Looking for movies that were filmed in Tacoma, WA? From teen movies to horror, Tacoma has been the location for some amazing films over the years.
Here are six movies filmed in Tacoma that every Tacoman should watch (or rewatch!):
1. 10 Things I Hate About You
Neighborhood: Stadium District / Proctor
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This is probably the most famous “filmed in Tacoma” movies, and basically half of Tacoma was used as an extra in this film. This 1999 flick is supposed to take place in Seattle, but you’ll quickly realize that much of the film was shot in Tacoma. The iconic Stadium High School in Tacoma’s Stadium District is used as the high school in the film (including the Stadium Bowl, which shows off an incredible view of the water). Also, the home at 2715 North Junett Street in North Tacoma was used in the movie (both interior and exterior shots).
Here’s closer look at the home:
2. The Hand That Rocks the Cradle
Neighborhood: Stadium District / North Tacoma
This 1992 film pretty much scarred anyone who grew up in Tacoma in the ‘80s and ‘90. Who among us can forget the scene at the end where Rebecca De Mornay is on North Yakima? The house used in the movie is at 808 N Yakima, and there are also scenes shot in Wright Park.
3. I Love You to Death
Neighborhood: Downtown Tacoma / Theater District
This movie takes viewers all over Tacoma. Probably the most iconic building featured in this film is the Bostwick Building down on 7th and Broadway. You’ve seen it if you’ve ever been to Tacoma’s Antique Row or driven by the theaters. We love imagining a young Keanu Reeves traipsing around Tacoma! You’ll also spot places like Bob’s Java Jive, the Elks Building (now McMenamins Elks Temple!), and Stadium Bowl (at Stadium High School). Also, the home featured in this movie is at 424 North C Street, just down the street from Stadium High School.
4. Three Fugitives
The ‘80s and ‘90s were apparently the heyday of film in Tacoma. Three Fugitives from 1989 also features scenes in the City of Destiny. Tacoma’s Old City Hall downtown makes an appearance in the film. Several Tacoma streets and McNeil Island Prison near Steilacoom are also featured.
This biopic film about runner Steve Prefontaine from 1997 was filmed largely at Peyton field at the University of Puget Sound. Prefontaine actually went to University of Oregon, so the set designers had to transform the Tacoma field to look like Hayward Field in the 1970s.
6. Rose Red
Alright, so this one isn’t *technically* Tacoma, but Lakewood is close enough. We wanted an excuse to talk about Thornewood Castle! This Stephen King film needed a creepy setting.vYou really can’t beat a Tudor Gothic castle on a gray day here in the Puget Sound area. Well, it also turns out that there aren’t a lot of castles in America, but that makes Thornewood Castle unique. This 500-year-old castle (yes, you read that right) was shipped here from England and reconstructed in Lakewood. It’s the perfect setting for this 2002 film!
Why aren’t movies filmed in Tacoma anymore?
In the 90’s Washington State had tax breaks aimed to encourage movies and TV shows to film in the state. Shows such as Northern Exposure, Twin Peaks, The X-Files, and more used Washington State’s incredible scenery for their settings. Sadly when the tax break went away most of the movies went with them. An organization called Washington Filmworks was created during the 2006 legislative session to encourage Washington State’s economic development to focus more on the film industry. In 15 years, they have advocated for 10 bills to increase incentives to film tv shows and movies in Washington. Although none have passed so far, SB 5760 is the most recent effort to expand Washington’s film incentive program. To learn more about SB 5760 read, “Bill Aims to Boost Funding for filming in Washington” in Crosscut.
Learn more about what makes Tacoma special on the Move to Tacoma blog!