If you want a barren desert landscape outside Las Vegas, Jean, Nevada is a good choice. There are several popular movies that were filmed in and around Jean.
Jean has miles of desert landscape including dry lakebeds, nearby mountains, and desert scrub outside of the small commercial town.
Jean is located just 30 miles south of Las Vegas on Interstate 15. As a result, it has been used on several occasions for desert settings outside of the city.
Perhaps the most famous movie set in Jean is the 1995 Martin Scorcese film Casino. Casino, which stars Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone, and Joe Pesci, is about mob involvement in the 1970s Vegas casinos.
When there is a meeting in Casino in the desert, it is set at the Jean Dry Lake Bed.
This location was also used in the 1998 Terry Gilliam film Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas starring Johnny Depp, Benicio Del Toro, and Tobey Maguire.
Jean was also featured in the 1990 Jean–Claude Van Damme film Lionheart. At the beginning of the movie, Van Damme's character is stationed in the "Moroccan" desert serving in the French Foreign Legion.
The Morocco location is actually Jean, Nevada. Jean has a mountain backdrop and its sandy dry lakebed is suitable for a Saharan Desert substitute.
Jean was also a setting in the 1997 Chevy Chase comedy Vegas Vacation, which is the fourth movie in the Vacation movie franchise.
In the film, Randy Quaid returns as beer drinking, impoverished, eccentric Cousin Eddie. The Griswold family heads out to a barbecue at Cousin Eddie's trailer in the barren desert, which was set in Jean.
Other notable productions that have used Jean as a filming location are The Hangover (2009) and Pearl Harbor (2001).
In 2022, the Netflix movie The Battle of Absolute Dominion filmed in Jean at the vacant Terrible's Hotel & Casino.
You can learn about movies filmed in Primm here.