(WHNT) – What movies come to mind when you think of movies set in Alabama?
You might think of Tom Hanks’ Oscar-winning vehicle “Forrest Gump,” the 1991 adaptation of Fannie Flagg’s book, “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe” or “To Kill a Mockingbird” from 1962. However, you may be. – be surprised to know that no footage from those famous “Alabama” movies was shot in this state.
“Gump” and “Fried Green Tomatoes” were Georgia-centric productions. Even “Gump” as a known product in Alabama ended up being shot mostly in South Carolina, with the exception of the famous bench scenes in Savannah, Georgia. Monroeville, Alabama, the city on which Harper Lee based the Maycomb fiction, was remade at Universal Studios for “Kill a Mockingbird.”
With those big movies out of the way, you’re probably now wondering, “Okay, well… what movies WERE made in Alabama?” ” We have what you need.
Here are some of the most famous films made in Alabama:
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
- What is it about? An ordinary man working as a power lineman in Indiana changed his life after encountering an unidentified flying object (UFO).
- Who played there? Richard Dreyfuss directs a cast that includes François Truffaut, Teri Garr, Bob Balaban and many more.
- Where was it filmed in Alabama? Although Steven Spielberg did not want to shoot on location after “Jaws” (1975), he eventually conceded, filming scenes at Bay Minette and Fairhope, as well as the now closed Brookley Air Force Base in Mobile.
- Did you know? This movie screens nightly at Devil’s Tower KOA Campground, making it one of the most screened movies of all time.
Norma Rae (1979)
- What is it about? A factory worker with little formal education becomes involved in union politics when the health of a colleague is affected due to poor working conditions.
- Who played there? Sally Field (who won the Oscar for Best Actress for her role here), Ron Leibman, Beau Bridges and Pat Hingle.
- Where was it filmed in Alabama? Filming took place on location at Opelika, with factory scenes at the Opelika Manufacturing Corporation and motel scenes at the Golden Cherry Motel.
- Did you know? Field and Bridges both researched their roles in the film by working in a real factory.
Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)
- What is it about? In the 7th installment of the horror franchise “Friday the 13th”, a psychokinetic teenager accidentally releases serial killer Jason Voorhees from his underwater grave deep in Crystal Lake, allowing him to continue a new killing spree.
- Who played there? Lar Park Lincoln, Kevin Blair, Susan Blu, Terry Kiser and Kane Hodder Behind the Hockey Mask as Jason Voorhees.
- Where was it filmed in Alabama? Mobile, according to the Alabama Film Index.
- Did you know? This is the film’s final credit to Walt Gorney, who was the film’s narrator and played the role of “Crazy Ralph” in the first two films.
Blue Sky (1994)
- What is it about? After moving to a military base with her family, a woman is involved in a cover-up operation linked to nuclear bomb testing in the 1960s.
- Who played there? Jessica Lange and Tommy Lee Jones lead a cast that includes Powers Boothe, Carrie Snogress, Amy Locane and Chris O’Donnell.
- Where was it filmed in Alabama? Portions of the film were shot at the now closed Craig Air Force Base near Selma.
- Did you know? It was the last film directed by director Tony Richardson, who died three years before its theatrical release.
Big Fish (2003)
- What is it about? A family living in Paris is returning to their husband’s hometown, Ashton, Alabama, when news is broke that his father with cancer has been taken off chemotherapy and will soon pass away.
- Who played there? Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney, Billy Crudup, Jessica Lange, Marion Cotillard and actress and former Tim Burton partner Helena Bonham Carter.
- Where was it filmed in Alabama? Aside from a week of filming in Paris, “Big Fish” was filmed on location in Wetumpka, Montgomery and Tallassee, Ala. The setting for the fictional town of Specter still remains on Jackson Lake Island between Montgomery and Millbrook.
- Did you know? Director Tim Burton has kept the ventriloquist dummy from the movie’s war streak and has it at home. He named him Lang.
- What is it about? This mock documentary about one of Sacha Baron Cohen’s best-known characters follows the titular Borat, a fictional journalist from Kazakhstan who travels the United States to make a film about everyday Americans.
- Who played there? Sacha Baron Cohen, obviously, with Ken Davitan, Luenell and Pam Anderson.
- Where was it filmed in Alabama? Two segments of the film were shot in Birmingham and Helena. Baron Cohen returned to Alabama to film “Bruno” in Vestavia Hills and a few scenes in Madison County.
- Did you know? Lead actor Sacha Baron Cohen called the police 92 times during production.
Launch Fail (2006)
- What is it about? The parents of a 35-year-old man (McConaughey) still living at home hire an expert (Parker) to help their son leave their home.
- Who played there? Matthew McConaughey and Sarah Jessica Parker led a cast including Zooey Deschanel, Justin Bartha, Terry Bradshaw, Kathy Bates and Bradley Cooper.
- Where was it filmed in Alabama? The climbing scenes were filmed at the Cherokee Rock Village in Leesburg.
- Did you know? Brooke Shields, Reese Witherspoon, and Tori Spelling all turned down the lead female role which ultimately went to Sarah Jessica Parker.
- What is it about? This historical biopic chronicles the voting rights march led by Martin Luther King Jr. from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965.
- Who played there? David Oyelowo played the role of King, with Carmen Ejogo as his wife Coretta Scott King, and Oprah Winfrey, Tom Wilkinson and Andre Holland in supporting roles.
- Where was it filmed in Alabama? While most of the filming took place in Atlanta, key scenes were shot on location in Selma around the Edmund Pettus Bridge and in Montgomery.
- Did you know? The late Congressman John Lewis served as historical consultant and mentor to director Ava DuVernay during production of the film.
Get Out (2017)
- What is it about? Without spoiling anything, this Oscar-winning film follows a young black photographer who uncovers shocking secrets about his white girlfriend’s family when he meets them for the very first time.
- Who played there? Then-newcomer Daniel Kaluuya performed alongside Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Catherine Keener, Caleb Landry Jones and Lakeith Stanfield, among others.
- Where was it filmed in Alabama? Most of the film was shot on location in Fairhope, with some scenes at Barton Academy and in historic Ashland Place in Mobile. The entire movie was shot in 23 days.
- Did you know? The success of this film led Jordan Peele to become the first African American writer, producer and director to earn over $ 100 million on a first film.
The Devil All the Time (2020)
- What is it about? Set in the landscapes of Ohio and West Virginia, this story follows several characters, including a troubled veteran, a pair of married serial killers, and a false preacher in the years after the end of World War II. .
- Who played there? Tom Holland, Bill Skarsgard, Riley Keough, Jason Clarke, Sebastian Stan, Haley Bennett, Eliza Scanlen, Mia Wasikowska and Robert Pattinson.
- Where was it filmed in Alabama? Principal photography took place in Blount County, Anniston, Pell City, Deatsville, Birmingham and Montevallo in the spring of 2019.
- Did you know? Although he received the first place for the film, lead actor Tom Holland does not appear in the film for 46 minutes.
For more movies made here in Alabama, visit the Alabama Film Index here.
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