50 Films That Best Represent Each State
Whether or not you can hop on a plane or jump in your car for an epic trip, there is still a good way to travel across the country and visit other states — and that’s through movies. We picked 50 films that are set and/or filmed in the states they represent. There’s a mix of drama, comedy, horror and action films, and our list is by no means exhaustive.
The New Yorks and Californias of the world have so many good, representative films that it’s almost impossible to pick just one. We’ve included classics, such as “The Wizard of Oz” and “Meet Me in St. Louis,” as well as added more recent films, like “Moonlight” and “The Help” — all of which we feel truly capture the people, culture, scenery and history of a given state.
Read on to find out which 50 films we think best represent each state and decide if you agree.
Alabama: ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’
Release date: Dec. 25, 1962
Directed by: Robert Mulligan
Starring: Gregory Peck, Mary Badham, Phillip Alford
Bottom Line: ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’
“To Kill a Mockingbird” is the film version of Harper Lee’s classic American novel about a lawyer who defends a black man against a false rape charge. The book and subsequent film are set in a fictional Alabama town in the 1930s.
Gregory Peck won an Oscar for his portrayal of lawyer Atticus Finch, who battled the racism and prejudice of this small Southern town — a narrative that speaks to the several hardships throughout the state’s history.
Alaska: ‘Into the Wild’
Release date: Sept. 21, 2007
Directed by: Sean Penn
Starring: Emile Hirsch, Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt
Bottom Line: ‘Into the Wild’
“Into the Wild” is based on the true story of Chris McCandless, who gave away all his possessions and money and hitchhiked into the Alaskan wilderness, only to die there.
The mystery surrounding his actions that left him alone in a broken-down school bus was never solved. The film is based on the best-selling book by Jon Krakauer.
Arizona: ‘Raising Arizona’
Release date: March 13, 1987
Directed by: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Starring: Nicholas Cage, Holly Hunter, Frances McDormand
Bottom Line: ‘Raising Arizona’
The Coen brothers’ film, “Raising Arizona,” is a classic dark comedy about a kidnapping and marital troubles.
The movie follows two criminals (Nicholas Cage and Holly Hunter) on the run with a baby and depicts both well-known landmarks in Phoenix and the mountains surrounding the city.
Arkansas: ‘Sling Blade’
Release date: Nov. 27, 1996
Directed by: Billy Bob Thornton
Starring: Billy Bob Thornton, Lucas Black, Dwight Yoakam
Bottom Line: ‘Sling Blade’
Arkansas native Billy Bob Thornton wrote, directed and starred in “Sling Blade,” which was filmed entirely in the town of Benton. The film won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, and Thornton was nominated for an Oscar for his performance.
“Sling Blade” is about a man who killed his mother and her lover and what happens after he is released from a mental facility years after the murders. Thornton said that he based the story on people, places and events he knew growing up in the state.
Release date: June 20, 1974
Directed by: Roman Polanski
Starring: Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston
Bottom Line: 'Chinatown'
While it’s hard to find one single movie that can sum up California, the home of the movie industry, we decided upon one of the classics instead of the almost-preferred “Big Lebowski,” which speaks so hilariously to California stereotypes.
But we had to choose “Chinatown” for its true Hollywood story. Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson) is a dogged, persistent former cop turned private investigator, who is hired by a mysterious woman who isn’t who she claims. The story involves murder, corrupt politicians and cops, the theft of the water supply for the city of Los Angeles and an untouchable Old Money patriarch. What more could you ask for?
Colorado: ‘The Shining’
Release date: May 23, 1980
Directed by: Stanley Kubrick
Starring: Jack Nicholson, Shelly Duvall, Danny Lloyd
Bottom Line: 'The Shining'
The classic movie that many people still associate with Colorado is Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” which is set in a historic hotel (The Stanley) in Estes Park. Jack Nicholson’s character takes a winter caretaker position and moves into the hotel with his wife and young son.
However, he soon becomes obsessed by the hotel’s past and a murder that took place there and starts to slowly lose his sanity. The movie has great shots of The Stanley, Colorado and the “powder” snow for which the state is famous.
