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The Best Southern Movies 

Ranker Film
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Updated May 12, 2020 13.5k votes 2.2k voters 157.3k views 91 items

List Rules Movies about or set in the region of the American South

When you think about the American South certain things probably come to mind, such as the Civil War, plantations, slavery, cotton fields, hospitality, southern charm, accents, a warmer climate, the birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement and fried chicken! Some of cinema's most classic films are set in the rich landscape of the South

The southern part of the United States is home to some of the most important historical events in the nation. It's known for its hospitality and comfort food, as well as movies like The Secret Life of Bees, Rambling Rose, and Crazy Heart.

This list features the best Southern movies including: Forrest Gump, Gone With the Wind, Steel Magnolias, The Client, The Notebook, Fried Green Tomatoes, Ray, The Help, The Blind Side, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Radio, The Firm, The Prince of Tides, The Rainmaker, Where the Heart Is, and My Cousin Vinny.

Grab a plate of fried chicken, fried green tomatoes, fried anything else, and vote up your favorite Southern movie. Or, add a film not on the list.

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list ordered by
1
Forrest Gump is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Southern Movies
Tom Hanks, Sally Field, Robin Wright

Released: 1994

Directed by: Robert Zemeckis

Forrest Gump is a 1994 American epic romantic-comedy-drama film based on the 1986 novel of the same name by Winston Groom. The film was directed by Robert Zemeckis and stars Tom Hanks, Robin ...more

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2
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Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine

Released: 1989

Directed by: Herbert Ross

Steel Magnolias is a 1989 American comedy-drama film directed by Herbert Ross, based on the 1987 play by Robert Harling. A young beautician (Daryl Hannah), newly arrived in a small Louisiana ...more

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3
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Kathy Bates, Mary-Louise Parker, Chris O'Donnell

Released: 1991

Directed by: Jon Avnet

Fried Green Tomatoes is a 1991 comedy-drama film based on the novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. Directed by Jon Avnet. It tells the story of a Depression-era friendship ...more

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4
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Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Olivia de Havilland

Released: 1939

Directed by: Sam Wood, George Cukor, Victor Fleming

Gone with the Wind is a 1939 American epic historical romance film adapted from Margaret Mitchell's Pulitzer-winning 1936 novel. It was produced by David O. Selznick of Selznick International ...more

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5
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Emma Stone, Jessica Chastain, Bryce Dallas Howard

Released: 2011

Directed by: Tate Taylor

The Help is a 2011 American period drama film directed and written by Tate Taylor, and adapted from Kathryn Stockett's 2009 novel of the same name. Featuring an ensemble cast, the film is about ...more

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6
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Robert Duvall, Gregory Peck, William Windom

Released: 1962

Directed by: Robert Mulligan

To Kill a Mockingbird is a 1962 American drama film directed by Robert Mulligan. The screenplay by Horton Foote was based on the 1960 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Harper Lee. ...more

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7
The Blind Side is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Southern Movies
Sandra Bullock, Lily Collins, Kathy Bates

Released: 2009

Directed by: John Lee Hancock

The Blind Side is a 2009 American semi-biographical sports drama film. It was written and directed by John Lee Hancock, and based on the 2006 book The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael ...more

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8
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Reese Witherspoon, Matthew McConaughey, Dakota Fanning

Released: 2002

Directed by: Andy Tennant

Sweet Home Alabama is a 2002 American romantic comedy film directed by Andy Tennant, starring Reese Witherspoon, Josh Lucas, Patrick Dempsey and Candice Bergen. The film was released by ...more

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9
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Rachel McAdams, Ryan Gosling, James Garner

Released: 2004

Directed by: Nick Cassavetes

The Notebook is a 2004 American romantic drama film directed by Nick Cassavetes and based on the novel of the same name by Nicholas Sparks. The film stars Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams as a ...more

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10
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Sandra Bullock, Matthew McConaughey, Kevin Spacey

Released: 1996

Directed by: Joel Schumacher

This film is a 1996 drama film adaptation of John Grisham's 1989 novel of the same name, directed by Joel Schumacher. Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Bullock, Samuel L. Jackson, and Kevin Spacey ...more

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11
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Marisa Tomei, Joe Pesci, Ralph Macchio

