U Turn (1997)

The 1997 Oliver Stone film “U Turn” is set in the small town of Superior, Arizona and that’s exactly where production mostly took place as well.  In the film, Superior is depicted as a strange, sometimes hostile town.  In reality, the town is quite welcoming to tourists, offering a variety of shops and antique stores.  “U Turn” is not the only production to film scenes in Superior.  “The Prophecy” and “Eight Legged Freaks” have as well.

Early in the film, Bobby, played by Sean Penn, is driving a desert road when his car breaks down.  He takes his car to Harlin’s Garage, where he meets Darrell, played by Billy Bob Thorton.  These scenes were filmed on E Magma Heights Dr, however the house and garage seen in the film are long gone.  In fact, a copper company now owns the land and it is completely inaccessible to the public.

When Bobby first reached the Main St of Superior, he looks over and sees the sheriff’s station, quickly turning the other direction.  The building seen in the film is the Superior Kearny Justice Court.

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LOCATION: 60 Main St, Superior, AZ 85173

Bobby encounters blind man, played by Jon Voight, at the train station.  Bobby tries to pet the man’s dog, only to be told it’s dead.

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LOCATION: 100 Main St, Superior, AZ 85173

Bobby first sees Grace, played by Jennifer Lopez, walking by the building.

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Later in the film, Bobby purchases a bus ticket at the same building.

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Grace takes Bobby to her home, where she lives with Jake McKenna, played by Nick Nolte.  Jake’s house is known as the Castle On The Rock.  The house is located on N Picket Post Rd, Superior, AZ 85173.  There are tours of the building on occasion, but most of the time the property and even the road are completely closed to the public.

Jake drops Bobby off back in town at this grocery store, where Bobby immediately finds himself in a robbery.

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LOCATION: 50 N Pinal Ave, Superior, AZ 85173

Bobby uses a payphone to try to get money at the corner of this building.

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LOCATION: 222 Main St, Superior, AZ 85173

Bobby calls the gangsters he owes money at the corner of this building.

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LOCATION: 160 Main St, Superior, AZ 85173

Bobby visits this diner, where he is approached by Jenny, played by Claire Danes.  Misreading the situation, Toby N. Tucker (“T.N.T.”), played by Joaquin Phoenix, has a confrontation with Bobby.

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LOCATION: 149 Main St, Superior, AZ 85173

This building served as the realty office of Jake McKenna.

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LOCATION: 271 Main St, Superior, AZ 85173

Bobby encounters the old, blind man once again in front of this building.  Later in the film, this is also where he fights T.N.T.

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LOCATION: 71 Main St, Superior, AZ 85173

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Bobby passes Jenny’s house and the two walk past this church talking.

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LOCATION: 94 N San Pedro St, Superior, AZ 85173

If you do make it to Superior, Arizona, most of these locations are quite a short distance from one another.  Most of them, you can walk on foot from one location to the next.

Related articles: Natural Born Killers (1994)

Natural Born Killers (1994)

Oliver Stone’s 1994 film “Natural Born Killers” was filmed in quite a few different locations, including Arizona, New Mexico, Illinois and Indiana, as the story depicts two killers on a cross-country mass murder spree.

In the opening scenes of the film, Micky and Mallory, played by Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis respectively, visit a restaurant on a desert road known as the “5 To 2 Cafe.”  After some unwanted advances and rude remarks from some locals, things quickly turn violent.

The building still stands all these years later, although it is long since boarded up and closed down.  The former diner can be found on AZ-99, along an isolated stretch on the outskirts of Winslow, Arizona.  To visit in person, it feels quite remote.  However, in reality, it’s only a few miles from Interstate 40, between the highway and the town of Leupp.  The exact location of the building is 35°06’54.8″N, 110°52’20.3″W.

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LOCATION: AZ-99, Winslow, AZ 86047 (between Interstate 40 and Indian Rte 15, Leupp) (GPS coordinates: 35°06’54.8″N, 110°52’20.3″W)

The property is fenced off from the sides and there is a residence next door, so be careful not to trespass or disturb the tenants.

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These distinct circular windows can still be seen on the sides of the building.  The windows are seen in the film behind Juliette Lewis, as she dances in front of the jukebox.

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The overheating truck pulls up in front.

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For those wondering, the “5 To 2 Cafe” sign out front near the road is long since gone.

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Later in the film, Micky and Mallory are finally captured at the “Drug Zone” after being bitten by rattlesnakes and in need of medicine.  The building is currently a crafts store and can be found in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Aside from the sign and some changes to the front entrance, the building otherwise still resembles how it appeared in the film.

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LOCATION: 9350 Eagle Ranch Rd NW, Albuquerque, NM 87114

A standoff between Micky and the cops ensues out front and after surrendering, Micky is then beaten by the police, as they try to prevent a film crew from capturing it.

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Here’s a look from inside the store, in the general area where Micky exits and surrenders.

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Related articles: U Turn (1997)