Southern Movies

The Southern Movies series explores images of the South in modern films as well as how those images affect American perspectives on the region.

Over more than a century, mainstream movies about the South have offered portrayals 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 movies about the South, 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 three hundred Southern Movies.

Starting in March 2022, some Southern Movies posts become Premium Content, requiring a subscription.

Introduction: Ten Films about the South, from March 2013

Late 1920s – 1930s

Hearts of Dixie (1929) • Hallelujah (1929) • Cabin in the Cotton (1932)

The Black King (1932) • Carolina (1934) • Steamboat ‘Round the Bend (1935)

Mississippi (1935) • The Green Pastures (1936) • Jezebel (1938)

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)

Pinky (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) • Jesse James’ Women (1954)

 Night of the Hunter (1955) • The Phenix City Story (1955) • Baby Doll (1956)

Old Yeller (1957) • Band of Angels (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) • Poor White Trash (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) • Cottonpickin’ Chickenpickers (1967) • Finian’s Rainbow (1968)

In the Heat of the Night (1967) • 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) • Brother John (1971)

Quadroon (1971) • Sounder (1972) • Deliverance (1972) • The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972)

Corky (1972) • Moon of the Wolf (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) • Bootleggers (1974) •  Hot Summer in Barefoot County (1974)

Cockfighter (1974) • Poor Pretty Eddie (1975) • WW & the Dixie Dance Kings (1975)

Truckin’ Man (1975) • Hard Times (1975) • Bad Georgia Road (1975) • Bucktown (1975)

Nashville (1975) • The Night They Robbed Big Bertha’s (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) • Nashville Girl (1976)

Eaten Alive (1976) • The Town that Dreaded Sundown (1976) • Passion Plantation (1976)

JD’s Revenge (1976) • Stay Hungry (1976) • Roots (1977, TV) • Redneck Miller (1977)

Whiskey Mountain (1977) • Death Driver (1977) • Walking Tall, the Final Chapter (1977)

Greased Lightning (1977) • Smokey and the Bandit (1977) • Moonshine County Express (1977)

Lawman without a Gun (1978) • French Quarter (1978) • Pretty Baby (1978)

A Real American Hero (1978) • Smokey and the Good Time Outlaws (1978)

Seabo, or Buckstone County Prison (1978) • Norma Rae (1979) • Wise Blood (1979)

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

(There are also the early 1970s 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)

Porky’s (1981) • Southern Comfort (1981)

The Evil Dead (1981) • The Beyond (1981)

Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981, TV)

Smokey Bites the Dust (1981) • Six Pack (1982) • The Beast Within (1982)

A House Divided (1982) • Stroker Ace (1983) • Murder in Coweta County (1983)

Porky’s II: The Next Day (1983) • Cross Creek (1983) • Tank (1984) • Ellie (1984)

The River Rat (1984) •  The Color Purple (1985) • Porky’s Revenge (1985)

The Fix (1985) • The Long, Hot Summer (remake, 1985) • Crossroads (1986)

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

From a Whisper to a Scream (1987) • The Big Easy (1987)

The Glass Menagerie (1987) • A Gathering of Old Men (TV, 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) • Miss Firecracker (1989)

Sweet Bird of Youth (remake, 1989) • Tennessee Waltz (1989)

Chattachoochee (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) • Doc Hollywood (1991) • My Cousin Vinny (1992)

Borderlines (1992) • The Firm (1993) • Sommersby (1993) • Dead Man Walking (1995)

The Journey of August King (1995) • Sling Blade (1996) • A Time to Kill (1996)

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

Bastard Out of Carolina (1996) • Nightjohn (1996) • Moonshine Highway (1996)

The Rainmaker (1997) • Rosewood (1997) • The Apostle (1997) • Clover (1997)

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

Macon County Jail (1997)  • Carolina Low (1997) • Traveller (1997) • Beloved (1998)

The Waterboy (1998) • Evidence of Blood (1998) • Down in the Delta (1998)

The Secret Path (1999) • End of Innocence (1999) • A Lesson Before Dying (TV, 1999)

2000s

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

Stalled (2000) • Ruby’s Bucket of Blood (2001) • Monster’s Ball (2001)

My Louisiana Sky (2001) • Jewel (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) • The 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)

Bloodworth (2011) • Jess + Moss (2011) • Mud (2012)

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

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

Red (2013) •Django Unchained (2013) • Last Summer (2013) • As I Lay Dying (2013)

Child of God (2013) • Selma (2014) • Blackbird (2014) • Jessabelle (2014)

Southern Baptist Sissies (2014) • Evergreen (2014) • The Sound and the Fury (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) • Lost Child (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) •  Laundry Day (2018)

My Sidepiece Hit the Lotto (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) • Last Holler (2019)

2020s

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

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

Uncle Frank (2020) • Stars Fell on Alabama (2021) • House on the Bayou (2021)

Fisher (2021) • Beast Beast (2022)

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, Twenty-First Century Edition, from October 2020

A Black History Month Sampler, from February 2021

The 2021 Spooky, Scary Southern Sampler, from October 2021

Another Black History Month Sampler, from February 2022