Connecticut: ‘Mystic Pizza’
Release date: Oct. 21, 1988
Directed by: Donald Petrie
Starring: Julia Roberts, Annabeth Gish, Lili Taylor
Bottom Line: ‘Mystic Pizza’
The classic film “Mystic Pizza” — featuring Julia Roberts and Matt Damon in breakout roles — was set in the real-life town of Mystic, Connecticut, and features an actual pizzeria located there.
Three girls who work in the restaurant experience romance and heartbreak while searching for true love in this coming-of-age film. The movie was filmed in and around the town of Mystic and inside the famous pizzeria.
Delaware: ‘Fight Club’
Release date: Oct. 15, 1999
Directed by: David Fincher
Starring: Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Helena Bonham Carter
Bottom Line: ‘Fight Club’
Did you know that “Fight Club” was set in Wilmington, Delaware? Neither did we.
In this iconic movie, two men, one an insomniac and the other an anarchist (Edward Norton and Brad Pitt), meet and form a network of underground fight clubs. The partnership slowly spirals into emotional instability and fierce rivalry. While the film about anti-materialism was the epitome of cool in the late ’90s, it was actually shot in Los Angeles, not Delaware.
Release date: Sept. 2, 2016
Directed by: Barry Jenkins
Starring: Trevante Rhodes, Mahershala Ali, Ashton Sanders
Bottom Line: ‘Moonlight’
The recent film “Moonlight” is now firmly identified with the state of Florida. Set in and around Miami and its beaches, the story revolves around a young African American man coming of age, dealing with school bullies, his mother’s drug addiction and coming to terms with his homosexuality.
The film won both the Golden Globe and the Oscar for Best Picture in 2017.
Georgia: ‘Forrest Gump’
Release date: July 6, 1994
Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
Starring: Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise
Bottom Line: ‘Forrest Gump’
“Forrest Gump” was Tom Hanks in his prime, and it highlights some of Georgia’s most beautiful scenery.
The film is narrated by Forrest Gump as he’s waiting on a bus bench in Savannah’s Chippewa Square. Box of chocolates in hand, he tells the story of his life, spanning decades of American history in a film that ultimately swept the Academy Awards in 1995.
Hawaii: ‘The Descendants’
Release date: Nov. 16, 2011
Directed by: Alexander Payne
Starring: George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Amara Miller
Bottom Line: ‘The Descendants’
“The Descendants” tells the story of Matt King (George Clooney), a Honolulu lawyer, whose extended family owns a vast tract of undeveloped land on the island of Kauai. The family is divided over selling or keeping the land, as developing it could change the face of the island.
King is estranged from his daughters, and his wife is in a coma following a boat accident. The film is dramatic for sure, but it’s also an ode to the beautiful island-state with sweeping shots of Hawaii’s tropical scenery in practically every shot.
Idaho: ‘Napoleon Dynamite’
Release date: June 11, 2004
Directed by: Jared Hess
Starring: Jon Heder, Efren Ramirez, Tina Majorino
Bottom Line: ‘Napoleon Dynamite’
The movie “Napoleon Dynamite” was filmed in Preston, Idaho, where the story takes place. The main character, Napoleon Dynamite, lives with his grandmother and older brother.
It’s a goofy coming-of-age tale in which the alienated teenager decides to help his best friend, Pedro, run for class president of their high school. And who could ever forget the final dance scene to Jamiroquai’s “Canned Heat” in the end?
Illinois: ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’
Release date: June 11, 1986
Directed by: John Hughes
Starring: Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, Mia Sara
Bottom Line: ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’
The teen classic, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” is filmed in and around Chicago, Illinois. The movie is about a high school student, Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick), who devises a strategy to take a day off from school and fool his family and teachers into thinking he’s at home sick in bed.
He convinces his girlfriend and best friend to join him, as they borrow a Ferrari and spend the day having fun in the Windy City. And, yes, that includes, singing on top of a parade float at the end.
Release date: Nov. 14, 1986
Directed by: David Anspaugh
Starring: Gene Hackman, Maris Valainis, Dennis Hopper
Bottom Line: ‘Hoosiers’
“Hoosiers” is a feel-good movie set in the 1950s about an Indiana high school basketball coach (Gene Hackman) with a questionable past.
