Best movies set in U.S. deep South

by leifeng_2003 | created - 01 Aug 2011 | updated - 2 weeks ago | Public

US Deep South representation, from the Great Depression to Today. Feel free to recommend any other good movie.

NB: I have included films with sets at the periphery of the Deep South, more a matter of look and atmosphere than geography. Thanks for the comments.

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1. The Skeleton Key (2005)

PG-13 | 104 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

47 Metascore

A hospice nurse working at a spooky New Orleans plantation home finds herself entangled in a mystery involving the house's dark past.

Director: Iain Softley | Stars: Kate Hudson, Peter Sarsgaard, Joy Bryant, Gena Rowlands

Votes: 99,094 | Gross: $47.81M

2. A Love Song for Bobby Long (2004)

R | 119 min | Drama

48 Metascore

A headstrong young woman returns to New Orleans after the death of her estranged mother.

Director: Shainee Gabel | Stars: Scarlett Johansson, John Travolta, Gabriel Macht, Deborah Kara Unger

Votes: 23,833 | Gross: $0.16M

3. Deliverance (1972)

R | 109 min | Adventure, Drama, Thriller

82 Metascore

Intent on seeing the Cahulawassee River before it's dammed and turned into a lake, outdoor fanatic Lewis Medlock takes his friends on a canoeing trip they'll never forget into the dangerous American back-country.

Director: John Boorman | Stars: Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty, Ronny Cox

Votes: 90,074

4. Southern Comfort (1981)

R | 106 min | Action, Thriller

63 Metascore

During a routine exercise, a team of National Guards are threatened by angry and violent locals.

Director: Walter Hill | Stars: Keith Carradine, Powers Boothe, Fred Ward, Franklyn Seales

Votes: 14,247 | Gross: $5.00M

5. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997)

R | 155 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

57 Metascore

A visiting city reporter's assignment suddenly revolves around the murder trial of a local millionaire, whom he befriends.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: John Cusack, Kevin Spacey, Jack Thompson, Irma P. Hall

Votes: 34,795 | Gross: $25.08M

6. Eve's Bayou (1997)

R | 109 min | Drama

78 Metascore

After a daughter witnesses her father having an affair, she begins a chain reaction that could tear her family apart.

Director: Kasi Lemmons | Stars: Samuel L. Jackson, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Meagan Good, Lynn Whitfield

Votes: 7,733 | Gross: $14.82M

7. Big Fish (2003)

PG-13 | 125 min | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy

58 Metascore

A frustrated son tries to determine the fact from fiction in his dying father's life.

Director: Tim Burton | Stars: Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney, Billy Crudup, Jessica Lange

Votes: 387,299 | Gross: $66.26M

8. Mississippi Burning (1988)

R | 128 min | Crime, Drama, History

65 Metascore

Two F.B.I. Agents, with wildly different styles, arrive in Mississippi to investigate the disappearance of some civil rights activists.

Director: Alan Parker | Stars: Gene Hackman, Willem Dafoe, Frances McDormand, Brad Dourif

Votes: 77,960 | Gross: $34.60M

9. Walk the Line (2005)

PG-13 | 136 min | Biography, Drama, Music

72 Metascore

A chronicle of country music legend Johnny Cash's life, from his early days on an Arkansas cotton farm to his rise to fame with Sun Records in Memphis, where he recorded alongside Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins.

Director: James Mangold | Stars: Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Ginnifer Goodwin, Robert Patrick

Votes: 210,845 | Gross: $119.52M

10. O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

PG-13 | 107 min | Adventure, Comedy, Crime

69 Metascore

In the deep south during the 1930s, three escaped convicts search for hidden treasure while a relentless lawman pursues them.

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen | Stars: George Clooney, John Turturro, Tim Blake Nelson, John Goodman

Votes: 262,311 | Gross: $45.51M

11. The Man in the Moon (1991)

PG-13 | 99 min | Drama, Romance

A coming of age story set in the south of the U.S. when Elvis was King.

Director: Robert Mulligan | Stars: Sam Waterston, Tess Harper, Gail Strickland, Reese Witherspoon

Votes: 14,039 | Gross: $2.85M

12. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)

PG | 122 min | Drama

96 Metascore

Disturbed Blanche DuBois moves in with her sister in New Orleans and is tormented by her brutish brother-in-law while her reality crumbles around her.

