I always find it interesting when movies incorporate historical facts with fiction. Tombstone is one such movie. It’s based on real events that happened in the late 1800’s. But where was Tombstone filmed? Interestingly, it was set and filmed in the same location. But let’s take a look at the story.

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Where Was Tombstone Filmed?

Tombstone was filmed primarily in the state of Arizona. Primary filming locations included the city of Tucson; the southern Arizona town of Benson, Sierra Vista and Tombstone itself. Other Arizona locations used for filming were Bisbee, Sonoita Creek, Sacaton, Kearny, Oracle and Florence.

Filming also took place in New Mexico, with scenes shot in Santa Fe and Albuquerque. In addition, some additional filming took place at Old Tucson Studios just outside of Tucson. The production used the studio for interiors and close-ups that were too difficult to shoot on location. 

What was Tombstone All About?

Tombstone is a 1993 American Western film directed by George P. Cosmatos and starring Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer and Samuel L. Jackson. The movie follows Wyatt Earp (Russell) as he moves to the western town of Tombstone, Arizona in 1879 with his two brothers and attempts to establish law and order in the lawless town. He soon clashes with the infamous Cowboys gang, and enlists his friend Doc Holliday (Kilmer) to help him in a violent showdown that became known as the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. 

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The movie also follows Earp’s relationship with Josephine Marcus (Dana Delany), who eventually becomes his common-law wife. The movie highlights themes of morality, justice, and the consequences of violence. 

Who Was In The Cast of Tombstone?

The cast of Tombstone included Kurt Russell as Wyatt Earp, Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday, Sam Elliott as Virgil Earp, Bill Paxton as Morgan Earp and Dana Delany as Josephine Marcus. Other notable cast members include Michael Biehn, Powers Boothe, Stephen Lang, Jon Tenney, Billy Zane, and Charlton Heston. 

The movie also includes a star-studded ensemble of cameo appearances from some of the biggest names in Hollywood, including Billy Bob Thornton, Jeff Fahey, Harry Carey Jr., Robert Mitchum, Jason Priestley, Billy Zane and Michael Rooker. 

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Who Directed Tombstone?

Tombstone was directed by George P. Cosmatos and written by Kevin Jarre. It marked the first time that Russell had starred in a Western since his breakout role in The Magnificent Seven (1960). It also marks one of the last roles for veteran actor Harry Carey Jr., who appears in a cameo as Sheriff John Behan.

Did Tombstone Receive Any Awards?

The movie was released on December 24, 1993 and was a box office success, grossing over $56 million worldwide. It received seven Academy Award nominations for Best Cinematography, Best Sound, Best Visual Effects and Best Original Score in addition to nominations from the Golden Globe Awards and BAFTA Awards.

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Fun Facts About Tombstone

  • The movie was filmed in Arizona, and not in the original historic town of Tombstone, AZ.
  • It was released on Christmas Day, 1993 and became incredibly popular with audiences.
  • Val Kilmer’s performance as Doc Holliday earned him a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
  • The famous line, “I’m your huckleberry” was improvised by Val Kilmer during filming.
  • An estimated 1 million tourists visit Tombstone each year due to its fame from the movie.
  • The movie was so popular that it spawned two sequels, Tombstone 2: The Return of Wyatt Earp in 1994 and Tombstone 3: The Last Ride of Doc Holliday in 2006.
  • Kurt Russell was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor for his performance as Wyatt Earp.

Can You Visit the set of Tombstone?

Yes, you can visit the set of Tombstone! You can visit many of these sites as part of a guided tour or on your own. Old Tucson Studios, where some additional scenes were filmed for the movie, is open to visitors as a movie-themed amusement park. You can also visit the O.K. Corral where the famous Gunfight at the O.K. Corral scene was filmed, and take part in daily reenactments of the gunfight.

What is Arizona Famous For?

