1509: Scenery Cheat Sheet

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Scenery Cheat Sheet
At the boundary between each zone, stories blend together. Somewhere in the New Mexico desert, the Roadrunner is pursued by a tireless Anton Chigurh.
Title text: At the boundary between each zone, stories blend together. Somewhere in the New Mexico desert, the Roadrunner is pursued by a tireless Anton Chigurh.


In this comic Randall jokes that large areas of the continental (mainland) United States can be characterized by the locations of a single movie. Especially in the Midwest, there are several very large areas that he describes with just one film. The map is the most detailed in the northeast, which is where Randall lives.

The map is divided into the 48 states of the mainland by thin gray lines. On top of these are drawn black lines that divide the map into 50 sections. (A 51st section is located in the Atlantic Ocean.) Inside each section is at least one reference that is supposed to describe the entire area encompassed by the section. In most cases it is the title of a movie (or two to three titles), but it could also be more general specter of movies (all movies with a big budget, or those with whose title is an east coast city name) or it could even be a book/song that describes the relevant area.

The map's heading describes the idea behind it; if you know this and the relevant movies, you can use it to determine where you are by comparing your knowledge of the movies with the scenery you can see from where you stand. Below the heading, the two groups of people who will get the most use out of this sheet are listed. The first is "GeoGuessrs". GeoGuessr is a game using Google Street View images, which drops the player in a random location and challenges them to work out where they are. (It was previously referenced in 1214: Geoguessr). The second group is "crash-landed astronauts". Obviously, if you've just crash-landed on Earth, knowing your location would be very helpful.

Some entries (for instance, Groundhog Day) reflect the locations where the stories are set, and others (like Dances with Wolves) reflect where they were filmed. Others are even more detached, as it is the sceneries from the movie that resembles a given place, even though it is neither filmed there or takes place there. It could also be a cartoon, which is of course only set in an imaginary world that may resemble the real world.

The title text references Anton Chigurh (portrayed by Javier Bardem), who is the main antagonist of the film No Country For Old Men. In this case he would have taken over the role of Wile E. Coyote, and would thus hunt down The Road Runner at the boundary between the sections for these two movies, which would be somewhere in the New Mexico desert.


