If you can’t travel to Washington State right now, get your fix of culture, stories, and landscapes with these 82 movies set in Washington State.
With its recognizable skylines and colorful neighborhoods, filmmakers love using Washington State as their backdrop. It is a picturesque destination sure to inspire some wanderlust for travelers.
This list represents films set in Washington State, not necessarily filmed here. We all know that a good set designer can turn a studio backlot into almost anywhere. I’ve included films that are memorable, historical, romantic, and suspenseful. And yes, even a few that might be better off forgotten.
If you’re planning a trip to Washington State, this list of movies will help you plan your itinerary in a better way.
Note: This list is in alphabetical order and will be regularly updated.
1. 10 Things I Hate About You (1999) – A new student falls for a popular teenage girl. Since the girl cannot go out on a date before her older sister does, she hatches a plan to someone to date her sister. Setting: Seattle.
2. 50/50 (2011) – A black comedy-drama centered on a man with a malignant tumor and a 50/50 chance of survival. Setting: Seattle.
3. 88 Minutes (2007) – A forensic expert, whose testimony helped convict numerous criminals, receives a message informing that he has only 88 minutes to live. Setting: Seattle.
4. Agent Cody Banks (2003) – A high-school student is a part of a secret CIA program and struggles to balance homework and spying on a classmate’s father. Setting: Seattle.
5. A Guy Thing (2003) – A comedy-drama wherein a soon-to-be-married guy wakes up with another woman after his bachelor party and assumes that he cheated on his fiancée. Setting: Seattle.
6. Air Bud (1997) – A mishandled circus dog escapes and joins a school basketball team, helping the team manager cope with his life’s problems along the way. Setting: Mt. St.Helens and Vancouver (Washington).
7. American Heart (1992) – A recently released convict rents an apartment and tries to get a job and re-build a relationship with his estranged teenage son. Setting: Seattle.
8. American Psycho II: All American Girl (2002) – A black comedy-drama. A criminology student kills her classmates to land a job as a professor’s assistant, hoping to move into an FBI career. Setting: Bellingham.
9. An Officer and a Gentleman (1982) – A new Navy Officer candidate struggles under a sergeant’s authoritarian leadership while building a relationship with a new girlfriend. Setting: Port Townsend and Fort Worden.
10. Antichrist (2009) – A grieving couple retreats to a cabin in the woods to heal. Nature has other plans, however, and the relationship goes from bad to worse. Setting: Seattle.
11. Bad Moon (1996) – A horror story told from a dog’s viewpoint. A man attacked by a werewolf moves closer to his sister, her son, and their pet dog. Setting: Seattle.
12. Black Widow (1987) – A gold-digging woman, coincidentally also a serial killer, moves from husband to husband until confronted by an undercover federal agent. Setting: Seattle.
13. Blue Caprice (2013) – Based on a real-life incident, the story is based on a man who trains an abandoned teenager and turns him into a deadly sniper, after which the duo begins a killing spree across America. Setting: Tacoma
14. Captain Fantastic (2016) – An award-winning comedy-drama starring a man who raises his six kids in the wild by teaching them to coexist with nature. Setting: Whatcom and Skagit County.
15. Charlie, the Lonesome Cougar (1967) – An adventurous story of an orphan cougar that is returned to its natural habitat after being adopted by a forester and being raised in a lumber camp. Setting: Underwood, Skamania County.
16. Crimson Tide (1995) – A submarine film based on the clashes between an executive officer of a submarine and a commanding officer due to mixed interpretations of an order to release their missiles. Setting: Bangor.
17. Dante’s Peak (1997) – A thriller drama where a volcanologist discovers that a long-dormant volcano is about to erupt and how he fights to survive the disaster by rescuing his family. Setting: Mt St Helens and Mount Adams.
