Film

The Best Small Town Movies, Ranked  

Ranker Film
266 votes 37 voters 2.5k views 53 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
Lady in White is listed (or ranked) 1 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
2
Beautiful Girls is listed (or ranked) 2 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
3
Shotgun Stories is listed (or ranked) 3 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
4
About Schmidt is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Small Town Movies, Ranked
Jack Nicholson, Kathy Bates, June Squibb
About Schmidt is a 2002 American comedy-drama film directed by Alexander Payne, starring Jack Nicholson in the title role. It is very loosely based on the 1996 novel of the same title by Louis ...more
5
Something Wicked This Way Come... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Small Town Movies, Ranked
LastCubScout added Pam Grier, Jason Robards Jr., Diane Ladd
Something Wicked This Way Comes is a 1983 American horror fantasy film directed by Jack Clayton and produced by Walt Disney Productions from a screenplay written by Ray Bradbury based on his ...more
6
October Sky is listed (or ranked) 6 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
7
In the Heat of the Night is listed (or ranked) 7 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
8
Downton Abbey is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Small Town Movies, Ranked
Hugh Bonneville, Laura Carmichael, Michelle Dockery
Downton Abbey is a 2019 British historical period drama film directed by Michael Engler, and a continuation of the TV series.
9
Nebraska is listed (or ranked) 9 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
10
Breaking Away is listed (or ranked) 10 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
11
Mean Creek is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Small Town Movies, Ranked
Josh Peck, Carly Schroeder, Rory Culkin
Mean Creek is a 2004 American independent drama film written and directed by Jacob Aaron Estes and starring Rory Culkin, Ryan Kelley, Scott Mechlowicz, Trevor Morgan, Josh Peck, and Carly ...more
12
It's a Wonderful Life is listed (or ranked) 12 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
13
Artik is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Small Town Movies, Ranked
Chase Williamson, Jerry G. Angelo, Lauren Ashley Carter
Artik is a 2019 American horror action film directed by Tom Botchii Skowronski. A boy befriends a mysterious stranger who threatens to reveal his family's horrible secret.
14
Harlan County, USA is listed (or ranked) 14 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
15
Crawl is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Small Town Movies, Ranked
Kaya Scodelario, Barry Pepper, Ross Anderson
Crawl is a 2019 American horror film directed by Alexandre Aja. A young woman (Kaya Scodelario) becomes trapped in a flooding house trying to save her father (Barry Pepper) during a Category 5 ...more
16
Burn is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Small Town Movies, Ranked
Tilda Cobham-Hervey, Suki Waterhouse, Harry Shum Jr.
Burn is a 2019 American thriller film directed by Mike Gan. When a gas station is held at gunpoint by a desperate man (Josh Hutcherson) in need of cash, a lonely and unstable gas station ...more
17
Friday Night Lights is listed (or ranked) 17 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
18
Deadwood is listed (or ranked) 18 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
19
What's Eating Gilbert Grape is listed (or ranked) 19 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
20
Dancer, Texas Pop. 81 is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Small Town Movies, Ranked
Peter Facinelli, Ashley Johnson, Breckin Meyer
Dancer, Texas Pop. 81 is a 1998 comedy-drama film starring Breckin Meyer, Peter Facinelli, Eddie Mills, and Ethan Embry.
21
Juno is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Small Town Movies, Ranked
Jennifer Garner, Ellen Page, Jason Bateman
Juno is a 2007 Canadian-American comedy-drama film directed by Jason Reitman and written by Diablo Cody. Ellen Page stars as the title character, an independent-minded teenager confronting an ...more
22
American Graffiti is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Small Town Movies, Ranked
Harrison Ford, Ron Howard, Suzanne Somers
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 ...more
23
Stand by Me is listed (or ranked) 23 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
24
Chocolat is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Small Town Movies, Ranked
Johnny Depp, Judi Dench, Alfred Molina
Chocolat is a 2000 American-British romantic drama film based on the novel of the same name by Joanne Harris, and was directed by Lasse Hallström. Adapted by screenwriter Robert Nelson ...more
25
Fargo is listed (or ranked) 25 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