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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  • The best American films are journeys, taking us to places 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 American films that span the nation from California to New York. Click on the list below to find your home state, or simply flip through our slide show. Sorry, D.C.—you are still just a federal district and not technically a state; content yourself with a patriotic movie like 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

  • Hawaii: The Descendants (2011)

    Trouble in paradise, indeed: Alexander Payne made prime use of Hawaii’s luscious greenery and gem-blue oceans to counterpoint the melancholy story of a husband (George Clooney) who discovers that his dying wife was unfaithful.—Keith Uhlich

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

  • Idaho: My Own Private Idaho (1991)

    Gus Van Sant’s moody, Shakespeare-inflected street-youth tale follows a narcoleptic hustler (River Phoenix) on a tragic journey in search of himself. Idaho is the place he’s most drawn to: a site of roots (it’s where the last of his family lives) and hallucinogenic dreams (a highway to nowhere stretches tauntingly beyond the horizon).—Keith Uhlich

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

  • Illinois: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

    Chicago is shown off magnificently as a playground for an irresponsible teen hero: Ferris (Matthew Broderick) drags his friends to Wrigley Field and the Art Institute, high up the Sears Tower—and even to the front of the Von Steuben Day Parade. Writer-director John Hughes, a local, called the movie his love letter to the city.—Joshua Rothkopf

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

  • Indiana: Hoosiers (1986)

    Basketball-obsessed Indiana and its 1954 state champions from small-town Milan were the real-life inspiration for this stirring sports drama, set in an abstract terrain of painted court lines and clean-cut grass, a place where second chances can happen.—Joshua Rothkopf

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

  • Iowa: Field of Dreams (1989)

    Could Kevin Costner’s classic double play of baseball and father issues be set anywhere but the “corn jewel” of the American heartland? We think not: The film’s mix of salt-of-the-earth values and moral fortitude exemplifies the Hawkeye State’s character to a tee.—David Fear

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  • Kansas: The Wizard of Oz (1939)

    Of course, there’s a point when we’re not in Kansas anymore. But until then, in lovely sepia tones, Dorothy’s farm surroundings come to vivid life, as does a scary “twister” on the horizon. Judy Garland’s immortal rendition of “Over the Rainbow” is a full dose of country yearning in two minutes.—Joshua Rothkopf

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

  • Kentucky: Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980)

    Going from rags to riches is the American Dream, but this biopic of country-music legend Loretta Lynn (starring a spunky, radiant Sissy Spacek) emphasizes that hers is a Kentucky story—she’s a honky-tonk honeysuckle rose born in coal dust and bred by the state’s hardscrabble rural beauty.—David Fear

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

  • Louisiana: The Big Easy (1987)

    You won’t find a better picture of the state’s unofficial capital than this sleazy, sweaty mystery set in New Orleans. The longer Dennis Quaid and Ellen Barkin prowl the city’s lively streets and hot spots, the more the region’s Cajun-inflected funky spirit comes through.—David Fear

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

  • Maine: Dolores Claiborne (1995)

    It would be perverse of us not to pick a Stephen King adaptation, so thoroughly he commits to depicting his home state. We like this domestic drama, a murder mystery set in a handsome coastal town. Kathy Bates embodies take-no-guff Maine attitude—King wrote the character especially for his Misery star.—Joshua Rothkopf

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

  • Maryland: Pink Flamingos (1972)

    Baltimore’s favorite transgressive son, John Waters, made a big splash with this shameless black comedy about a Maryland family with a taste for rabble-rousing, criminal activity and dog excrement. Even at its sleaziest, the film is a strangely loving portrait of the director’s home state, freaks and all.—Keith Uhlich

     Buy this classic American film set in Maryland now on Amazon

  • Massachusetts: The Fighter (2010)

    Never mind the blue bloods: David O. Russell’s story of boxer “Irish” Micky Ward’s grab for the brass ring gives us a working-class Lowell community that’s pugnacious, vivacious and fiercely loyal to its own. In this Massachusetts microcosmos, everyone is a fighter.—David Fear

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

  • Michigan: Blue Collar (1978)

    This salty comedy about three Detroit auto-industry workers doubles as a tribute to every Rust Belt grunt who ever tried to put food on the table—and as a salute to the state that got American rubber on the road for decades.—David Fear

