Thelma and Louise movie cover Movie Locations Guide

Where was Thelma and Louise filmed?

1991

About Thelma and Louise

Thelma and Louise is a classic movie from 1991 that has frequently been recognized as a cultural and historical success. The movie, directed and produced by Ridley Scott and written by Callie Khouri, was nominated for six Academy Awards. Thelma and Louise star Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon as two friends who take a weekend road trip that quickly takes an interesting turn.

Thelma is a housewife, and her husband Darryl is quite controlling in everything she does. Her best friend is Louise, a waitress with a boyfriend named Jimmy. The two women start their road trip with a trip to a bar, on their way to the cabin. While at the bar Thelma dances with a man who later attacks her in the parking lot. Louise intervenes before anything bad can happen, but she shoots the man when he starts to yell at them.

Even though Thelma wants to go to the police, Louise convinces her not to, believing the cops will think the women are lying. Instead, Thelma and Louise decide they will go to Mexico, but Louise says they can’t cut through Texas to do so. Louise asks Jimmy to wire transfer her all the money she has, but instead, Jimmy shows up in person.

Meanwhile, Thelma gets close to a drifter they have met and finds out he is a thief. The night after Jimmy shows up, it is revealed the drifter stole all of the money and has disappeared. This leads Thelma to figure out what to do next, and she robs a convenience store.

The FBI starts to close in on the women and ends up questioning Jimmy and the drifter who stole the money. Through a phone tap, the police learn more about the situation and even understand why Louise shot the man. Thelma tells her friend she can’t go back to Darryl, and Louise vows to keep on the journey with her friend.

As they continue to Mexico, the women lock a cop in the trunk of his car and leave a trucker stranded in the desert. Once they reach the Grand Canyon they see they have been corned by the police and FBI. However, Thelma and Louise don’t want to surrender, and as the movie comes to an end they drive the car over the edge of the cliff. The film ends before the car lands or crashes, but it is assumed they die.

City Locations

California, Utah

Location Types

NatureScapes, American, House, Automotive, Clubs/Bars

Location Styles

Americana/Anywhere America, Classic Car, Convertible, Racing

Thelma and Louise Locations

The movie Thelma and Louise was filmed in the states of Utah and California. Throughout the film, the women are driving from Arkansas to the Grand Canyon. Most of the filming for the movie was done in and around Moab, Utah, and Bakersfield, California. Areas near Dead Horse Point State Park found in Utah were used for the scenes depicting the Grand Canyon. Other locations used for filming in Utah include Crescent Junction, La Sal Mountains, Thompson Springs, Arches National Park, and Old Valley City Reservoir. In Thelma and Louise, many of the filming locations used in the movie were rural settings. These locations can still be visited by fans today who want to relive the cross-country road trip from the 90s.

The bar where Thelma is attacked, and the road trip takes an unexpected twist, is also still standing today. In the movie, the bar is called C&W bar, but at the time the real location was called Silver Bullet. The name has been changed again since then, and today is known as Cowboy County. This bar is located in Long Beach, California.

Preparing for the weekend scene in Thelma and Louise

Moab, Utah

In one of the opening scenes of the 1991 movie Thelma and Louise, the two leading women are preparing to embark on a fun weekend road trip. They are planning to visit a cabin, allowing both women a chance to escape for a while. Louise has a musician boyfriend and works at a diner while Thelma is a housewife with an overbearing husband. Thelma’s husband is revealed to be controlling, and overall terrible, in one of the first scenes.

When Thelma reveals she hasn’t told her husband about the trip yet, Louise says, “You mean you haven't asked him, yet? Thelma, for Christ's sake! Is he your husband or your father? It is just two days, for God's sake. Don't be a child. Tell him you're going with me. Tell him I'm having a nervous breakdown.”

Thelma tells her friend, “That don't carry much weight with Darryl. He already thinks you're out of your mind.”

The location used for this shot was filmed in Moab, Utah, which acted as the fictional start to the iconic road trip.

Louise kills Harlan scene in Thelma and Louise

Cowboy Country Bar, Long Beach, California

When the two best friends first start on their road trip, they stop at a bar. While in this bar, Thelma meets a man named Harlan and starts to dance with him. When the two end up in the parking lot, Harlan tries to assault Thelma. Louise shows up to stop when with a gun to his head.

“In the future, when a woman's crying like that, she isn't having any fun!” Louise tells Harlan.

At first, the women try to walk away, but Harlan starts to yell and cuss at them. Louise turns around to shoot him, killing him. The two best friends then have to make a run for it. They decide to run to Mexico, but Louise says they can’t go through Texas to do it.

