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 list of 238 Southern Movies. Just click on the red titles to read the posts:

Introduction: Ten Films about the South, from March 2013

1930s

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)

The Southerner (1945) • Go Down, Death! (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 Mississippi Gambler (1953) • 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) • Thunder Road (1958) • Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)

The Defiant Ones (1958) • Lil Abner (1959) • Suddenly, Last Summer (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) • Two Thousand Maniacs! (1964)

Black Like Me (1964) • Murder in Mississippi (1965) • The Glass Menagerie (1966, TV)

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

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

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

1970s

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

WUSA (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) • The Glass Menagerie (1973, TV) • Walking Tall (1973)

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

White Lightning (1973) • Gator Bait (1974) • The Klansman (1974) • Conrack (1974) • 

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

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

WW & the Dixie Dance Kings (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) • Gator (1976) • Emma Mae (1976)

The Town that Dreaded Sundown (1976) Ode to Billy Joe (1976) • Nashville Girl (1976)

Eaten Alive (1976)  • JD’s Revenge (1976) • Redneck Miller (1977) • Death Driver (1977)

Smokey and the Bandit (1977) • Bootleggers (1977) • Greased Lightning (1977)

Moonshine County Express (1977) • Pretty Baby (1978) • Seabo, or Buckstone County Prison (1978)

Smokey and the Good Time Outlaws (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

Georgia Peaches (1980) • The Sky is Gray (1980) • The Loveless (1981)

The Night the Lights Went out in Georgia (1981) • Southern Comfort (1981)

Dark Night of the Scarecrow (TV 1981) • The Beast Within (1982)

Six Pack (1982) • Stroker Ace (1983)  A Gathering of Old Men (1983)

Cross Creek (1983) • Tank (1984) • Ellie (1984) • The Fix (1985)

The Color Purple (1985) • Crossroads (1986) • Down by Law (1986)

Angel Heart (1987) • Shy People (1987) • The Big Easy (1987) • The Glass Menagerie (1987)

School Daze (1988) • Mississippi Burning (1988) • Long Walk Home (1988) • Driving Miss Daisy (1989)

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

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

The Firm (1993) • Sling Blade (1994) • Dead Man Walking (1995) • A Time to Kill (1996)

The Chamber (1996) • Heaven’s Prisoners (1996) • Ghosts of Mississippi (1996)

Bastard out of Carolina (1996) • Nightjohn (1996) • The Rainmaker (1997) • Rosewood (1997)

Macon County Jail (1997) • Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997) • The Apostle (1997)

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

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

Black Snake Moan (2006) • All the King’s Men (remake 2006) • Hatchet (2007) • Hounddog (2008)

The Secret Life of Bees (2008) • Yellow Handkerchief (2008) • Alabama Moon (2009) • The Blind Side (2009)

In the Electric Mist (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) • Selma (2014) • Blackbird (2014)

Jessabelle (2014) • Evergreen (2014) •The Last Confederate (2015)

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

Junebug (2016) • Free State of Jones (2016) • The Hollow (2016) • Stomping Ground (2016)

Mud Bound (2017) • Alabama Dirt (2017) • The Nth ward (2017) • Sophie and the Rising Sun (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) • Moss (2018)

Mississippi Requiem (2018) • Forever My Girl (2018) • Bayou Caviar (2018) • Just Mercy (2019)

Trading Paint (2019) • Red Dirt Rising (2019) • Burning Cane (2019) • Dead on Arrival (2019)

2020s

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

Southern Movie Bonus posts:

A Spooky, Scary Southern Sampler, from October 2019

A Women’s History Month Sampler, from March 2020

or visit the Southern Docs page for documentaries about the South.