The state's natural beauty and varied locations have set the scene for several Alabama films, whether it's for the urban skyscrapers or pristine countryside, here's a list of films that either tell stories set in the state or about historical figures.
To Kill a Mockingbird
Alabama in the 1930s. The children Scout (Mary Badham) and Jem (Phillip Alford) play in the street, while their lawyer father Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck) defends a black man accused of raping a young white woman. The controversial nature of the trial, taking place in the racist culture of the Deep South, leads the local townsfolk to turn against Finch and sees his family become the victim of a series of terror attacks. Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Harper Lee, 'To Kill a Mockingbird' won Oscars for Peck and screenwriter Horton Foote.
Sweet Home Alabama
New York fashion designer Melanie Carmichael suddenly finds herself engaged to the city’s most eligible bachelor. But Melanie’s past holds many secret, including Jake, the redneck husband she married in high school, who refuses to divorce her.
Tom Hanks gives an astonishing performance as Forrest, an everyman whose simple innocence comes to embody a generation.
Big Fish tells the story of a frustrated son (Will played by Billy Crudup) who tries to determine the fact from fiction in his dying father's life (Ed played by Ewan McGregor and Albert Finney). Directed by Tim Burton, the film is set Will's hometown of Ashton, Alabama.
Selma tells the story of Martin Luther King Jr’s historic struggle to secure voting rights for African-Americans – a dangerous and terrifying campaign that culminated in the epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama galvanised American public opinion and persuaded President Johnson to introduce the Voting Rights Act in 1965.
Ride to Freedom: The Rosa Parks Story
This biopic tells the story of civil rights activist Rosa Parks (Angela Bassett) from her days as a private-school student to her public battle against racism and segregation. As a secretary for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Parks defends local children who have been victimized by racism. But when she is arrested after refusing to give up her bus seat for a white passenger, Parks inspires the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott.
Number one NASCAR driver Ricky Bobby stays atop the heap thanks to a pact with his best friend and teammate, Cal Naughton, Jr. But when a French Formula One driver, makes his way up the ladder, Ricky Bobby's talent and devotion are put to the test. Starring Will Ferrell & John C. Reilly this film is set in Talladega, Alabama.
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle stop café
Kathy Bates and Jessica Tandy star in this drama directed by Jon Avnet. The film follows the story of how Evelyn (Bates), a bored housewife, meets Ninny (Tandy), an old woman who tells stories about her home town of Whistle Stop. The stories centre around two women who ran a café, Idgie (Mary Stuart Masterson) and her friend Ruth (Mary-Louise Parker), whose violent husband Frank disappeared. Evelyn finds inspiration in the stories and her outlook and life improve.
Located alongside the Tennessee River, Muscle Shoals, Alabama is the unlikely breeding ground for some of America's most creative and defiant music. Under the spiritual influence of the 'Singing River' as Native Americans called it, the music of Muscle Shoals changed the world and sold millions upon millions of copies. At its heart is Rick Hall who founded FAME Studios. Overcoming crushing poverty and staggering tragedies, he brought black and white together in Alabama's cauldron of racial hostility to create music for the generations while giving birth to the 'Muscle Shoals Sound' and 'The Swampers'. Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Percy Sledge, Gregg Allman, Clarence Carter, Etta James, Alicia Keys, Bono, and others bear witness to Muscle Shoals' magnetism, mystery, and why it remains influential today.
A working-class Italian-American bouncer becomes the driver for an African-American classical pianist on a tour of venues through the 1960s American South.
Andie Bergstrom (Kate Capshaw), an astronaut eagerly awaiting her first trip to space, runs a summer camp for teenagers with her NASA-employed husband, Zach (Tom Skerritt). One night during an engine test, Andie and four teenage campers are accidentally shot into space. Together, the group -- which includes Kathryn (Lea Thompson), a pilot-in-training, and Tish (Kelly Preston), a ditz with a perfect memory -- must work together to operate the spacecraft and return home.
If you're interested in reading some Alabama literature, click here.