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The Best Movies About Life in the South

Updated May 12, 2020 1.3k votes 261 voters 3.0k views25 items

List RulesVote up the greatest movies in which the Southern setting is so prevalent, it's almost a character of its own.

Close-knit families, Southern hospitality, and a whole lot of good food make the American South a great place to spend some time in real life and in movies. The best Southern movies feature classic characters doing everything in their power to succeed. This is a list of the top movies set in the South including everything from Gone with the Wind to The Blind Side to Driving Miss Daisy.

What films will you find on this list of the best movies about the South? The globe-trotting crowd-pleaser Forrest Gump begins during the title character's childhood in Alabama. Though Forrest (Tom Hanks) traveled all over the world, he always returned home, especially to visit his mama. No Country For Old Men is another good film set in the South. New York lawyer Vincent Gambini was a fish out of water when he traveled past the Mason-Dixon Line to defend his cousin in the 1992 movie My Cousin Vinny. Other good films found on this roundup of the best movies about the South include Sweet Home Alabama, Walk the Line, and Django Unchained.

Which Southern-set movie is your favorite? Give the best films a thumbs up and please add any good features that are missing.

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    Forrest Gump is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Movies About Life in the South
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    Forrest Gump

    Tom Hanks, Sally Field

    Released1994

    Directed byRobert Zemeckis

    Forrest Gump is a 1994 American epic romantic-comedy-drama film based on the 1986 novel of the... more

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    Fried Green Tomatoes is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Movies About Life in the South
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    Fried Green Tomatoes

    Kathy Bates, Mary-Louise Parker

    Released1991

    Directed byJon Avnet

    Fried Green Tomatoes is a 1991 comedy-drama film based on the novel Fried Green Tomatoes at... more
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    Steel Magnolias is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Movies About Life in the South
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    Steel Magnolias

    Sally Field, Dolly Parton

    Released1989

    Directed byHerbert Ross

    Steel Magnolias is a 1989 American comedy-drama film directed by Herbert Ross, based on the... more
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    Gone with the Wind is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Movies About Life in the South
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    Gone with the Wind

    Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh

    Released1939

    Directed bySam Wood, George Cukor, Victor Fleming

    Gone with the Wind is a 1939 American epic historical romance film adapted from Margaret... more
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    Sweet Home Alabama is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Movies About Life in the South
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    Sweet Home Alabama

    Reese Witherspoon, Matthew McConaughey

    Released2002

    Directed byAndy Tennant

    Sweet Home Alabama is a 2002 American romantic comedy film directed by Andy Tennant. A young... more

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    O Brother, Where Art Thou? is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Movies About Life in the South
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    O Brother, Where Art Thou?

    George Clooney, John Goodman

    Released2000

    Directed byEthan Coen, Joel Coen

    O Brother, Where Art Thou? is a 2000 adventure comedy film written, produced, edited, and... more

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    Walk the Line is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Movies About Life in the South
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    Walk the Line

    Reese Witherspoon, Joaquin Phoenix

    Released2005

    Directed byJames Mangold

    Walk the Line is a 2005 American biographical drama film directed by James Mangold and based... more

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    Driving Miss Daisy is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Movies About Life in the South
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    Driving Miss Daisy

    Morgan Freeman, Dan Aykroyd

    Released1989

    Directed byBruce Beresford

    Driving Miss Daisy is a 1989 American comedy-drama film directed by Bruce Beresford and... more

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    The Blind Side is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Movies About Life in the South
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    The Blind Side

    Sandra Bullock, Lily Collins

    Released2009

    Directed byJohn Lee Hancock

    The Blind Side is a 2009 American semi-biographical sports drama film. It was written and... more
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    Cold Mountain is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Movies About Life in the South
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    Cold Mountain

    Natalie Portman, Nicole Kidman

    Released2003

    Directed byAnthony Minghella

    Cold Mountain is a 2003 epic drama film written and directed by Anthony Minghella. The film is... more
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    The Client is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Movies About Life in the South
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    The Client

