Southern Movies

Over more than a century, mainstream movies have offered portrayals of the American South that range from the darkness of 1918’s Birth of a Nation to the fluffiness of 2002’s Sweet Home Alabama. Many Americans who have never visited the South (and know little to nothing about it) take their understanding of our complicated culture not from history books by Shelby Foote or C. Vann Woodward, but from the images, characters, and story lines in popular films, like Gone with the Wind, Forrest GumpThe Help, and Fried Green Tomatoes. (Personally, I don’t know anybody who ever pooped in a chocolate pie or barbecued an abusive husband.) Whether they are set in the South, feature Southern characters, or both, movies feed and fuel how Americans view and treat the South, and also perpetuate and protect misinterpretations. Below is a (constantly growing) list of more than 250 Southern Movies. Just click on the red titles to read the posts:

Introduction: Ten Films about the South, from March 2013

1930s

Cabin in the Cotton (1932) • The Black King (1932) • Carolina (1934)

The Green Pastures (1936) • Gone With the Wind (1939) • Way Down South (1939)

1940s

Tobacco Road (1941) • The Blood of Jesus (1941) • Little Foxes (1941)

Swamp Water (1941) • O, My Darling Clementine (1943) • The Southerner (1945)

Go Down, Death! (1945) • Son of Dracula (1945) • The Yearling (1946)

Song of the South (1946) • Beale Street Mama (1946) • New Orleans (1947)

Louisiana Story (1948) • Intruder in the Dust (1949) • All the King’s Men (1949)

1950s

The Glass Menagerie (1950) •  Drums in the Deep South (1951)

Streetcar Named Desire (1951) • Member of the Wedding (1952)

The Mississippi Gambler (1953) • Night of the Hunter (1955) • The Phenix City Story (1955)

Baby Doll (1956) • Old Yeller (1957) • God’s Little Acre (1958) • Long, Hot Summer (1958)

Thunder Road (1958) • Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) • The Defiant Ones (1958)

Porgy and Bess (1959) • Suddenly, Last Summer (1959) • Lil Abner (1959)

1960s

Thunder in Carolina (1960) • The Young One (1960)

The Fugitive Kind (1960) • Wild River (1960)

Claudelle Inglish (1961) • The Children’s Hour (1961)

Sweet Bird of Youth (1962) • The Intruder (1962)

Cape Fear (1962) • The Miracle Worker (1962) • Walk on the Wild Side (1962)

The Cardinal (1963) • Gone are the Days! (1963) • Two Thousand Maniacs! (1964)

Black Like Me (1964) • Nothing but a Man (1964) • Murder in Mississippi (1965)

The Glass Menagerie (1966, TV) • The Chase (1966) • This Property is Condemned (1966)

The Black Klansman (1966) • Hurry Sundown (1967) • Cool Hand Luke (1967)

In the Heat of the Night (1967) • Finian’s Rainbow (1968)

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (1968) • Slaves (1969) • The Witchmaker (1969)

The Reivers (1969)

1970s

The Liberation of LB Jones (1970) • I Walk the Line (1970) • tick . . . tick . . . tick . . . (1970)

WUSA (1970) • A Walk in the Spring Rain (1970) • The Beguiled (1971) • Preacherman (1971)

Mississippi Summer (1971) • This Stuff’ll Kill Ya (1971) • Deliverance (1972) • Sounder (1972)

The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972) • Moon of the Wolf (1972) • Corky (1972)

The Glass Menagerie (1973, TV) • Walking Tall (1973) • White Lightning (1973)

Preacherman Meets Widderwoman (1973) • Lemora: A Child’s Tale of the Supernatural (1973)

Gator Bait (1974) • The Klansman (1974) • Buster and Billie (1974) • Macon County Line (1974)

Black Oak Conspiracy (1974) • Conrack (1974) • Abby (1974) •  Cockfighter (1974)

Hot Summer in Barefoot County (1974) • Bucktown (1975) • Poor Pretty Eddie (1975)

WW & the Dixie Dance Kings (1975) • Hard Times (1975) • Bad Georgia Road (1975)

The Night They Robbed Big Bertha’s (1975) • Truckin’ Man (1975) • Nashville (1975)

Moonrunners (1975) • Framed (1975) • Return to Macon County (1975)

Walking Tall, Part 2 (1975) • Emma Mae (1976) • Gator (1976) • Ode to Billy Joe (1976)

The Town that Dreaded Sundown (1976) • Nashville Girl (1976) • Eaten Alive (1976)

JD’s Revenge (1976) • Passion Plantation (1976) • Stay Hungry (1976) • Roots (TV 1977)

Redneck Miller (1977) • Death Driver (1977) • Walking Tall, the Final Chapter (1977)

Smokey and the Bandit (1977) • Moonshine County Express (1977) • Bootleggers (1977)

Greased Lightning (1977) • Lawman without a Gun (1978) •  French Quarter (1978)

Pretty Baby (1978) • Seabo, or Buckstone County Prison (1978)

Smokey and the Good Time Outlaws (1978) • Norma Rae (1979) • Wise Blood (1979)

Roots: The Next Generation (1979, TV) • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1979, TV)

(There are also the pornographic “hicksploitation” films: Tobacco Roody, Southern Comforts, Country Cuzzins, Sweet Georgia, Country Hooker, and Midnight Plowboy.)