  • In this table all the movies (and others) from the map are mentioned.
    • They are listed from top to bottom and (when possible) by going through the columns that seems to appear in the sections when going from left to right.
    • The setting for the movie vs. the actual filming locations will be given to be compared to the section of the map where the titles are written.
    • Explanations will be given in the Notes section.
    • The State Postal Codes will often be used here below when referring to a given state.
Movie Title Setting for Movie Actual Filming Location(s) Section on map Notes
The Goonies Astoria, OR Cannon Beach, and Astoria, OR Oregon's northern coast
Twilight Forks, WA Portland, OR Washington, Oregon and most northern part of California except for the part taken up by The Goonies. Same sections as 50 Shades of Grey (see below)
50 Shades of Grey Seattle, WA Vancouver, BC Same sections as Twilight which is clear from this fact: The Fifty shades of Grey erotic romance novel was originally a fan fiction version of the Twilight novels, but when received well it eventually developed into three full novels, but set in the same locations as Twilight. The eastern halves of Washington and Oregon look nothing like the western halves of those states, as much of these regions are near-desert with no trees. None of the scenery in Twilight or Shades of Gray will have any resemblance to Eastern Washington or Oregon.
Zodiac San Francisco Bay Area San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles San Francisco Bay Area, CA According to Wikipedia, "The San Francisco Chronicle was built in the old post office in the Terminal Annex Building in downtown Los Angeles. A building on nearby Spring Street subbed for the Hall of Justice and the San Francisco Police Department. Production began on September 12, 2005. The filmmakers shot for five weeks in the San Francisco Bay Area and the rest of the time in Los Angeles, bringing the film in under budget, wrapping in February 2006. The film took 115 days to shoot."
The Rock Alcatraz Island Alcatraz Island Alcatraz Island, CA
Dances with Wolves Fort Sedgwick, CO South Dakota and Wyoming Montana, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Nebraska
Starship Troopers Planet Klendathu and Earth Hell's Half Acre, WY
Napoleon Dynamite Preston, Idaho Preston, Idaho Idaho (not including Preston)
The Sandlot Suburban Los Angeles Salt Lake City, Utah Idaho, Utah
Wild Wild West The southwest area Tucson, Arizona; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Pierce, Idaho Nevada Set near Promontory Point, UT
Top Gun NAS Miramar, San Diego, CA Nevada, NAS Miramar, San Diego, CA Nevada
Part of Independence Day Grand Canyon & Area 51 Utah / Nevada
That movie about wine & talking Santa Ynez Valley Santa Ynez Valley California Central Valley He clearly means Sideways. Mapped area does not include the Santa Ynez Valley wine country, but instead shows the California Central Valley.
Every movie with a big budget... Hollywood, CA SoCal
Brokeback Mountain Wyoming Southern Alberta Wyoming
Oregon Trail (The only part I ever got to) Platte, Snake, and Columbia river valleys Video Game, not a film Nebraska, Colorado, Utah Could also refer to the film The Oregon Trail. The parenthetical comment refers to the relative difficulty of surviving the whole trail in the game, especially as it catered to schoolkids for educational purposes.
Roadrunner cartoons Southern Arizona Animated, not filmed Four Corners - UT, AZ, NM, CO
The Truman Show
but with desert in the background
"Seahaven" (fictional place in the Los Angeles, CA area) Seaside, Florida, and Los Angeles, California Las Vegas NV, California, Arizona If it were filmed in Las Vegas...
Tombstone Tombstone, AZ Arizona Southern Arizona
The Mask of Zorro California Mexico
No Country for Old Men (West) Texas Texas, New Mexico Southern Arizona, Southern New Mexico, Southwest Texas
Fargo Fargo ND, Brainerd MN, Minneapolis MN Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN area, Hallock MN, Bathgate, ND Minnesota, Both Dakotas, Montana
Interstellar (Earth parts) BosWash (converted to farmland), probably near former NYC Alberta Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota "Earth Parts"
Star Trek (2009) (Earth parts) Iowa Iowa "Earth Parts"
Field of Dreams Primarily IA; also, Boston, MA, and Chisholm, Minnesota Dyersville, IA
The Music Man River City, IA Warner Bros Studio, Burbank, CA Iowa, Missouri, Not-Chicago Illinois
The Wizard of Oz Kansas, Oz Culver City, California Kansas, Colorado The Judy Garland version, presumably. The earth parts.
