Film The Best Small Town Movies  

Ranker Film
141 votes 12 voters 46 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.

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
4 1
The Last Picture Show is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Small Town Movies
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
2
4 1
Stand by Me is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Small Town Movies
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
3
3 1
Wind River is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Small Town Movies
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
4
3 1
Signs is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Small Town Movies
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
5
3 1
The Ice Storm is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Small Town Movies
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
6
3 1
Bernie is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Small Town Movies
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
7
2 0
Groundhog Day is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Small Town Movies
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
8
3 2
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Small Town Movies
David Bowie, Heather Graham, Kiefer Sutherland
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me is a 1992 American psychological horror film, directed by David Lynch and written by Lynch and Robert Engels. The film can be viewed as both prologue and epilogue ...more
9
3 2
The Sandlot is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Small Town Movies
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
10
3 2
What's Eating Gilbert Grape is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Small Town Movies
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
11
3 2
The Bridges of Madison County is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Small Town Movies
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
12
2 1
Fargo is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Small Town Movies
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
13
2 1
Mud is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Small Town Movies
Reese Witherspoon, Matthew McConaughey, Sarah Paulson
Mud is a 2012 American drama film directed by Jeff Nichols and starring Matthew McConaughey, Tye Sheridan, and Reese Witherspoon. The film competed for the Palme d'Or at the 2012 Cannes Film
14
2 1
Breaking Away is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Small Town Movies
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
15
2 2
Tremors is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Small Town Movies
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
16
2 2
Son in Law is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Small Town Movies
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.
17
2 2
Take Shelter is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Small Town Movies
Jessica Chastain, Michael Shannon, Katy Mixon
Take Shelter is a 2011 American drama-thriller film written and directed by Jeff Nichols and starring Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain. Plagued by a series of apocalyptic visions, a young ...more
18
1 1
Mean Creek is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Small Town Movies
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
19
1 1
Deadwood is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Small Town Movies
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
20
1 1
Friday Night Lights is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Small Town Movies
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
21
1 1
Nebraska is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Small Town Movies
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
22
1 1
Hell or High Water is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Small Town Movies
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
23
1 1
October Sky is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Small Town Movies
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
24
1 1
Shotgun Stories is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Small Town Movies
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
25
1 1
Harlan County, USA is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Small Town Movies
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