Sweet Home Alabama: 15 Beloved Films Set in the Yellowhammer State

Blue Sky

Known for its southern hospitality, college football, sandy beaches, and peanut crops, Alabama is a beautiful state with a rich history. Many brilliant movies take place in the Heart of Dixie, from cute romantic comedies to powerful historical dramas. Check out these 15 captivating films set in Alabama.

1. Sweet Home Alabama (2002)

Sweet Home Alabama, Candice Bergen, Reese Witherspoon, Patrick Dempsey
Image Credit: Touchstone Pictures.

Sweet Home Alabama is the quintessential Alabama movie, capturing the charm and warmth of the southern state. This sweet rom-com is nostalgic and endearing, and I believe it belongs on all the best romantic comedy lists! Watch it for the adorable love story or the stunning Alabama landscape.

2. Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Will Ferrell
Image Credit: Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.

Talladega Nights is set in Talladega, Alabama, and follows Ricky Bobbly, a NASCAR racer. Ricky Bobby is portrayed by the always hilarious and raunchy Will Ferrel. His world is changed when his championship title is stripped away by a French racer, evoking an absurd and outrageously funny response from him.

3. Forrest Gump (1994)

Forrest Gump
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Forrest Gump takes place in various locations, but Forrest’s hometown is Greenbow, Alabama. While you’ll be taken around the world from Washington DC to Vietnam, Forrest maintains his Alabama sweetness that makes him wonderfully lovable.

4. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the most powerful and uplifting movies adapted from a novel, and it all takes place in Maycomb, Alabama. Maycomb may be fictional, but the movie represents the heat and southern vibe well while also addressing racial issues within the plot.

5. Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)

Fried Green Tomatoes
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

This drama-comedy is about an older woman who tells tales of her life to a housewife she meets in her nursing home. Most of the story takes place in Birmingham, Alabama, and all the characters have southern twangs and big personalities that make you fall in love with the crazy but beautiful state.

6. Crazy in Alabama (1999)

Crazy in Alabama, David Morse, Lucas Black
Image Credit: Columbia Pictures Inc.

Speaking of crazy, Crazy in Alabama is a delightful comedy and drama that follows the unusual life of Lucille Vinson, who murders her abusive husband gruesomely. The movie is split between Alabama and Hollywood, where she flees to escape what she’s done. It’s a fun but meaningful movie with some heavy themes and cute jokes.

7. Selma (2014)

Selma Tessa Thompson
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Selma is the emotional and important story about the march that Dr. Martin Luther King led from Selma to Montgomery. The march was part of the fight for suffrage in the South, where racism was still prevalent despite the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It’s an assertive and unforgettable film that showcases the beautiful landscape of the state.

8. The Phenix City Story (1955)

The Phenix City Story, Edward Andrews, John Larch
Image Credit: Allied Artists Pictures.

Taking place in the town of Phenix, Alabama, this movie is a dramatization of the true story of the organized crime syndicate in the little town. It’s about the murder of Albert L. Patterson, a man who wanted to become the attorney general of the state but didn’t have the support of local gangsters and paid the ultimate price for his courageous actions.

9. Blue Sky (1994)

Blue Sky
Image Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

Blue Sky, starring the sensational Tommy Lee Jones and Jessica Lange, takes place in Alabama in the late 1950s. It’s about a nuclear engineer from the US Army who is tasked with isolated weapons testing. Blue Sky is an intriguing film that is somewhat based on real-life weapons testing in remote areas of the country.

10. The Rosa Parks Story (2002)

The Rosa Parks Story, Angela Bassett
Image Credit: Jaffe/Braunstein Films.

The Rosa Parks Story was a TV movie that was surprisingly well-done and meaningful. Rosa Parks’ inspiring story is enough to elicit strong emotions in anyone, but the execution of this movie was also impressive. The impact of the story likely has a lot to do with Angela Bassett’s phenomenal performance.

11. Space Camp (1986)

Space Camp Kelly Preston, Lea Thompson, Kate Capshaw, Joaquin Phoenix, Tate Donovan, Larry B. Scott
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

This sci-fi 80s movie is about an astronaut eager to make her way into space but is forced to host a summer space camp for teenagers. Ridiculously, the main character and a few of her teenage space campers are accidentally launched into space and have to figure out how to return safely.

12. Muscle Shoals (2013)

Muscle Shoals Etta James
Image Credit: Magnolia Pictures.

This movie, named after a city in Alabama, is a music documentary paying tribute to Rick Hall. Many people don’t realize the musical significance of this relatively unknown city, so this documentary can be an informative and fascinating movie, especially if you’re interested in the history of music.

13. The Long Walk Home (1990)

The Long Walk Home, Whoopi Goldberg
Image Credit: Miramax Films.

The Long Walk Home takes place in Montgomery and tells a beautiful and inspiring story about two women coming together. Whoopi Goldberg plays a woman participating in the bus boycott, and Sissy Spacek’s character offers her rides to work to ensure she can make a living, despite protests from the other white people in her life.

14. The Watsons Go to Birmingham (2013)

The Watsons Go to Birmingham, Harrison Knight, Skai Jackson
Image Credit: Walden Media.

As the title suggests, parts of this movie take place in Birmingham, Alabama. It’s about a family who takes a road trip to Alabama amidst the intense civil-rights movement. 

15. Big Fish (2003)

big fish
Image Credit: Columbia Pictures.

Big Fish is technically set in the fictional town of Spectre, Alabama, and you can actually go and visit the set on Jackson Lake Island. Tim Burton built the entire fictional town on an island just for the movie, and it's still standing now.

Author: Veronica Booth

Title: Freelance Writer

Expertise: Food, Entertainment, Movies, TV, Fashion, Lifestyle, Celebrity

Bio:

Veronica is a food, fashion, and entertainment writer from Boston, MA, with a passion for all things lifestyle and culture. She graduated from Boston University in 2019 with a bachelor's in English literature. From Anna Wintour to Angelina Jolie to Alton Brown, she has her finger on the pulse of all things Hollywood and celebrity.

If she's not in the kitchen crafting new recipes, then she's binging the latest HBO series and catching up on the hottest trends in Vogue.

She has written for and been syndicated by publications like The Weather Channel, The Daily Meal, The Borgen Project, The Good Men Project, The Express, MSN, Wealth of Geeks, and Not Deer Magazine. Her writing experience ranges from global news articles to celebrity gossip pieces to movie reviews to homemade recipes and more.