Film

The Best Small Town Movies, Ranked  

Ranker Film
418 votes 62 voters 4.7k views 56 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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#35 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #30 of 575 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Rankedfeaturing Behind-The-Scenes Stories From 'Stand By Me' That Prove The Film Shaped The Child Actors

2
What's Eating Gilbert Gr... is listed (or ranked) 2 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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3
Fargo is listed (or ranked) 3 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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#82 of 258 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Timefeaturing Theories About Why The Coen Bros. Had Marge Gunderson Go On A Date In Fargolisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

4
The Last Picture Show is listed (or ranked) 4 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 #44 of 591 The Best '70s Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

5
Beautiful Girls is listed (or ranked) 5 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
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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#8 of 997 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films #304 of 808 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #77 of 460 The Most Quotable Movies of All Time

7
Bernie is listed (or ranked) 7 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

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8
October Sky is listed (or ranked) 8 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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9
In the Heat of the Night... is listed (or ranked) 9 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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#51 of 719 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #334 of 460 The Most Quotable Movies of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

10
Lady in White is listed (or ranked) 10 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 #65 of 76 The Best Fantasy Movies of the 1980s #73 of 200 The Best Mystery Movies Rated PG-13

11
Signs is listed (or ranked) 11 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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#49 of 258 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #50 of 569 The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time #16 of 193 The Best Alien Movies Ever Made

12
Wind River is listed (or ranked) 12 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
13
Hell or High Water is listed (or ranked) 13 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
14
Nebraska is listed (or ranked) 14 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
15
Tremors is listed (or ranked) 15 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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#68 of 630 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies #61 of 569 The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time #111 of 493 The Funniest '90s Movies

16
Doc Hollywood is listed (or ranked) 16 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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17
The Bridges of Madison C... is listed (or ranked) 17 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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18
Shotgun Stories is listed (or ranked) 18 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
19
Breaking Away is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Small Town Movies, Ranked
Dennis Quaid, Jackie Earle Haley, Daniel Stern
Breaking Away is a 1979 American coming of age comedy-drama film that follows a group of four male teenagers in Bloomington, Indiana, who have recently graduated from high school. It stars ...more

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#189 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #336 of 547 The Greatest Movies for Guyslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

20
Harlan County, USA is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Small Town Movies, Ranked
Harlan County, USA is a 1976 Oscar-winning documentary film covering the "Brookside Strike", an effort of 180 coal miners and their wives against the Duke Power Company-owned Eastover ...more

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#1,620 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #453 of 710 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Starslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

21
Lone Star is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Small Town Movies, Ranked
Matthew McConaughey, Kris Kristofferson, Frances McDormand
Lone Star is a 1996 drama, mystery, romance film written and directed by John Sayles.

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#326 of 396 The Best Western Movies Ever Made #23 of 60 The 30+ Best Modern Western Movies #3 of 16 The Greatest Westerns That Don't Take Place In The Old West

22
Deadwood is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Small Town Movies, Ranked
Ian McShane, Timothy Olyphant, Molly Parker
Deadwood: The Movie is a 2019 American western film directed by Daniel Minahan, based on the television series. In 1889, the residents of Deadwood are reunited to celebrate South Dakota's
23
The Ice Storm is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Small Town Movies, Ranked
Katie Holmes, Christina Ricci, Sigourney Weaver
The Ice Storm is a 1997 American drama film directed by Ang Lee, based on the 1994 novel of the same name by Rick Moody. The film features an ensemble cast of Kevin Kline, Joan Allen, Tobey ...more
24
Friday Night Lights is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Small Town Movies, Ranked
Amber Heard, Connie Britton, Tim McGraw
Friday Night Lights is a 2004 sports drama film, directed by Peter Berg, which documents the coach and players of a high school football team and the Texas city of Odessa that supports and is ...more

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25
Son in Law is listed (or ranked) 25 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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