A lot of aspects come into play when filming a movie, such as the talent, costume and set design, and setting. Now, a lot of us would like to believe that a majority of films are set in major cities, such as New York and Los Angeles, but that isn’t the case for all movies.
The critically acclaimed film Moonlight is actually set and filmed in Miami, Florida, and the action-adventure film The Goonies is set on a famous beach in Oregon. Keep reading to learn more about some famous films that take place in various states across the US.
Alabama –To Kill A Mockingbird
Gregory Peck stars as attorney Atticus Finch in the powerful screen adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird. The story follows Finch as he defends an African-American man wrongfully accused of assaulting a woman. Unfortunately, the film is set in Alabama during the 1930s, so racism and bigotry were at an all-time high.
The famous film is one that everyone should watch at least one in their life. It was met with excellent reviews and even won three Academy Awards, including one for Best Actor and a nomination for Best Picture.
Alaska – Insomnia
One of the most famous movies set in Alaska is the 2002 thriller Insomnia, starring Robin Williams and Al Pacino. Directed by Christopher Nolan, the film follows veteran police detective Will Dormer was he travels to Nightmute, Alaska, to investigate the murder of a young girl. Little did Dormer know, but he was about to embark on a cat-and-mouse chase with his lead suspect, Walter Finch.
Unfortunately for detective Dormer, as weird events start to unfold, he slowly becomes unstable. If you’re interested in thriller films, this is one you’re not going to want to pass up watching.
Arkansas – True Grit
The Coen Brothers western drama True Grit is set in the wilderness of Arkansas. Following the story of 14-year-old farm girl Mattie Ross, the story takes a turn when the feisty teen decides to avenge her murdered father, hiring lawman Rooster Cogburn to find outlaw Tom Chaney.
Along the way, the duo comes in contact with Texas Ranger LaBoeuf, who, as it so happens, is also searching for Chaney. So, the ragtag team of a ranger, teenage girl, and trigger-happy lawman make their way into the wilderness to deliver some much-needed Old Western justice to the outlaw.
Colorado – The Shining
Fans of Stanley Kubrick’s psychological horror film The Shining will be happy to know that the movie is filmed and set in Colorado at The Stanley Hotel. This place inspired the fictional Outlook Hotel. The film follows Jack Torrance as he brings his family to the Outlook Hotel, hoping that a change of scenery will help his writer’s block.
Although his writing gets no better, Jack quickly discovers some dark secrets within the hotel’s walls. Soon, he unravels into a homicidal maniac who is determined to terrorize his family. Maybe he should have paid closer attention to his psychic premonition son’s visions.
Connecticut –Beetle Juice
Beetle Juice, Beetle Juice, Beetle Juice, is set in the beautiful eastern state of Connecticut. Tom Burton’s dark comedy follows the story of Barbara and Adam Maitland, a married couple who pass away in a car crash and are left to haunt their country-side residence. That is until the Deetzes, and their gothic teen daughter Lydia show up.
Now, it’s game on, and the Maitland’s will stop at nothing until they get the obnoxious family out of their home. The only issue is when they call upon the rambunxious spirit Beetle Juice for help, things become dangerous for both the souls as well as the innocent teenage girl.
Idaho – Napoleon Dynamite
Considering the scenery throughout Napoleon Dynamite, it’s no surprise that the movie is set in the farm-state Idaho. If you’re unfamiliar with the 2004 Indie film that had everyone wearing “Vote for Pedro” shirts, let us fill in some plot points. The movie follows Napoleon Dynamite, a beyond awkward teenager who is bullied at school and home.
With no safe haven, he befriends the new kid, Pedro, who happens to speak little to no English. Together, they decide the only way to become popular is for Pedro to run for student body president. Oh, and there is an awesome dance number thrown in there, too.
Florida – Moonlight
The coming-of-age drama Moonlight is set and was also filmed in Miami, Florida. This movie is interesting because it presents the life of the main character, Chiron, in three stages, his youth, adolescence, and early adulthood. The film is very emotional, dealing with heavy themes such as identity, love, and community.
If you have yet to have the privilege of watching Moonlight, you’re going to want to add it to your must-watch list. The film is critically acclaimed, winning several awards, including an Academy Award for Best Picture. Trust us when we say there won’t be a dry in the room after the credit roll.
Illinois – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Since a lot of the film shows Ferris and his friends playing around Chicago, it probably comes as no surprise to learn that Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was also filmed in Illinois and not on a Hollywood set. Starring Matthew Broderick as the title character, the film follows the class-cutting high school student as he plans one more day of hooky before graduation.
His genius plan – to “borrow” a Ferrari and roam the streets of Chicago. Little does Ferris know, but his enemy, principal Rooney, isn’t too far behind. This feel-good comedy is definitely what one would call a crowd pleaser
Louisiana – Interview With The Vampire
If you want to watch some Hollywood heartthrobs try their best at a Louisiana accent, you’re in for a treat with Interview With The Vampire. Tom Cruise, Bradd Pitt, and Antonio Banderas make up some of the New Orleans vampires, a weird family. The film follows Louis, an 18th-century-lord turned vampire who spills his dark hunger, loneliness, betrayal, and love to an overly-curious reporter.
Then, Louis sees his maker for who he truly is violent. A wedge is driven between the two when Lestat persuades Louis to stay “in the family” by turning a young girl. The act didn’t mend things between the two.
Maine – The Shawshank Redemption
The emotional Frank Darabont film The Shawshank Redemption is set in picturesque Maine. Following the story of Andy Dufresne, the film brings the viewers into his new reality, two life terms in a tough prison for the murder of his wife and her lover.