Arizona is also known for its diverse culture, with many distinct Hispanic, Native American, and Western influences blending together to create a unique cultural identity. Arizona’s most famous attractions include the Grand Canyon, Saguaro National Park, Monument Valley, Havasu Falls and the Petrified Forest National Park. 

The state is also home to many popular cities such as Flagstaff, Tucson and Phoenix, as well as many small towns and Native American communities. Arizona is known for its hot summers and mild winters, making it a popular destination for visitors looking to get away from colder climates. 

Other activities in the state include skiing and snowboarding on the San Francisco Peaks, hiking in the mountains of Flagstaff, or just relaxing at one of the many resorts dotting the state. 

Unique Places To Visit in Arizona

There is so much to do and see in Arizona, it can be hard to narrow down the best places to visit. Here are some of the most unique and extraordinary places in the state:

Grand Canyon National Park: the Grand Canyon is one of the most visited sites in Arizona and one of its most iconic natural wonders. Explore the canyon by foot, take a mule ride to one of the many overlooks, or take a rafting tour down the Colorado River.

Monument Valley: this stunning valley is made up of towering sandstone buttes and mesas along with other interesting formations in northeastern Arizona. Take a guided tour and explore this area, which was featured in many famous films.

Havasupai Falls: located on the edge of the Grand Canyon, this stunning waterfall is a great place to take a refreshing dip or explore the unique rock formations and wildlife around it.

Meteor Crater: located just outside of Flagstaff, this impressive crater was created by a meteor impact 50,000 years ago and is now an interesting scientific site. 

Montezuma Castle National Monument: located in Camp Verde, this well-preserved cliff dwelling was built by the Sinagua people in the late 12th century and is one of the best-preserved cliff dwellings in North America. 

From grand canyons to petrified forests, Arizona has so many unique places to explore and experience. From the sprawling cities of Flagstaff and Phoenix to the small towns tucked away in the wilderness, each area of the state offers something special for visitors.

Things to Do in Arizona

Take in the culture of Sedona. Sedona is full of galleries, shops and restaurants that make it a great place to explore the local culture. It’s also home to some of the most stunning vistas in Arizona.

 San Xavier Mission: this beautiful mission was built in 1692 and is a great example of colonial architecture. Take a guided tour or just wander around on your own.

Flagstaff: Flagstaff is known for its dark skies, which make it a perfect place to go stargazing and admire the night sky. Take a tour or just find a spot away from the lights and enjoy the show.

Lake Powell: from fishing to boating, there are plenty of activities to enjoy here. Plus, the views are stunning and there’s plenty of wildlife around.

Verde Canyon Railroad: enjoy a scenic 4-hour journey through some of Arizona’s most beautiful landscapes, including lush canyons and lush valleys.

Petrified Forest National Park: this park is home to some of the most stunning petrified wood in the world, making it a great place to explore and take in the colorful scenery.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Kurt Russell’s mustache real in Tombstone?

According to Kurt Russell, it took four months to grow his mustache and is definitely real! When asked about it on the Today Show, Kurt Russell said, “it’s a mustache wearing a man.”

Is the movie Tombstone historically correct?

From a historical standpoint, Tombstone is fairly accurate. In fact, some of the more unbelievable scenes (such as Bill Brosius missing Wyatt three times from point-blank range before Earp cuts him in half with a shotgun) are actually documented.

And That’s a Wrap!

One great thing about Arizona is that the weather is mild and dry. So no matter what time of year you visit, weather shouldn’t be a problem. 

The Grand Canyon would definitely be on my list. I passed through there once but didn’t spend enough time there. We were driving to California and went out of our way to make a quick stop at the Grand Canyon. We took a few pictures and got back in the car. A big regret since I never got back there.

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But no matter which part of Arizona you explore to see the Tombstone filming locations, you’ll find amazing places to see and things to do. From city exploration and outdoor adventures to cultural experiences and historical tours, Arizona has something for everyone.

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