18. Death Note (2017) – A high school student discovers a supernatural notebook with deadly powers to kill anyone whose name is inscribed in its pages. Setting: Seattle
19. Disclosure (1994) – An erotic thriller based on a novel by Michael Crichton. A technologist is sued for sexual harassment by his former girlfriend turned boss, eventually threatening his career. Setting: Seattle
20. Distant Thunder (1988) – An ex-Vietnam war veteran returns home from war, alienates his wife and son, and moves away to Washington’s remote jungles, only to return after ten years to reconcile with his family. Setting: remote wilderness areas within Washington State.
21. Disturbing Behaviour (1998) – A newcomer to the town realizes something odd about his classmates who are way too perfect and looks for truth with a fellow girl. Setting: Puget Sound area.
22. Double Jeopardy (1999) – A crime thriller drama where a woman mistakenly imprisoned for the murder of her husband, escapes and traces the ones who had framed her. Setting: Whidbey Island.
23. Eyes in the Dark (2010) – A horror drama where seven college students spend a weekend in a ski lodge in Cascade mountains and discover strange occurrences. Setting: Cascade mountain foothills
24. Extreme Days (2001) – Four friends, sharing a love for extreme sports, embark on a road-trip adventure, but are stopped due to many untoward circumstances. Setting: Yakima and Seattle
25. Farewell to Harry (2002) – A drama film about an aspiring young writer who returns to his hometown helps a hat factory owner revitalize his business. Setting: Bainbridge Island and Puget Sound.
26. Firewall (2006) – An action-thriller where a set of criminals forces a bank security personnel to rob a bank that he is protecting, in a bid to save his family. Setting: Seattle
27. First Blood (1982) – A novel adopted the action-adventure story of a Vietnam veteran who wanders into a small town in Washington and has to rely on his combat skills to fight against abusive law enforcement. Setting: Fictional town of Hope, Washington State.
28. Five Easy Pieces (1970) – An upper-class American dropout who now works in an oil rig learns that his father is dying and, in an attempt, to reunite with his family, travels to his family home along with his girlfriend. Setting: Puget Sound.
29. Free Willy (1993) – A kid’s drama where an orphan boy befriends an orca whale named Willy who got separated from his parents by a group of whalers. Setting: San Juan Island.
30. Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home (1995) – A teenager reunites with Willy after two years and saves the orca from oil spillage and greedy businessmen. Setting: San Juan Island.
31. Get Carter (2000) – A Vegas mobster returns home after his brother’s death in a car accident and suspects it to be a murder. He investigates the case and avenges the crime. Setting: Seattle.
32. Green River Killer (2005) – Based on a true story of a serial murderer, the film portrays how he kills prostitutes and dumps their bodies into the Green River. Setting: Green River area around Seattle and Tacoma.
33. Harry and the Hendersons (1987) – A fantasy comedy-drama about a family who runs into a Bigfoot, adopt it, and keep it secret to protect it from authorities. Setting: Seattle.
34. House of Games (1987) – A famous psychologist tries to help her patient get out of a gambling debt and is drawn into a world of scams and con-men. Setting: Seattle.
35. It Happened at the World’s Fair (1963) – A crop duster loses his plane due to his partner’s gambling debts. The pair hitch a ride to the Seattle World’s Fair where one of them helps a little girl and courts a young nurse. Setting: Seattle.
36. Kurt & Courtney (1998) – A British documentary film where the director interviews people to investigate Kurt Cobain’s death, the lead singer and guitarist of the band Nirvana. Setting: Seattle.
37. Life or Something Like It (2002) – A rom-com drama where a psychic tells a television reporter, who lives a superficial life, will die. This sparks her to re-examine her life and priorities. Setting: Seattle.
38. Love Happens (2009) – A widower who wrote a best-selling book on coping with loss falls in love with a hotel florist, only to realize that he has never come to terms with his wife’s death. Setting: Seattle.
39. Ma and Pa Kettle (10 films released in the 1940s and 1950s) – A comedy-drama depicting a couple (Ma and Pa Kettle) winning an urban home in a slogan contest, right when they are on the verge of being evicted from their house. The story is about the troubles they face and how they overcome the difficulties. Setting: Cape Flattery, Clallam County.
