Film

The Best Small Town Movies, Ranked 

Ranker Film
Updated January 31, 2020 447 votes 66 voters 5k views 58 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. 

list ordered by
1
Stand by Me is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Small Town Movies, Ranked
Kiefer Sutherland, Corey Feldman, John Cusack
Stand by Me is a 1986 American coming of age comedy-drama adventure film directed by Rob Reiner and starring Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman and Jerry O'Connell. Based on the novella ...more

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#234 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #19 of 348 The Best Movies Based On Booksfeaturing Behind-The-Scenes Stories From 'Stand By Me' That Prove The Film Shaped The Child Actors

2
Fargo is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Small Town Movies, Ranked
Steve Buscemi, William H. Macy, Frances McDormand
Fargo is a 1996 American neo-noir dark comedy crime film written, produced, edited, and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. It stars Frances McDormand as a pregnant Minnesota police chief who ...more

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#355 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Moviesfeaturing Theories About Why The Coen Bros. Had Marge Gunderson Go On A Date In Fargolisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

3
What's Eating Gilbert Gr... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Small Town Movies, Ranked
Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Juliette Lewis
What's Eating Gilbert Grape is a 1993 American drama film directed by Lasse Hallström and starring Johnny Depp, Juliette Lewis, Darlene Cates, and Leonardo DiCaprio. Peter Hedges wrote the ...more

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#282 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #146 of 803 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made

4
Beautiful Girls is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Small Town Movies, Ranked
LastCubScout added
Natalie Portman, Uma Thurman, Rosie O'Donnell
Beautiful Girls is a 1996 American romantic comedy-drama film directed by Ted Demme from a screenplay written by Scott Rosenberg, starring Matt Dillon, Lauren Holly, Timothy Hutton, Rosie ...more
5
The Last Picture Show is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Small Town Movies, Ranked
Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd, Cloris Leachman
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 ...more

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#722 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #32 of 46 Every Single Movie On Rotten Tomatoes With 100% Approval, Rankedlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

6
Groundhog Day is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Small Town Movies, Ranked
Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Michael Shannon
Groundhog Day is a 1993 American fantasy comedy film directed by Harold Ramis, starring Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, and Chris Elliott. It was written by Ramis and Danny Rubin, based on a story ...more

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#18 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #304 of 803 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made

7
Doc Hollywood is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Small Town Movies, Ranked
Doc Hollywood
Michael J. Fox, Woody Harrelson, Bridget Fonda
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, ...more

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#1,085 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #123 of 139 The Funniest Slapstick Movies Ever Made

8
Son in Law is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Small Town Movies, Ranked
Tiffani Thiessen, Brendan Fraser, Carla Gugino
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.

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#915 of 1,007 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films #91 of 493 The Funniest '90s Movies #21 of 119 The Best College Movies Ever

9
Footloose is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Small Town Movies, Ranked
Sarah Jessica Parker, Kevin Bacon, John Lithgow
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 ...more

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10
Tremors is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Small Town Movies, Ranked
Kevin Bacon, Reba McEntire, Fred Ward
Tremors is a 1990 American western monster film directed by Ron Underwood, written by Brent Maddock, S. S. Wilson and Underwood, and starring Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward, Finn Carter, Michael Gross, ...more

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#330 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #67 of 625 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies

11
It's a Wonderful Life is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Small Town Movies, Ranked
James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore
It's a Wonderful Life is a 1946 American Christmas fantasy comedy-drama film produced and directed by Frank Capra, based on the short story "The Greatest Gift", which Philip Van Doren ...more

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#91 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #236 of 243 Critically Acclaimed Movies That Kinda Suckfeaturing It's A Wonderful Life Is Not The Heartwarming Movie You Remember

12
Signs is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Small Town Movies, Ranked
Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Abigail Breslin
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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13
Bernie is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Small Town Movies, Ranked
Matthew McConaughey, Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine
Bernie is a 2011 black comedy film directed by Richard Linklater, and written by Linklater and Skip Hollandsworth. The film stars Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine and Matthew McConaughey. It is ...more
14
In the Heat of the Night... is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Small Town Movies, Ranked
Sidney Poitier, Rod Steiger, Lee Grant
In the Heat of the Night is a 1967 American mystery drama film directed by Norman Jewison. It is based on John Ball's 1965 novel of the same name which tells the story of Virgil Tibbs, a black ...more

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#1,143 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #203 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

15
Lady in White is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Small Town Movies, Ranked
LastCubScout added
Katherine Helmond, Lukas Haas, Len Cariou
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 ...more

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#30 of 84 Great Movies That Take Place in Autumn #73 of 200 The Best Mystery Movies Rated PG-13

16
October Sky is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Small Town Movies, Ranked
Jake Gyllenhaal, Laura Dern, Chris Cooper
October Sky is a 1999 American biographical film directed by Joe Johnston, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Chris Cooper and Laura Dern. It is based on the true story of Homer Hickam, a coal miner's ...more

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17
Wind River is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Small Town Movies, Ranked
Jeremy Renner, Ashley Olsen, Jon Bernthal
Wind River is a 2017 American thriller film directed and written by Taylor Sheridan (Sicario, Hell or High Water) in his directorial debut. US Fish and Wildlife Service agent Cory Lambert ...more
18
Hell or High Water is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Small Town Movies, Ranked
Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine, Ben Foster
Hell or High Water is a 2016 American neo-western heist-crime film directed by David Mackenzie. The film follows two brothers (Chris Pine and Ben Foster) who carry out a series of bank robberies ...more
19
Nebraska is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Small Town Movies, Ranked
Bruce Dern, Will Forte, Bob Odenkirk
Nebraska is a 2013 American comedy-drama black-and-white road film directed by Alexander Payne and written by Bob Nelson. It stars Bruce Dern, Will Forte, June Squibb, and Bob Odenkirk. The film ...more
20
The Bridges of Madison C... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Small Town Movies, Ranked
Clint Eastwood, Meryl Streep, Debra Monk
The Bridges of Madison County is a 1995 American romantic drama film based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Robert James Waller. It was produced by Amblin Entertainment and Malpaso ...more

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21
Napoleon Dynamite is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Small Town Movies, Ranked
Haylie Duff, Jon Heder, Diedrich Bader
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 ...more

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22
Pleasantville is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Small Town Movies, Ranked
Reese Witherspoon, Paul Walker, Tobey Maguire
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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#374 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #581 of 1,198 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time #108 of 493 The Funniest '90s Movies

23
The Sandlot is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Small Town Movies, Ranked
James Earl Jones, Denis Leary, Karen Allen
The Sandlot, also known as The Sandlot Kids, is a 1993 American coming-of-age film Comedy directed by David M. Evans, which tells the story of a group of young baseball players during the summer ...more

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24
The Goonies is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Small Town Movies, Ranked
Corey Feldman, Josh Brolin, Sean Astin
The Goonies is a 1985 American adventure comedy film directed by Richard Donner. The screenplay was written by Chris Columbus from a story by executive producer Steven Spielberg. The film's ...more

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25
Shotgun Stories is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Small Town Movies, Ranked
Michael Shannon, Natalie Canerday, Michael Abbott Jr.
Shotgun Stories is a 2007 drama film about a feud between two sets of half-brothers following the death of their father in rural Arkansas. The film was written and directed by Jeff Nichols, and ...more