A Film (or two) for Every State

  • 1.Alabama/Fried Green Tomatoes
  • 2.Alaska/The Edge, Runaway Train, Limbo
  • 3.Arizona/Raising Arizona, Psycho
  • 4.Arkansas/Sling Blade
  • 5.California/Chinatown, Vertigo
  • 6.Colorado/The Shining
  • 7.Connecticut/Mystic Pizza
  • 8.Delaware/American Splendor
  • 9.Florida/Miami Rhapsody, Key Largo
  • 10.Georgia/Deliverance, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
  • 11.Hawaii/Blue Hawaii
  • 12.Idaho/Smoke Signals
  • 13.Illinois/The Untouchables, The Fugitive, The Blues Brothers
  • 14.Indiana/Hoosiers
  • 15.Iowa/Field of Dreams, The Straight Story
  • 16.Kansas/In Cold Blood, The Wizard of Oz
  • 17.Kentucky/The Insider, Coal Miner's Daughter
  • 18.Lousiana/Passion Fish, Sounder
  • 19.Maine/The Cider House Rules, Delores Claiborne, Dreamcatcher
  • 20.Maryland/Avalon, any John Waters movie
  • 21.Massachusetts/The Perfect Storm, Good Will Hunting
  • 22.Michigan/Roger and Me, Grosse Pointe Blank
  • 23.Minnesota/A Simple Plan
  • 24.Mississippi/Mississippi Burning, O Brother Where Art Thou, Cookie's Fortune
  • 25.Missouri/Kansas City, Paper Moon
  • 26.Montana/A River Runs Through It
  • 27.Nebraska/Badlands
  • 28.Nevada/Casino, Leaving Las Vegas
  • 29.New Hampshire/Affliction
  • 30.New Jersey/Atlantic City, The Big Night
  • 31.New Mexico/Stagecoach, Gas, Food, Lodging, The Milagro Beanfield War
  • 32.New York/Wall Street, Manhatten, Nobody's Fool
  • 33.North Carolina/Bull Durham, Cape Fear
  • 34.North Dakota/Fargo
  • 35.Ohio/Beloved, Traffic
  • 36.Oklahoma/The Grapes of Wrath
  • 37.Oregon/Drugstore Cowboy
  • 38.Pennsylvania/Witness, Flashdance, Rocky
  • 39.Rhode Island/Me, Myself, and Irene, Safe Men
  • 40.South Carolina/The Great Santini
  • 41.South Dakota/Dances With Wolves, North by Northwest
  • 42.Tennessee/Nasville, Night Train
  • 43.Texas/The Last Picture Show, Lone Star, Paris, TX
  • 44.Utah/SLC Punk
  • 45.Vermont/White Christmas, Dead Poets' Society
  • 46.Virginia/Sweet Dreams, Remember the Titans
  • 47.Washington/Singles, Snow Falling on Cedars
  • 48.West Virginia/Matewan, October Sky
  • 49.Wisconsin/American Movie
  • 50.Wyoming/Red Rock West
Author Comments: 

Before I forget, thanks to Martin for proposing this list and giving some input.

Any suggestions on the states with only one movie?

I must say, I'm impressed. If this were given to me as a quiz ("name a movie that took place in -- and captured the essence of -- each state"), I'd probably be able to do five. I don't think the place quite registers with me.

Deleware - tough one. I know they tout tax-free shopping on their "Welcome to Deleware" sign, but really have no idea on the "captures the essence of Deleware" front.

For Wyoming, I don't suppose City Slickers took place there?

State and Main and White Christmas for Vermont perhaps...Maybe Beetlejuice I think that was Vermont.

Utah is tough.. and I have spent time there. The one thing that comes to my mind is Westerns in Monument Valley. Say John Wayne in Fords Calvary trilogy

Yeah, White Christmas definitely fits...thanks for another piece of the puzzle. State and Main is set in New Hampshire I believe because they state early on that the "Vermont town" wanted too much money for their "old mill." Ford's cavalry trilogy is a little more Southwestern, if I remembewr correctly, but Westerns are always a problematic genre here...