40. Mad Love (1995) – A college boy springs his eccentric girlfriend out of a mental institution and heads on a road trip only to discover that she has bipolar disorder. Setting: Seattle.
41. McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971) – McCabe, a professional gambler, sets out in a small mining town to open a brothel. As this western drama moves further, he meets a crafty prostitute and uses her experience to run his business. Setting: throughout the Pacific Northwest.
42. McQ (1974) – A crime drama where a police officer who is caught up in a corrupt police force investigates his murdered partner’s killing. Setting: Seattle.
43. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol – A dismissed IMF agent tries to clear his agency’s name and undertakes an impossible mission to prevent another attack. Setting: Seattle.
44. No Retreat, No Surrender (1986) – A karate student defends himself and his family against Soviet martial art thugs in this action-adventure film. Setting: Seattle.
45. North to Alaska (1960) – A man sends his partner to Seattle to bring his fiancée to Alaska after he strikes gold in the Yukon. Instead, the partner brings back a prostitute. Setting: Seattle.
46. Overboard (2018) – A romantic comedy remake of a film of the same name, Overboard tells the story of a struggling, working-class single mother of three who convinces a confused amnesiac that they are married. Setting: vague locations in Washington State.
47. Recoil (2011) – Action film about a cop who turns into a vigilante to seek vengeance on the people responsible for killing his family. Setting: Tacoma.
48. Red Dawn (2012) – Action-adventure drama about a band of freedom fighters formed by an Iraq war veteran and a group of teens. The band launches a guerrilla attack against North Korean invaders. Setting: Spokane.
49. Replicant (2001) – A sci-fi action thriller about scientists creating a genetic clone of a serial killer to help them catch the real killer. Setting: Seattle.
50. Safety Not Guaranteed (2012) – A sci-fi romantic comedy based on three magazine employees who are on an assignment to interview an author of a classified ad seeking someone to travel back in time with. Setting: Seattle.
51. Saving Silverman (2001) – A dark comedy film that traces the misadventures of two friends who suspect that their best friend is being badgered into marriage by a domineering and spiteful psychologist. Setting: Seattle.
52. Say Anything (1989) – A romantic tale of an underachiever falling in love with an unattainable beautiful valedictorian whose father disapproves of their relationship. Setting: Seattle.
53. Singles (1992) – A rom-com based on the lives of a group of twenty-something friends who live in the same apartment complex and their search for love and success in grunge-era Seattle. Setting: Seattle.
54. Sleepless in Seattle (1993) – An acclaimed romantic comedy-drama featuring a widowed man’s son calling a talk radio show to find a new wife for his father. Setting: Seattle.
55. Snow Falling on Cedars (1999) – A legal drama about a Japanese-American fisherman accused of killing his neighbour at sea. An investigation is launched, and the trial begins. Setting: throughout the Puget Sound area.
56. Stakeout (1987) – Two detectives are put on around-the-clock surveillance of an escaped convict’s ex-girlfriend which turns into a romance. Setting: Seattle.
57. Streetwise (1984) – A documentary where the director takes a harrowing look at the lives of nine desperate runaway teenagers who survive on the streets. An often painful look at love and life, and found families. Setting: Downtown Seattle.
58. Surviving the Game (1994) – Wealthy businessmen hire a homeless man as a guide for a hunting trip to the forest. The guide soon realizes that his employers are actually killers who hunt humans for sport. Setting: Seattle and Wenatchee.
59. The Changeling (1980) – A supernatural horror movie where a music professor moves into a big mansion after his wife’s and daughter’s death. He soon discovers that he is not alone in the house. Setting: Seattle.
60. The Egg and I (1947) – A movie adaptation from the book of the same name, The Egg and I is a romantic comedy about a young married couple who move to the countryside to live on an abandoned chicken farm. The movie follows their struggle to adapt to their new rural lifestyle. Setting: Chimacum, Jefferson County.
61. The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989) – Two pianist brothers take on a female singer to infuse new life to their career, eventually making their relationship complex and threatening the trio’s stability. Setting: Seattle.
