List of appearances of Monument Valley in the media

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Monument Valley, located on the Navajo Nation within Arizona and Utah, has been featured in many forms of media since the 1930s. It is perhaps most famous for its use in many John Ford films, including Stagecoach (1939) and The Searchers (1956). It has also been featured in the film Easy Rider (1969), Robert Zemeckis' film Forrest Gump, Clint Eastwood's film The Eiger Sanction (1975), and recently the popular United Kingdom television show Doctor Who in the two episodes "The Impossible Astronaut" and "Day of the Moon".

The twin buttes of Monument Valley ("the Mittens"), the "Totem Pole", and the Ear of the Wind arch, among other features, have developed iconic status. They have appeared in many television programs, commercials, and Hollywood movies, especially Westerns.[citation needed]

Monument Valley Panorama, taken from the Visitor Center and showing the "Mittens" and the road which makes a loop-tour through the Park






John Ford's Point in Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park.
  • Director John Ford's 1939 film Stagecoach, starring John Wayne, has had an enduring influence in making the Valley famous. After that first experience, Ford returned nine times to shoot Westerns — even when the films were not set in Arizona or Utah (see The Searchers, set in Texas, but filmed here). A popular lookout point is named in his honor as "John Ford's Point". It was used by Ford in a scene from The Searchers where an American Indian village is attacked.
  • The Stanley Kubrick film 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) features footage of Monument Valley. This footage is used as the surface of an alien planet to which protagonist Dave Bowman travels through a stargate.
  • Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), although shot for the most part in Spain and Italy, features two scenes shot on location in Monument Valley.
  • 1969's counter-culture classic Easy Rider includes some footage of Monument Valley towards its beginning.
  • Electra Glide in Blue (1973), starring Robert Blake as a motorcycle cop in Arizona, was filmed in Monument Valley.
  • Clint Eastwood's movie The Eiger Sanction (1975) was partly filmed in Monument Valley and both Clint Eastwood and George Kennedy were filmed on top of the Totem Pole, which has been off-limits to climbers since the movie was filmed here.
  • Godfrey Reggio's documentary Koyaanisqatsi (1982) features footage of Monument Valley.
  • The Fabrizio De Angelis action film Thunder Warrior (1983) was shot entirely in Monument Valley and in nearby Page, Arizona.
  • Harold Ramis' film National Lampoon's Vacation (1983) features footage of Monument Valley.
  • Ron Fricke's IMAX film Chronos (1985) features several scenes of the Monument Valley landscape.
  • In Back to the Future Part III (1990), Marty McFly drives from 1955 to 1885 from a drive-in theatre set at the Valley's base.
  • Ridley Scott's 1991 film Thelma & Louise features some shots of Monument Valley, as well as Canyonlands National Park, in its latter half.≈
  • In Forrest Gump (1994), Forrest ends his cross-country run here. He is running north on U.S. Route 163 before he stops running.
  • Paramount Pictures 1994 film Pontiac Moon featured this location as part of the roadtrip.
  • The opening shots of Mission: Impossible II (2000) feature Tom Cruise climbing in Monument Valley.
  • The Return of Navajo Boy (2000), a documentary about uranium contamination of Navajo lands, was shot largely in Monument Valley where its central characters live. Additionally, the film deconstructs historical media depictions of Navajos and the land where they live (including Monument Valley).
  • The opening scene of Vertical Limit (2000) features several rock climbers in Monument Valley.
  • Takkari Donga Opening song, Telugu Film, 2002
  • In Windtalkers (2002), the opening and closing scenes are filmed in Monument Valley.
  • During the 'Sorter shoot-out' scene in Guy Ritchie's 2005 film, Revolver, there is a picture of Monument Valley on the wall behind where Dorothy Macha's henchmen have parked their cars outside the house of Jake Green's elder brother.
  • In Cars (2006), a spoof of Monument Valley called "Ornament Valley" is shown as a once-popular side trip for cars entering Radiator Springs from U.S. Route 66. In keeping with the automotive theme of the film, the peaks are shaped like the hood ornaments of cars. A map shown in a flashback places Radiator Springs in a Peach Springs, Arizona-like position with respect to US66/I-40, but depicts the valley as local instead of 175 miles further north at the edge of the state.
  • Alex Cox's film Searchers 2.0 (2007) is about a road trip to Monument Valley. The final scenes feature a rare depiction of the area covered in snow.
  • Location sequences for the documentary Reel Injun (2009), on the history of Native Americans in the movies.
  • The Lone Ranger (2013) filmed numerous scenes in Monument Valley.
  • In The Lego Movie (2014) it is depicted in the early part of the movie
  • A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014) was partially shot on location in Monument Valley.
  • In Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014) the scene in which the surviving Autobots reunite was shot in Monument Valley.
  • The Monument Valley will be featured in the Disney attraction, Soarin’ Around the World.


  • The implied association with John Wayne's tough, macho character made the buttes a natural choice as the background for the Marlboro Man in the marketing of Marlboro-brand cigarettes from the 1950s.[citation needed]


  • The rugged desert scenery for the Coyote and Road Runner (1949-) cartoons takes much of its inspiration from Monument Valley.
  • In the 1980s American action/espionage television series Airwolf, a hollowed butte is portrayed as the secret hiding place ("The Lair") of the eponymous high-tech military helicopter. Monument Valley is renamed the "Valley of the Gods" in this series. The actual Valley of the Gods is a few miles north in Utah. The shots of The Lair were actually a mix of matte paintings and shots from three locations within close proximity of each other.
  • The MacGyver episode "Eagles" (Season 2, Episode 8) has shots in the Valley. MacGyver is gathering eggs from an eagle's nest on top of a butte.
  • The Dutch clown Bassie, of the duo Bassie en Adriaan, performed a rain dance in front of The Three Sisters in their Dutch television series.
  • In the made-for-TV movie 10.5: Apocalypse, Monument Valley is flooded from seismic activity.
  • The 2011 Doctor Who episodes "The Impossible Astronaut" and "Day of the Moon" contain sequences shot in Monument Valley (although not in the exact location given in the episode). This was the first time Doctor Who has filmed principal photography on location in America. Past episodes that take place in America were never shot in the USA, including the 1996 TV film which takes place in San Francisco but was shot in Vancouver.
  • In a 2014 Adult Swim bump Monument Valley was shown with lights going through the trails.



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