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10 Movies You Didn’t Know Were Filmed in North Carolina

Carly Rutledge

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Home to the Blue Ridge Mountains, more than 300 miles of barrier island coast, and historical sites from the antebellum South, North Carolina is an ideal location for filmmakers. These 10 classics are just a few of the hundreds of movies filmed in North Carolina. Keep filming NC!

1. The Color Purple (1985)

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Based on Alice Walker’s legendary novel, The Color Purple is one of the most important movies filmed in North Carolina. You won’t have much luck capturing a selfie with a celeb out here now as the James Bennet Plantation (aka the Huntley House) has been renovated and is now privately owned.

Rewind about 30 years though, and this historic home just outside of Lilesville, North Carolina was the set for Oprah and Whoopi in one of Steven Spielberg’s most renowned classics.

2. Dirty Dancing (1987)

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From Baby dancing down the steps and across the bridge to balancing on a log in the woods with Swayze, the chemistry was created at the stunning Lake Lure just outside of Asheville. Many scenes in Lake Lure were captured in the old boys’ camp, now a privately owned residential area called Firefly Cove.

3. The Last of the Mohicans (1992)

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While The Last of the Mohicans is intended to take place in upstate New York, the majority of the film was shot in Western North Carolina. The Blue Ridge Mountains, Lake James, Chimney Rock Park, and the Biltmore Estate provided the spectacular backdrop for this classic film.

4. The Fugitive (1993)

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The train wreck scene that sparked Dr. Richard Kimble’s escape was inferred to have happened only miles from Menard, Illinois. While parts of the movie were filmed in Illinois, this was actually staged in Dillsboro, NC. Other scenes were shot in Bryson City, Sylva, and Robbinsville. The film won an Oscar and Julianne Moore had the opportunity to visit her home state.

5. Forrest Gump (1994)

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Forrest Gump is perhaps the most famous of all movies filmed in North Carolina. We cheered him on as he crossed every state border in this motivating as well as heartfelt classic. Today, a sign located on US 221 at Grandfather Mountain marks the “Forrest Gump Curve” for visitors. The Biltmore Estate in Asheville also serves as a running location.

6. The Green Mile (1999)

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Tom Hanks returns to North Carolina to film yet another multi-award-winning film. Georgia Pines, the nursing home from which Hank’s character Paul Edgecomb narrates the story, is a 20-room mansion located in the Moses Cone Memorial Park at Blowing Rock. The manor is now a Parkway Craft Center for local artists.

7. Hannibal (2001)

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If you’re a native Carolinian, you may not be as excited to have this one filmed so close to home! Hannibal, the sequel to Silence of the Lambs, features many scenes filmed in the Biltmore Estate or in this case, Mason Verger’s manor.

8. A Walk to Remember (2002)

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From awkward encounters at the high school in Atkinson to marrying at the Orton Plantation in Southport, A Walk to Remember exposes North Carolina’s stunning coastal towns. Also, Jamie’s home and the porch she and Landon spent countless nights on can be found in the historic downtown Wilmington area.

9. The Hunger Games (2012) 

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North Carolina’s most rugged terrain is captured in the “Section 12” environment. The indigenous forest known as the Big Ivy area is located northeast of Asheville. Also, the tributes’ memorable chariot-led entrance was filmed at the Charlotte Convention Center. While you may not be able to catch a glimpse of “the girl on fire”, the convention center is open to the public. If you’re more interested in exploring Katniss’ local forest, there are more than 30 miles of trails just along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

10. The Conjuring (2013)

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It may be difficult to believe that The Conjuring and A Walk to Remember were filmed in the same town, but the coastal town of Wilmington offers a gorgeous and eerie setting for filmmakers. The recording also took place at the University of North Carolina Wilmington while students were away on spring break. The Conjuring is easily the scariest of all movies filmed in North Carolina.


North Carolina sets the stage for hundreds of films and TV shows alike. Television programs filmed in North Carolina include Under the Dome, Dawson’s Creek, and One Tree Hill.

If you’re interested in the rising film industry, a trip to this southern state is certainly worth a visit. You could even add to the movies filmed in North Carolina.

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