What Is the Best Movie Set and/or Filmed in Your State?

 

Yesterday in the GLoP cast there was a discussion of the best New York City film. It is not an easy choice, just as picking the best Los Angeles film or the best Chicago film isn’t easy.

Last year my wife and I traveled to every state. There were a number of things we did in every state, along with going to a church, a bar and to a movie theater. We also watched a movie that was set or filmed in that state. The DVD folder we travelled with covered most states, but not all — and sometimes we didn’t have a DVD for a state or access to a DVD player, so we needed to stream. Sometimes it was hard to pick the film because there were so many choices (see above). Sometimes, in places like Delaware and West Virginia it was difficult because the choices were so limited. And some places we felt we had no choice. We had to watch Oklahoma in Oklahoma. But we persevered, and here are the films that represented each state (and the District of Columbia):

  • Nevada – Lost in America (1985)
  • Arizona  – Raising Arizona (1987)
  • New Mexico  – Silverado (1985)
  • Texas – Office Space (1999)
  • Oklahoma – Oklahoma (1955)
  • Kansas – Elmer Gantry (1960)
  • Missouri – Paper Moon (1973)
  • Arkansas – True Grit (1969)
  • Louisiana – Miller’s Crossing (1990)
  • Mississippi – My Dog Skip (2000)
  • Alabama – My Cousin Vinny (1992)
  • Florida – Matinee (1993)
  • Georgia – The General (1926)
  • South Carolina – The Great Santini (1979)
  • North Carolina – Bull Durham (1988)
  • Tennessee – Starman (1984)
  • Kentucky – Goldfinger (1964)
  • West Virginia – A Killing Affair (1977)
  • Virginia – The Littlest Rebel (1935)
  • Maryland – Broadcast News (1987)
  • Delaware – Clean and Sober (1988)
  • Pennsylvania – Rocky (1976)
  • New Jersey – The Station Agent (2003)
  • New York – When Harry Met Sally (1989)
  • Alaska  – The Gold Rush (1925)
  • Hawaii – Lilo and Stitch (2002)
  • Washington – House of Games (1987)
  • Connecticut – Beetlejuice (1988)
  • Rhode Island – Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
  • Massachusetts – The Crucible (1996)
  • New Hampshire – What About Bob? (1991)
  • Maine – The Iron Giant (1999)
  • Vermont – Nothing Sacred (1937)
  • Ohio – The Kings of Summer (2013)
  • Michigan – Grosse Pointe Blank (1997)
  • Indiana – Hoosiers (1986)
  • Illinois – The Untouchables (1987)
  • Wisconsin – Wayne’s World (1992)
  • Minnesota – A Serious Man (2009)
  • Iowa – Field of Dreams (1989)
  • Nebraska – About Schmidt (2002)
  • South Dakota – North by Northwest (1959)
  • North Dakota – Fargo (1996)
  • Colorado – The Prestige (2006)
  • Utah – Fletch (1985)
  • Wyoming – Unforgiven (1992)
  • Montana – Little Big Man (1970)
  • Idaho – Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
  • Oregon – Meek’s Cutoff (2010)
  • California – Die Hard (1988)

District of Columbia bonus – The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

So did we pick the right film for your state? Where did we go wrong?

(The states are listed in the order of our travels with the exception of D.C. which fell between Virginia and Maryland)

There are 160 comments.

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  1. Isaac Smith Member
    Isaac Smith
    @

    Fargo, the city, is located in North Dakota; Fargo, the movie, is set entirely in Minnesota, doncha know?

    • #1
  2. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) was filmed in Kingsland, Bastrop, and Leander Texas.

    Just sayin’.

    Seawriter

    • #2
  3. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    Seawriter (View Comment):
    Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) was filmed in Kingsland, Bastrop, and Leander Texas.

    Just sayin’.

    Seawriter

    Dazed and Confused (1993) in Austin, TEXAS.

    • #3
  4. Eustace C. Scrubb Member
    Eustace C. Scrubb
    @EustaceCScrubb

    Isaac Smith

     Fargo, the city, is located in North Dakota; Fargo, the movie, is set entirely in Minnesota, doncha know?

    It’s not like we had an overabundance of films to choose from in North Dakota. We watched many films that were “set” in a state, but not filmed there. (Oklahoma, for example, was filmed in Arizona and California.)

