They are some of your favorite movies from the past 35 years. We recognize that not all of the movies filmed in the South, nor all southern states with films are represented here. That’s where you can tell us what we left out below and why it was wrong to leave your favorite out.
You likely know the storylines to these films already so we will only spend our time locating their filming locations. The backdrops of the South’s mountains, lakes, rivers, streams, intercoastal waterways, and beaches draw us even further into the stories. So let’s get started.
1) The Big Chill & The Great Santini – Both of these movies shared a common location. The home represented in both was the Tidalholm Mansion located in downtown Beaufort, South Carolina. Beaufort is a popular location for movies. Forrest Gump, Platoon, and GI Jane are a few others that were filmed there.
2) Forrest Gump – Though Forrest was supposed to live in Alabama, most of the movie was filmed in Savannah, GA, and Beaufort, SC. In fact, both the house Gump lived in and Jenny’s farmhouse were temporary structures built on the Bluff Plantation on the Combahee River between Beaufort and Varnville in South Carolina. Even the scenes from Vietnam were shot on Fripp Island off Beaufort’s coast. The mountains were inserted using CGI.
I have to include the next two because not only are they great movies, they were also shot in the mountains of western North Carolina near Franklin, NC, where Live Southern was founded. Plus, I have a few friends who got to be extras in both Nell and The Fugitive.
3) Nell – Filmed in a cove on Fontana Lake, the remote woodland cabin where Nell is discovered is accessible only by boat or hiking trail. You can find parking locations and trail information online. The hospital scene where the doctor runs to escape with Nell is shot inside of Angel Medical Hospital in Franklin, NC. When they exit the hospital the scene is in Charlotte, NC.
4) The Fugitive – Though the story plot takes place up north, the Fugitive is another movie shot in the mountains of NC. The bus and train crash was filmed in Dillsboro, NC. The deteriorating bus and train engine still remain where the filming took place and if you know where to look, can be seen from the road. The hospital where the doctor gives himself medical care after the bus crash is Harris Regional in Sylva, NC. When Harrison Ford makes his run from the law in the ambulance he is driving through Bryson City. The dam scene where he jumps is at the Cheoah Dam near Robbinsville, NC. This link can provide further information to each of the locations.
5) The Notebook – Charleston, S.C., one of my favorite southern towns, is a location where many movies have been shot. The Notebook is just one of those many. If you are in love with this movie, well, you can enjoy a romantic getaway that lets you enjoy many of the locations with your special loved one. The restaurant scene was filmed at the High Cotton. The theater where Allie and Noah have their first date, the American Theater, can be found today on King Street. Both Boone Hall, where Allie’s home was located, and Magnolia Plantations, for the rowboat scene, are just outside Charleston.
6) The Patriot – Another great movie filmed around Charleston is exclusively shot in South Carolina. The home of Benjamin Martin, played by Mel Gibson, a leader of the colonial militia, is filmed on a farm in Lowrys, SC. The British ball scene is filmed at Middleton Place Plantation in West Ashley.
7) Sweet Home Alabama – Don’t let the name fool you, this favorite of many is actually shot mostly in Georgia. The town of Pigeon Creek, Alabama is actually Crawfordville, Georgia. The town scenes, diner, bank, Catfish Festival, and Stellas Roadhouse are all in and around Crawfordville. Starr’s Mill, an old mill in Fayette County, Georgia was the location of the Deep South Glass store. The Carmichael Plantation mansion scene was shot on the campus of Berry College in Eufaula, Alabama. This video helps explain the locations ‘then and now’: Sweet Home Alabama filming locations – Then and Now
8) Safe Haven – This movie featuring Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough was filmed in both Southport and Wilmington, NC. If you are wanting to visit the general store in the movie it will be the Fishy Fishy Cafe in Southport. If you want to follow their footsteps down the boardwalk its the Wilmington’s historic river district. The little house where Alex lived in the movie is also in Southport. More about these locations
9) 42 – This historically based movie about Jackie Robinson was filmed in various locations across the south. The baseball field scenes were shot at Engel Stadium in Chattanooga, Tennessee and Rickwood Field in Birmingham, Alabama. Rickwood Field, built in 1910, is the oldest professional baseball park in the United States. Engel Stadium doubled for Brooklyn’s Ebbetts Field. Most of the games were filmed at this location.
10) Last of the Mohicans – The Mohican tribe may have originated in Upstate New York but this 1992 movie was filmed in various locations of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. The many waterfall shots in the movie are located in DuPont State Recreational Forest. It’s behind Bridal Veil Falls where Hawkeye and the rest walk behind the falls to hide from Magua and his men. The movies plot locations are in Albany, NY but were filmed around Asheville, NC, many scenes at Biltmore Estates. More about these locations
11) Dirty Dancing – This 1987 favorite was also a New York storyline that was actually shot in the western part of North Carolina. The Catskills mountains were actually the Blue Ridge Mountains during filming. Just outside Asheville at Lake Lure is the location for the ballroom scene shot inside a renovated local gymnasium. The staff cabins were filmed at a local boys’ camp and the ‘lake lift scene’ in Lake Lure. Kellerman’s Resort was filmed in Virginia at Mountain Lake Lodge in Pembroke. More on their locations
There’s little doubt that Hollywood has a soft spot for movie locations shot in the South. How can you blame them when romantic comedies, dramas, sports films, and action movies can be framed with the beauty of our mountains, beaches, lowlands, and Piedmont locations.
Which movie have we left out on your list? Share in the comments below. Keep on Southerning.