US states What's The Most Famous Movie Set In Every State?  

Mason Weigel
14.9k votes 1.9k voters 53.6k views 50 items Embed

List Rules Vote up the overall greatest films that best represent the state in which they're set.

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.

list ordered by

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Kansas – The Wizard of Oz Judy Garland, Margaret Hamilton, Frank Morgan

Few films are as tied to a state as The Wizard of Oz. While most of it takes place in Oz – or a dream, depending on your opinion – the movie focuses on Dorothy's quest to return to Kansas. There's no place like home, indeed.

See also: Superman

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Alabama – Forrest Gump Tom Hanks, Kurt Russell, Sally Field

Few films are as quotable as Forrest Gump. While the titular hero doesn't spend the entire runtime in his home state, it's as impossible to separate ol' Forrest from Alabama as it is to separate him from his box of chocolates.

See also: To Kill a Mockingbird

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Pennsylvania – Rocky

Rocky is maybe the most inspirational film ever made, one that won awards, spawned a franchise, and created a cinematic icon. If Philadelphia didn't love Rocky, they wouldn't have him permanently on those steps.

See also: Unbreakable, Signs, The Sixth Sense, The Deer Hunter

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Maine – The Shawshank Redemption Morgan Freeman, Rita Hayworth, Tim Robbins

Stephen King sure does love Maine, but arguably his greatest Maine-set story is The Shawshank Redemption. The tough and triumphant film is one everyone should see.

See also: Pet Sematary, Carrie, Casper, The Cider House Rules, IT

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New York – The Godfather Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall

Honestly, New York is where all the good movies take place. Yet even with that surplus, The Godfather is special. What some consider the greatest film of all time is a showcase of everything fans about the movies.

See also: too many movies to list

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Colorado – The Shining Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers

The Overloook Hotel, surrounded by snow and mountains, is one of the most famous locations of all time. Its beauty is matched only by the horror of The Shining's plot. The masterpiece of dread is unlike any other, and features some of the most famous lines and moments in all of cinematic history.

See also: Red Dawn, Dumb and Dumber

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Iowa – Field of Dreams Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Kevin Costner

Iowa may not have the most films to showcase its never-ending corn fields, but hey, it's got baseball playing ghosts. The film captures the midwestern spirit like few others – plus, Iowans really do love baseball. 

See also: The Crazies, The Straight Story, Bridges of Madison County, What's Eating Gilbert Grape

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Georgia – Gone With The Wind Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Olivia de Havilland

Georgia has deep ties in American history, so its fitting that it's so associated with Gone with the Wind, a movie tied to cinema's history. Hailed as one of the greatest films of all time, Gone with the Wind sets its epic romance against the beauty of Georgia to brilliant effect.

See also: Deliverance, Fried Green Tomatoes

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Illinois – Ferris Bueller's Day Off Charlie Sheen, Matthew Broderick, Jeffrey Jones

John Hughes made a career out of showcasing Illinois, but perhaps no fim does it better than the hilarious Ferris Bueller's Day Off. There's just no beating that parade.

See also: Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Halloween, Blues Brothers, Wayne's World, Weird Science, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

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Massachusetts – Jaws Steven Spielberg, Richard Dreyfuss, Roy Scheider

Jaws, one of the most famous films ever, may have stopped a few people from jumping in the ocean, but hopefully it didn't stop them from going to Massachusetts. The state is the setting of Steven Spielberg's masterpiece of tension.

See also: The Departed, Gone Baby Gone, The Town, Good Will Hunting, and many more

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Indiana – A Christmas Story Darren McGavin, Melinda Dillon, Zack Ward

The film that is a go-to for Christmas is a fitting go-to for Indiana as a whole. Few films are as well known or widely seen as A Christmas Story, so congrats to Indiana for getting this holiday gem to represent it. 

See also: Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Hoosiers, Rudy

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Ohio – The Silence Of The Lambs Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Chris Isaak

The Silence of the Lambs hops around quite a bit as it traces its chilling trajectory, but Ohio deserves a special mention here. It's where Buffalo Bill claimed his first victim. Not the happiest association, of course, but it's an undeniably great film.

See also: Traffic

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Florida – Scarface Michelle Pfeiffer, Al Pacino, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio

Scarface goes with Miami like Tony Montana goes with cocaine. The epic drug fuelled frenzy is drenched in sun, sand, and sweat, which is a fitting depiction of Florida – outside of the chainsaw murders and shootouts, that is. 

See also: Body Heat, Magic Mike

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Vermont – Super Troopers Lynda Carter, Brian Cox, Jim Gaffigan

Few comedies this dumb are this good. The highly quoted and beloved R-rated film Super Troopers is one to remember. Its sequel even managed to blow past its fundraising oal due to pure enthusiasm. Meow do you have any problem with this choice?

See also: White Christmas

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South Dakota – Dances With Wolves Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Charles Rocket

The Kevin Coster-directed film won plenty of awards, and managed to do it while telling a beautiful story set in the jaw dropping South Dakota plains. The hero spends his time admiring the beauty, and you will too. 

See also: Badlands

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California – Pulp Fiction John Travolta, Bruce Willis, Uma Thurman

What better film to represent Hollywood's home state than the movie of movies, Pulp Fiction? Tarantino's ode to stories is a masterpiece that struck the cultural chord like few before or after it. One of the most quotable and acclaimed films of all time, it's as Californian as plastic surgery, suntans, and real chill vibes.