    According to Wikipedia, parts of Fargo were filmed in North Dakota: “Fargo was filmed during the winter of 1995, mainly in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area and around the actual town of Brainerd (which was the film’s original title). Due to unusually low snowfall totals in central and southern Minnesota that winter, scenes requiring snow-covered landscapes had to be shot in northern Minnesota and eastern North Dakota (though not in Fargo itself).”

    Not all of the film is set in Minnesota. Jerry travels to Fargo, North Dakota to hire the kidnappers.

    • #4
  5. Eustace C. Scrubb Member
    Eustace C. Scrubb
    @EustaceCScrubb

    @seawriter There was give and take between my wife and I about which films to watch and I’m sure Tobe Hooper’s classic would been vetoed. Texas was one of the states with a great abundance of choices, including a number of Richard Linklater films, @jimmycarterDazed and Confused would have been a fine selection.

    • #5
  6. Fred Cole Member
    Fred Cole
    @FredCole

    Can I go the other way?   The Place Beyond the Pines was filmed in and around Schenectady, and that film is terrible.  It’s set here too.

    • #6
  7. Fred Cole Member
    Fred Cole
    @FredCole

    The Other Guys was partially filmed in downtown Albany.  (Some of the exterior action shots have downtown Albany standing in for Manhattan.)  That’s actually pretty good.

    • #7
  8. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    I’m going with two from my home states that I think are not only good but also capture a sense of the places in which they were filmed.

    Massachusetts:  The Friends of Eddie Coyle

    Virginia/DC: No Way Out

    • #8
  9. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Wayne’s World was set in Aurora, IL wasn’t it? I know many scenes were filmed there and in Chicago.

    • #9
  10. Robert McReynolds Member
    Robert McReynolds
    @RobertMcReynolds

    Calamity Jane for South Dakota. One of my favorites when I was a kid.

    • #10
  11. Steve C. Member
    Steve C.
    @user_531302

    Texas – How could it not be The Alamo (1960)….

    Some trivia from Wayne’s Alamo

    Originally to save on expenses, director John Wayne planned to shoot the film in Mexico. The Daughters of the Republic of Texas (the custodians of the real Alamo) sent him a letter that if he pursued that course of action, he had better not show the film in Texas. Consequently Wayne found an amenable landowner, Happy Shahan, who allowed the production to film on his 20,000-acre ranch in Bracketville, Texas. When Wayne asked to meet the builder, he was introduced to a Mexican immigrant. A rather dubious Wayne asked him, “Do you think you can build the Alamo?” to which the Mexican replied, “Do you think you can make a picture, Mr. Wayne?”

    • #11
  12. MLH Member
    MLH
    @MLH

    Junior Bonner

    3:10 to Yuma

    • #12
  13. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Ed G. (View Comment):
    Wayne’s World was set in Aurora, IL wasn’t it? I know many scenes were filmed there and in Chicago.

    “We are not worthy” is up there with “Bueller, Bueller” for Illinois, I think

     

    • #13
  14. Matt Balzer Member
    Matt Balzer
    @MattBalzer

    Ed G. (View Comment):
    Wayne’s World was set in Aurora, IL wasn’t it? I know many scenes were filmed there and in Chicago.

    Mostly, but they did go to see Alice Cooper in Milwaukee.

     

    • #14
  15. Richard Easton Member
    Richard Easton
    @RichardEaston

    I don’t live in Massachusetts, but Mystery Street, with Ricardo Montalbaum playing a cop, is a good movie.

    • #15
  16. Umbra Fractus Member
    Umbra Fractus
    @UmbraFractus

    Eustace C. Scrubb (View Comment):

    @seawriter There was give and take between my wife and I about which films to watch and I’m sure Tobe Hooper’s classic would been vetoed. Texas was one of the states with a great abundance of choices, including a number of Richard Linklater films, @jimmycarterDazed and Confused would have been a fine selection.

    As far a Richard Linklater films go, Bernie is underrated and worth seeing. Featuring Jack Black in the least Jack Black role you’ll ever see him in. I don’t know where it was filmed, but it’s set in Carthage, Texas.

    • #16
  17. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    The General for Georgia?

    Excuse me, how about the movie that brought in the most money in adjusted dollars in history?

     

     

    • #17
  18. Daniel Brass Member
    Daniel Brass
    @DanielBrass

    I am from Ohio.  We can claim the Shawshank Redemption (meh) and The Avengers (yeah!).

