bradley cooper a star is born

10 Greater Palm Springs Movies to Stream

Feel like you've seen everything? We've put together a package of movies shot in Greater Palm Springs featuring stars like Lucille Ball to Lady Gaga.

Staff Report Arts & Entertainment, Current Digital

bradley cooper a star is born
Directed by Bradley Cooper, the third remake of A Star is Born featured several shots in the Coachella Valley.
PHOTOGRAPH BY CLAY ENOS

If you’re suffering from cabin fever and feeling lonely for local scenery, just turn on your TV. Since the beginning of cinema, there have been countless movies either filmed or set in the Coachella Valley all the way up to Palm Springs, this summer’s rom-com titled after the desert oasis starring Andy Samberg.

With movie theaters, live music venues, and most restaurants temporarily shuttered due to concerns of spreading COVID-19, you can stay safe and experience local color on your home screen.

Here are some popular titles to stream while you’re self-isolating.

Lost Horizon (1937)

This classic story takes place in the mythical valley called Shangri-La deep in the Himalayan Mountains, so legendary film director Frank Capra found the perfect stand-in in the desert. Capra, (who loved the area so much that he eventually retired to the La Quinta Resort) used Tahquitz Canyon as a location for several scenes of this lavish adaptation of James Hilton’s bestseller about a group of people whose lives are transformed after surviving a plane crash.

Trailer: youtube.com

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

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The Long, Long Trailer (1954)

By the mid-1950s, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz were both Hollywood royalty and famous part-time Palm Springs residents. For the couple’s first theatrical film following the phenomenal success of their I Love Lucy sitcom, the pair headlined a hit romantic comedy about newlyweds who honeymoon on a cross-country road trip. It’s no surprise, then, that some of the travel footage was captured on scenic State Route 74 in Palm Desert.

Trailer: youtube.com

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

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Palm Springs Weekend (1963)

In 1960, Where the Boys Are, which followed the shenanigans of a group of students during spring break in Florida, had been a huge, unexpected box office smash for MGM. Warner Brothers decided to hop on the teen audience bandwagon with a West Coast version. Connie Stevens, Troy Donahue, Stefanie Powers, and Robert Conrad were cast as attractive young folks who get into similar misadventures in the desert. The film was largely shot on location in Palm Springs, including several scenes at what is now the Riviera Palm Springs.

Trailer: youtube.com

Where to watch: Amazon Prime, iTunes

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3 Women (1977)

Maverick director Robert Altman’s surreal drama, reportedly based on a dream he had, depicts the trippy relationship between a senior care center therapist (Shelley Duvall) and an enigmatic young woman (Sissy Spacek) who becomes her roommate. It’s a film that demands repeated viewings. Altman shot much of the movie in Desert Hot Springs and Palm Springs. Click HERE for some then-and-now photos of the filming locations.

Trailer: youtube.com

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

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American Gigolo (1980)

This slick, erotic thriller set impossibly handsome, Armani-clad Richard Gere on his path to superstardom. He plays a high-end prostitute for ladies of a certain age and one of his assignations brings him to Palm Springs and shows him driving on Interstate 10. The film is filled with glamorous vintages names such as Lauren Hutton, Nina van Pallandt, and Carole Cook, and is also notable for introducing Blondie’s chart-topping theme song “Call Me.”

Trailer: youtube.com

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

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Alpha Dog (2006)

This gritty fact-based crime-drama about a drug dealer who holes up in the desert with his kidnapping victim features an all-star cast that included Emile Hirsch, Justin Timberlake, Ben Foster, Bruce Willis, and Sharon Stone. Much of the movie was filmed at the Koerner House in Palm Springs’ Deepwell Estates neighborhood.

Trailer: youtube.com

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

Joshua Tree, 1951: A Portrait of James Dean (2012)

Conventional biopics of iconic movie star James Dean are a dime a dozen, but director Matthew Mishory delivers a unique, poetic look of the early adult years of the legend (including a period of time spent in the national park of the title), complete with luscious black-and-white cinematography and which offers an unflinching look at Dean’s complicated sex life.

Trailer: youtube.com

Where to watch: iTunes

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Behind the Candelabra (2013)

While probably more synonymous with Las Vegas, Liberace is very identifiable with Palm Springs, having lived here for many years before his 1987 death. Michael Douglas and Matt Damon deliver fantastic performances as the beloved entertainer and his decades-younger lover Scott Thorson, respectively. After many years in development, this acclaimed HBO movie eventually landed Debbie Reynolds as Liberace’s devoted mother and was filmed at various locales in Palm Springs, including his N. Via Monte Vista mansion.

Trailer: youtube.com

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

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Ingrid Goes West (2017)

Aubrey Plaza stars in this anxiety-inducing black comedy as an increasingly unstable young woman who becomes obsessed with a popular influencer (Elizabeth Olsen) and eventually follows her to the desert where all hell breaks loose. Local locales include Joshua Tree and Pappy & Harriet’s in Pioneertown.

Trailer: youtube.com

Where to watch: Amazon Prime, Hulu

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A Star Is Born (2018)

Lady Gaga became an Academy Award-winning movie star (besides her best actress nod, she nabbed the best original song award) when she headlined the third remake of this venerable tale of an explosive young performer on her way up, while her alcoholic superstar husband (Bradley Cooper, who also made an impressive directing debut here) is on the descent. If you miss live music, you’ll enjoy concert scenes filmed at the Coachella and Stagecoach Music Festivals, as well as the Palm Springs Convention Center.

Trailer: youtube.com

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

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