See also: Die Hard, Boogie Nights, The Graduate, and plenty of others

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New Jersey – Clerks Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes, Scott Mosier

Clerks is the cheaply made hit that launched Kevin Smith's career. It's a painfully realistic film about the mundane and funny details of life that everyone can connect to. 

See also: The Wrestler, On the Waterfront, Friday the 13th

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Hawaii – Lilo & Stitch Tia Carrere, Ving Rhames, Kevin Michael Richardson

Hawaii has plenty of films that depict its lush island landscapes, but few have been as successful as the animated movie Lilo & Stitch. Sure, it may not be the most the most realistic, but when it comes to showcasing the state's pure charm, fun, and unique Hawaiian good spirit, a little blue alien just manages to pull it off.

See also: Tora! Tora! Tora!, The Descendants, Forgetting Sarah Marshall

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Virginia – Remember the Titans Hayden Panettiere, Ryan Gosling, Denzel Washington

Remember the Titans is a film tied to its states history and one that will get you pumped up. The Denzel Washington-led sports story is about as heartfelt and feel good as you can get. It was a huge success, and gave Virginia a film to call its own.

See also: Donnie Darko

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New Hampshire – Jumanji Kirsten Dunst, Robin Williams, Patricia Clarkson

Jumanji is movie everyone loves, and for good reason. The hit adventure film may be rebooted, but this classic will never be forgotten. Robin Williams is at his best here.

See also: Lolita, Rules of Attraction

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South Carolina – The Patriot Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, Logan Lerman

The Patriot, the Mel Gibson-starring Revolutionary War epic, is set in bucolic South Carolina. It's a fitting showcase for the beautiful state, which has rich historic roots.

See also: The Big Chill, Hacksaw Ridge, Glory

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Idaho – Napoleon Dynamite Haylie Duff, Jon Heder, Diedrich Bader

Idaho doesn't have too many films to show off its state, but when it got one, it really hit hard. Napoleon Dynamite is one of those films that shouldn't work, yet people still quote it constantly.

See also: My Own Private Idaho

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Tennessee – Walk the Line Reese Witherspoon, Joaquin Phoenix, Ginnifer Goodwin

Music goes with Tennessee like Johnny Cash goes with black. This Joaquin Phoenix-led hit biopic about the man himself is as much about Tennessee as it is about the legendary musician. 

See also: Nashville, The Blind Side

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Delaware – Fight Club Brad Pitt, Jared Leto, Helena Bonham Carter

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

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North Dakota – Logan Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Richard E. Grant

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

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New Mexico – The Good, The Bad And The Ugly Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, Lee Van Cleef

This Sergio Leone spaghetti western is the definition of a classic, from the score to the lines to that landscape. New Mexico is the land of enchantment, and it gets the film that it deserves.

See also: High Noon, There Will Be Blood

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Minnesota – Fargo Steve Buscemi, William H. Macy, Frances McDormand

Sure, Fargo itself is in North Dakota, but the film might as well belong to Minnesota, considering how the film turned a regional accent into a cinematic mainstay. Fargo plays up the tropes of the friendly northerners. But the Coen brothers' crime dramedy does a good job of putting you into the snow-covered boots of an average Minnesotan – as long as you put aside the whole murder thing. 

See also: Juno, A Simple Plan

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Kentucky – Coal Miner's Daughter Tommy Lee Jones, Sissy Spacek, Beverly DAngelo

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

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Michigan – RoboCop Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Dan O'Herlihy

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

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Oklahoma – Oklahoma! Shirley Jones, Rod Steiger, Eddie Albert

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

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Mississippi – Django Unchained Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, Samuel L. Jackson

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?

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Arkansas – Sling Blade Robert Duvall, Billy Bob Thornton, John Ritter

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

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Arizona – Raising Arizona Nicolas Cage, John Goodman, Holly Hunter

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

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Oregon – One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, Christopher Lloyd

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

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West Virginia – October Sky Jake Gyllenhaal, Laura Dern, Chris Cooper

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

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Texas – No Country For Old Men Javier Bardem, Tommy Lee Jones, Woody Harrelson

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

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Washington – First Blood Sylvester Stallone, Brian Dennehy, David Caruso

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

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Wyoming – Unforgiven Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Gene Hackman

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

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Rhode Island – The Conjuring Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Joey King

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

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Montana – Legends Of The Fall Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins, Julia Ormond

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

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Missouri – The Outlaw Josey Wales Clint Eastwood, Sondra Locke, John Vernon

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

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North Carolina – Bull Durham Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins

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

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Louisiana – 12 Years A Slave Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch

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

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Maryland – The Blair Witch Project Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard, Michael C. Williams

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

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Utah – 127 Hours James Franco, Kate Mara, Lizzy Caplan

The true story-inspired 127 Hours may be hard to watch, but it's well worth it. James Franco stares in this tale of willpower and survival in the midst of one of the most beautiful and surreal landscapes to ever grace the silver screen. 

See also: The World's Fastest Indian

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Connecticut – The Stepford Wives Tina Louise, Mary Stuart Masterson, Katharine Ross

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 

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Alaska – The Grey Liam Neeson, Dermot Mulroney, Frank Grillo

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

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Nevada – Leaving Las Vegas Nicolas Cage, Mariska Hargitay, Elisabeth Shue

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

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Nebraska – Nebraska Bruce Dern, Will Forte, Bob Odenkirk

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

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Wisconsin – The Straight Story Sissy Spacek, Harry Dean Stanton, Richard Farnsworth

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