He transforms a team of misfits into state champions. The film is based on a true story and was shot on location around Indiana.
Iowa: ‘Field of Dreams’
Release date: April 21, 1989
Directed by: Phil Alden Robinson
Starring: Kevin Costner, Ray Liotta, James Earl Jones
Bottom Line: ‘Field of Dreams’
“Field of Dreams” is a film about an Iowa corn farmer, Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner), who is struggling to keep his family farm afloat. He begins to hear a voice telling him that he needs to build a baseball field and pursue a long-lost dream of playing baseball.
Kinsella decides to listen to the voice and builds a baseball diamond on one of his fields despite the financial loss to his family. The film gave rise to the iconic line, “If you build it, he will come.”
Kansas: ‘The Wizard of Oz’
Release date: Aug. 25, 1939
Directed by: Victor Fleming
Starring: Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr
Bottom Line: ‘The Wizard of Oz’
The classic 1939 musical film, “The Wizard of Oz,” tells the story of Dorothy (Judy Garland) and her little dog Toto who are carried off in a tornado to the magical land of Oz. Dorothy meets three companions, a scarecrow, a tin man and a lion, as she walks a yellow brick road to find the Wizard of Oz who can return her home to Kansas.
The group encounters witches, both good and evil, flying monkeys and more as they travel throughout the enchanted land and remind us, “There’s no place like home.”
Kentucky: ‘Coal Miner’s Daughter’
Release date: March 7, 1980
Directed by: Michael Apted
Starring: Sissy Spacek, Tommy Lee Jones, Beverly D'Angelo
Bottom Line: ‘Coal Miner’s Daughter’
“Coal Miner’s Daughter” is a biopic based on the life of legendary country singer, Lorretta Lyn. Born to a poor family in Kentucky, she married at 13 and had four children by the time she was 20.
Her husband, discovering that she had musical talent, bought her a guitar and promoted her music to local radio stations. Lyn went on to become one of America’s best-known country singers. Sissy Spacek won a Best Actress Oscar for her role as Lyn.
Louisiana: ‘12 Years a Slave’
Release date: Oct. 18, 2013
Directed by: Steve McQueen
Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong'o
Bottom Line: ‘12 Years a Slave’
“12 Years a Slave” is based on the true story of a free black man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in Louisiana in 1841. The movie follows Solomon’s Northrup’s 12 years as a plantation slave and features scenes of rural Louisiana and the French Quarter in New Orleans.
The film won several Oscars, including Best Picture, and Lupita Nyong’o won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.
Maine: ‘The Shawshank Redemption’
Release date: Sept. 22, 1994
Directed by: Frank Darabont
Starring: Morgan Freeman, Tim Robbins, Bob Gunton
Bottom Line: ‘The Shawshank Redemption’
Our choice for the best film to represent the state of Maine is “The Shawshank Redemption,” based on a story by Maine author, Stephen King, and set at the mythical Shawshank Prison.
The story follows a man, former banker Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), who is falsely charged and imprisoned for the murder of his wife. He learns to survive the harsh realities of prison life and forms a close bond with another inmate, Red (Morgan Freeman).
Maryland: ‘The Blair Witch Project’
Release date: July 14, 1999
Directed by: Eduardo Sanchez, Daniel Myrick
Starring: Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard, Michael C. Williams
Bottom Line: ‘The Blair Witch Project’
“The Blair Witch Project'' is an independent horror movie about three film students who go into the woods near Burkittsville, Maryland, to film a documentary on the legend of the Blair Witch. And then they vanish.
A year later, their raw footage is found and made into a film. Although the story in the movie isn’t real, it may be based on a 17th-century woman who was accused of witchcraft in Leonardstown, Maryland. The film, with its ambiguous ending, was a surprise hit and led to a sequel.
Massachusetts: ‘Good Will Hunting’
Release date: Dec. 5, 1997
Directed by: Gus Van Sant
Starring: Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Robin Williams
Bottom Line: ‘Good Will Hunting’
Is there a more Boston movie than “Good Will Hunting,” which is, of course, set in the city of Boston? The story follows a janitor, played by Matt Damon, who works at M.I.T. and is an untrained mathematical genius.