Director: Elia Kazan | Stars: Vivien Leigh, Marlon Brando, Kim Hunter, Karl Malden

Votes: 90,694 | Gross: $8.00M

13. The Yellow Handkerchief (2008)

PG-13 | 102 min | Drama, Romance

62 Metascore

A road trip through Louisiana transforms three strangers who were originally brought together by their respective feelings of loneliness.

Director: Udayan Prasad | Stars: William Hurt, Maria Bello, Kristen Stewart, Eddie Redmayne

Votes: 7,475 | Gross: $0.32M

14. In the Heat of the Night (1967)

Not Rated | 110 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

75 Metascore

An African-American police detective is asked to investigate a murder in a racially hostile southern town.

Director: Norman Jewison | Stars: Sidney Poitier, Rod Steiger, Warren Oates, Lee Grant

Votes: 59,637 | Gross: $24.38M

15. Sunshine State (2002)

PG-13 | 141 min | Drama, Romance

69 Metascore

A woman and her new husband returns to her hometown roots in coastal northern Florida, and must deal with family, business, and encroaching real estate development.

Director: John Sayles | Stars: Angela Bassett, Edie Falco, Alex Lewis, Alan King

Votes: 3,665 | Gross: $3.06M

16. In the Electric Mist (2009)

R | 117 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

A detective in post-Katrina New Orleans has a series of surreal encounters with a troop of friendly Confederate soldiers while investigating serial killings of local prostitutes, a 1965 lynching, and corrupt local businessmen.

Director: Bertrand Tavernier | Stars: Tommy Lee Jones, John Goodman, Peter Sarsgaard, Mary Steenburgen

Votes: 14,974

17. Wild at Heart (1990)

R | 125 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

52 Metascore

Young lovers Sailor and Lula run from the variety of weirdos that Lula's mom has hired to kill Sailor.

Director: David Lynch | Stars: Nicolas Cage, Laura Dern, Willem Dafoe, J.E. Freeman

Votes: 74,080 | Gross: $14.56M

18. Hustle & Flow (2005)

R | 116 min | Crime, Drama, Music

68 Metascore

With help from his friends, a Memphis pimp in a mid-life crisis attempts to become a successful hip-hop emcee.

Director: Craig Brewer | Stars: Terrence Howard, Ludacris, Anthony Anderson, Taryn Manning

Votes: 36,492 | Gross: $22.20M

19. Sling Blade (1996)

R | 135 min | Drama

84 Metascore

Karl Childers, a simple man hospitalized since his childhood murder of his mother and her lover, is released to start a new life in a small town.

Director: Billy Bob Thornton | Stars: Billy Bob Thornton, Dwight Yoakam, J.T. Walsh, John Ritter

Votes: 81,002 | Gross: $24.48M

20. Wise Blood (1979)

PG | 106 min | Comedy, Drama

A Southerner--young, poor, ambitious but uneducated--determines to become something in the world. He decides that the best way to do that is to become a preacher and start up his own church.

Director: John Huston | Stars: Brad Dourif, John Huston, Dan Shor, Harry Dean Stanton

Votes: 4,473

21. The Apostle (1997)

PG-13 | 134 min | Drama

83 Metascore

After his happy life spins out of control, a preacher from Texas changes his name, goes to Louisiana and starts preaching on the radio.

Director: Robert Duvall | Stars: Robert Duvall, Todd Allen, Paul Bagget, Lenore Banks

Votes: 12,524 | Gross: $20.73M

22. The Gift (2000)

R | 111 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

62 Metascore

A woman with extrasensory perception is asked to help find a young woman who has disappeared.

Director: Sam Raimi | Stars: Cate Blanchett, Katie Holmes, Keanu Reeves, Giovanni Ribisi

Votes: 58,149 | Gross: $12.01M

23. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

Not Rated | 129 min | Crime, Drama

87 Metascore

Atticus Finch, a lawyer in the Depression-era South, defends a black man against an undeserved rape charge, and his children against prejudice.

Director: Robert Mulligan | Stars: Gregory Peck, John Megna, Frank Overton, Rosemary Murphy

Votes: 268,015

24. Cape Fear (1962)

Not Rated | 106 min | Drama, Thriller

76 Metascore

A lawyer's family is stalked by a man he once helped put in jail.

Director: J. Lee Thompson | Stars: Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum, Polly Bergen, Lori Martin

Votes: 23,634

25. Driving Miss Daisy (1989)

PG | 99 min | Drama

81 Metascore

An old Jewish woman and her African-American chauffeur in the American South have a relationship that grows and improves over the years.