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

  • Minnesota: Purple Rain (1984)

    With his loosely autobiographical cult musical, pop star Prince had us wanting to purify ourselves in the waters of Lake Minnetonka. Numerous Minnesota landmarks appear, most notably the legendary First Avenue nightclub, where our prancing hero brings his many adoring doves to tears.—Keith Uhlich

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

  • Mississippi: In the Heat of the Night (1967)

    The town is fictional, but this Oscar-winning thriller about a white police chief and an African-American detective channels a very real Mississippi—one racked with hot temperatures, racial tensions and uneasy acceptance of the era’s tides of change.—David Fear

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

  • Missouri: Waiting for Guffman (1997)

    Christopher Guest’s faux documentary about Blaine, MO (“stool capital of the United States”), and a community-theater troupe with delusions of Broadway grandeur beautifully captures small-town American eccentricity, always with a gentle wink.—Keith Uhlich

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

  • Montana: A River Runs Through It (1992)

    Watch virtually any scene from Robert Redford’s fly-fishing family drama and you’ll get a sense of Montana’s majestic landscape; every time Brad Pitt casts his line into the Blackfoot River, you realize why they call it Big Sky country.—David Fear

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

  • Nebraska: Election (1999)

    This pointed satire about a high-school student election is one of Alexander Payne’s finest satirical portraits of his home state, unearthing in the Nebraska suburbs a microcosmic portrait of American politics and all its wheelings and dealings.—Keith Uhlich

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

  • Nevada: Melvin and Howard (1980)

    Las Vegas and its barren outskirts provide the mythic meeting place for billionaire mogul Howard Hughes (Jason Robards) and service-station owner Melvin Dummar (Paul Le Mat). Melvin spends the rest of Jonathan Demme’s delightfully quirky comedy trying to prove the encounter took place; the arid Nevada desert haunts the film like a half-remembered dreamscape.—Keith Uhlich

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

  • New Hampshire: To Die For (1995)

    New Hampshire, with its quiet suburbs and picture-perfect scenery, is the setting for Gus Van Sant’s stone-cold black comedy about a career-obsessed woman (Nicole Kidman) who murderously manipulates her way up the ranks of a local cable station.—Keith Uhlich

     Buy this classic American film set in New Hampshire now on Amazon

  • New Jersey: Clerks (1994)

    A strong contender for the scrappiest state in the union, “Dirty Jersey” gets the eloquently foulmouthed comedy it deserves in Kevin Smith’s indie classic about counter jockeys. They tell it like it is—in the funny, frank way you associate with the Garden State.—David Fear

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

  • New Mexico: Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973)

    America’s legendary outlaw went down at Old Fort Sumner, in the state nicknamed the Land of Enchantment. Strong-willed director Sam Peckinpah turned in a Western for the ages (despite much studio interference), caked with grime and dirt, tinged with frontier wildness.—Joshua Rothkopf

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

  • New York: Taxi Driver (1976)

    Martin Scorsese’s portrait of a lost soul shows us a mythic NYC filled with steaming manholes, colorful street characters and the sense that some of its citizens are on the verge of psychological breakdown. It’s an overwhelming urban jungle that can make you feel like “God’s lonely man,” even when you’re behind the wheel of an iconic yellow cab.—David Fear

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

  • North Carolina: George Washington (2000)

    David Gordon Green made his feature film debut with this poetic look at a group of poor children living in rural North Carolina. Long before he hopped aboard the pineapple express, Green’s ethereal imagery and vivid sense of place (wracked with economic and spiritual depression) had many proclaiming him the new Terrence Malick.—Keith Uhlich

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

  • North Dakota: Fargo (1996)

    Much of the movie takes place in ice-scraped Minnesota, but we can’t help but defer to the title: It’s where half-smart car dealer Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy) drives to set up his kidnapping scheme. More symbolically, North Dakota is the wintry place where all is lost in the Coens’ breakthrough.—Joshua Rothkopf

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

  • Ohio: American Splendor (2003)

    As played by Paul Giamatti, underground comic-book memoirist Harvey Pekar is a cranky yet sympathetic ogre. Crucially, though, on Letterman and a national stage, Pekar becomes a symbol for his unpretentious blue-collar hometown of Cleveland (where the movie was largely shot).—Joshua Rothkopf

