Films can make you fall in love with places you've never been. Even if you haven't stood at the feet of the Statute of Liberty, you've surely seen it a thousand times on the silver screen. Want to visit Hollywood? Just start any one of hundreds of movies about Los Angeles or California. There are famous movies from every state, whether they were actually filmed there or set there thanks to film magic.
There are more than enough films out there to represent the entirety of the United States. The most famous movie in every state might become a source of pride for locals – or it might become something of an embarrassment. The best movies by state might be comedies, westerns, dramas, or even animated films. As for the greatest movies of all, that's for you to decide.
Here are the best and most iconic films that each represent a state. Just know in advance, certain states had an unfair advantage.
Directed by: David Fincher
Fight Club, the fourth wall shattering takedown of commercialism, has inspired many a first-year film student. It's a one-of-a-kind movie and one that Delaware is proud to be known for.
See also: Empire Records
Directed by: James Mangold
Points to Logan for featuring North Dakota as a plot point that the aging hero desperately is trying to reach. Critically acclaimed and a fitting send off for the titular hero, the film even earned applause when the state was mentioned in it. Those applauding were from North Dakota, but hey, it's a film and state they should be proud of.
See also: Fargo
Directed by: Michael Apted
Coal Miner's Daughter, the inspiring true-life story of Loretta Lynn, gives Kentucky some well-deserved representation. Plus, it won a few awards.
See also: The Insider, Elizabethtown, Secretariat
Directed by: Edward Zwick
A beautiful state gets a beautiful movie. The story of Legends of the Fall may be tragic, but the landscape is something to behold. This hit tale of family showcases the raw majesty of Montana in a way few others have before or after.
See also: Arrival, Open Range
Directed by: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
The wacky Coen brothers romantic comedy Arizona uses the arid landscape as a quirky backdrop to the wonderfully weird events of the plot. A place as interesting as Arizona deserves an interesting film – even if the citizen of Arizona aren't the biggest fans.
See also: 3:10 to Yuma
Directed by: Clint Eastwood
This Clint Eastwood-directed western is one of the genre's best, a realistic and poetic look at life and death with the gorgeous backdrop of rural Wyoming. This is what movies should be.
See also: Brokeback Mountain, Wind River, The Hateful Eight, Shane
Directed by: Miloš Forman
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is a rough film to watch, but a great one regardless. The journey into the world of mental institutions, as seen through the eyes of Jack Nicholson's character, has stood the test of time.
See also: Stand By Me, The Goonies
Directed by: Billy Bob Thornton
Sling Blade is so associated with Arkansas that there's even a tourist website dedicated to the film's locations. The bittersweet story features a powerhouse performance by Billy Bob Thornton, and is drenched in an atmosphere only Arkansas could supply.
See also: Mud, True Grit
Directed by: Ted Kotcheff
Washington is a beautiful state, and this thoughtful think piece shows its landscape perfectly. Just kidding. First Blood is big, bonkers, and actually pretty smart. It was a hit action thriller that spawned a huge franchise and put John Rambo into the halls of Hollywood history.
See also: the Twilight series
Directed by: Fred Zinnemann
If you can think of the state without thinking of the titular song, then points to you. Oklahoma and the musical of the same name are a calling card for the state.
See also: Twister
Directed by: Quentin Tarantino
Tarantino's western revenge fantasy may not be the most accessible film, but it's a darn fine one regardless. Seeing a former slave go gung-ho on some racists is about as cathartic as it gets, and Mississippi is where most of the action goes down.
See also: The Help, A Streetcar Named Desire, Oh Brother Where Art Thou?
Directed by: Paul Verhoeven
Detroit is often brought up as a crime capital, but RoboCop takes it the extreme. The hard R sci-fi action film features a hero only the '80s could produce. Between Jesus metaphors and pure fun, few films are as entertaining as the Michigan-set classic. The people of Detroit certainly seem to like it.
See also: American Pie, 8 Mile
Directed by: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
The best picture winner No Country for Old Men may be brutal, but it's one hell of a movie. It showcases Texas in all its raw beauty, all the while showcasing a nasty and senseless story of morality, death, and the randomness of life.
See also: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday Night Lights, Dazed and Confused
Directed by: Clint Eastwood
This Clint Eastwood-directed western is one of many of the genre to take place in the lovely state of Missouri. However, the film's unforgettable hero and lasting effect on movie-making puts it over the top.
See also: Casino, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Gone Girl
Directed by: Joe Johnston
This true story, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, has to be seen to be believed. West Virginia is surely proud of their very own Homer Hickman.
See also: The Mothman Prophecies
Directed by: James Wan
Rhode Island is known as a lovely and quaint state. The Conjuring, on the other hand, is a film so scary it earned itself an R rating. It paid off though, literally; it's one of the highest grossing horror films ever.
See also: Dumb and Dumber, There's Something About Mary
Directed by: Ron Shelton
Bull Durham's North Carolina pride is right there in the title: the Kevin Costner-led comedy centers on the Durham Bulls, a minor-league baseball team. The accents may not be quite as broad in real life as they are in the movie, but it's still a funny and sweet tribute to the state.
See also: American Gangster, A Walk to Remember
Directed by: Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sánchez
Featuring one of the biggest budget to box office gross percentages in history, this nerve-rattling piece of horror history may not entice you to visit Maryland, but it's a worthy piece of cinema to represent it nonetheless.
See also: Patriot Games, Traffic, True Lies, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
Directed by: Danny Boyle
Directed by: Steve McQueen
Harsh and painful, but true and powerful, 12 Years a Slave earned a Best Picture Oscar for its masterful craft. It's an intense experience, but one that is important to people everywhere, not just residents of Louisiana.
See also: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Green Mile, The Waterboy, Monster's Ball
Directed by: Bryan Forbes
No one is saying that Connecticut is secretly run by robots, but one could be flattered that the state's cheery disposition and kind nature would inspire a hit film about the suspicious nature of being a bit too perfect.
See also: Amistad, The Haunting in Connecticut
Directed by: Mike Figgis
While not the most romantic or alluring depicting of Sin City, Leaving Las Vegas is an Oscar-winning piece of cinematic history that brings out the best in Nicholas Cage. A place as crazy as Vegas deserves an actor as crazy as The Cage.
See also: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Hangover
Directed by: Joe Carnahan
While Alaska isn't as full of malevolent wolves as The Grey suggests, the rural state is known for its beautiful, but deadly, environment. Plus it's the movie where Liam Neeson fist fights a wolf (kinda), so that's a plus.
See also: Insomnia, Into the Wild
Directed by: Alexander Payne
It's obvious, sure, but Nebraska is the right choice. The successful and Oscar-nominated film is a quirky and good-humored showcase for a state with the same traits.
See also: Election, Children of the Corn
Directed by: David Lynch
The Straight Story is David Lynch's sweet and simple story of a man who rode his lawnmower from Iowa to Wisconsin to see his brother. It really happened, and is the perfect showcase for a state as funny and charming as Wisconsin.
See also: Lars and the Real Girl