He struggles with emotional issues until he begins therapy with a gifted therapist, played by Robin Williams. Williams won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, and Matt Damon and Ben Affleck won an Oscar for Best Screenplay.
Michigan: ‘Dream Girls’
Release date: Dec. 25, 2006
Directed by: Bill Condon
Starring: Jennifer Hudson, Beyoncé, Jamie Foxx
Bottom Line: ‘Dream Girls’
Based on a Broadway musical, the movie “Dream Girls” is set in Detroit in the 1960s and ’70s. The movie follows a car salesman, Curtis Taylor, who wants to break into the music business. He discovers a trio of R&B female singers, called The Dreamettes, and becomes their manager.
“The Dreams,” as they are renamed, become a global success.
Minnesota: ‘The Mighty Ducks’
Release date: Oct. 2, 1992
Directed by: Stephen Herek
Starring: Emilio Estevez, Joshua Jackson, Marguerite Moreau
Bottom Line: ‘The Mighty Ducks’
The original “Mighty Ducks” (there were two sequels) starred Emilio Estevez as a lawyer who is charged with drunk driving and must undertake community service as part of his sentence.
He is put in charge of coaching a bottom-ranked kids hockey team and brings them all the way to the state finals. Nothing says Minnesota like playing ice hockey on a frozen pond.
Mississippi: ‘The Help’
Release date: Aug. 10, 2011
Directed by: Tate Taylor
Starring: Octavia Spencer, Viola Davis, Emma Stone
Bottom Line: ‘The Help’
“The Help” is based on the best-selling book of the same name. The story, set in the 1960s, revolves around a white college girl, Skeeter (Emma Stone), who wants to be a writer. She decides to write a book about the black maids and housekeepers that look after leading white families in Jackson, Mississippi.
Actress Octavia Spencer won both a Golden Globe and the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her role in the film that does a great job of highlighting the racial struggles of the civil rights movement, while also managing to be funny.
Missouri: ‘Meet Me in St. Louis’
Release date: January 1945
Directed by: Vincente Minnelli
Starring: Judy Garland, Margaret O'Brien, Lucille Bremer
Bottom Line: ‘Meet Me in St. Louis’
The classic Judy Garland film, “Meet Me in St. Louis,” is well known for its classic song, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”
Set in 1903, the movie follows a year in the life of a St. Louis family with four daughters, who are dealing with young love and childhood fears.
Montana: ‘A River Runs Through It’
Release date: Oct. 9, 1992
Directed by: Robert Redford
Starring: Brad Pitt, Craig Sheffer, Tom Skerritt
Bottom Line: ‘A River Runs Through It’
The classic movie, “A River Runs Through It,” is set, and filmed, in rural Montana. The story follows a strict minister and his two sons, one who is shy and conforming and the other rebellious, and their shared love of fly-fishing.
Joseph Gordon Levitt had his first film role, while Brad Pitt had his first starring role in this movie.
Nebraska: ‘Terms of Endearment’
Release date: Nov. 23, 1983
Directed by: James L. Brooks
Starring: Shirley MacLaine, Jack Nicholson, Debra Winger
Bottom Line: ‘Terms of Endearment’
“Terms of Endearment” was filmed in and around Lincoln, Nebraska, and features the University of Nebraska and the university medical center. The story revolves around a divorced middle-aged woman, Aurora, and her married daughter, Emma, dealing with their relationship with each other and with the men in their lives.
The film won five Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor.
Nevada: 'Ocean's Eleven'
Release date: Dec. 7, 2001
Directed by: Steven Soderbergh
Starring: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts
Bottom Line: 'Ocean's Eleven'
One of the most well-known films set in Nevada is “Ocean’s Eleven.” The film tells the story of a master criminal, Danny Ocean (George Clooney), who recruits a team of 10 men to help him rob three Las Vegas casinos owned by a mob boss.
The film is just a lot of fun with some of Hollywood’s best stars doing what they do best.