Director: Bruce Beresford | Stars: Morgan Freeman, Jessica Tandy, Dan Aykroyd, Patti LuPone

Votes: 88,084 | Gross: $106.59M

26. Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)

PG-13 | 130 min | Drama

64 Metascore

A housewife who is unhappy with her life befriends an old lady in a nursing home and is enthralled by the tales she tells of people she used to know.

Director: Jon Avnet | Stars: Kathy Bates, Jessica Tandy, Mary Stuart Masterson, Mary-Louise Parker

Votes: 60,549 | Gross: $82.42M

27. Bastard Out of Carolina (1996)

R | 98 min | Drama

75 Metascore

A mother and daughter find their lives adversely affected when a new man enters the picture. Will their family ever be what they expect?

Director: Anjelica Huston | Stars: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Ron Eldard, Glenne Headly, Lyle Lovett

Votes: 3,844

28. The Intruder (1962)

PG-13 | 84 min | Drama

A man in a gleaming white suit comes to a small Southern town on the eve of integration. He calls himself a social reformer. But what he does is stir up trouble--trouble he soon finds he can't control.

Director: Roger Corman | Stars: William Shatner, Frank Maxwell, Beverly Lunsford, Robert Emhardt

Votes: 2,279

29. The Long, Hot Summer (1958)

Not Rated | 115 min | Drama

Accused barn burner and con man Ben Quick arrives in a small Mississippi town and quickly ingratiates himself with its richest family, the Varners.

Director: Martin Ritt | Stars: Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Anthony Franciosa, Orson Welles

Votes: 8,797

30. Places in the Heart (1984)

PG | 111 min | Drama

70 Metascore

In central Texas in the 1930s, a widow, with two small children, tries to run her small 40-acre farm with the help of two disparate people.

Director: Robert Benton | Stars: Sally Field, Lindsay Crouse, Ed Harris, Amy Madigan

Votes: 9,287 | Gross: $34.90M

31. Down by Law (1986)

R | 107 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

75 Metascore

Two innocent people are arrested. An interesting third person, with broken English, joins them in their cell. On his idea, they decide to escape from the prison. Their journey is the rest of the movie.

Director: Jim Jarmusch | Stars: Tom Waits, John Lurie, Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi

Votes: 42,951 | Gross: $1.44M

32. The Miracle Worker (1962)

Not Rated | 106 min | Biography, Drama

The story of Anne Sullivan's struggle to teach the blind and deaf Helen Keller how to communicate.

Director: Arthur Penn | Stars: Anne Bancroft, Patty Duke, Victor Jory, Inga Swenson

Votes: 14,379

33. Goodbye Solo (2008)

R | 91 min | Drama

89 Metascore

Two men form an unlikely friendship that will change both of their lives forever.

Director: Ramin Bahrani | Stars: Souleymane Sy Savane, Red West, Diana Franco Galindo, Lane 'Roc' Williams

Votes: 5,362 | Gross: $0.87M

34. Louisiana Story (1948)

Approved | 78 min | Adventure, Drama

The idyllic life of a young Cajun boy and his pet raccoon is disrupted when the tranquility of the bayou is broken by an oil well drilling near his home.

Director: Robert J. Flaherty | Stars: Joseph Boudreaux, Lionel Le Blanc, E. Bienvenu, Frank Hardy

Votes: 1,438

35. Waitress (2007)

PG-13 | 108 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

75 Metascore

Jenna is a pregnant, unhappily married waitress in the deep south. She meets a newcomer to her town and falls into an unlikely relationship as a last attempt at happiness.

Director: Adrienne Shelly | Stars: Keri Russell, Nathan Fillion, Jeremy Sisto, Cheryl Hines

Votes: 41,475 | Gross: $19.07M

36. Baby Doll (1956)

Approved | 114 min | Drama

A steamy tale of two Southern rivals and a sensuous nineteen-year-old virgin.

Director: Elia Kazan | Stars: Karl Malden, Carroll Baker, Eli Wallach, Mildred Dunnock

Votes: 6,068

37. Honeydripper (2007)

PG-13 | 124 min | Crime, Drama, History

68 Metascore

1950. Rural Alabama. Cotton harvest. It's a make-or-break weekend for the Honeydripper Lounge and its owner, piano player Tyrone "Pine Top" Purvis. Deep in debt to the liquor man, the ... See full summary »

Director: John Sayles | Stars: Danny Glover, LisaGay Hamilton, Yaya DaCosta, Charles S. Dutton

Votes: 1,812 | Gross: $0.27M

38. Shotgun Stories (2007)

PG-13 | 92 min | Drama, Thriller

76 Metascore

Shotgun Stories tracks a feud that erupts between two sets of half brothers following the death of their father. Set against the cotton fields and back roads of Southeast Arkansas, these ... See full summary »

Director: Jeff Nichols | Stars: Michael Shannon, Douglas Ligon, Barlow Jacobs, Michael Abbott Jr.

