Fifty States Are Enough


Beaufort, South Carolina, is an East Coast movie set.   The Great Santini, G.I. Jane, Something to Talk About, The Big Chill, and Prince of Tides were all shot there.  So was Forrest Gump, which surely claims more locations than just about any other film.   I can see why charming Beaufort attracted filmmakers.   A lot of small towns benefit from connections with particular films.  In Washington State, Forks was just a rained-upon, blue collar town until it became associated with the Twilight series.  More than 12 movies have been made in Crawfordville, Georgia.

At least 22 movies have been made in South Dakota. A lot of them– Head of State, The NeverEnding Story, Nebraska, and Even Hitler Had a Girlfriend are some of the films that have a Mount Rushmore connection.  So does Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest.  I mentioned previously that Dances with Wolves did a lot of location shooting in the Pierre area.

About 150 films have been made in diverse Tennessee.   Memphis alone has appeared in 3 dozen films like The Firm, The Client, Great Balls of Fire! etc.  And then there’s Nashville.  We recently saw 21 Grams, which also shot scenes in Memphis. This film was directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu, who has gone on to glory with Birdman and The Revenant.

Texas!  This state not only has films made there, it’s home to notable filmmakers like Richard Linklater (Boyhood), Richard Rodriguez (Spy Kids), Terrence Malick (Days of Heaven), and Mike Judge (Idiocracy).

Utah is associated with horror films, movies about Mormons, and, of course, westerns.  Don’t Go in the Woods, Mobsters and Mormons, and Riders of the Purple Sage have resulted.   More familiar ones made in Utah featured Hal the Computer, Austin Powers, Marty McFly, and Benji.

Little Vermont has had more than 20 films made within its borders.  Horror flicks and comedies seem to be shot there--Funny Farm, What Lies Beneath, Baby Boom, etc.  Sometimes the 2 genres combine.  Beetlejuice was shot in Vermont. Alfred Hitchcock was not usually associated with comedy, but he made The Trouble With Harry in Vermont.

Movies about Presidents and films with patriotic themes and/or Civil War connections are often made in Virginia–Argo, JFK, Lincoln, Cold Mountain, Gods and Generals, etc.  I suspect that places like Arlington National Cemetery and The Pentagon affect Virginia location choices.

Over 100 movies have been made so far in my current home state, Washington. I’ve already mentioned Forks.  An Officer and a Gentlemen starred Washington’s Fort Worden, which is near scenic Port Townsend.   I haven’t seen any of Elvis Presley’s 31 films, so I just found out that he came to Seattle to make It Happened at the World’s Fair in 1962.  Sleepless in SEATTLE!

If Wikipedia found them all, 38 movies have been shot in West Virginia so far.   They tend to be rather obscure–Bubble, Holy Ghost People, Memory Lane, etc. When you read about that last one, you won’t be surprised to learn that WildEye Releasing distributed it. Silent Hill was made in West Virginia, but so was The Silence of the Lambs.

Largely because the University of Wisconsin is there, 6 movies have been made in Madison, Wisconsin.   Probably the most successful one was Back to School.  Of the other twenty plus movies shot in this state, it’s hard to beat Bridesmaids.

I’m glad there’s no state named Zebulon.   Wyoming is #50 and will probably remain the last alphabetically.  Because of its often bleak terrain, a lot of the fewer than 30 movies made there have been westerns–Shane, The Outlaw Josey Wales, Unforgiven.  Is Brokeback Mountain considered a western?  It was probably made in Wyoming because its author, Annie Proulx, lives there.



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About roadsrus

Since the beginning, I've had to avoid writing about the downside of travel in order to sell more than 100 articles. Just because something negative happened doesn't mean your trip was ruined. But tell that to publishers who are into 5-star cruise and tropical beach fantasies. I want to tell what happened on my way to the beach, and it may not have been all that pleasant. My number one rule of the road's disaster is tomorrow's great story. My travel experiences have appeared in about twenty magazines and newspapers. I've been in all 50 states more than once and more than 50 countries. Ruth and I love to travel internationally--Japan, Canada, China, Argentina, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, etc. Within the next 2 years we will have visited all of the European countries. But our favorite destination is Australia. Ruth and I have been there 9 times. I've written a book about Australia's Outback, ALONE NEAR ALICE, which is available through both Amazon & Barnes & Noble. My first fictional work, MOVING FORWARD, GETTING NOWHERE, has recently been posted on Amazon. It's a contemporary, hopefully funny re-telling of The Odyssey. View all posts by roadsrus

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