There, he forms an unlikely friendship with another inmate, Red, and is wrapped into helping the warden with some illegal activity. The Shawshank Redemption went on to win seven Academy Awards during the 1995 ceremony, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Morgan Freeman’s portrayal of Red.
Maryland – The Blair Witch Project
The Blair Witch Project, set in Maryland, is said to have forever changed the horror genre. Keep in mind this is a fictional movie shot as though it were a documentary, making it all that more terrifying. It follows the story of three student filmmakers who venture to the Black Hills near Burkittsville, Maryland, in 1994. They hope to document the local legend, the Blair Witch.
Unfortunately for the students, they disappear, with their equipment being recovered a year later. It is the recovered footage that the audience watches. To date, The Blaire Witch Project is the most successful independent film of all time.
Massachusetts – Good Will Hunting
As Matt Damon’s character Will Hunting works at MIT as a janitor, regardless of having a genius-level IQ, it’s no surprise that the film is set in the beautiful state of Massachusetts. The story follows Hunting as he is taken under the wing of Professor Gerald Lambeau.
Although, it’s not the professor who gets into the title character’s head, but rather Robin William’s psychiatrist character, Dr. Sean Maguire, who helps Hunting deal with his issues. During the 1997 Academy Awards, the film won two Oscars, one for Best Supporting Actor for Williams and the other for Best Original Screenplay for Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.
Minnesota – The Mighty Ducks
Alright, 90s babies, we’re taking it back to Minnesota, where the Mighty Duck ice hockey team was first formed by the one and only Gordon Bombay, aka Emilio Estevez. The film follows Bombay’s fall from star lawyer-grace to being handed community service for driving under the influence. His sentence: to coach a kid’s ice hockey team.
Of course, the high-end lawyer isn’t amused by the prospect of returning to the ice after his personal history with the sport. But, like any good underdog story, he gets out of his slump and helps the kids become the best athletes they can be at their young ages.
New Hampshire – Jumanji
The old-school 90s film Jumanji starring the one and only Robin Williams is set in the beautiful state of New Hampshire. If you haven’t seen this classic, let us break it down for you. Teenager Alan Parrish hears drumming and finds a board game. Normal people would be a little suspect, but he decides to play with the girl next door, Sarah Whittle.
Long story short, Parish is sucked into the board game, Whittle gets spooked, and years later, two orphans find the unfinished game and free a now grown Alan from the jungle. Oh, but they have to finish it before all of the evils of Jumanji are unleashed.
New York – Ghostbusters
Although a lot of famous movies were shot in New York, one of the more famous films is Ghostbusters. Starring Billy Murrey, Harold Ramis, and Dan Aykroyd as scientists who lose their jobs at a New York university, the film follows the men as they find a new way to spend their time, ghost hunting, with the help of Ernie Hudson.
Unfortunately for the amateur supernatural hunters, they never expected to find a portal to another dimension. If the portal opens, evil will be unleashed on all of New York. So, it is up to the three scientists to save the city, obviously.
North Dakota – Fargo
The critically acclaimed crime film Fargo is set in the town of the same name in North Dakota, accounting for much of the snowy scenery in the movie. Set in 1987, the film follows the story of Jerry Lundegaard, a car salesman who finds himself in a bit of debt.
So, the obvious conclusion is to hire thugs to kidnap his wife, have his father-in-law pay a hefty ransom, and use the funds to pay off the debt. What could possibly go wrong? Oh, the thugs shoot a trooper, and everything spirals downhill fast. Yea, you’re not going to want to miss this thriller.
Oregon – The Goonies
If you’re ever interested to see a young Josh Brolin and Sean Astin, then you’re going to want to watch The Goonies. This action-adventure film follows a group of kids from the “Goon Docks” neighborhood of Astoria, Oregon, who try to save their homes from being foreclosed.
In doing so, they discover an old treasure map that will lead them to the long-lost treasure of the infamous 17th-century pirate One-Eyed Willy. Their journey isn’t easy, and they find themselves being chased by a family of criminals. If you’re having a hard time picturing the film being set in Oregon, just look out for Haystack Rock’s cameo.
Pennsylvania – Rocky
Sylvester Stallone’s 1976 sports drama Rocky is set in the greater part of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, including the famous Art Museum where Rocky Balboa runs up the stairs. As the story goes, the film follows the life of Rocky Balboa as he goes from amateur boxer to a legend, taking on heavy-weight champion Apollo Creed.
With the help of his feisty trainer Mickey, best friend Paulie, and love-interest Adrian, Rocky does all he can to prove he has what it takes to compete with the best of the best. And if this film interests you, you’ll be happy to know there are a few more in the series!
Rhode Island – The Conjuring
It seems as though Hollywood just loves to take New England states and make them as spooky as possible, as they did with the quaint state of Rhode Island and The Conjuring. Although the film is allegedly based on a true ghost story of a haunted Rhode Island farmhouse, so it makes sense.
The story follows the investigations led by Lorraine and Ed, two demonologists who are called to Carolyn and Roger Perron’s house after supernatural events occur. But what starts off as kind of a boring investigation turns downright horrifying really fast. The Conjuring is the perfect film for any horror movie enthusiast.
Vermont – Dead Poets Society
As a new English professor at an all-boys prep school, John Keating, played by Robin Williams, does all he can to teach his students how to seize the day. With beautiful Vermont for the setting, the film follows Keating and his unorthodox teaching methods as he helps his students come out of their shells while helping them cope with some of the pressure they’re facing from both the school and their parents.
Critics raved about the performance given by Williams, saying, “[he] reads his lines stunningly, and when he mimics various actors reciting Shakespeare, there’s no undue clowning in it; he’s a gifted teacher demonstrating his skills.”