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Lots of movies have been filmed in Colorado over the years, from Woody Allen’s Sleeper (1973) to Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight (2015). But often, the state serves as a scenic backdrop or the setting for one blink-or-you’ll-miss-it scene. Here are seven true Colorado films—features and documentaries that go in depth on the state, its history, and its culture. All are available for streaming now.
Aspen Extreme: An ’80s-flavored underdog sports tale that later served as one of Trey Parker’s inspirations for the classic South Park episode “Asspen,” 1993’s Aspen Extreme concerns two buds who quit their day jobs in Detroit and moved to Aspen to become ski instructors. Described by one critic as “Top Gun on the ski slopes,” the movie was filmed on location in Aspen and includes footage of the 1992 Aspen Skiing World Cup. Stream it on Amazon Prime Video, Google Play Video, or Vudu.
Crafting A Nation: CU Denver alumnus Thomas Kolicko directed this 2014 documentary about the craft beer movement, framing his story around the opening of Black Shirt Brewing Co. in RiNo. The film also includes footage from Colorado breweries Upslope, Oskar Blues, and New Belgium, as well as interviews with the owners of Boston Beer Company, Schlafly Beer in St. Louis, and others. Stream it on IMDd TV.
Scrapple: The next best thing to hanging out with a bunch of locals in a mellowed-out Colorado ski town is this clever 1998 indie about ski-bum drug dealers set in the fictional Ajax, Colorado in 1978. Filmed in and around Telluride, it features a community pig chase, lots of sun-kissed mountain scenery, and music by blues great Taj Mahal. Stream it on Amazon Prime Video.
Snowball Express: Disney made a large number of broad family comedies in the 1960s and ’70s, including this 1972 classic. Dean Jones stars as a New York businessman who inherits a ski resort in the Rocky Mountains and tries, with his family, to adjust to life on the slopes. Filmed in Crested Butte, the movie is worth a watch for the four-minute downhill wipeout scene alone. Stream it on Disney+, Vudu, Google Play Video, or Amazon Prime Video.
Silver City: Starring Chris Cooper and Richard Dreyfuss, John Sayles’ 2004 political satire was filmed entirely in Colorado. In addition to footage captured in Idaho Springs, Sedalia, and Leadville, it features scenes shot at the Oxford Hotel, Union Station, the Denver City and County Building, and a dive bar on Larimer Street. Released in the Bush vs. Kerry election year of 2004, the movie tells the story of hapless Colorado gubernatorial candidate Dicky Pilager (Cooper), his vicious campaign manager (Dreyfuss), and the web of influence and corruption behind their campaign. Stream it on Amazon Prime Video or HBO.
Tread: Colorado history has its dark side as well, and this 2020 documentary tells one of those stories. In 2004, welder and automobile muffler repair shop owner Marvin Heemeyer—fueled by an ongoing feud with town officials—went on a rampage through Granby in an armor-plated bulldozer he’d tricked out for the occasion. News footage, interviews with locals, and lots of excerpts from an audio recording Heemeyer made two months before the rampage add intrigue and color to a revenge tale with a tragic ending. Stream it on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play Video, or Vudu.
40 Years in the Making: The Magic Music Movie: Lee Aronsohn, a writer and producer on The Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men and other Hollywood shows, went to the University of Colorado Boulder in the 1970s, when a band called Magic Music seemed like it was about to become the next big thing. Several years ago, Aronsohn decided to find out whatever happened to the group and its members, and the documentary he made about the process is a love letter to Boulder, its people, and its music scene. Stream it on Amazon Prime Video or Google Play Video.