Movies About Appalachia (List)

Movies About Appalachia (List)

Experience the allure of Appalachia through the lens of cinema. This curated list of movies dives deep into the captivating tales and vibrant culture of this unique region. From documentaries that shed light on its history to dramas that explore its rich heritage, these films offer a diverse range of stories that bring Appalachia to life on screen.

Whether you’re seeking adventure, cultural exploration, or thought-provoking narratives, this collection of Appalachian films will transport you to the beauty and complexity of this remarkable area. Let’s discover the heart and soul of Appalachia through the power of storytelling.

  • Appalachian films offer a unique glimpse into the region’s captivating tales and rich culture.
  • These movies showcase diverse genres, from documentaries to dramas and everything in between.
  • Explore the landscapes, communities, and lifestyles of Appalachia through films set in the region.
  • Discover thought-provoking documentaries that delve into the history, culture, and challenges of Appalachia.
  • Experience the portrayal of stereotypes and cultural clashes in movies about “hillbillies” in Appalachia.

Films set in Appalachia

This category features films that are specifically set in the Appalachian region. With a range of genres and themes, these movies provide an immersive experience of the landscapes, communities, and lifestyles of this unique area. Some notable films include “Deliverance,” “Lawless,” and “October Sky.”

Notable Films Set in Appalachia

  • “Deliverance” – This classic thriller directed by John Boorman takes viewers on a harrowing journey through the Appalachian wilderness, as a group of friends faces unexpected dangers.
  • “Lawless” – Based on a true story, this crime drama set in Prohibition-era Virginia follows the Bondurant brothers as they run a lucrative moonshine business and clash with the law.
  • “October Sky” – Inspired by a true story, this uplifting film tells the tale of a young aspiring astronaut in a coal mining town in West Virginia, who defies the odds to pursue his dreams.

Documentary films about Appalachia

This subcategory focuses on documentaries that delve deep into the rich history, vibrant culture, and unique challenges of Appalachia. These films offer a thought-provoking and informative perspective on the region, shining a light on its diverse communities and capturing the essence of Appalachian life.

From exploring the coal mining industry to examining the impact of poverty, these documentaries paint a comprehensive picture of the region’s past, present, and future. They serve as powerful tools for raising awareness, promoting dialogue, and fostering a deeper understanding of Appalachia.

Examples include:

  • Harlan County, USA – A landmark documentary that follows the coal miners’ strike in Harlan County, Kentucky, in the 1970s. It showcases the resilience and determination of the miners and their families, shedding light on the challenges they face in their fight for better working conditions.
  • American Hollow – This documentary delves into the unique and isolated Bowling family living in the Appalachian mountains of Kentucky. It offers an intimate portrait of their struggles, triumphs, and preservation of their cultural traditions.

These documentaries capture the spirit of Appalachia, highlighting the strength, resilience, and beauty of the region and its people. They provide a platform for voices often unheard and allow viewers to gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of the complexities of life in Appalachia.

Films about hillbillies

In this subcategory, we explore films that depict the stereotypes and perceptions surrounding “hillbillies” in Appalachia. These movies often delve into themes of poverty, isolation, and cultural clashes, offering a captivating glimpse into the lives of Appalachian communities. They challenge the stereotypes while celebrating the resilience and humanity of these characters.

The Beverly Hillbillies

The Beverly Hillbillies is a classic comedy that follows the Clampett family, a group of hillbillies who strike it rich after discovering oil on their land. The film humorously portrays their fish-out-of-water experience as they adjust to the extravagant lifestyle of Beverly Hills. While providing laughs, it also offers a satirical commentary on the clash between rural and urban cultures.

Tucker and Dale vs Evil

Tucker and Dale vs Evil is a clever horror-comedy that turns the hillbilly stereotype on its head. The film follows two well-meaning friends who are mistaken for deranged killers by a group of college students. It subverts expectations and presents a humorous commentary on stereotypes and assumptions, while also delivering some gory thrills.

These films provide an opportunity to examine the misconceptions surrounding hillbillies, challenging viewers to look beyond stereotypes and recognize the complexities and diverse experiences of the Appalachian people.

Film Genre Description
The Beverly Hillbillies Comedy A classic comedy that follows the Clampett family as they navigate their newfound wealth in Beverly Hills.
Tucker and Dale vs Evil Horror-Comedy A hilarious horror-comedy that subverts the hillbilly stereotype through a series of twisted misunderstandings.

Films set in West Virginia

This subcategory highlights films that specifically take place in the state of West Virginia. From stories of moonshiners to tales of survival in the wilderness, these movies capture the spirit of the state and its unique landscapes. Some notable examples include “Matewan” and “The Mothman Prophecies.”

Notable Films Set in West Virginia

Movie Title Genre Year
Matewan Drama/Historical 1987
The Mothman Prophecies Horror/Mystery 2002

Appalachian storytelling on screen

Appalachian storytelling is a cherished tradition that has been passed down through generations. It is a captivating art form that beautifully captures the essence of the region and its rich cultural heritage. In the world of film, Appalachia has served as a backdrop for various stories that authentically portray the art of Appalachian storytelling.