Released: 1992

Directed by: Jonathan Lynn

My Cousin Vinny is a 1992 American comedy film written by Dale Launer and directed by Jonathan Lynn. The film stars Joe Pesci, Ralph Macchio, Marisa Tomei, Mitchell Whitfield, Lane Smith, Bruce ...more

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12
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Acres_of_Sun added Robert Duvall, Billy Bob Thornton, John Ritter

Released: 1996

Directed by: Billy Bob Thornton

Sling Blade is a 1996 American drama film set in rural Arkansas, written and directed by Billy Bob Thornton, who also stars in the lead role. It tells the story of a man named Karl Childers with ...more

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13
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Davidh19 added George Clooney, John Goodman, Holly Hunter

Released: 2000

Directed by: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

O Brother, Where Art Thou? is a 2000 adventure comedy film written, produced, edited, and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, and starring George Clooney, John Turturro, and Tim Blake Nelson, with ...more

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14
Mississippi Burning is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Southern Movies
jschro1861 added Willem Dafoe, Gene Hackman, Frances McDormand

Released: 1988

Directed by: Alan Parker

Mississippi Burning is a 1988 American thriller film directed by Alan Parker and written by Chris Gerolmo. It was loosely based on the FBI investigation into the incidents involving of three ...more

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15
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Kevin Spacey, Jude Law, John Cusack

Released: 1997

Directed by: Clint Eastwood

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is a 1997 American drama film directed by Clint Eastwood, and an adaptation of the book of the same name by John Berendt, which was based on real-life ...more

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16
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Natalie Portman, Sally Field, Ashley Judd

Released: 2000

Directed by: Matt Williams

Where the Heart Is is a 2000 drama/romance film directed by Matt Williams, in his film directing debut. The movie stars Natalie Portman, Stockard Channing, Ashley Judd, and Joan Cusack with ...more

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17
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Sandra Bullock, Ashley Judd, Maggie Smith

Released: 2002

Directed by: Callie Khouri

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood is a 2002 American comedy-drama film starring an ensemble cast headed by Sandra Bullock, directed and written by Callie Khouri. It is based on Rebecca ...more

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18
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jschro1861 added Natalie Portman, Nicole Kidman, Jude Law

Released: 2003

Directed by: Anthony Minghella

Cold Mountain is a 2003 epic drama film written and directed by Anthony Minghella. The film is based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Charles Frazier. It stars Jude Law, Nicole ...more

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19
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Cuba Gooding Jr., Ed Harris, Debra Winger

Released: 2003

Directed by: Michael Tollin

Radio is a 2003 film inspired by the 1996 Sports Illustrated article "Someone to Lean On" by Gary Smith. The article and the movie are based on the true story of T. L. Hanna High ...more

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20
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Kerry Washington, Jamie Foxx, Terrence Howard

Released: 2004

Directed by: Taylor Hackford

Ray is a biographical film focusing on 30 years in the life of rhythm and blues musician Ray Charles. The independently produced film was written, produced and directed by Taylor Hackford, and ...more

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21
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Acres_of_Sun added Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Juliette Lewis

Released: 1993

Directed by: Lasse Hallström

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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Acres_of_Sun added Burt Reynolds, Jon Voight, Ned Beatty

Released: 1972

Directed by: John Boorman

Deliverance is a 1972 American dramatic thriller film produced and directed by John Boorman, and starring Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty and Ronny Cox, with the latter two making their ...more

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23
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Amber Heard, Connie Britton, Tim McGraw

Released: 2004

Directed by: Peter Berg

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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24
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Alicia Keys, Dakota Fanning, Queen Latifah

Released: 2008

Directed by: Gina Prince-Bythewood

The Secret Life of Bees is a 2008 American drama film, adapted from the novel of the same name by Sue Monk Kidd. The film was directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood and produced by Will Smith, with ...more

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25
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Morgan Freeman, Dan Aykroyd, Jessica Tandy

Released: 1989

Directed by: Bruce Beresford

Driving Miss Daisy is a 1989 American comedy-drama film directed by Bruce Beresford and written by Alfred Uhry, based on Uhry's play of the same name. The film stars Jessica Tandy, Morgan ...more

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