We love to spill the aTx on filming locations and, surprisingly, we’ve not yet discussed this 90s classic starring the one and only Johnny Depp. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape may have been set in the sleepy town of Endora, Iowa, but it was actually filmed in Central Texas (including Manor – pronouced “May-ner”). Before we get to the filming locations, let’s talk about the film.
About What’s Eating Gilbert Grape
Releases in 1993, the coming-of-age drama stars a slew of actors who went on to become well known stars: Johhny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Juliette Lewis, Mary Steenburgen and John C. Reilly. The story follows 25-year-old Gilbert (Depp) who serves as the caretaker for his obese mother and siblings, including his intellectually disabled younger brother (DiCaprio).
Never seen it or need a refresher? Here’s the trailer:
Now, here are the What’s Eating Gilbert Grape filming locations in Central Texas!
Manor Grocery | 102 E. Parsons Street (Manor)
As caretaker of the family, Gilbert works at the Lamson Grocery aka Manor Grocery. Make sure to take a look inside and support the local business when you visit!
Manor Water Tower | W. Parsons Street (Manor)
The “Endora” water tower plays a key role throughout the film. In a pivotal scene, Arnie (DiCaprio) is arrested for climbing the tower.
Caldwell Country Courthouse | 110 South Main Street (Lockhart)
This courthouse might look familiar! That’s because it has been also been featured in various TV shows and films, including Waiting for Guffman, The Leftovers, The Faculty, Where the Heart Is, Lone Star State of Mind and Temple Grandin. Near the end of the movie the entire Grape family goes to bail Arnie out of jail, including his obese mother. As the family exits the courthouse, the town folks make a spectacle of them, creating a very emotional and cinematic scene.
The most featured location in the film no longer exists. The Grape house was actually burnt down for the climax of the film. But you can still get a feel for Endora by visiting the sites we’ve listed. As always, remember that these are places of business, so please be respectful.
Here’s more tea on What’s Eating Gilbert Grape!
Prior to meeting its demise at the end of this film, the house was also used in the 1980 flick Roadie, starring Meat Loaf.
Dicaprio gave up a lot of money and a role in the original Hocus Pocus to play Arnie Grape. Seems like it was a pretty good call as the film landed him his first Academy Award and Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.
And here’s a really fun fact: Depp lived on 6th Street while filming What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (and for some time after). He was even in a local band called “P” that played the 1993 Austin Music Awards! Ironically enough his old apartment is above the Museum of The Weird. Sometimes they’ll tell stories about his stay when you take a tour.
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