62. The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (1992) – A husband kills himself while his pregnant widow loses her child. Driven with rage, she sets off to seek vengeance from the woman who’s responsible for ruining her life. Setting: Seattle.
63. The Last Mimzy (2007) – Two siblings find a mysterious box of toys. After playing with them, they start to develop special talents and are drawn into a future world. Setting: Seattle.
64. The One and Only Ivan (2020) – A gorilla tries to escape from captivity with an elephant’s help and tries to piece together its past. Setting: Tacoma.
65. The Parallax View (1974) – After a U.S. senator is assassinated, a determined reporter suspects the role of a multinational corporation is behind the mysterious deaths of all reporters who were present during the assassination. Setting: Seattle.
66. The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper (1981) – A crime thriller based on a real incident where an aircraft hijacker escapes with a huge ransom after parachuting from the back of a plane. Setting: Mount Saint Helens and Ariel.
67. The Ring (2002) – Based on a novel of the same name, The Ring is a horror story about a journalist who investigates a videotape that kills each of its viewers within seven days. Setting: Seattle.
68. The Vanishing (1993) – A remake of a French-Dutch film of the same name, The Vanishing is a psychological thriller with an abducted woman’s boyfriend who goes out of his way to search for the abductor. Setting: Seattle.
69. This Boy’s Life (1993) – A movie adaptation from a book of the same name, This Boy’s Life is a story of a small boy whose stepfather is so abusive that he is forced to plan an escape. Setting: Seattle.
70. Twice in a Lifetime (1985) – A married steelworker, living an unhappy life, becomes attracted to another woman at a bar when he turns 50. Setting: Snohomish and Seattle.
71. Twilight (2008) – Bella, a high-school student, moves to a small town in the Pacific Northwest and falls in love with Edward, a 108-year-old vampire. Setting: Forks.
72. The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009) – When an attack claims Bella’s life, Edward ends the relationship and leaves. Meanwhile, Bella finds comfort by falling into yet another relationship with her friend Jacob, a shape-shifter. Setting: Forks and La Push.
73. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010) – A string of mysterious killings terrorizes Seattle and Bella is forced to choose between vampire Edward and werewolf Jacob. Setting: Seattle and La Push.
74. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (2011) – Bella and Edward get married and realize that they are pregnant. Her pregnancy sets the wolf gang against the couple, while Jacob vows to protect Bella and her baby. Setting: Forks.
75. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 (2012) – The powerful clan of vampires declares Bella’s daughter to be an abomination and sentences the vampire family to death. Setting: Forks.
76. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992) – An FBI agent disappears while investigating the death of a teen girl, and the killer is never caught. Meanwhile, a beautiful lady meets a grisly fate in another town. Setting: Deer Meadows, Lincoln County.
77. Vision Quest (1985) – A high school wrestler who decides to lose weight and join the state championship of a lower weight class, falls for an aspiring actress who distracts him from his goal. Setting: Spokane.
78. Walking Tall (2004) – An action-thriller where an ex-U.S. Army sergeant returns home to find his business overrun by crime and corruption and takes matters into his own hands. Setting: Kitsap County.
79. War Games (1983) – A sci-fi thriller where a young hacker finds a backdoor into a U.S. military supercomputer and predicts an upcoming nuclear war. Setting: Seattle, Steilacoom.
80. We Don’t Live Here Anymore (2004) – In an unhappy marriage, a man steps out to become involved with his best friend’s wife, only to compromise marriage and friendship. Setting: throughout Washington State.
81. Where’d You Go Bernadette (2019) – A comedy-drama based on a novel of the same name. The story follows an ex-architect loving mom and wife, who, after sacrificing years for her family, reconnects with her passion and takes an adventurous journey to jump-start her life. Setting: Seattle.
82. Without a Paddle (2004) – Three friends go on a camping trip to honor one of their dead friends’ memory, only to find themselves looking for a treasure that an airline hijacker left behind. Setting: Ariel, Cowlitz County.
If any of your favorite movie set in Washington State did not make the list, email me. I’ll review your suggestion and include it in the list.
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