a very big heart.

He helps Emma out by giving Jake a job, and when he buys a horse that he then hires Emma to look after, the friendship between the pharmacist and the new woman in town truly starts to blossom.

But there’s one very big obstacle standing in the way of their potential love. Bobby Jack, Emma’s ex, is determined to weasel his way back into her life. Jake is ecstatic to have his father around, but it’s clear that this lazy good-for-nothing is simply not what Emma needs in her life. It’s clear too that she’s developing romantic feelings for Murphy, so can she get out of her own way long enough to finally find the happiness she deserves?

Murphy’s Romance is a film with plenty of charm. It’s a love story that meanders along at its own comfortable pace, with Garner and Field both turning in stellar performances. And if you’d like to check out the locations where some of the best scenes in Murphy’s Romance were filmed (spoiler alert!), you’re in the right place.

City Locations

Florence, Arizona

Location Types

American, Ranch

Location Styles

Classic Car, Dated/Retro, Dilapidated/Neglected

Murphy's Romance Locations

Looking for Eunice, Arizona? You’ll need to head to the town of Florence, which is located about 60 miles southeast of Phoenix in southern Arizona.

It’s here that you’ll find a host of instantly recognizable Murphy’s Romance locations, particularly along the town’s main street. Take a wander here and you’ll pick out the spot where Emma strolls along the street leaving flyers on car windscreens. You’ll also pick out the building used as Murphy’s pharmacy, including the tree that was planted out the front after the parking meter was removed.

The surrounding desert landscape was also used for scenes at Emma and Jake’s ranch, while some cinema scenes were shot at a theater in Tempe, a little over 50 miles away from Florence.

So if you want to visit the filming location of Murphy’s Romance, here’s how to check these film production sites out for yourself.

Fun Fact:

Sally Field once revealed that the passionate embrace she shared with James Garner in Murphy’s Romance was the best on-screen kiss she ever had.

Emma meets Murphy scene in Murphy's Romance

Main Street

Emma is a strong and independent woman, and she’s determined to provide a happy life for her son following the breakdown of her marriage. But if she’s going to find a home for them in Eunice, she needs to get her horse training and boarding business up and running.

To do that, she’ll have to drum up business any way she can, so she starts by distributing flyers around town. Early in the film, we see her walking along the street leaving flyers advertising her services on car windshields.

But when she leaves a flyer on an immaculate old Studebaker, she’s interrupted by the car’s owner. “Lady, you’re covering up my causes,” says Murphy, pointing out that Emma’s flyer is blocking his sticker that reads “Re-forest America.” She asks if she can put her flyer in his shop window, but he wants to read it first. “I’m for free enterprise. Put it up,” he says.

The street we see Emma wandering along is Florence’s Main Street, which cuts through the heart of town from north to south. Take a stroll along here and it won’t take you long to spot shopfronts you recognize from Murphy’s Romance.

Cinema scene in Murphy's Romance

Valley Art Theater

With Bobby Jack still trying to find a way back into Emma’s heart, things settle into an uneasy truce. Bobby Jack clearly feels threatened by Murphy, however, and is keen to try and score points over the older man whenever he can.

In one memorable scene, Emma, Jake, Bobby Jack, and Murphy all head to the cinema to watch a gory slasher flick. As blood is spilled in gruesome fashion on-screen, Bobby-Jack appears enthralled, Emma is horrified, and Murphy shakes his head in disgust.

Murphy walks out of the film and Jake soon follows him. “I once worked in a slaughterhouse,” Murphy explains. “Why pay good money to see that again?”

Some of the interiors for these cinema scenes were shot at the Valley Art Theater in Tempe, Arizona. This Murphy’s Romance filming location is found at 509 South Mill Ave and is easy to check out if you’re ever spending some time exploring Phoenix.

Murphy kisses Emma scene in Murphy's Romance

210 North Main Street

Despite clearly realizing that Bobby Jack is not the right man for her, Emma is still saddened when Wanda (Anna Levine) arrives in town with Bobby Jack’s twin baby boys. With Bobby Jack finally out of the picture, an important chapter in her life is now closed.

Feeling lost and more than a little confused, she heads to Murphy’s pharmacy for advice. She asks Murphy what she should do, and his response is blunt. “I’m not a lifeguard, I don’t put up bail and I’m not your damn Dutch uncle.” And with that, he spins her around, puts his hands on her face, and plants a passionate kiss on her lips!

Then he lifts her off the chair and practically pushes her out the door with a parting piece of advice: “If you don’t know how things are, you’re not as smart as I thought you were.” As Emma stands there stunned, he flips the Open sign to Closed.

The building used as Murphy’s pharmacy is found at 210 North Main Street in Florence, Arizona. It’s an insurance agency these days and looks quite different inside, but one cool fact is that you can still see the tree they planted on the street in the movie, at Murphy’s request, after removing the parking meter.

If you’re keen to check out any Murphy’s Romance locations, this one is an absolute must-visit.

Conclusion

There’s nothing particularly flashy or spectacular about Murphy’s Romance, but this ‘80s classic is nonetheless a fan favorite. The chemistry between Sally Field and James Garner is plain to see, and the film’s slow-burning plot is a whole lot more subtle than many other big-screen romances throughout history.

Best of all, it’s easy to check out the filming location of Murphy’s Romance for yourself. Whether you’re an Arizona local or traveling from further afield, make a beeline for Florence to re-enact some of your favorite scenes from this much-loved romantic comedy.