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 killed and 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 list of Southern Movies. Just click on the red titles to read the posts:

Introduction: Ten Films about the South, from March 2013

1930s

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

1940s

Tobacco Road (1941) • The Southerner (1945) • The Yearling (1946)

Song of the South (1946) •  Louisiana Story (1948) • All the King’s Men (1949)

Intruder in the Dust (1949)

1950s

The Glass Menagerie (1950) • Streetcar Named Desire (1951)

Drums in the Deep South (1951) • Member of the Wedding (1952)

The 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)

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

Lil Abner (1959) • Suddenly, Last Summer (1959)

1960s

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)

The Cardinal (1963) • Two Thousand Maniacs! (1964) • Black Like Me (1964) • The Chase (1966)

This Property is Condemned (1966) • The Black Klansman (1966)

Hurry Sundown (1967) • In the Heat of the Night (1967) • Cool Hand Luke (1967)

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

1970s

The Beguiled (1970) • The Liberation of LB Jones (1970)

tick . . . tick . . . tick . . . (1970) • Preacherman (1971) • This Stuff’ll Kill Ya (1971)

Deliverance (1972) • The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972) • Sounder (1972) • Walking Tall (1973)

Preacherman Meets Widderwoman (1973) • White Lightning (1973)

Lemora: A Child’s Tale of the Supernatural (1973)  • Gator Bait (1974)

Buster and Billie (1974) • Macon County Line (1974) • Black Oak Conspiracy (1974)

Conrack (1974) • Hot Summer in Barefoot County (1974) • WW & the Dixie Dance Kings (1975)

Poor Pretty Eddie (1975) • Hard Times (1975) • Bad Georgia Road (1975)

The Night They Robbed Big Bertha’s (1975) • Truckin’ Man, or Trucker’s Woman (1975)

Moonrunners (1975) • Return to Macon County (1975) • Emma Mae (1976)

Gator (1976) • Nashville Girl (1976) • The Town that Dreaded Sundown (1976)

Ode to Billy Joe (1976) • Redneck Miller (1977) • Death Driver (1977)

Bootleggers (1977) • Greased Lightning (1977) • Moonshine County Express (1977)

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

Concrete Cowboys (1979) • Norma Rae (1979) • Wise Blood (1979)

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

1980s

The Night the Lights Went out in Georgia (1981)

Southern Comfort (1981) • The Beast Within (1982)

Six Pack (1982) • Stroker Ace (1983) • Cross Creek (1983)

A Gathering of Old Men (1983) • Tank (1984)

Ellie (1984)  • The Fix (1985) • The Color Purple (1985)

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

School Daze (1988) • Mississippi Burning (1988) • Long Walk Home (1988)

Driving Miss Daisy (1989) • Mystery Train (1989) • Steel Magnolias (1989)

1990s

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

Forrest Gump (1991) • The Prince of Tides (1991) • Paris Trout (1991)

Fried Green Tomatoes (1991) • My Cousin Vinny (1992) • Borderlines (1992)

The Firm (1993) • Sling Blade (1994) • A Time to Kill (1996) • The Chamber (1996)

Ghosts of Mississippi (1996) • Bastard out of Carolina (1996) • The Apostle (1997)

Rosewood (1997) • Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997)

The Rainmaker (1997) • The Waterboy (1998) • Beloved (1998)

2000s

Stalled (2000) • Monster’s Ball (2001) • Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (2002)

Radio (2003) • Love Song for Bobby Long (2004) • The Notebook (2004) • Ray (2004)

2001 Maniacs (2005) • Because of Winn-Dixie (2005) • Skeleton Key (2005)

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

The Secret Life of Bees (2008) • The Blind Side (2009)

2010s

Virginia (2010) • Good intentions (2010) • The Help (2011)

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

Mud (2012) • 12 Years a Slave (2013) • Straw Dogs (2013)

Blackbird (2014) • Jessabelle (2014) • Evergreen (2014)

The Last Confederate (2015) • Mississippi Damned (2015)

Free State of Jones (2016) • Junebug (2016)

Sophie and the Rising Sun (2017) •  Mud Bound (2017) • Just Mercy (2019)

2020s

Son of the South (2020)


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