New Hampshire: ‘Jumanji’
Release date: Dec. 15, 1995
Directed by: Joe Johnston
Starring: Robin Williams, Kirsten Dunst, David Alan Grier
Bottom Line: ‘Jumanji’
The classic adventure comedy “Jumanji” is set in New Hampshire and was filmed in the town of Keene. Two kids, Judy and Peter, find a magical board game in the attic of their house. When they start playing it, they release a man, Alan (Robin Williams), who was trapped in the game many years before as a boy.
The trio has to finish playing the game to survive. “Jumanji’s” popularity generated two movie sequels and a TV series.
New Jersey: ‘Clerks’
Release date: Oct. 19, 1994
Directed by: Kevin Smith
Starring: Kevin Smith, Jeff Anderson, Brian O'Halloran
Bottom Line: ‘Clerks’
The classic film “Clerks,” set in New Jersey, launched the career of director Kevin Smith, best known for making “Chasing Amy” and the “Jay and Silent Bob” movies.
The film revolves around a group of friends who work dead-end jobs in a convenience store, hate the customers and play hockey on the store roof. We miss the simplicity of these ’90s movies!
New Mexico: ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’
Release date: Dec. 29, 1967
Directed by: Sergio Leone
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, Lee Van Cleef
Bottom Line: ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’
“The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” is widely considered one of the most classic American Western films — and it was made by an Italian director, Sergio Leone. The film tells the story of three men, a professional gunslinger, a hitman and an outlaw, who join forces to hunt for a fortune in buried gold.
Actor Clint Eastwood wears a poncho halfway through the movie and would go on to make this his trademark look in other Western films. Although the film is set in New Mexico, it was actually shot in Spain.
New York: ‘When Harry Met Sally’
Release date: July 21, 1989
Directed by: Rob Reiner
Starring: Meg Ryan, Billy Crystal, Carrie Fisher
Bottom Line: ‘When Harry Met Sally’
“When Harry Met Sally” is a classic New York City movie and one of the most memorable films set in the Big Apple. Who can ever forget the classic deli scene where Meg Ryan fakes an orgasm?
The movie tells the story of two friends, Harry (Billy Crystal) and Sally, who look for love in all the wrong places until they finally realize that they are perfect for each other.
North Carolina: ‘Bull Durham’
Release date: June 15, 1988
Directed by: Ron Shelton
Starring: Kevin Costner, Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon
Bottom Line: ‘Bull Durham’
The baseball film, “Bull Durham,” is a natural choice for the best movie set in North Carolina, a state that loves sports. The story revolves around an experienced minor league catcher (Kevin Costner) who is coaching a rookie pitcher (Tim Robbins). They both become involved with a baseball groupie (Susan Sarandon) who has an affair with a new player each season.
The film was shot in and around the city of Durham and features a number of well-known baseball fields in the area. The film has been dubbed an accurate portrayal of the world of minor league baseball.
North Dakota: ‘Fargo’
Release date: March 8, 1996
Directed by: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Starring: Frances McDormand, William H. Macy, Steve Buscemi
Bottom Line: ‘Fargo’
North Dakota, you knew this was coming. While the film “Fargo” will be forever associated with the town of Fargo, the action actually takes place in both North Dakota and Minnesota. The film follows the adventures of a car salesman (William H. Macy) with financial problems who hires two inept criminals (Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare) to kidnap his wife so her wealthy father will pay a ransom.
The criminals accidently kill the woman and several other people. A relentless pregnant sheriff is determined to solve the murders. Frances McDormand won the Oscar for Best Actress for her role as the sheriff.
Ohio: ‘Rain Man’
Release date: Dec. 12, 1988
Directed by: Barry Levinson
Starring: Tom Cruise, Dustin Hoffman, Valeria Golino
Bottom Line: ‘Rain Man’
In “Rain Man”, the central character, Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise), is estranged from his wealthy father. When his father dies, Charlie learns that all the money has been left in a trust to an older brother, Raymond (Dustin Hoffman), who is an autistic savant and lives at the fictional Walbrook Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Charlie kidnaps Raymond and takes him to Las Vegas to win at the card tables. The film was highly acclaimed, winning Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Director and Best Screenplay.