Thelma says, “Wait. What? You wanna go to Mexico from Oklahoma, but you don't wanna go through Texas?”

“Thelma, you know how I feel about Texas! We're not going that way,” Louise tells her.

Thelma says, “Yeah, I know, Louise, but we're running for our lives. I mean, can't you make an exception? I mean, look at the map! The only thing between Oklahoma and Mexico is Texas!”

The bar where Harlan is shot was filmed at the real bar called Silver Bullet at the time. The bar is still standing today but is called Cowboy Country.

Louise turns down her boyfriend scene in Thelma and Louise

Vagabond Inn, Los Angeles, California

During the time that Thelma and Louise are running from the law, Louise gets in touch with her musician boyfriend named Jimmy. She wants him to wire her all the money she has, and he promises to. However, Jimmy shows up in person with the money instead, and also proposes to Louise.

He shows her an engagement ring and says, “Why don't you try it on? You didn't see that one coming, did you?”

Louise asks Jimmy why he is choosing now to propose, and his response is, “Try not to get too excited, Louise. I just flew across two states with that ring in my fuckin' hand, and uh... You know I hate to fly.”

She ultimately turns down Jimmy’s proposal in order to continue the journey with Thelma. This scene was filmed at the Vagabond Inn located near downtown Los Angeles. Fans of the iconic film can still visit this inn today.

The women confront the truck driver scene in Thelma and Louise

La Sal Mountains, Moab, Utah

During one of the top scenes of the movie Thelma and Louise, the two best friends confront a truck driver who has harassed them a few times throughout the movie. They manage to run him off the road in the desert and confront him about his actions.

Louise tells the truck driver, “Yeah, where do you get off behaving like that with women you don't even know? Huh? Huh? How'd you feel if someone did that to your mother? Or your sister? Or your wife?”

The two women proceed to blow up the man’s truck and then drive off to leave him alone in the desert. This scene and many other desert scenes in the movie were filmed in Moab, Utah near the La Sal Mountains.

Thelma invites J.D. to the motel scene in Thelma and Louise

Streets outside Vagabond Inn, Los Angeles, California

The Vagabond Inn found near downtown Los Angeles was used for scenes in the movie where Thelma and Louise spend time at a motel with each of their lovers. While Louise is with her established boyfriend Jimmy, Thelma has invited over a drifter named J.D. whom the women don’t know that much about. When Thelma brings him back to the motel the two sleep together, and she learns more about his life as a driver and thief.

Thelma tells him, “You're a real live outlaw, aren't ya?”

J.D.‘s response to her is, “Well, I may be an outlaw, darlin', but, uh, you're the one stealin' my heart.”

After this scene of Thelma and J.D. together in the motel, J.D. makes a run for it and steals all of the money that Jimmy brought down for Louise. This leads the women to commit even more crimes in order to continue running.

Thelma robs a store scene in Thelma and Louise

Arches National Park, Moab, Utah

During the movie Thelma and Louise, Thelma robs a convenience store in order to get money and make up for the fact that J.D. stole from them. These events are later shown through the surveillance footage from the store, and Thelma can be heard talking to those in the store.

She tells them, “Good mornin' ladies and gentlemen. This is a robbery. Now, if nobody loses their head, nobody will lose their head. Simon says y'all lie down on the floor, please, right away. Thank you. Ma'am, would you get down? Not you, sir. Let's see who'll win a prize for keepin' their cool. Sir, will you do the honors? Take all the cash out of the drawer, put it in a paper bag.”

Before leaving the store Thelma says, “Ladies and gentlemen, I want to thank you all for your cooperation. Now, stay down on the floor 'til I'm gone, and have a good day.”

The shots of Louise driving away from this new crime were filmed in Utah’s Arches National Park.

Conclusion

The movie Thelma and Louise from 1991 is one of the most well-known films released in recent decades. The film was directed by Ridley Scott, with a star-studded crew of Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis, among others. The screenplay was written by Callie Khouri, and other well-known stars make appearances, such as Brad Pitt, Harvey Keitel, Christopher McDonald, and Michael Madsen.

The movie was actually one of Brad Pitt’s first big roles, and he shows up as the thief and drifter J.D. The iconic film Thelma and Louise was preserved in the National Film Registry in 2016. Both of the lead women were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress. It won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. The main characters of the film, Thelma and Louise go on a cross-country road trip that turns into a journey full of crime and rough decisions.