Film
162 voters

The Best Small Town Movies, Ranked

Updated March 27, 2021 1.1k votes 162 voters 16.1k views64 items

The best small town movies do more than entertain you, they capture a way of life. Living in a small town is much different than living in a big city. Everyone knows everyone else, and because there's less to do, people make their own fun. The top small town movies understand that. In the best cases, these films create such a realistic atmosphere that the towns themselves practically become full-fledged characters.

Some of the most important movies about small towns include The Last Picture Show, Wind River, and Breaking Away. Although their stories are all very different, they have in common an ability to capture what life is like in more isolated locations. Groundhog Day is a great example of a small town comedy and Tremors is an awesome small town horror film.

Use the list below to vote for the greatest small town movies, or to find suggestions for good movies to watch. If you don't see your favorite on the list, add it and then check back to see how other users are ranking it. 

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    Stand by Me

    Kiefer Sutherland, Corey Feldman

    Released1986

    Directed byRob Reiner

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    What's Eating Gilbert Grape

    Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio

    Released1993

    Directed byLasse Hallström

    What's Eating Gilbert Grape is a 1993 American drama film directed by Lasse Hallström, adapted from Peter Hedges 1991 novel. A young man in a small Midwestern town struggles to care for his autistic...  more

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    Fargo

    Steve Buscemi, William H. Macy

    Released1996

    Directed byEthan Coen, Joel Coen

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    The Goonies

    Corey Feldman, Josh Brolin

    Released1985

    Directed byRichard Donner

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    Beautiful Girls

    Natalie Portman, Uma Thurman

    Released1996

    Directed byTed Demme

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    Groundhog Day

    Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell

    Released1993

    Directed byHarold Ramis

    Groundhog Day is a 1993 American fantasy comedy film directed by Harold Ramis. A derisive weatherman (Bill Murray) finds himself reliving the same day over and over again after reporting a small...  more

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    It's a Wonderful Life

    James Stewart, Donna Reed

    Released1946

    Directed byFrank Capra

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    The Sandlot

    James Earl Jones, Denis Leary

    Released1993

    Directed byDavid M. Evans

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    The Last Picture Show

    Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd

    Released1971

    Directed byPeter Bogdanovich

    The Last Picture Show is a 1971 American drama film directed by Peter Bogdanovich, adapted from a semi-autobiographical 1966 novel of the same name by Larry McMurtry. Set in a small town in north...  more

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    Doc Hollywood

    Michael J. Fox, Woody Harrelson

    Released1991

    Directed byMichael Caton-Jones

    Doc Hollywood is a 1991 romantic comedy film directed by Michael Caton-Jones, and written by Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman. The film stars Michael J. Fox, Julie Warner, and Woody Harrelson, with...  more

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    Footloose

    Sarah Jessica Parker, Kevin Bacon

    Released1984

    Directed byHerbert Ross

    Footloose is a 1984 American musical-drama directed by Herbert Ross. It tells the story of Ren McCormack, an upbeat Chicago teen who moves to a small town in which, as a result of the efforts of a...  more

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    Tremors

    Kevin Bacon, Reba McEntire

    Released1990

    Directed byRon Underwood

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    Napoleon Dynamite

    Haylie Duff, Jon Heder

    Released2004

    Directed byJared Hess

    Napoleon Dynamite is a 2004 American independent art-house comedy film written by Jared and Jerusha Hess and directed by Jared. The film stars Jon Heder in the role of the title character, for which...  more

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    Blue Velvet

    Isabella Rossellini, Dennis Hopper

    Released1986

    Directed byDavid Lynch

    Blue Velvet is a 1986 American mystery thriller flm, written and directed by David Lynch. The film stars Kyle MacLachlan, Isabella Rossellini, Dennis Hopper and Laura Dern. The title is taken from...  more

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    Signs

    Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix

    Released2002

    Directed byM. Night Shyamalan

    Signs is a 2002 American science fiction thriller film written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. Executive producers for the film comprised Shyamalan, Frank Marshall, Kathleen Kennedy and Sam...  more

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    Hell or High Water

    Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine

    Released2016

    Directed byDavid Mackenzie

    Hell or High Water is a 2016 American neo-western heist-crime film directed by David Mackenzie. To save their family ranch, two brothers (Chris Pine and Ben Foster) carry out a series of bank...  more

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    Hot Fuzz

    Cate Blanchett, Martin Freeman

    Released2007

    Directed byEdgar Wright

    Hot Fuzz is a 2007 British action comedy parody film directed by Edgar Wright, written by Wright and Simon Pegg, and starring Pegg and Nick Frost. The film follows two police officers attempting to...  more

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    American Graffiti

    Harrison Ford, Ron Howard

    Released1973

    Directed byGeorge Lucas

    American Graffiti is a 1973 American coming of age comedy-drama film directed and co-written by George Lucas starring Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Paul Le Mat, Harrison Ford, Charles Martin Smith,...  more

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    Son in Law

    Tiffani Thiessen, Brendan Fraser

    Released1993

    Directed bySteve Rash

    Son in Law is a 1993 American comedy film starring Pauly Shore, Carla Gugino, Lane Smith, Cindy Pickett, Tiffani Thiessen, Patrick Renna, Dan Gauthier and Dennis Burkley....  more

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    Juno

    Jennifer Garner, Ellen Page

    Released2007

    Directed byJason Reitman

    Juno is a 2007 Canadian-American comedy-drama film directed by Jason Reitman and written by Diablo Cody. Elliot Page stars as the title character, an independent-minded teenager girl confronting an...  more

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    The Majestic

    Jim Carrey, Matt Damon

    Released2001

    Directed byFrank Darabont

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    Pleasantville

    Reese Witherspoon, Paul Walker

    Released1998

    Directed byGary Ross

    Pleasantville is a 1998 American fantasy comedy-drama film written, produced, and directed by Gary Ross. The film stars Tobey Maguire, Jeff Daniels, Joan Allen, William H. Macy, J. T. Walsh, and...  more

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    Lady in White

    Katherine Helmond, Lukas Haas

    Released1988

    Directed byFrank Laloggia

    Lady in White is a 1988 American horror film of the ghost/mystery genre. Much of the film was made in Wayne County, New York, taking advantage of the appropriate local area. The movie is based on a...  more

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    Take Shelter

    Jessica Chastain, Michael Shannon

    Released2011

    Directed byJeff Nichols

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