Twister Oklahoma Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas
True Grit Arkansas New Mexico Northern Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas Obviously the 2010 version
Office Space Austin, TX Texas Triangle plus Southern Texas
Dazed and Confused Austin, TX
Kill Bill El Paso, TX
Blues Brothers Chicago Chicago and Milwaukee Chicago, Rockford, Kenosha, and some extra parts of Illinois
8 Mile Wayne County, Michigan
A Christmas Story Hammond, IN Cleveland, OH Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio
That song about Jack and Diane Lake Monroe, IN "In the Heartland"
Anything by Mark Twain Hannibal, MO Cairo, IL, Mississippi River parts of Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi The mapped area doesn't quite include Twain's home town of Hannibal, MO.
Walk the Line Tennessee Tennessee and Kentucky
Big Fish Wetumpka and Montgomery, AL Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia
O Brother Where Art Thou Parchman Farm, MS Canton, MS; Florence, SC
Duck Dynasty West Monroe, LA Northern Louisiana and Mississippi
Princess and the Frog New Orleans Animated, not filmed Southern Louisiana
All Dogs go to Heaven New Orleans Animated, not filmed
Beasts of the Southern Wild Louisiana Montegut, LA Mississippi River Delta
Groundhog Day Punxsutawney, PA, Pittsburgh Woodstock, IL Western Pennsylvania, Western New York
Dirty Dancing Catskill Mountains Mountain Lake, VA and Lake Lure, NC Virginia/West Virginia border
October Sky Coalwood, WV East Tennessee Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia
Gone with the Wind Tara, near Jonesboro, GA Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia
Forrest Gump Alabama Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina
The Truman Show Los Angeles area Seaside, FL Florida without Miami or the Everglades
Adaptation Everglades, FL and surrounding areas Everglades, FL Very loosely based on the book "The Orchid Thief" by Susan Orlean, which chronicles the lifestyle of orchid thief and dealer John Laroche. The movie is about a screenwriter who struggles to adapt the book into a movie, turning himself into a main character in his own story.
Miami Vice Miami Television show: Many episodes in the South Beach section of Miami Beach, FL, also Broward and Palm Beach counties, FL; Film: Caribbean, Uruguay, Paraguay and South Florida Miami metro area Or the film
Super Troopers Vermont, NY ("Somewhere near the border") Various locations in New York State, including the City of Beacon, Westchester County, Rockefeller State Park Preserve, Fishkill, Newburgh, and Wappingers Falls Vermont, NY ("Somewhere near the border")
My Side of the Mountain (book) Adirondack Mountains, NY Catskill mountains, near Delhi, NY Northern New York The area shown on the map includes the Adirondacks, as well as the Tug Hill Plateau and the Finger Lakes. The Catskills appear to be excluded.
War of the Worlds (2005) Massachusetts California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and Virginia Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island Also referenced in 556: Alternative Energy Revolution
Signs Doylestown, PA Eastern Pennsylvania
The Village Covington, PA Chadds Ford, PA
[Generic City] Washington DC, Baltimore, New York City, Philadelphia N/A Washington DC, Baltimore, New York City, Philadelphia Washington DC has a reputation for requiring extensive fees and permits to film within the city. As a result, most movies set in DC are filmed somewhere else entirely. Thus, DC movie backgrounds would only give a viewer an idea of what a generic city would look like.
Deep Impact Atlantic Coast North Carolina, Virginia, Delaware The Mega-tsunami
Pet Sematary Ludlow, Maine Hancock, Maine Maine Misspelled SemEtary in the comic.
What about Bob Lake Winnipesaukee, NH Smith Mountain Lake, VA New Hampshire
The Departed Boston, MA Boston & New York Boston
Jaws Amity Island (stand-in for Martha's Vineyard) Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts (scenes on land or on the surface of the water), waters off Australia (footage of real sharks), California (underwater scenes) Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, Long Island, Rhode Island
The Hunt for Red October Climaxes somewhere off the eastern seaboard of North America (Grand Banks of Newfoundland are mentioned) Much of the sea filming was actually in the Pacific, near Los Angeles A large swathe of Atlantic Ocean off the east coast of the US Starts in Barents Sea. Enters Atlantic via Iceland, but underwater. Underwater scenes were filmed in "smoke tanks". There are also sequences in a river (Penobscot, ME)