Johnny Waco

Jim, thanks for the compliment. I believe City Slickers took place in New Mexico, but that is part of the problem with Westerns. Since many are set in the days before the old West territories were even states, it's difficult to determine where they are supposed to take place.

Johnny waco

Utah has SLC Punk which is a pretty reasonable movie. Entertaining. Ohio has In Too Deep with LL Cool J and it too is pretty good. Its about a cop goin deep cover in a drug racket. Thats My suggestions for ya' Johnny.

Thanks for the suggestions. I didn't know whether I should list SLC Punk or not (I haven't seen it), but I think I'll take your advice on listing it. However, I'll hold off on In Too Deep for the moment; it just doesn't scream, "Ohio!"

Johnny Waco

Ok Ohio how about Bye Bye Birdie which is set in some town like Sweet Applecore Ohio...Ohio is a big state so it toughs to represent it all but I am surprised nothing from Cleveland comes to mind besides The baseball movie Major League.

Hmmm...Bye Bye Birdie, In Too Deep, Major League. Shouldn't a state as large as Ohio have memorable, evocative films set there? I'm beginning to feel despondent. Thanks for the suggestions though. Maybe they should make a Drew Carey movie...psych!

Johnny Waco

ok so there are many, many movies filmed in Utah. lets face it if you need a good barren wasteland, rough mountain landscape, or western desert monument valley type of a backdrop for your film there is no better place. a few such movies include: Mission Impossible 2, Galaxy Quest, Thelma and Louise, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Octopussy, Dumb and Dumber, Footloose, Forest Gump, Independence Day, and The Ten Commandments. The list of western films is quite extensive as well some notable films include: Have Gun Will Travel, Maverick, Rio Grande, She Wore A Yellow Ribbon, and The Outlaw Josey Wells. Believe it or not the movie filming industry is big business in Utah. It is also home to the wonderful Sundance Film Festival in Park City.

An impressive list, but I'm trying to find films set in Utah, not filmed there. Some Westerns that have scenes in Monument Valley still don't have a firm setting. SLC Punk is about the closest I've come so far...

Johnny Waco

I regret I haven't seen this movie, but "Orgazmo" is a farce about a mormon missionary--that says Utah all the way. (i can say that, I live here!)
Here's a link to one of the reviews:


Beloved (1998)
Bye Bye Birdie (1963)
The Faculty (1998)
Traffic (2000)

Yeah, I think I'll snag a couple of these for Ohio. Thanks...

Johnny Waco

Red Rock West

Great choice for Wyoming...nice little film.

The only valid choice I can think of for Rhode Island if you do not go with Outside Providence is another Farrelly Brother flick Me, Myself and Irene. Of course if you have ever been to Providence you would know why their is much of a choice

For some reason, I thought Red Rock West was set in Colorado; I even have it listed under Colorado. I'll just move it over to Wyoming...

Johnny Waco

Michigan/Grosse Pointe Blank

Somewhere in Time is set on Mackinac Island in Michigan. (I used to live there)

Excellent! There's always room for John Cusack...

Johnny Waco

About Delaware though: does anyone know if Dead Poets Society is set there? That movie is enough of a cult classic that I thought somebody would know...

Johnny Waco

First post!

According to a Mr. Showbiz review, Dead Poet's Society IS set in Delaware:


Assuming they have their facts straight, there's some proof for you.

No, the review claims that the film was shot in Delaware, not that the story took place in Delaware. All my sources (including the online TV Guide film database) claim the story is actually set in Vermont.

Blast! I thought for sure I had one for Delaware. has any work of art in the history of the world ever been set in Delaware, the "First State"? Thanks for looking into it guys...

Johnny Waco

A post at triviastic.com claims Fight Club is set in Delaware. The message reads, "...It's cool to me 'cause I live in Delaware and theres nothing significant about it ('cept its the first state... blah blah)."

Unconfirmed, but not bad.

Fight Club, huh? Can anyone confirm if it was set in Delaware? It seemed to be an unnamed, unremarkable city in the movie, but maybe I should rewatch it to find out.

Johnny Waco

Oh, well done.
For the record, DPS was filmed at St. Andrew's School in Middleton, DE.

