Durango Movie Industry

Durango Cinema Movies

Durango is known by most Mexicans and internationally for two reasons: one being that it is “the land of the scorpions” due to the many species of scorpions in the state, especially in the colonial areas, and second as “the land of cinema.” Over 140 film productions have taken place in Durango, both domestic and foreign, and subsequently, during the decades of the 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s, had earned that title. Durango has become one of the favorite places of film directors and producers due to its striking views and scenic attractiveness.

Film arrived in a train heading to Durango in 1889; when the Mexican Revolution began in 1910, film producer Raoul Walsh recorded the battles of General Francisco Villa. These scenes were included in the film The Life of General Villa produced by D. W. Griffith, and directed by Christy Cabanne in 1914. The notoriety of these movies allowed Hollywood to discover Durango in the middle of the 20th century.

The movie industry officially entered the state in 1954 when American film art director Jack Smith flew over Durango and was instantly in awe of the landscape.

The White Feather Movie 1955

Consequently, the first movie filmed in Durango was White Feather, directed by Robert D. Webb.

john wayne durango

As visitors will discover when visiting Durango, it also had close ties with John Wayne. The close friendship between Durango and John Wayne the American actor and icon of Western movies, started in 1965, and resulted in the making of the movies;

The War Wagon 1967 John Wayne Durango

The War Wagon

The sons of Katie elder movie durango

The Sons of Katie Elder

Chisum John Wayne Durango


among numerous others without the presence of Wayne. Due to the amount of time that John Wayne was filming in Durango, that he bought a ranch in the state which he visited and stayed at frequently throughout his life.

Durango’s cinematic past remains an important part of the city’s history, with more than 100 movies filmed there. The first production shot in Durango “White Feather,” released in 1955 and starring Robert Wagner; later films included Western classics such as “The Magnificent Seven,” “The Wild Bunch” and “True Grit.” At Chupaderos, you can still visit the movie sets, and the Museo del Cine in Durango provides further exhibits featuring the old sets, as well as cameras and other film-making equipment used in the 50´s along with some outtakes and other curiosities of the era.

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