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

  • Oklahoma: Oklahoma! (1955)

    The title song says it all: “Where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain / And the wavin’ wheat can sure smell sweet!” Forget Broadway: The vistas in this adaptation of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s hit musical make you feel like you’ve just been dropped into Sooner State grandeur.—David Fear

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

  • Oregon: Old Joy (2006)

    Evoking both the indie rep of Portland and Oregon’s sublime natural landscape, Kelly Reichardt’s hiking drama treks a path into the space that grows between two friends. The Beaver State is the film’s silent third character.—Joshua Rothkopf

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

  • Pennsylvania: Rocky (1976)

    Mention the City of Brotherly Love to folks and they’ll picture Philly’s No. 1 son jogging up those Philadelphia Museum of Art steps. Sylvester Stallone’s underdog drama reminds us, 200 years after the Declaration of Independence was signed there, that the state’s best-known city can still produce American dreamers who go the distance.—David Fear

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

  • Rhode Island: There’s Something About Mary (1998)

    Sure, you remember the “hair gel” scene the most—a notorious comedy moment that will never die so long as there are horndogs. But codirectors Peter and Bobby Farrelly have always demonstrated a commitment to their cozy home state; most of their movies are at least partly set there.—Joshua Rothkopf

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  • South Carolina: The Big Chill (1983)

    A generational landmark, Lawrence Kasdan’s ensemble drama was responsible for launching the career of Meg Tilly (and hooking millions on a Motown soundtrack). The place where all the tension happens is a lovely antebellum mansion in Beaufort, SC, deceptively serene.—Joshua Rothkopf

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

  • South Dakota: North by Northwest (1959)

    Alfred Hitchcock’s masterful suspense thriller follows Cary Grant’s innocent-man-on-the-run through multiple states. But all roads lead to a monumentally cliff-hanging finale at Mount Rushmore—and an iconic Hitchcockian valentine to South Dakota.—Keith Uhlich

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

  • Tennessee: Nashville (1975)

    Arguably the finest American movie of the 1970s, Robert Altman’s sprawling masterpiece takes in the entirety of Music City, from its local singing legends to its fluky aspiring artists—and all freaks and fans in between. If you know only the (unrelated) TV psychodrama, you’ve got some woodshedding ahead of you.—Joshua Rothkopf

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

  • Texas: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

    We’ve tasted the barbecue, and it’s you: Tobe Hooper’s brutally effective slasher about a road-tripping group of teens who run afoul of a cannibalistic backwoods family makes the desolate landscapes and sweltering summer heat of the Lone Star State seem relentlessly nightmarish. Inside or out, there’s no escape from the horror.—Keith Uhlich

     Buy this classic American film set in Texas now on Amazon

  • Utah: 127 Hours (2010)

    James Franco’s hiker is stuck between a rock and a hard place (literally) for most of this true-story survival tale. But Danny Boyle’s film still captures Utah’s Canyonlands National Park in all its rugged glory, and gives viewers a sense of the natural beauty that characterizes our 45th state.—David Fear

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

  • Vermont: The Trouble with Harry (1955)

    A dead body appears in the woods outside a Vermont hamlet. Whodunit? Alfred Hitchcock’s mild-mannered murder mystery captures the plush beauty of the Green Mountain State—even though production began so late in the season, they had to glue their own foliage to the trees.—Keith Uhlich

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

  • Virginia: The New World (2005)

    Jamestown, VA, was the first permanent English colony in the Americas. Terrence Malick’s lyrical exploration of the settlement’s history—notably the relationship between explorer John Smith and Indian princess Pocahontas—beautifully re-creates the gorgeous, rough-hewn locale.—Keith Uhlich

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

  • Washington: Singles (1992)

    Cameron Crowe’s friends-in-their-twenties drama serves nicely as a time capsule of Seattle’s grunge scene, a moment when the world’s attention swiveled to flannel shirts and bruised, rainy emotions. Watch closely and you’ll catch cameos by members of Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains.—Joshua Rothkopf

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

  • West Virginia: Matewan (1987)