Dead Poets Society actually was filmed in Delaware. i live here in upstate DE and i have been to where it was filmed. it was filmed at Saint Andrews, a very upscale private boarding school in Middletown, DE. in fact in one of the school lobbys there are pictures of Robin Williams visiting and shooting the movie there

also, can someone help me out because i have heard that part of Fight Club was filmed in Delaware, and i am having trouble proving this right or wrong, so input is appreciated

Rhode Island/
Safe Men (1998)

I believe, but am not certain, that "Me, Myself and Irene" is set in Delaware.

Whoops. Never mind.

That's cool; who can keep all those minuscule states separate anyway?

For New Mexico, The Milagro Beanfield War. I just moved to New Mexico and, while I haven't seen this film yet, people have told us that it gives a very good description of the interaction between all of the cultures here (Native, Spanish and Anglo).

Thanks for the suggestion; I think I'll add it.

Being an Oregon native, I have to mention at least on more movie for Oregon, Overboard

Haven't seen Overboard. What can you tell me about it?

Johnny Waco

I realize you already have to excellent example for films set in Alaska, but I wanted to mention Limbo as a possible option also. I'm not familiar with all the films set in Alaska, but it's the only one I know of set in the southeast and filmed in the southeast. It's also one of the most true to life pictures of life in southeastern Alaska in the fishing cities.

I haven't seen Limbo, but I want to (it's by Sayles, right?). It could be joining the list very soon.

Johnny Waco

Ok, I realize I misspelled the word two and used the word to instead. I kind of feel like a tool, but anyways I do hope you consider Limbo.

I'm pretty sure most of Fargo occurs in Minnesota, not North Dakota. Am I remembering wrong? As for that pesky Delaware: American Splendor (2003).

You're right; most of it does take place in Minnesota, but North Dakota needed some help, so I did what I had to do...

I will add American Splendor immediately.

Johnny Waco

first off great list...

a couple possible choices for maine(what would this state be film-wise if it weren't for stephen king)
-Delores Claiborn

Duly added. Yeah, Stephen King might be the most famous "Mainean" (is that right?) in America right now.

Johnny Waco

True story: he currently live in the ex-house of a good friend of a woman I once dated.

For what that's worth... Which is squat, but I feel chatty.

For an interesting twist, good chunks of Near Dark were also set in Oklahoma (Okie vampires - what's not to love?).

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

An ex-house and an ex-girlfriend? Sounds like a Stephen King book--especially if he adds in some Okie Vampires...

Hey, you wear a lot of black and suffer from insomnia: there's not something you need to tell all of us here at listology, is there?

Johnny Waco

"And a widow's peak like Eddie Munster..."

I do enjoy biting necks...

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

PS - Place the quote, win a prize! No fair googlin'.

PPS - And playing on my Launch station right now: Richard Pryor's Wino Dealing with Dracula!

it's Mainah or mainer to anyone who doesn't have the accent.

Thanks for the clarification, Mainah...

Johnny Waco

Very interesting and instructive as my US geography could do with improving. I'd thought Fargo was in Minnesota, perhaps cos of the Vikings. Which states was Paper Moon in? Oh and don't forget Paris, Texas. And Monument valley in The Searchers etc.

Glad you like the list. I was actually surprised by the states some movies were set in. On some of the earlier posts, we had a crazy time trying to figure out where Dead Poets Society was set, which is sad because I dislike the movie and regret spending so much effort on it...

It's easy to get confused with smaller cities like Fargo because, first of all, they're not really big enough for people in most parts of the country to pay a lot of attention to, and, secondly, it is right on the border between Minnesota and North Dakota. A lot of Swedish and Norweigian immigrants ended up in the Dakotas as well as in Minnesota.

Paper Moon takes place mostly in Missouri, with a little bit of it across the border in Kansas.

I added Paper Moon and Paris, TX, but I'm not completely sure where The Searchers is set. Monument Valley is in Utah, but for some reason, I don't think it is supposed to be set there.

Thanks for the recommendations.

Johnny Waco

Fight Club is set in Delaware. Chuck Palahniuk (who wrote the book) says so on his website, and there are references to it on imdb.com.

How about "Sometimes A Great Notion" for Oregon?