[Above the frame is the following text.]
A cheat sheet for
figuring out where in the US you are
by recognizing the background from movies
(for use by GeoGuessr players and crash-landed astronauts)
[In the frame is a map of the mainland USA with the 48 mainland states lined out in thin gray lines. All areas on the map have been enclosed in sections divided by curved black lines. These sections sizes goes from encompassing several states down to just a small section of a single state. The sections cover the entire USA without any holes. There is also one section in the Atlantic Ocean. All sections are labeled. If the section is large enough the text stands inside, if it is too small, the text is outside and an arrow will point to the relevant section
[Here below all the text on the map (mainly film titles) will be transcribed from top to bottom and (when possible) by going through the columns that seems to appear in the sections when going from left to right. The State Postal Codes will be used when referring to the states covered by each section]
[Small section covering the west coast around the state border between WA and OR, which is surrounded on three sides by the next section mentioned below. It is labeled with an arrow:]
The Goonies
[Large section covering WA, OR and top of CA. The section has two titles, with the second one standing with smaller font below the first:]
50 Shades of Grey
[Small section around San Francisco, CA:]
[Very tiny section covering only Alcatraz off the coast of San Francisco, CA. It lies inside section mentioned above. It is labeled with an arrow:]
The Rock
[Large section covering most of MT as well as part of WY, SD and NE. The section has two titles:]
Dances with Wolves
Starship Troopers
[Medium section covering most of ID and part of MT:]
Napoleon Dynamite
[Medium section covering part of OR, ID, NV and UT:]
The Sandlot
[Medium section mainly covering the top part of NV:]
Wild Wild West
[Medium section covering most of NV and small part of CA. The section has two titles, with the second one standing with smaller font below the first plus description:]
Top Gun
& the part of Independence Day where Will Smith crashes
[Small section covering central CA:]
That movie about wine & talking
[Medium section covering a large part of the southern part of CA around Hollywood, Los Angeles:]
Every movie with a big budget, explosions or someone who says "cool!"
[Medium section covering half of WY and small parts of UT and CO:]
Brokeback Mountain
[Medium section covering part of WY, CO and NE. The part in parenthesis in a smaller font:]
Oregon Trail
(the only part I ever got to)
[Large section covering small part of UT and the half bottom of UT and CO and top half of AZ and NM:]
Roadrunner cartoons
[Medium section covering a small part of the southern CA and small part of AZ. The part beneath the title in a smaller font:]
The Truman Show,
but with desert as the background
[Small part at the bottom of AZ. The section has two titles:]
& The Mask of Zorro
[Large section covering a small part of AZ, the bottom half of NM as well as a third of TX:]
No Country for Old Men
[Large section covering all of ND, most of MN, half of SD and a small part of MT:]
[Medium section covering most of NE and small parts of MN and IA. The section has three titles. The top two are marked with a square bracket to the left. The text of this given before the third title:]
Star Trek (2009)
] Earth parts
Field of Dreams
[Medium section covering large parts of IA, MO and IL:]
The Music Man
[Medium section covering mainly KS, but also a small part of Co and OK:]
The Wizard of Oz
[Medium section covering most of OK and small part of MO and AR:]
[Medium section covering the top part of TX and small parts of OK and AR:]
True Grit
[Large section covering a third of TX (the eastern part all the way down) and small parts of AR and LA. The section has three titles:]
Office Space
Dazed and Confused
Kill Bill
[Small section around and below Chicago, IL, which is surrounded on three sides by the next large section mentioned below. It is labeled with an arrow:]
Blues Brothers
[Very small section almost a circle centered around Detroit, MI completely inside the section here below. It is labeled with an arrow:]
8 Mile
[Large section covering all of WI, MI, IN and OH as well as parts of IL and KY. That is except for the two small sections described above, which are inlaid in this one. There are two items in this section. The one below is in smaller font:]
A Christmas Story
&That song about Jack and Diane
[Medium section covering half of AR, small parts of IL and MO as well as bits of KY, TN and MS:]
Anything by Mark Twain
[Medium section covering half of TN and part of KY:]
Walk the Line
[Large section covering all of AL most of MS and half of GA. There are two titles in this section:]
Big Fish
O Brother Where Art Thou
[Small section covering top of LA and small part of MS:]
Duck Dynasty
[Medium section covering the bottom half of LA and the very bottom of MS. There is a very small section at the bottom of LA that are not included in this but in the next. There are two titles in this section:]
Princess and the Frog
All Dogs go to Heaven
[Small section covering the very eastern end of the bottom of LA – maybe including New Orleans. It is labeled with an arrow:]
Beasts of the Southern Wild
[Medium section covering half of PA and western part NY:]
Groundhog Day
[Small section covering the middle part of VA as well as small parts of PA, MD and WV:]
Dirty Dancing
[Medium section covering most of WV, half of TN, a small parts of KY as well as tiny bits of VA, NC and GA:]
October Sky
[Large section covering all of SC, most of NC as well as half of VA and GA. There are two titles in this section:]
Gone with the Wind
Forrest Gump
[Large section covering most of FL except the bottom part which are covered by the next two sections:]
The Truman Show
[Small section covering the very bottom of FL except the east coast. It is labeled with an arrow:]
[Small section covering the very bottom the east coast of FL. It is labeled with an arrow:]
Miami Vice
[Small section covering most of the top of VT and a small part of NY. It is labeled with an arrow:]
Super Troopers
[Small section covering the central part of NY.]
My Side of the Mountain (book)
[Small section covering the eastern part of NY, western part of MA, top part of CT as well as bits of VT and RI.:]
War of the Worlds (2005)
[Small section covering the eastern part of PA and small bits of NY and MD. There are two titles in this section:]
& The Village
[Medium section covering several large cities of the east coast including New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, DC. It covers most of DE and NJ and large parts of MD (with DC) and the bit of NY with the city. The text is not a title and the it is written in square brackets…:]
[Generic city]
[Small section covering the east coast along VA and NC, but also with small bits of MD and DE at the top:]
Deep Impact
[Medium section covering all of ME, the top tip of NH and eastern top of VT:]
Pet Semetary
[Small section covering the most of the bottom parts of NH and VT:]
What about Bob
[Very small section surrounding Boston in MA. It is labeled with an arrow:]
The Departed
[Small section covering the east coast along MA, RI, CT and NJ:]
[Large section off the east coast in the Atlantic Ocean:]
The Hunt for Red October