    The area’s mountainous terrain and the tenacious people who work it are beautifully represented in John Sayles’s re-creation of the 1920 coal miners’ strike that scarred the state. Sooty laborers, social activists and manic preachers choose their sides in a landscape that seems both craggy and nurturing.—David Fear

     Buy this classic American film set in West Virginia now on Amazon

  • Wisconsin: Come and Get It (1936)

    The ultimate logging psychodrama comes from an esteemed Edna Ferber novel and features brawny men competing for the comely attentions of saloon singer Lotta (Frances Farmer, one of Howard Hawks’s spunkiest female leads). A fortune is made over the course of a generation; an audience learns much about deforestation.—Joshua Rothkopf

     Buy this classic American film set in Wisconsin now on Amazon

  • Wyoming: Brokeback Mountain (2005)

    You don’t have to be a love-struck cowboy to swoon over the gorgeous scenery in Ang Lee’s romantic tragedy. The high plains, rocky mountains and rushing rivers that form the backdrop for Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal’s trysts will make you fall for the territory’s wide-open spaces.—David Fear

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

The best American films are journeys, taking us to places 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 American films that span the nation from California to New York. Click on the list below to find your home state, or simply flip through our slide show. Sorry, D.C.—you are still just a federal district and not technically a state; content yourself with a patriotic movie like 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.


Users say

55 comments
Eric L
Eric L

"The Ice Storm" for Connecticut???? Surely you jest.   "The Swimmer" with Burt Lancaster is a better choice. Even Mystic Pizza is a better choice.

Hans
Hans

"Garden State" for Garden State!

Lesley
Lesley

There are a lot of good and bad things on this list, but as a Texan I'm pretty sure y'all chose it because it was the first movie you thought of with the name "Texas" in the title. There are so many more iconic movies that truly encapsulate the spirit of Texas, such as Giant, The Last Picture Show, Days of Heaven, Friday Night Lights...

Eric
Eric

Maine should have been Shawshank Redemption and Colorado The Shining, The Departed for Mass, how about Paris, Texas for Texas

PT in Ellensburg
PT in Ellensburg

I applaud the thought that went into this list, even if I disagree with some of the picks. I do think it's weighed too heavily towards recent films. The two picks I most strongly disagree with are Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Pink Flamingos. Odd, even disgusting, movies, in my opinon. For Texas, I would have gone with The Searchers or Urban Cowboy, and for Maryland, Diner. Other suggested picks: Wyoming- Heaven's Gate or Shane; Arizona- Tombstone or My Darling Clementine; New York- Annie Hall; Pennsylvania- The Deer Hunter, and Oregon- One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Considering the thousands of candidates to choose from for California, I have to say you nailed it with Chinatown. Perfect choice.

Deavin
Deavin

The fact that Forrest Gump isn't listed for Alabama made me not want to read the rest of the list.

Chris Johnson
Chris Johnson

I would have picked On Golden Pond for New Hampshire. The Fighter was good for MA, but maybe Good Will Hunting? There should have been runner ups for certain states.

rhetorical tool
rhetorical tool

For Texas, I'd go with J. Sayles "Lone Star," or R. Linklater's Dazed and Confused, or Giant or The Last Picture Show, or Paris, TX, or David Byrne's True Stories any of those capture something more substantial about Texas than Chainsaw Massacre.

Ryan
Ryan

Jeremiah Johnson was filmed entirely in Utah, not Colorado.

Hillary
Hillary

I think most people in South Dakota would say that our most iconic movie is Dances With Wolves.

Alex
Alex

Good, but Diner should be for Maryland.

Mike
Mike

Connecticut also has Revolutionary Road...a nice depiction of Connecticut life while working in the maniacal world of New York City...

dave
dave

florida? really? body heat hands down. William hurt, katheline turner, kasdan's finest loses to a bunch of bimbos? come on...

Buddy
Buddy

Wyoming, "Brokeback Mountain:" Yes, the scenery was gorgeous but most of the movie was filmed in Alberta, Canada.

sam
sam

Idaho didn't get Napoleon Dynamite?

Jack
Jack

Texas should be Varsity Blues....come on

Jennifer Arthur
Jennifer Arthur

Better choices for Missouri: Winter's Bone, Meet Me in St Louis.

