Visit the Santa Ynez Valley knows that our six towns of Ballard, Buellton, Los Alamos, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez and Solvang feature some of the most beautiful and iconic scenery in California. We believe that what draws so many visitors and tourists here for Santa Ynez vacations is our abundance of Santa Ynez Valley restaurants, the allure of Santa Ynez wine country, and the many things to do in Santa Ynez Valley. It appears that Hollywood has taken notice of our little piece of heaven, too. Our lush scenery and quaint towns have attracted some major filmmakers to our area.
Here are just a few of the many movies filmed in the Santa Ynez Valley:
- Sideways: This 2004 film starring Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church is about two men who have reached middle age with not much to show for it but disappointment. Just as one is about to take a trip down the aisle, they decide to take a week-long road trip through California’s wine country. We can think of no better place for a trip of redemption and renewal than visiting some of the best wineries in Santa Ynez Valley. Filming locations included Hitching Post II and Sanford Winery in Buellton, Solvang Restaurant in Solvang, Kalyra Winery in Santa Ynez, as well as Los Olivos Wine Merchant & Cafe and Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard in Los Olivos.
- Grindhouse: Death Proof: This incredibly visionary homage to the exploitation double features of the 1960s and 70s features two back-to-back cult films (Planet Terror and Death Proof) from directors Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez that include previews of coming attractions between them. Tarantino helmed the Death Proof part of the film, which told the story of a murderer who hunted down his victims in a souped-up car. The director, along with movie star Kurt Russell, spent weeks filming action scenes on the captivating roads of Figueroa Mountain. The oak forests of Buellton’s Los Padres National Forest also played a supporting role filling in for the backwoods of Virginia.
- Of Mice and Men: This is director Gary Sinise’s 1992 vision of John Steinbeck’s classic story of two drifters trying to make money working the fields during the Depression so they can fulfill their dreams. The rolling hills of the Santa Ynez Valley played rapt witness to the friendship, dreams and downfalls of Lennie and George.
- Seabiscuit: Many of the scenes for this film, based on the true story of the undersized Depression-era racehorse whose victories lifted not only the spirits of the team behind it but also those of their nation, were filmed in and around the Santa Ynez Valley.
- Flying Lessons: This 2010 independent film starred Maggie Grace and Hal Holbrook as an unlikely pair struggling to remember their pasts. Shot in the Santa Ynez Valley, local director and producer Derek Magyar chose his home turf for the film because he believed it to be a picturesque canvas. Filming locations included downtown Santa Ynez streets and local spots like Maverick Saloon, Artiste Wine Tasting & Gallery and the Fossemalle Dance Studio.
- Two-Bits & Pepper (1995): This is a comedy about idiotic kidnappers, both played by Joe Piscopo, who capture two young girls and hold them for ransom. However, in “Home Alone” fashion, the two girls make fools of the two men.
- Generation Gap (2008 TV Movie): This tear-jerker features stars Edward Asner and Rue McClanahan. The story line is that young Dylan has been in another fight at his NYC high school. At her wit’s end, Dylan’s mom sends him to her father for the summer. Grandpa usually spends hours at the local VFW post, but he makes time to think of chores to keep Dylan busy.
Other films that have taken advantage of our beautiful area to set the tone for their story include “The Postman Always Rings Twice” – 1981 version with Jack Nicholson and Jessica Lange; “It’s Complicated” with Meryl Streep, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin; “Homicidal” – a horror film from the ‘60s; “Star Trek Insurrection,” “Return to Mayberry” and “Michael Jackson: The Untold Story of Neverland.”
About VisitSYV.com: Visit Santa Ynez Valley provides listings of the best Santa Ynez wineries, best places to eat in Solvang, Santa Ynez hotels and inns, and things to do in Santa Ynez Valley. Visit the website at www.VisitSYV.com for complete travel and visitor services. “Like” the Facebook page for ideas on planning Santa Ynez vacations. Email info@VisitSYV.com for help planning your next vacation in the Santa Ynez Valley.