Picking South Dakota’s Most Iconic Movie
Over the years, South Dakota has had a few iconic moments on film.
Who can forget the dramatic finale of Alfred Hitchcock’s North By Northwest in 1959?
The area in and around Mount Rushmore was used as the backdrop for those final scenes, although most of the filming took place at the MGM Studios in Hollywood, not in the Black Hills.
In 1990, Dances With Wolves took viewers on a journey through the Dakota Territory, two decades before South Dakota became the 40th state in the union. Unlike North By Northwest, the majority of Dances With Wolves was filmed in South Dakota.
But when Entertainment Weekly was selecting the most iconic South Dakota film as part of its list of ‘The United States of Movies — 51 Iconic Films’, it went with a film that was shot in Colorado.
The 1973 film Badlands is their choice.
The film is loosely based on the true story of Charles Starkweather and his girlfriend Caril Ann Fugate, who killed 11 people in Nebraska and Wyoming in late 1957 and early 1958. The 1994 film Natural Born Killers was also inspired by Starkweather and Fugate’s story.
Badlands begins in the fictional town of Fort Dupree, South Dakota, not to be confused with the actual town of Dupree, which sits in the North Central part of the state.
The movie stars Martin Sheen (Kit) and Sissy Spacek (Holly), and even features uncredited appearances by Sheen’s sons Charlie (age 8) and Emilio Estevez (age 11).
The location shoots for the film took place in Trinidad and Las Animas, Colorado.
In 1993, Badlands was selected for preservation by the Library of Congress for being ‘culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant’.