  • Not everything Mark Twain wrote was really set on the Mississippi River. For instance, he first gained attention as a fiction writer with "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County," which is about Northern California. Indeed, during his lifetime, Twain was known mostly as a travel writer, not a novelist.
  • Kill Bill doesn't take place in southern or eastern Texas. The wedding chapel scene takes place in El Paso, around the same area No Country for Old Men takes place.
  • Later after the initial release of this comic Randall added a link to this page. It's viewable in the HTML-source or here: https://xkcd.com/1509/info.0.json. The text is: "Some fans have completely dissected the joke for you http:\n\nwww.explainxkcd.com\nwiki\nindex.php\n1509".

See also[edit]

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Wish he added Big Hero 6 for San Francisco. They did a super good job at getting the map accurate to San Francisco. 19:19, 8 April 2015 (UTC)

But that was set in San Fransokyo (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

One objection: although What About Bob? was set at Lake Winnipesaukee, NH, it was actually filmed at Smith Mountain Lake, VA. -- ‎Jstech (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

The Napoleon Dynamite Idaho square doesn't cover Preston, where it was filmed. 06:00, 8 April 2015 (UTC)

The Twilight/50 Shades area really shouldn't cover eastern Washington and Oregon either. East of the Cascade Mountains is much more like Boise than Seattle. Tribble314 (talk) 07:12, 8 April 2015 (UTC)

Tribble314 is completely correct

It gets Forest Gump wrong, that is set in Alabama, including the Alabama gulf coast and not easter Georgia, The Tombstone section is on the wrong side of Arizona and Zorro is set, and filmed, in California. Anything By Mark Twain is too far south, and since Road Runner cartoons all have Saguaro and organ pipe cactus, it is amazing how the map outlines the exact part of Arizona where they don't exist (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

It's not about where it's set. It's where it's filmed. And I object to the 'Anything by Mark Twain' on the grounds that it's basically just Tom Sawyer/Huck Finn without say Innocents Abroad or for that matter most of what was written by a guy who did a good bit of traveling in his lifetime.--Dude108.162.237.183 09:28, 8 April 2015 (UTC)
No, the map is about where it's set (generally). Star Trek wasn't actually filmed in Iowa, part of the movie was set there. In any event, the explanation provides a column for each. - Equinox 15:14, 8 April 2015 (UTC)

