50 American films, 50 states: One iconic movie for each state

In celebration of the big, bold USA, we take a trip through all 50 states via 50 indelible American films.



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SLIDE SHOW: View the 50 American films for 50 states as one slide show >>

The best films are a journey, taking us to a place we’ve never been (at least for a while). Can’t a cinematic road map be charted, cruising a viewer through a grand tour of all 50 American states? We’ve spent time with our atlas and Blu-rays, finding 50 iconic movies. Go alphabetically with us, or click on the map above to find your home state. Sorry, D.C.—you are still just a federal district and not technically a state; content yourself with All the President’s Men or, depending on your mood, White House Down. Did we forget a state classic? Inform your local chamber of commerce—and let us know in the comments.

Alabama: To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

The time is the 1930s, and in fictional Maycomb, Alabama, life is a paradise of swaying trees and bountiful breakfasts—for some. For others, the Deep South is a hard place, requiring the efforts of a decent lawyer (the mighty Gregory Peck).—Joshua Rothkopf

 Watch this classic American film set in Alabama now at Amazon Instant Video

Alaska: Into the Wild (2007)

True to its nickname, Alaska is the last frontier for adventurer Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch). Sean Penn’s wilderness drama follows this hungry young protagonist as he seeks enlightenment in the hinterlands of our nation’s northernmost state, its rugged, unforgiving landscapes counterpointing his own spiritual discontent.—Keith Uhlich

 Watch this classic American film set in Alaska now at Amazon Instant Video

Arizona: Raising Arizona (1987)

The Coen brothers’ lunatic comedy about a loving trailer-park couple who kidnap one of five quintuplets to raise as their own captures the distinctive patois—a hybrid of local dialects—and arid poetry of the Grand Canyon State.—Keith Uhlich

 Watch this classic American film set in Arizona now at Amazon Instant Video

Arkansas: Sling Blade (1996)

Billy Bob Thornton became a household name with this touching Southern drama, which he not only dominated as the mentally slow Karl, but wrote and directed. The overall picture—an Arkansas of crime, compassion and hope—was positively Clintonian.—Joshua Rothkopf

 Watch this classic American film set in Arkansas now at Amazon Instant Video

California: Chinatown (1974)

It may be the birthplace of beach parties, the Summer of Love and Hollywood, but Roman Polanski’s noir tears the scab off California dreamin’: an L.A. detective story that exposes what lies beneath our go-west idealism, while simultaneously evoking nostalgia for the Golden State’s sunny facade.—David Fear

 Watch this classic American film set in California now at Amazon Instant Video

Colorado: Jeremiah Johnson (1972)

In Sydney Pollack’s backcountry oater, a jaded Mexican War veteran (Robert Redford) seeks solace in the American West, only to discover that life in the Rocky Mountain State—with its harsh weather, craggy terrain and aggressive inhabitants—is more turbulent than transcendental.—Keith Uhlich

 Watch this classic American film set in Colorado now at Amazon Instant Video

Connecticut: The Ice Storm (1997)

Cubes clatter in Scotch tumblers as the emotional temperature plummets in Ang Lee’s portrayal of Nixon-era life in New Canaan, CT. Fine, these are the problems of wealthy white people, but stiffness yields something tragic and universal.—Joshua Rothkopf

 Watch this classic American film set in Connecticut now at Amazon Instant Video

Delaware: Fight Club (1999)

A tough one! The slender First State doesn’t have a lot of cinematic history, and authorities denied David Fincher permission to shoot his radical anticapitalist comedy in Wilmington, where it’s set. But enough clues are sprinkled throughout—business cards, license plates—to know we’re at the financial hub.—Joshua Rothkopf

 Watch this classic American film set in Delaware now at Amazon Instant Video

Florida: Spring Breakers (2012)

As tawdry and trashed as the collegiate tradition itself, Harmony Korine’s tale of girls gone wild presents a Florida that’s a neon fountain of youth—a version of the state’s sunbaked, garish resort-town vibe that feels only slightly exaggerated.—David Fear

 Watch this classic American film set in Florida now at Amazon Instant Video

Georgia: Gone with the Wind (1939)

Frankly, my dear, we don’t give a damn that this classic Hollywood melodrama was shot mostly in Tinseltown. Between its extravagant plantation sets, the epic battle scenes, a Southern-fried romantic triangle and the unforgettable burning of Atlanta, this is the most iconic rendering of Georgia on film.—Keith Uhlich

 Watch this classic American film set in Georgia now at Amazon Instant Video

See iconic American films: Hawaii to Maryland

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