From major box office hits to cult classics, Austin has provided a spectacular landscape for filmmakers to bring their vision to life. Visitors have flocked to destinations featured in iconic locally made films like "Dazed and Confused" and "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre." With over 50 years of production, there are many film tourism locations in the Austin area to experience including those seen in "Slacker."
Many consider "Slacker" to be the definitive Austin and Gen X film. As Chris Walters with the Austin Chronicle wrote, "few of the many films shot in Austin over the past 10 or 15 years even attempt to make something of the way its citizens live". "Slacker" is the only one that claims this city's version of life on the margins of the working world as its whole subject." "Slacker" presents a meandering day in Austin as the camera roams from place to place, following an assortment of overeducated creatives, conspiracy theorists, philosophers, outcasts, social misfits, and oddballs, while giving brief glimpses into their lives. Shot in the summer of 1989 on a budget of $23,000, "Slacker" premiered at Austin’s Dobie Theater in July 1990. After playing the festival circuit for over a year, "Slacker" found a distributor and was released into select theaters nation-wide in July 1991. Though it found a small audience at first, "Slacker" became a huge cult film on video, kickstarting director Richard Linklater’s career and the burgeoning indie film scene in Austin and the United States. A lot of Austin has changed in the years since "Slacker" was made, and revisiting the filming locations adds amazing historical context to the film and to the city itself.
Details: Orion Pictures / Rated R / 97 minutes / Comedy
Director: Richard Linklater
Cast: Richard Linklater, Rudy Basquez, Lee Daniel, Terrence Kirk, Bob Boyd, Steve Jacobson, Mark Harris, Frank Orrall, Clark Walker, Abra Moore, Wammo, Sarah Harmon, Charles Gunning, Scott Rhodes, Kim Krizan, Mark James, Stella Weir, John Slate, Robert Pierson, Louis Mackey, Teresa Taylor, Louis Black, D. Montgomery, Tommy Pollatta, Jerry Delony, Keith McCormack, Scott Marcus, Debbie Pastor and Michael Laird.
Streaming on: @PrimeVideo, @YouTube, @GooglePlay, @MicrosoftStore
Scene: Hit & Run
A taxi drops Richard Linklater (also director of the film) off on 24th Street between San Antonio & Nueces Streets near the Castilian dorm, where he witnesses a hit and run. Today, the location, which is just west of the UT campus, looks wildly different from the film with a number of modern high-rise student apartment buildings.
Location: The Castilian (2323 San Antonio St, Austin, TX 78705)
Scene: Les Amis Café
One of Austin’s long-gone but most beloved cafes, Les Amis Café was featured heavily in the scene where the angry hitchhiker (Gunning) provides some choice quotes for a camera crew, among them: “all it does is fill the bellies of the pigs who exploit us.” Les Amis is gone but not forgotten; in it's place a Starbucks with a nice patio where many students still study.
Location: Starbucks (504 W 24th St Suite B, Austin, TX 78705)
Scene: Guadalupe Street Sequences
A great deal of the scenes in "Slacker" were filmed in and along "the Drag," which is a section of Guadalupe Street along the western edge of the University of Texas campus. Though you can still walk on Guadalupe Street locations, most of the businesses no longer exist or look vastly different, including:
- A street musician (McCormack) playing his guitar on the steps of a the former Church of Scientology building.
- A couple (Pierson and Harmon) give away a Diet Coke before turning off Guadalupe onto 21st Street on the way to a former Half Price Books (and run in with a JFK conspiracy enthusiast). Along the way they walk past the wall that would become the site of artist Daniel Johnston’s iconic “Hi, How Are You" mural. This historic mural is probably the most famous piece of street art in Austin and is a great spot to visit for a photo.
- Also filmed on West Campus was a walk and talk conversation about the moon landing being a hoax. The two characters played by Tommy Pallotta and Jerry Deloney start walking from the former Quackenbush’s Intergalactic Dessert Co & Espresso Café (Quack's) in the heart of the Drag (fun fact: the upstairs was original home of Richard Linklater’s Austin Film Society).
- Further south on Guadalupe Street, in the heart of downtown Austin, is where the infamous 'Madonna's pap smear' scene was filmed. The conversation between Scott Marcus and Stella Weir (of the band Glass Eye) and former Butthole Surfers drummer Teresa Taylor was shot just west of where Austin City Hall now stands at Guadalupe and Second Streets. Taylor would become the face of the "Slacker," being the only cast member featured on the poster for the film.
Location: Former Church of Scientology (2200 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX 78705)
Location: Hi How Are You Mural (408 W 21st St, Austin, TX 78705)
Location: Former Quack's / Austin Film Society Building (2120 Guadalupe St Austin, TX 78705)
Location: West of City Hall (Guadalupe Street and Second Street).
Scene: The Anarchist on Texas History
An old anarchist (Mackey) and would-be burglar (Laird) have a conversation about the Texas State Capitol Building and the 1966 Charles Whitman shooting at the University of Texas, as they stand looking north along University Avenue toward the iconic UT Tower.
Location: Between UT Tower / Texas Capitol (Martin Luther King Jr Blvd and University Ave)
Scene: The Blue Bayou Club Guest List
The Blue Bayou Club, now C-Boy's Heart & Soul, is featured in the scene where the Steve (Jacobson) finds out he is not on the guest list nor are his three guests. Today, the venue offers nightly soul and R&B live music on the beloved South Congress Avenue.
Location: C-Boy's Heart & Soul (2008 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704)
Scene: Archway After Bar Time
In the movie, a young woman is seen standing in an black archway on the corner of Congress Avenue & Fourth Street after the bars close and everyone starts to head home for the night. Today, the archway is still visible on the side of the Newk's Eatery downtown with an Instagram-able mural with the saying, “The Only Magic I Still Believe in is Love” painted in white letters on the black wall.
Location: Newk's Eatery (408 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701)
Scene: The Continental Club At Closing Time
The iconic Continental Club is featured in the sequence at closing time, where a bartender (Wammo) rambles about what it means to be an artist (“I’m an anti-artist”). You can still visit this premiere music venue for great live shows seven days a week. The Continental Club was also featured in Richard Linklater's film "Boyhood."
Location: The Continental Club (1315 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704)
Scene: Mount Bonnell Camera Toss
"Slacker's" famous final scene, where the group of filmmakers throw their Super 8 off a cliff, takes place at the notable Austin park, Mount Bonnell, overlooking the beautiful Lake Austin. "Blood Simple" also filmed a scene at the popular tourist destination.
Location: Mount Bonnell (3800 Mt Bonnell Rd, Austin, TX 78731)
Iconic Filming Location Map
Explore more iconic filming locations during your next visit to Austin. The Austin Film Tourism Guide has details on the where scenes from your favorite movie and television series were filmed in and around Austin.