Jess Swanson, Senior Editor
Jess Swanson, Senior Editor
May 2020

"Breaking Bad," the award-winning TV series about a high school chemistry teacher leading a double life as a meth lab kingpin, was filmed in Albuquerque. Its spinoff, "Better Call Saul," is being filmed here too. The series might’ve alerted the public to Albuquerque's little-known legacy as a film destination. With its 310 days of annual sunshine and unique high desert landscape, Albuquerque regularly ranks as one of the best cities in the country to shoot films in. Here, we list five movies you might not have known were filmed in Albuquerque.

"The Avengers"

You might recall the scene where Bruce Banner wakes up in a pile of rubble after he crashes through a warehouse roof as The Hulk. That scene actually took place at the Albuquerque Rail Yards, an abandoned and expansive industrial hub that was built in the 1900s. You might also recognize the location in "Terminator Salvation" and "Transformers."

"Hell or High Water"

Though set in West Texas during a financial recession, "Hell or High Water" was actually filmed entirely in New Mexico. If you look closely, you might recognize Albuquerque’s New Mexico Bank & Trust as the Texas Rangers headquarters, and the Route 66 Casino Hotel as the Oklahoma casino where Toby and Tanner go to launder their stolen cash.

"Whiskey Tango Foxtrot"

The Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque doubles as Kabul, Afghanistan, in this 2016 biographical war-comedy. For the film, actors Tina Fey, Christopher Abbott, and Nicholas Braun flew in two UH-1 Huey helicopters for a key scene. Several other scenes were filmed in Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

"The Lone Ranger"

Starring Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp, Disney's "The Lone Ranger" features 16 different New Mexico locations. Situated about 60 miles south of downtown Albuquerque, Rio Puerco was transformed into the towns of Colby and Promontory Summit. In the Navajo Nation, Monument Valley and Canyon de Chelly were also crucial filming locations.

"The Goldfinch"

Released last fall and based on the book of the same name, "The Goldfinch" is a coming-of-age drama set in various locations around the world. After his mother’s death, Theo ends up living with his father on the outskirts of Las Vegas. However, those scenes were actually filmed in the outer reaches of Albuquerque and were made to look as bleak as possible.

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