These movies often weave together elements of folklore, oral traditions, and the distinct way of life in Appalachia. By showcasing the unique voices and perspectives of its people, these films provide a deep and intimate understanding of the region.

One notable example is Songcatcher, a film that explores the importance of preserving Appalachian folk music. Set in the early 1900s, the movie tells the story of a musicologist who travels to the Appalachian mountains to collect and document traditional songs. Through beautiful melodies and heartfelt performances, Songcatcher captures the rich musical legacy of Appalachia.

Another noteworthy film that embodies Appalachian storytelling is The Dollmaker. Based on the novel by Harriette Simpson Arnow, this powerful drama follows the journey of a woman named Gertie Nevels, who moves from the Kentucky mountains to urban Detroit during World War II. The film masterfully explores themes of home, identity, and the struggle to maintain one’s cultural roots.

Both Songcatcher and The Dollmaker exemplify the authenticity and emotional depth that can be achieved when Appalachian storytelling is brought to the screen. These films evoke a sense of nostalgia, painting a vivid picture of life in the Appalachian region.

Film Synopsis
Songcatcher A musicologist travels to the Appalachian mountains to document traditional folk songs and discovers a passion for preserving the region’s cultural heritage.
The Dollmaker A woman from the Kentucky mountains moves to Detroit during World War II, struggling to maintain her cultural identity while navigating a new way of life.

Films that Capture Appalachian Storytelling

These films serve as a testament to the power of storytelling and the rich tapestry of Appalachian culture. Through compelling narratives, memorable characters, and stunning cinematography, they bring the essence of Appalachia to life on the screen, providing viewers with a deeper appreciation for the region’s heritage.

Appalachian culture in movies

Experience the vibrant culture of Appalachia through these captivating films that showcase the region’s rich heritage and traditions. From the rhythmic melodies of traditional music to the resilient spirit of its people, these movies offer a dynamic portrayal of Appalachian culture and its profound influence on the big screen.

One notable film that beautifully captures the essence of Appalachian culture is “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” This biographical drama tells the inspiring story of country music legend Loretta Lynn, highlighting the struggles and triumphs she faced growing up in Kentucky’s coal mining communities.

Another film exploring the depth of Appalachian culture is “Hillbilly Elegy.” Based on the best-selling memoir by J.D. Vance, this poignant drama portrays the resilience of a working-class family in rural Ohio, shedding light on the challenges and complexities of Appalachian life.

These movies serve as a window into the colorful tapestry of Appalachian culture, inviting audiences to celebrate the traditions, values, and remarkable stories that have shaped this unique region for generations.


The movies on this curated list provide a diverse and compelling representation of Appalachia. From thrilling adventure films to heartfelt dramas, these movies showcase the deep-rooted traditions, natural beauty, and unique stories of the Appalachian region. Whether you’re interested in documentary filmmaking, exploring cultural themes, or simply escaping into a captivating story, these films offer an enriching experience of Appalachia on screen.

Experience the magic of Appalachian cinema with these captivating movies. Dive into the landscapes and communities of the region, and immerse yourself in the rich storytelling that portrays the vibrant culture of Appalachia. From films set in the heart of the Appalachian mountains to those that explore the intriguing lives of its people, each movie offers a glimpse into the complexity and beauty of this beloved region.

Indulge in films set in Appalachia that capture the essence of its history, traditions, and struggles. Let these movies educate and entertain you, creating a deeper understanding of the Appalachian culture and its significance. Immerse yourself in the beauty, resilience, and spirit of Appalachia through these cinematic masterpieces, and leave with a renewed appreciation of the region and its unique stories.


What are some films set in Appalachia?

Some films set in Appalachia include “Deliverance,” “Lawless,” and “October Sky.”

What are some documentary films about Appalachia?

Some documentary films about Appalachia include “Harlan County, USA” and “American Hollow.”

Are there any films about hillbillies in Appalachia?

Yes, there are films that portray stereotypes and perceptions surrounding “hillbillies” in Appalachia, such as “The Beverly Hillbillies” and “Tucker and Dale vs Evil.”

Can you recommend any films set in West Virginia?

Some films set in West Virginia are “Matewan” and “The Mothman Prophecies.”

Are there any films that capture Appalachian storytelling?

Yes, films such as “Songcatcher” and “The Dollmaker” authentically capture the art of Appalachian storytelling.

Which films explore the vibrant culture of Appalachia?

Films that explore the vibrant culture of Appalachia include “Coal Miner’s Daughter” and “Hillbilly Elegy.”

What do these movies offer in terms of portraying Appalachia?

These movies provide a diverse and compelling representation of Appalachia, showcasing deep-rooted traditions, natural beauty, and unique stories of the region.

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