Ryan
Ryan

While The Fighter is great, Massachusetts should be Goodwill Hunting. Goodwill Hunting very much stands at the intersection of the Bay State, in between its gritty old town feel and working class folks -- and the more educated, often more phony, newer, wealthier types and hipper, Brahman locations. Whether it was the settings and scenery, or characters like the ones played by Damon and Williams, the movie truly stands at the crossroads and is Massachusetts.

heather
heather

A better choice for Minnesota would have been Grumpy Old Men and being from South Dakota and loving Hitchcock film, I still would have chosen Dances with Wolves. Coal Miner's Daughter in a great film but so is Elizabethtown for Kentucky, but that's a toss up. And I would have liked to seen Double Jeopardy in the running for Louisiana.

MikeyP
MikeyP

Say Anything for Washington would have been a better choice. ANd "Garden State" instead of Clerks is another choice i would have gone with. But i understand their choices. Pretty good list (iconic)

john
john

HaHa Wyoming, where anonymous homo love is welcomed by all.

john
john

HaHa Wyoming, where anonymous homo love is welcomed by all.

tom
tom

pretty average list all in all. i agree with a lot of the suggestions by a lot of the people in the comments. but being from Minnesota, i hate the choice of Purple Rain, and i hate Fargo for North Dakota. i know Fargo is actually in NoDak, but the whole movie takes place in Minnesota. it was shot in Minnesota. the characters even have crazy, over-the-top Minnesotan accents. and if you really can't go with Fargo, then The Mighty Ducks would've been a better choice than Purple Rain. MD is a hockey movie, taking place in Minnesota, largely - if not completely - shot in Minnesota. also, as a side note, as much as i love North By Northwest, you gotta go with Dances With Wolves for South Dakota

Scott
Scott

A couple of quick suggestions - The Departed for MA and Fargo for MN. Those seem pretty obvious.

wj
wj

definitely agree with the comment below about Stand By Me. That movie perfectly captures summertime in Oregon.

Gary Trout
Gary Trout

West Virginia should be represented by the magnificent "Night of the Hunter", an unforgettable film.

Doug
Doug

Disagree with Missouri a much better representation would have been Ang Lee's Ride with the Devil, set in the Civil War in Missouri or Clint Eastwood's Outlaw Josey Wales

Austin
Austin

Why George Washington is representing NC instead of Lynch's legendary Blue Velvet is beyond me.

Kong1965
Kong1965

I don't care what the "locale" of Fight Club is supposed to be, it's a patently California film. Every scene is L.A., especially the last scene where the buildings are all brought down. Every exterior scene is filmed around L.A. icons, including Century Plaza. The buses, the bar and Paper St. scenes, LAX, I mean everything about this film says "L.A.". You can't assign a film to Delaware that doesn't have a single exterior scene shot anywhere but California/L.A.. C'mon, you can do better than this. How about "Dead Poet's Society" for cryin' out loud?

Fuchsia
Fuchsia

As far as Kevin Smith goes, I think Mallrats is a better depiction of Jersey. And to the person ranting about the amount of 'recent' movies on the list, if they were all old mid-nineteenth century movies, they would be representing very dated notions of the states and the list would be a lot of nostaltic smalltown Americana. As previously mentioned, you'd find a lot of takes place in Illinois, shot in Vermont or in a studio type stuff. PLUS, a lot of these movies really aren't as recent as you think. And early nineties movie, for example, is now twenty years old.

Aaron
Aaron

Largely a pretty good list. And fun to click through too. Like everyone else, I have some differing opinions too. I agree with previous commenters about Boston and Florida. There are dozens of movies that are more iconic than "Spring Breakers," a movie to that just made it to BluRay. Considering the dearth of pre-1990 classics, I'll go with "The Palm Beach Story." My other votes would be: "Bull Durham" for North Carolina "Giant" for Texas "Roger and Me" for Michigan "Leaving Las Vegas" - Nevada It's hard to beat "Chinatown" but I might pick "Vertigo" for California. "Sleepless in Seattle" for Washington strikes me as more 'iconic' than "Singles." "The Big Sleep" may be the most iconic movie to take place in South Carolina, but all they talk about is Ann Arbor. I would go with "The Patriot," a lesser movie, but more iconic about S.C.