Let's not forget A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court! I'm pretty sure that doesn't fit in 'Anything By Mark Twain'-space. --PsyMar (talk) 12:46, 8 April 2015 (UTC)

I never even knew I lived so close to so many awesome movies. The Goyim speaks (talk) 12:39, 8 April 2015 (UTC)

Wikipedia tells me that there are 3 2005 War of the Worlds movies. So... The Goyim speaks (talk) 12:43, 8 April 2015 (UTC)

A lot I'd like to argue with, but without proof (no time to look), I'll skip most except for this: The Twin Cities of Minnesota (Minneapolis & St. Paul) are clearly shown (Mpls. skyline at least) in Fargo, yet the Twin Cities area is barely within Fargo's border. (Nitpick from the movie: the characters are coming FROM the north but the Mpls view is obviously from the south, I-35W Northbound.) Also, North Country, whose story is based around taconite mining in Minnesota's Iron Range (north/northwest of Duluth), should have been included, and also shows a Mpls. skyline as an establishing shot for either lawyer's offices and/or a courthouse. (And one more thing: Thanks to whoever pointed out that Woodstock, IL is the true filming location for Groundhog Day. I would show it on the map with a dot or star there, rather than the Pennsylvania area is supposedly represents.) --BigMal27 // 13:03, 8 April 2015 (UTC)

I think the Oregon Trail section of the map is specifically referring to the video game, because the subtitle below the main text in that map location says "The only part I ever got to." 17:00, 8 April 2015 (UTC)

That was my assumption too. It's challenging to get to the end of the game, whereas I don't know any reason to not be able to finish the movie. Smperron (talk) 16:41, 9 April 2015 (UTC)
I agree: I think it refers to the game. However, I will add that there was also a (hilarious) musical that had come out by this time. L-Space Traveler (talk) 13:44, 6 May 2023 (UTC)

Are we going to have a column for the area the square covers on the map? or a place to record whether or not the area covers the filming location or where it was set? 17:57, 8 April 2015 (UTC)

I think the statement "this is where the movies are set, not where they are filmed" completely misses the point. This is a map of where the movies look like they are set. So, some areas are where they are set (if the movie background seems to be where it's supposed to be) and some areas are where they were filmed (if there's an obvious contradiction between location and setting). Hence, The Sandlot, for example... 18:03, 8 April 2015 (UTC)

Orange is the New Black is a much more convincing setting for Upstate New York, even though it isn't a movie. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

For the record, northeast america is a pretty good guess for any Steven King movie. Lots of his stuff is set up there. I know because I am an avid reader. The Goyim speaks (talk) 04:18, 9 April 2015 (UTC)

I took out the line about 50 Shades being the first fan fiction book to be made into a movie. (The movie Mortal Instruments: City of Bones was a Harry Potter fan fiction.) {{ 15:19, 9 April 2015 (UTC)}}

Much (if not most) of True Grit takes place in Oklahoma, so this should at least be Oklahoma/Arkansas (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I did not watch "dazed and confused" but according to that one line in wikipedia,the cast are from austin,tx.maybe this should give a note -kai 07:43, 12 April 2015 (UTC)

  • Duck Dynasty* is a TV show not a movie 13:46, 16 April 2015 (UTC)

Vermonters know that Supertroopers wasn't filmed in Vermont. Vermont doesn't have billboards. 14:49, 17 April 2015 (UTC)

As noted, Field of Dreams was filmed near Dyersville, IA, which is not in NW IA, but far eastern (Dyersville is near Dubuque, which is roughly at the "bridge" of Iowa's "nose"). 22:25, 3 August 2021 (UTC)