1980s

Georgia Peaches (1980) • The Sky is Gray (1980)

The Loveless (1981) • Back Roads (1981)

The Night the Lights Went out in Georgia (1981)

Southern Comfort (1981) • The Evil Dead (1981)

Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981, TV)

Smokey Bites the Dust (1981) Six Pack (1982)

The Beast Within (1982) • A Gathering of Old Men (1983) • Stroker Ace (1983)

Cross Creek (1983) • Tank (1984) • Ellie (1984) • The River Rat (1984)

The Fix (1985) • The Color Purple (1985) • Crossroads (1986)

Down by Law (1986) • Angel Heart (1987) • Shy People (1987)

From a Whisper to a Scream (1987) • The Glass Menagerie (1987)

The Big Easy (1987) • School Daze (1988) • Mississippi Burning (1988)

Long Walk Home (1988) • Driving Miss Daisy (1989) • Blaze (1989)

Mystery Train (1989) • Steel Magnolias (1989) • Trapper County War (1989)

Sweet Bird of Youth (remake, 1989) • Miss Firecracker (1989)

Tennessee Waltz (1989)

1990s

Cape Fear (remake 1991) • Voodoo Dawn (1991) • Ramblin’ Rose (1991)

Forrest Gump (1991) • Fried Green Tomatoes (1991) • The Prince of Tides (1991)

Mississippi Masala (1991) • Daughters of the Dust (1991) • Paris Trout (1991)

Carolina Skeletons (1991) • My Cousin Vinny (1992) • Borderlines (1992)

The Firm (1993) • Sommersby (1993) • Sling Blade (1994) • Dead Man Walking (1995)

A Time to Kill (1996) • Heaven’s Prisoners (1996) • Ghosts of Mississippi (1996)

The Chamber (1996) • Bastard out of Carolina (1996) • Nightjohn (1996)

The Rainmaker (1997) • Rosewood (1997) • Macon County Jail (1997) • The Apostle (1997)

Clover (1997) • Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997) • Eve’s Bayou (1997)

Carolina Low (1997) • Traveller (1997) • The Waterboy (1998) • Beloved (1998)

Evidence of Blood (1998) • Down in the Delta (1998) • The Secret Path (1999)

End of Innocence (1999)

2000s

The Courage to Love (2000) • The St. Francisville Experiment (2000)

Stalled (2000) • Monster’s Ball (2001) • My Louisiana Sky (2001)

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (2002) • Radio (2003)

Deacons for Defense (2003, TV) • Love Song for Bobby Long (2004)

The Notebook (2004) • Ray (2004) • Undertow (2004) • 2001 Maniacs (2005)

Southern Belles (2005) • Skeleton Key (2005) • Because of Winn-Dixie (2005)

Black Snake Moan (2006) • All the King’s Men (remake 2006) • Hatchet (2007)

Hounddog (2008) • Tennessee (2008) • The Secret Life of Bees (2008)

Yellow Handkerchief (2008) • Alabama Moon (2009) • The Blind Side (2009)

In the Electric Mist (2009) • Get Low (2009) • Trash Humpers (2009)

That Evening Sun (2009) • A New Daughter (2009)

2010s

Virginia (2010) • Good intentions (2010) • The Help (2010)

Redemption Road (2010) • The School in the Woods (2010)

Beasts of the Southern Wild (2011) • The Dynamiter (2011)

Mud (2012) • Last Summer (2013) • 12 Years a Slave (2013)

Straw Dogs (2013) • The Pardon (2013) • Hell Baby (2013)

Django Unchained (2013) • Selma (2014) • Blackbird (2014)

Jessabelle (2014) •  Southern Baptist Sissies (2014)

Evergreen (2014) • The Last Confederate (2015) • Lost Colony (2015)

Mississippi Damned (2015) • Bad Ass 3: Bad Asses on the Bayou (2015)

Junebug (2016) • The Hollow (2016) • Family Possessions (2016)

Southern Comfort (2016) • Free State of Jones (2016) •  Stomping Ground (2016)

Mud Bound (2017) • Alabama Dirt (2017) •  Sophie and the Rising Sun (2017)

The Nth ward (2017) • Blood Country (2017) • Sweet Home Carolina (2017)

A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud. (2017) • Mississippi Murder (2017) • Counting for Thunder (2017)

County Line (2018) • Attack of the Southern Fried Zombies (2018) • Moss (2018)

Mississippi Requiem (2018) • The Perfect Host (2018) • Forever My Girl (2018)

Bayou Caviar (2018) • My Sidepiece Hit the Lotto (2018) • Laundry Day (2018)

The Green Book (2018) • Gothic Harvest (2019) • Just Mercy (2019) • Trading Paint (2019) • Red Dirt Rising (2019)

Burning Cane (2019) • Dead on Arrival (2019) • The Farmhand (2019) • Queen & Slim (2019)

2020s

Tuscaloosa (2020) • Arkansas (2020) • Burning Kentucky (2020) • Son of the South (2020)

Where the Crawdads Sing (2020) • Hallowed Be Thy Name (2020)

Southern Movie Bonus posts:

A Spooky, Scary Southern Sampler, from October 2019

A Women’s History Month Sampler, from March 2020

Another Spooky, Scary Southern Sampler, Old School Edition, from October 2020

Another Spooky, Scary Southern Sampler, 21st century Edition, from October 2020

A Black History Month Sampler, from February 2021

Coming: Yet Another Spooky, Scary Southern Sampler, in October 2021