    Susan Sarandon, Tommy Lee Jones

    Released1994

    Directed byJoel Schumacher

    The Client is a 1994 American legal thriller film directed by Joel Schumacher, based on the... more

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    Tuscaloosa is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Movies About Life in the South
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    Tuscaloosa

    Natalia Dyer, Tate Donovan

    Released2020

    Directed byPhilip Harder

    Tuscaloosa is a 2020 American drama film directed by Philip Harder and is based on the novel... more
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    Arkansas is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Movies About Life in the South
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    Arkansas

    Vince Vaughn, John Malkovich

    Released2020

    Directed byClark Duke

    Arkansas is a 2020 American crime-drama film directed by Clark Duke. Kyle (Liam Hemsworth) and... more

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    My Cousin Vinny is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Movies About Life in the South
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    My Cousin Vinny

    Marisa Tomei, Joe Pesci

    Released1992

    Directed byJonathan Lynn

    My Cousin Vinny is a 1992 American comedy film written by Dale Launer and directed by Jonathan... more

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    No Country for Old Men is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Movies About Life in the South
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    No Country for Old Men

    Javier Bardem, Tommy Lee Jones

    Released2007

    Directed byEthan Coen, Joel Coen

    No Country for Old Men is a 2007 American neo-western neo-noir thriller film directed by Joel... more

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    Big Fish is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Movies About Life in the South
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    Big Fish

    Miley Cyrus, Ewan McGregor

    Released2003

    Directed byTim Burton

    Big Fish is a 2003 American fantasy drama film based on the 1998 novel of the same name by... more
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    What's Eating Gilbert Grape is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Movies About Life in the South
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    What's Eating Gilbert Grape

    Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio

    Released1993

    Directed byLasse Hallström

    What's Eating Gilbert Grape is a 1993 American drama film directed by Lasse Hallström and... more

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    Midnight in the Garden of Good is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Movies About Life in the South
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    Released1997

    Directed byClint Eastwood

    Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is a 1997 American drama film directed by Clint... more
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    The Firm is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Movies About Life in the South
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    The Firm

    Tom Cruise, Gene Hackman

    Released1993

    Directed bySydney Pollack

    The Firm is a 1993 American legal thriller film directed by Sydney Pollack and starring Tom... more

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    Eve's Bayou is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Movies About Life in the South
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    Eve's Bayou

    Samuel L. Jackson, Meagan Good

    Released1997

    Directed byKasi Lemmons

    Eve's Bayou is a 1997 American drama film written and directed by Kasi Lemmons, who made her... more

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    Selma is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Movies About Life in the South
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    Selma

    Oprah Winfrey, Common

    Released2014

    Directed byAva DuVernay

    Selma is a 2014 historical drama film directed by Ava DuVernay and written by Paul Webb. It is... more

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    Django Unchained is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Movies About Life in the South
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    Django Unchained

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington

    Released2012

    Directed byQuentin Tarantino

    Django Unchained is a 2012 American revisionist Western film directed by Quentin Tarantino.... more
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    Hustle & Flow is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Movies About Life in the South
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    Hustle & Flow

    Taraji P. Henson, Ludacris

    Released2005

    Directed byCraig Brewer

    Hustle & Flow is a 2005 American independent drama film written and directed by Craig Brewer... more
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    Elizabethtown is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Movies About Life in the South
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    Elizabethtown

    Jessica Biel, Kirsten Dunst

    Released2005

    Directed byCameron Crowe

    Elizabethtown is a 2005 American romantic tragicomedy-drama film written and directed by... more

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    The Death of Dick Long is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Movies About Life in the South
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    The Death of Dick Long

    Michael Abbott Jr., Virginia Newcomb

    Released2019

    Directed byDaniel Scheinert

    The Death of Dick Long is a 2019 black comedy-drama film directed and produced by Daniel... more
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