Bandidas -The Movie
Durango

by Movie Editor

The team behind Bandidas did not do things halfway. A large part of the film was actually shot in the state of Durango, known for being the site of many western "cult" films.

In the shadow of giants

Trekking to Durango, Penélope Cruz and Salma Hayek along with more than 150 crew members soon came to enjoy the rich and rugged desert canyons and natural scenery favored by western directors for decades.

In 1954, Robert Wagner introduced the first set of spurs to the heart of Durango in White Feather, followed soon thereafter by John Wayne in Thieves Train Giants, Kirk Douglas, "The Caravan of fire," Burt Lancaster in "The Unforgiven," and and Bob Dylan in Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid. The shadow of Charlton Heston is also on Durango, as the filming of Major Dundee under the direction of Sam Peckinpah took place at this location.

A number of sets including a bank, a saloon, etc. have also been left behind after the golden age of the western film, ready for a new generation of filmmakers.

In the footsteps of John Wayne

Among the sets built for Bandidas, the village of Santa Rita stands on land touched by the memory of a western legend John Wayne, who bought the ranch in 1969 from La Joya, where a beautiful brick building in which he built replica of a Wild West town. Wayne also produced one of his last westerns here, Cahill in 1973. By choosing to run along the line of an abandoned railway, the Bandidas team was also able to use an authentic steam train for the final sequence of the film. The scenario is based on the period which saw the emergence of the train in the Old West. Near the ranch of La Joya, two abandoned cars still bear witness to the battle of the rail, so often brought to the screen.

Ghost Towns and Dead Zones

Abandoned mining towns abound further north in the heart of the Sierra Madres. The Bandidas team chose the Real De Catorce, perched in the heart of the mountain range. Getting there was a tough ride through a tunnel which leads to the collection of silver mines surrounding a ghost town which had already hosted the shooting of Mexican, starring Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts. Legend has it that the area is haunted by spirits, as well as the famous Zone of Silence which is a land of rocks where radio communication is not possible.

 
Penélope Cruz and Salma Hayek in Bandidas

 

Penélope Cruz and Salma Hayek in Bandidas