Votes: 9,090 | Gross: $0.05M

39. Undertow (2004)

R | 108 min | Drama, Thriller

63 Metascore

Following the death of his wife Audrey, John Munn moves with his two sons, mid-teen Chris Munn and adolescent Tim Munn, to a pig farm in rural Drees County, Georgia, where they lead a ... See full summary »

Director: David Gordon Green | Stars: Jamie Bell, Josh Lucas, Dermot Mulroney, Devon Alan

Votes: 7,974 | Gross: $0.02M

40. Shy People (1987)

R | 118 min | Drama

New York journalist visits her distant cousin for the first time to write an article about her hard life in the bayous of Louisiana. Journalist's wild drug addicted daughter just adds to tensions between two families' cultures.

Director: Andrey Konchalovskiy | Stars: Jill Clayburgh, Barbara Hershey, Martha Plimpton, Merritt Butrick

Votes: 1,037 | Gross: $0.77M

41. Passion Fish (1992)

R | 135 min | Drama

After an accident leaves her a paraplegic, a former soap opera star struggles to recover both emotionally and mentally, until she meets her newest nurse, who has struggles of her own.

Director: John Sayles | Stars: Mary McDonnell, Alfre Woodard, Angela Bassett, Lenore Banks

Votes: 4,631 | Gross: $5.41M

42. Welcome to the Rileys (2010)

R | 110 min | Drama

50 Metascore

On a business trip to New Orleans, a damaged man seeks salvation by caring for a wayward young woman.

Director: Jake Scott | Stars: James Gandolfini, Kristen Stewart, Melissa Leo, David Jensen

Votes: 21,991 | Gross: $0.15M

43. The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1968)

G | 123 min | Drama

When deaf mute Singer moves to a small city to be near his only friend confined in a hospital, he grows attached to his landlady's sensitive 16-year-old daughter.

Director: Robert Ellis Miller | Stars: Alan Arkin, Sondra Locke, Chuck McCann, Peter Mamakos

Votes: 3,211

44. Mud (2012)

PG-13 | 130 min | Drama

76 Metascore

Two young boys encounter a fugitive and form a pact to help him evade the vigilantes that are on his trail and to reunite him with his true love.

Director: Jeff Nichols | Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Tye Sheridan, Jacob Lofland, Sam Shepard

Votes: 155,622 | Gross: $21.59M

45. Ghosts of Mississippi (1996)

PG-13 | 130 min | Drama, History

A Mississippi district attorney and the widow of Medgar Evers struggle to finally bring a white racist to justice for the 1963 murder of the civil rights leader.

Director: Rob Reiner | Stars: Alec Baldwin, James Woods, Whoopi Goldberg, Virginia Madsen

Votes: 9,471 | Gross: $13.05M

46. Joe (I) (2013)

R | 117 min | Crime, Drama

74 Metascore

An ex-con, who is the unlikeliest of role models, meets a 15-year-old boy and is faced with the choice of redemption or ruin.

Director: David Gordon Green | Stars: Nicolas Cage, Tye Sheridan, Gary Poulter, Ronnie Gene Blevins

Votes: 42,462 | Gross: $0.37M

47. Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)

PG-13 | 93 min | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy

86 Metascore

Faced with both her hot-tempered father's fading health and melting ice-caps that flood her ramshackle bayou community and unleash ancient aurochs, six-year-old Hushpuppy must learn the ways of courage and love.

Director: Benh Zeitlin | Stars: Quvenzhané Wallis, Dwight Henry, Levy Easterly, Lowell Landes

Votes: 77,071 | Gross: $12.80M

48. Sounder (1972)

G | 105 min | Drama, Family

80 Metascore

The oldest son of a loving and strong family of black sharecroppers comes of age in the Depression-era South after his father is imprisoned for stealing food.

Director: Martin Ritt | Stars: Cicely Tyson, Paul Winfield, Kevin Hooks, Carmen Mathews

Votes: 3,124

49. Wild River (1960)

Not Rated | 110 min | Drama, History, Romance