Shane
Shane

Michigan deserved a better title. Blue Collar?! I'm from Michigan and I haven't even heard of it. Countless better choices come mind. Some of them include: Gran Torino, 8-Mile, Four Brothers, Escanaba in da Moonlight, Detroit Rock City, Robocop.

James
James

A good list for the most part. I wish my home state of Arizona was better represented by a movie that captured the essence of the Grand Canyon State. Not the "Raising Arizona" is a bad film by any means, but I feel like it could be set anywhere. A classic western like "Stagecoach" or "3:10 to Yuma" (the original) would've been a preferable choice. Other recommendations: Texas - "Lone Star" - I know John Sayles is already represented on this list with "Matewan", but Lone Star will always be his best work IMHO. Besides, WV can always be represented by... West Virginia - "October Sky" Michigan - "Roger and Me" - Before the conspiracy theories and the hatred of Republican politics clouded his vision Michael Moore was the best documentary film-maker around Connecticut - "Mystic Pizza" - Maybe not as good as "The Ice Storm" but not as heavy-handed either. Plus, it was the launching pad for Julia Roberts Pennsylvania - "All the Right Moves" - Okay, nothing beats "Rocky" but having lived in PA I can tell you it is a state that worships high school football

FinnFann
FinnFann

For Indiana, I suggest Breaking Away For New Hampshire, I suggest On Golden Pond

Todd
Todd

How about Stand By Me, Animal House ,Drug Store Cowboy for Oregon?

John
John

Some other alternates: "Petrified Forest" for Arizona (an oldie), "The Producers" for New York, "Good Will Hunting" for Massachusetts (though largely filmed here in Toronto), "Zack and Miri Make a Porno" for Pennsylvania (the western part instead of Philly), "Bullitt" for Califormia (great chase scene in SF), "Fried Green Tomatoes" for Alabama

John
John

I would have picked "Days of Heaven" or "Tree of Life" for Texas since they were directed by a Texan as well as being set there. And while you already have another Stephen King adaptation on the list, I would have picked "The Shining" for Colorado.

David Fear
David Fear

Ugh, this New Yorker is wiping the egg off his face...we've corrected the Massachusetts entry re: Lowell. All apologies to the fine people of Lowell and MA.

Kristine
Kristine

Agree with the others: The Fighter was based out of Lowell, not Dorchester.

Alissa
Alissa

I would have chosen "Garden State" for New Jersey and "The Departed" for Massachusetts. JMHO

Slm
Slm

No Paris, Texas by Wim Wenders...? Big Fail!

God
God

Melvin and Howard for Nevada?! Over Casino, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Hangover, The Oceans's movies???

brianleeraiderfan
brianleeraiderfan

i think Jeramiah Johnson was actually mostly filmed in Utah not Colorado. Filming this movie was the reason Redford eventually moved to Utah. Sundance. The entire film festival. Right?

Lesley
Lesley

Do not agree with Florida. How is a movie made last year a classic? Also I can easily name a movie for Florida: "Scarface"

Pitt
Pitt

While I appreciate it's inclusion on the list, "Brokeback Mountain" was actually filmed in Canada, not Wyoming...

Aiden
Aiden

The fact that you call the setting of The Fighter "a working-class Dorchester community" and then immediately trot out fake words like "microcosmos" as if you have effortlessly mastered both film comprehension and the English language tells me all I need to about this article. Garbage.

Josh
Josh

A principle we used (one that might not be obvious): Rarely did pre-1950 films shoot on location. They were usually marked by the artifice of Hollywood studio sets; location shooting was an evolution that happened later. Even so, we picked some studio-shot movies like Gone with the Wind and Wizard of Oz, titles that evoke the *idea* of their states. But overall, we were looking for authenticity. Loving the comments!—JR

Jonathan Woollen
Jonathan Woollen

Gonna stump for Blue Velvet as the more representative choice of my beautiful home state of North Carolina.

Tom
Tom

"Spring Breakers" for Florida? Not something actually worth watching, like "Key Largo?"

Eric L
Eric L

@Mike Really? Thought the point of the movie was to show the stifling life they led.  Mystic Pizza, The Swimmer, both are better than TO's choice.  

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