Movies, books, and songs to capture the essence of Dallas and get you in the mood for travel

Movies

Dallas (1978-91)
This popular primetime soap opera, which began as a five-part CBS-TV miniseries filmed on location in Dallas, chronicled the triumphs and travails of the Ewings, a dysfunctional Texas oil and cattle-ranching family headquartered at Southfork Ranch near Plano.

North Dallas Forty (1979)
Nick Nolte and Mac Davis star in a film version of Peter Gent’s racy book about pro football in Dallas in the 1970s.

JFK (1991)
Directed by Oliver Stone and starring Kevin Costner and Tommy Lee Jones, this was a far-reaching look at the conspiracy theories pertaining to the Kennedy Assassination.

Love Field (1992)
Set in Dallas in 1963, the film starring Michelle Pfeiffer as a housewife devoted to Jackie Kennedy is a sad look at the everyday person deeply affected by the assassination.

Debbie Does Dallas (1978)
One of the most popular porn films of all time, with a story about a girl needing to raise money to audition for the Texas Cowgirl cheerleading squad and going to extreme lengths to do so.

Bottle Rocket (1996)
Wes Anderson’s first film, written with pal Owen Wilson, who also starred in the movie with his brother, Luke. Filmed in the wealthy North Dallas neighborhood where the Wilsons grew up, the story follows slackers trying to make money.

Dallas (1950)
Gary Cooper and Raymond Massey star in a Western set near Dallas.

Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
This breakout film for co-stars Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway tells the tale of real-life bank robbers who began their crime spree in Dallas during the Depression.

Dr. T and the Women (2000)
The late Robert Altman directed Richard Gere, Farrah Fawcett, Laura Dern, and Kate Hudson in this goofy film about a gynecologist surrounded by spoiled Dallas women with too much money and too little common sense.

State Fair (1962)
Pat Boone, Bobby Darin, and Ann-Margret starred in a remake of the classic; this version was filmed in Dallas.

Talk Radio (1988)
A riveting and frightening account of a Jewish radio shock jock in Dallas whose inflammatory remarks attract a vindictive killer.

Books

The Highland Park Woman by A.C. Greene (1983)
A soft-edged but satirical look at some of the most privileged women anywhere; a collection of short stories inspired by a magazine story that’s said to have caused at least one divorce.

North Dallas Forty by Peter Gent (1973)
A thinly disguised fictitious account of a pro football team in Dallas, many of whose heroes were involved in dirty sports, drugs, illicit sex, and all manner of violence. Author Peter Gent played for the National Football League’s Dallas Cowboys.

Dallas: The Complete Story of the World's Favorite Primetime Soap by Barbara A. Curran (2005)
Everyone knew someone in 1980 who was frantic over who shot JR, the villainous star of the popular TV series Dallas. This behind-the-scenes book explores the phenomenon that Dallas may never live down.

Greatest Team Ever: The Dallas Cowboys Dynasty of the 1990s by Norm Hitzges (2007)
Local sports media personality pens a bestseller about the years when the Cowboys won three Super Bowls behind the power of Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin.

Dallas Then and Now by Ken Fitzgerald (2001)
Magnificent collection of photography showcases the city’s evolution over a century.

Dallas Public and Private: Aspects of an American City by Warren Leslie (1964)
In the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination, a Dallas-based writer examines why Dallas was the city where a president was murdered. Thoughtful exploration of the city’s political, cultural, and educational landscape withstands the test of time.

Music

Compilations:

Hit By a Train: Best of Old 97s, Old 97s (2006)
This 18-track, retrospective sampler chronicles the Dallas band’s evolution from its alternative country roots in the early 1990s to its pure pop pursuits circa 2004.

Fly, Dixie Chicks (1999)
The second album from the Texas-based trio earned a Grammy in 2000 for Best Country Album and produced two No. 1 “Hot Country Singles & Tracks”—“Cowboy Take Me Away” and “Without You.”

Twisted Angel, Leann Rimes (2002)
Texas singer Leann Rimes, who channeled Patsy Cline as a 13-year-old, switched gears at 19 to establish herself as a crossover pop talent on this album, which features four songs she co-wrote.

Rancho Texicano: The Very Best of ZZ Top, ZZ Top (2004)
This two-disc best of album from Texas’ best known, and famously bearded, blues-rockers was released the same year the Houston-born group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; includes hit singles “Sharp Dressed Man,” “Legs,” and “Cheap Sunglasses.”

Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars, Edie Brickell and New Bohemians (1988)
After building a loyal following in the Deep Ellum neighborhood of downtown, the Dallas-based band released this, their first album, which also produced their biggest hit, “What I Am.” These days, lead singer Edie Brickell is part of The Heavy Circles, a band she formed with stepson Harper Simon, son of singer-songwriter Paul Simon.

Classic Songs:

  1. “Did You Ever See Dallas from a DC9 at Night” by Joe Ely
  2. “Big D” by Frank Loesser
  3. “Willin’” by Little Feat
  4. “If You’re Ever Down in Dallas” by Lee Ann Womack
  5. “Dallas” by Alan Jackson
  6. “Dallas” by 10,000 Maniacs
  7. “Dallas After Midnight” by Ray Wylie Hubbard
  8. “The Yellow Rose of Texas” by Michael Martin Murphey
  9. “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” by Waylon Jennings
  10. “Wide Open Spaces” by Dixie Chicks

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