Release date: May 10, 1996
Directed by: Jan de Bont
Starring: Bill Paxton, Helen Hunt, Philip Seymour Hoffman
Bottom Line: ‘Twister’
“Twister” is the story of a couple, a weather man and his researcher wife (Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt), who are going through a divorce but must still team up with a group of tornado chasers to launch a revolutionary measuring device into the heart of a tornado.
The film features scenes of farmland in rural Oklahoma, aka “tornado country.” The town of Wakita has a museum dedicated to twisters and to the movie.
Oregon: ‘The Goonies’
Release date: June 7, 1985
Directed by: Richard Donner
Starring: Josh Brolin, Sean Astin, Corey Feldman
Bottom Line: ‘The Goonies’
“The Goonies” is a classic kids’ film from the 1980s with a bit of a cult-like following. Set in Oregon, the movie was filmed in the city of Astoria and along the Pacific Coast.
The story follows a group of kids who find an old pirate map and set out to find the long-lost treasure of One-Eyed Willy. It’s a wonderful coming-of-age tale written by Steven Spielberg, who also makes a cameo appearance.
Release date: Dec. 3, 1976
Directed by: John G. Avildsen
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young
Bottom Line: ‘Rocky’
The classic movie “Rocky” tells the story of a struggling small-time boxer, Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone). Rocky is chosen for an exhibition match with heavyweight champion Apollo Creed, and Creed is expected to easily win.
However, Rocky is determined to give Creed the fight of his life. The film is set in Philadelphia and features an iconic scene where the hero runs up the stairs of the Philadelphia Museum of Art — one that both locals and tourists alike often try to recreate.
Rhode Island: ‘The Witches of Eastwick’
Release date: June 12, 1987
Directed by: George Miller
Starring: Michelle Pfeiffer, Cher, Susan Sarandon
Bottom Line: ‘The Witches of Eastwick’
The popular romantic comedy, “The Witches of Eastwick,” is based on a John Updike novel and set in the fictional town of Eastwick, Rhode Island. The story centers on three single women (Michelle Pfeiffer, Cher and Susan Sarandon) who become involved with a mysterious stranger (Jack Nicholson) who arrives in town.
The stranger is likely the Devil in disguise, has affairs with all three women and grants each of them a secret wish. While the movie was originally set to be filmed in Little Compton, Rhode Island, a local church decided that it didn’t want to be involved with the film’s production. Instead, it was filmed in various Massachusetts towns nearby, still imbuing that New England charm.
South Carolina: ‘The Big Chill’
Release date: Sept. 28, 1983
Directed by: Lawrence Kasdan
Starring: Glenn Close, Tom Berenger, Kevin Kline
Bottom Line: ‘The Big Chill’
“The Big Chill” is set in rural South Carolina. The story follows a group of seven college classmates who gather for a reunion after a funeral.
Fun fact: The star-studded cast also included a young Kevin Costner, but all his scenes were deleted in the final movie.
South Dakota: ‘Dances With Wolves’
Release date: Nov. 21, 1990
Directed by: Kevin Costner
Starring: Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Graham Greene
Bottom Line: ‘Dances With Wolves’
The classic Western film, “Dances With Wolves,” tells the story of a Civil War hero, Lt. John Dunbar (Kevin Costner yet again), who is sent to a remote army outpost on the Western frontier in South Dakota at the end of the war.
There, he makes friends with wolves and local Sioux Indians and makes peace with the trauma he experienced in the war. The film won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay.
Release date: June 11, 1975
Directed by: Robert Altman
Starring: Ronee Blakley, Keith Carradine, Karen Black
Bottom Line: ‘Nashville’
The movie “Nashville” weaves together the intersecting stories of 24 characters in Nashville’s political world and country and gospel music scenes over five days, as the city prepares to host a political convention.
It really doesn’t get much more Tennessee than this, as Nashville is the state’s capital city and the heart of country music in America.
Texas: ‘No Country for Old Men’
Release date: Nov. 9, 2007
Directed by: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Starring: Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Tommy Lee Jones
Bottom Line: ‘No Country for Old Men’
The crime drama “No Country for Old Men” is set in rural Texas, near the Rio Grande. The story revolves around a welder, Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin), who is on a hunting trip and stumbles across the bodies of rival drug runners who have killed each other in a deal that went wrong.