    • #18
  19. Amy Schley Moderator
    Amy Schley
    @AmySchley

    Missouri/Kansas: Ride with the Devil (good)

    Missouri/Kansas: The Day After (bad)

    • #19
  20. John Peabody Member
    John Peabody
    @JohnAPeabody

    For Minnesota, I might choice “Fargo” or “A Serious Man”, but for the greatest number of location shots, see  “Foolin’ Around”. It includes a large chase sequence that crashes all over the Twin Cities, in a mind-spinning way for locals to observe.

    My other cinematic note for the state: Eddie Albert, graduate of West High in Minneapolis, appears in three films shot in the city: “The Heartbreak Kid”,  “Foolin’ Around”, and “Take This Job and Shove It”.

    Greatest Minnesota moment missed: In the novel that created the movie “Field of Dreams”, there’s a scene where the characters break into Metropolitan Stadium at midnight to play a little ball. Alas, the stadium was torn down by the time of filming.

    • #20
  21. Eustace C. Scrubb Member
    Eustace C. Scrubb
    @EustaceCScrubb

    @umbrafractus Bernie was filmed in Texas and it is pretty great. The blog linked to is about churches in films, and I really have to write about that film sometime.

    • #21
  22. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    As much as I like the Untouchables (except for the score), I can think of several others I would put above it as better capturing a period or region of the city:

    Eight Men Out; Backdraft; The Sting; The Blues Brothers; Barbershop; Bugsy Malone; Only the Lonely; Cooley High.

    • #22
  23. Michael Brehm Coolidge
    Michael Brehm
    @MichaelBrehm

    You all remember this *ahem* blockbuster from the year 2000, right? Well, they filmed parts of it in my area. John Travolta reportedly visited the movie theater where I worked, on a night I wasn’t scheduled. And that is the story of How I Almost (Sorta) Met John Travolta (Alternative title: Dave the Projectionist Tells Another Whopper)

    • #23
  24. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    Dang, I forgot Urban Cowboy (1980) Houston, TEXAS. Classic.

    • #24
  25. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    I think the best Illinois movie I would say is Blues Brothers, though the best movie for enjoying the City of Chicago is Ferris Buller’s Day Off which basically can serves as the unofficial Chicago Tourism Department video.

    • #25
  26. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    John Peabody (View Comment):
    For Minnesota, I might choice “Fargo” or “A Serious Man”, but for the greatest number of location shots, see “Foolin’ Around”. It includes a large chase sequence that crashes all over the Twin Cities, in a mind-spinning way for locals to observe.

    My other cinematic note for the state: Eddie Albert, graduate of West High in Minneapolis, appears in three films shot in the city: “The Heartbreak Kid”, “Foolin’ Around”, and “Take This Job and Shove It”.

    Greatest Minnesota moment missed: In the novel that created the movie “Field of Dreams”, there’s a scene where the characters break into Metropolitan Stadium at midnight to play a little ball. Alas, the stadium was torn down by the time of filming.

    Isn’t Fargo in North Dakota?

    • #26
  27. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Michael Brehm (View Comment):

    You all remember this *ahem* blockbuster from the year 2000, right? Well, they filmed parts of it in my area. John Travolta reportedly visited the movie theater where I worked, on a night I wasn’t scheduled. And that is the story of How I Almost (Sorta) Met John Travolta (Alternative title: Dave the Projectionist Tells Another Whopper)

    I have never, ever heard of that.  And if her name wasn’t plastered across the top, I would never, ever guess that was supposed to be Lisa Kudrow.

     

    • #27
  28. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Jimmy Carter (View Comment):
    Dang, I forgot Urban Cowboy (1980) Houston, TEXAS. Classic.

    Made me happy that I had no qualifications to work on an oil rig.  Made me wish I was Scott Glenn though.

    • #28
  29. Michael Brehm Coolidge
    Michael Brehm
    @MichaelBrehm

    Hoyacon (View Comment):
    I have never, ever heard of that. And if her name wasn’t plastered across the top, I would never, ever guess that was supposed to be Lisa Kudrow.

    Well it had a big opening weekend at the Palmyra Cinema Center, let me tell you. A spotlight, local radio personalities, the whole nine yards.

    • #29
  30. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    The General for Georgia?

    Excuse me, how about the movie that brought in the most money in adjusted dollars in history?

    Oooh! I know why! “Although people still arrive in Atlanta expecting to visit Scarlett O’Hara’s Deep South estate, not a single scene of the classic film was shot in Georgia.” It was filmed in California and Arkansas.

    Seawriter

    • #30

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