Moss decides to steal the money — $2 million — himself. A psychopathic killer (Javier Bardem at his creepiest) tracks Moss down to get back the money, leaving a trail of bodies in his wake. A sheriff tries to stop the killings but is always one step behind. Another Coen Brothers movie that the duo wrote and directed, the film swept the Oscars and won Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, Best Director and Best Screenplay.
Release date: Feb. 17, 1984
Directed by: Herbert Ross
Starring: Kevin Bacon, Lori Singer, John Lithgow
Bottom Line: ‘Footloose’
The classic romantic teen film “Footloose” was set and filmed in Utah. The story revolves around a teenager (Kevin Bacon) who moves from Chicago to a small town in Utah where dancing and rock music are banned.
He decides to fight back against the restrictive rules by getting everyone to dance at the upcoming Senior Prom. Iconic songs such as “Footloose” and “Let’s Hear It For The Boy” came from this movie.
Vermont: ‘Dead Poets Society’
Release date: June 2, 1989
Directed by: Peter Weir
Starring: Robin Williams, Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard
Bottom Line: ‘Dead Poets Society’
The teen drama “Dead Poets Society” is set in the 1950s at the fictional Welton Boys Academy in Vermont. The story revolves around a new English teacher (Robin Williams) who was once a student at the conservative school. He inspires his students through poetry to be true to their own inner desires.
However, the teacher gets into trouble with both school authorities and parents when the boys begin to rebel against parental wishes and school regulations.
Virginia: ‘Remember the Titans’
Release date: Sept. 23, 2000
Directed by: Boaz Yakin
Starring: Denzel Washington, Ryan Hurst, Ryan Gosling
Bottom Line: ‘Remember the Titans’
Based on a true story, “Remember the Titans” takes place at the first racially integrated high school in Virginia in 1971. A new Black head coach (Denzel Washington) is hired over the current white coach, causing racial conflicts to erupt.
The team will become a unifying symbol for both the school and the community as the players advance to the state finals.
Washington: ‘Sleepless in Seattle’
Release date: June 25, 1993
Directed by: Nora Ephron
Starring: Meg Ryan, Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson
Bottom Line: ‘Sleepless in Seattle’
The romantic comedy “Sleepless in Seattle” is set in Seattle, Washington. Starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, the movie tells the story of a young boy who tries to find a new partner for his widowed father.
A female reporter from New York City travels to Seattle to meet the son and father and tell their story, of course, falling in love in the process.
West Virginia: ‘October Sky’
Release date: Feb. 19, 1999
Directed by: Joe Johnston
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Laura Dern, Chris Cooper
Bottom Line: ‘October Sky’
The film “October Sky” is the true story of Homer Hickam (Jake Gyllenhaal), a boy from a coal-mining town in West Virginia who became an aerospace engineer at NASA and helped design spacecraft and train astronauts.
Hickam was inspired by the launch of the Soviet Sputnik and got a college scholarship after winning a science fair, despite opposition from his coal miner father. The movie is based on Hickam’s memoir of growing up in West Virginia.
Release date: April 28, 2011
Directed by: Paul Feig
Starring: Kristine Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne
Bottom Line: ‘Bridesmaids’
The comedy “Bridesmaids” is set primarily in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The story revolves around Annie (Kristen Wiig), an out-of-work baker, with a disastrous love life. Her best friend, Lillian (Maya Rudolph), asks Annie to be the maid of honor at her wedding.
Annie is overwhelmed by the demands of the role and engages in a hilarious rivalry with another bridesmaid who also wants the honorary role.
Wyoming: ‘Brokeback Mountain’
Release date: Dec. 9, 2005
Directed by: Ang Lee
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Heath Ledger, Michelle Williams
Bottom Line: ‘Brokeback Mountain’
The film “Brokeback Mountain” is set in the mountains of Wyoming in Grand Tetons National Park. The movie is set over many years and tells the story of two cowboys (Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger) who become friends and fall in love.
The two men are unable to deal with their true feelings for each other. They both go their separate ways, get married and start families but reunite every year for a fishing trip.