Movies About Appalachia (List)

Appalachia, a region known for its stunning landscapes and vibrant culture, has been the subject of many captivating movies. Hollywood has embraced the beauty and complexity of this distinctive American region, giving us a wide variety of films that portray the lives and experiences of Appalachian communities.

From heart-wrenching dramas to spine-chilling horror films, Appalachian movies offer a unique lens into the captivating stories and struggles of the people who call this region home. These films often delve into themes of family, resilience, and the indomitable spirit that defines Appalachian culture.

Movies About Appalachia

Key Takeaways:

  • Movies about Appalachia provide a glimpse into the rich culture and stories of this unique American region.
  • These films often explore themes of family, struggle, and resilience.
  • Genres range from horror and crime thrillers to historical dramas and musicals.
  • Documentaries and TV series also offer insights into the history and culture of Appalachia.
  • Independent films and biographical dramas highlight the diverse stories from the region.

Horror Movies Set in Appalachia

Appalachia is the backdrop for numerous spine-chilling horror movies that will keep you on the edge of your seat. These films tap into the eerie atmosphere of the region, unleashing supernatural terrors and suspenseful plots.

One standout horror film set in Appalachia is “Wrong Turn” (2003). In this gripping tale, a group of friends ventures into the Appalachian mountains, only to become lost and hunted by deformed cannibals. The relentless pursuit and grisly encounters make for a nail-biting experience.

For those who crave more supernatural dread, “The Devil Below” (2021) delivers. The movie follows a team of researchers exploring the depths of the Appalachian coal mines, stumbling upon malevolent creatures beyond imagination. As they confront unimaginable horrors, a relentless battle for survival ensues, leaving audiences breathless.

Prepare to be thrilled and terrified as you delve into these hair-raising Appalachian horror films, immersed in the dark and haunting mysteries that lie within the region.

Top Horror Movies Set in Appalachia

Movie Year Plot
Wrong Turn 2003 A group of friends gets lost in the Appalachian mountains and is hunted by deformed cannibals.
The Devil Below 2021 A team of researchers encounters supernatural creatures in the Appalachian coal mines.

These bone-chilling movies will take you on a terrifying journey through the heart of Appalachia, where the line between reality and horror becomes blurred. Brace yourself for a thrilling experience that will leave you with a lasting sense of unease.

Historical Dramas Set in Appalachia

Appalachia has served as a captivating backdrop for numerous historical dramas that transport audiences to pivotal moments in American history. These films artfully bring to life the struggles, triumphs, and enduring spirit of the Appalachian people.

One notable historical drama set in the hills of North Carolina during the Civil War is Cold Mountain (2003). This critically acclaimed film tells the story of a wounded soldier, Inman, played by Jude Law, who embarks on a treacherous journey back home to Cold Mountain to reunite with his sweetheart Ada, portrayed by Nicole Kidman. Directed by Anthony Minghella, Cold Mountain captures the harrowing realities of war and the enduring power of love in the midst of adversity.

In another gripping Appalachian period film, Lawless (2012), audiences are transported to Franklin County, Virginia, during the Prohibition era. Directed by John Hillcoat, the film follows the Bondurant brothers, played by Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, and Jason Clarke, as they defy the law and operate a successful bootlegging operation. Based on a true story, Lawless delves into themes of family loyalty, corruption, and the pursuit of the American Dream in a lawless and unforgiving landscape.

These historical dramas set in Appalachia offer viewers a window into the past, immersing them in the rich history and complex narratives of the region. With compelling storytelling and stellar performances, these films provide a deeper understanding of the Appalachian spirit and the challenges faced by its inhabitants throughout history.

Crime and Thriller Movies Set in Appalachia

Appalachia serves as the backdrop for several gripping crime and thriller movies that will keep you on the edge of your seat. These films delve into the dark underbelly of the region, highlighting the complexities of crime, justice, and the human condition. From tales of revenge to shocking revelations, here are a couple of Appalachian crime films that are sure to captivate audiences.

The Dark and Bloody Ground (2012)

In this crime thriller set in the heart of Appalachia, specifically in Kentucky, viewers are taken on a compelling journey of vengeance and retribution. The plot centers around a man seeking justice for the murder of his brother. As he navigates the treacherous landscape of the Appalachian criminal underworld, he uncovers a web of corruption and deceit. Gripping suspense, intense action sequences, and an immersive storyline make “The Dark and Bloody Ground” a must-watch for fans of Appalachian crime films.

Out of Time (2003)

In “Out of Time,” an atmospheric crime thriller, a federal agent unwittingly stumbles upon a toxic waste dumping operation hidden deep within the Appalachian Mountains. As he delves deeper into the investigation, he finds himself entangled in a web of deceit, facing off against dangerous locals who will stop at nothing to protect their illicit operation. This riveting film combines elements of suspense, mystery, and heart-pounding action to keep audiences on the edge of their seats until the very end.

These crime and thriller movies set in Appalachia offer a unique and captivating cinematic experience. With their engrossing storylines, atmospheric settings, and unforgettable characters, they showcase the dark and gritty side of the region. If you’re a fan of crime and thriller genres, these Appalachian films are sure to deliver a thrilling viewing experience.

Documentaries and TV Series About Appalachia

There are several captivating documentaries and compelling TV series that delve into the culture, history, and stories of Appalachia. These visual narratives offer an immersive experience, shedding light on the diverse aspects of life in this unique region. From thought-provoking documentaries to thrilling reality shows, here are some notable productions that showcase the beauty and complexity of Appalachia.


If you’re interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the Appalachian culture and way of life, the following documentaries are a must-watch:

  1. Country Boys (2006): This remarkable 6-hour documentary explores the lives of young individuals growing up in Appalachia. It provides an intimate and honest look at the challenges they face and the dreams they pursue.
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TV Series

For those who prefer a longer narrative format, these TV series set in Appalachia offer an engaging and immersive experience:

  • Justified (2010-present): Set in the picturesque Eastern Kentucky, this critically acclaimed TV series follows the journey of a U.S. Marshal navigating the complexities of crime in the region. With its gripping storyline and captivating characters, this show offers a unique perspective on Appalachia.
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These documentaries and TV series provide an opportunity to explore the rich tapestry of Appalachian culture, offering viewers a chance to immerse themselves in the stories, challenges, and triumphs of the region’s residents.

Documentaries TV Series
  • Country Boys
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  • Justified
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Appalachian Folklore and Legends in Film

The Mothman Prophecies (2002) is a psychological thriller set in West Virginia that revolves around the myth of the Mothman, a creature said to appear before major disasters. Another film in this category is Big Stone Gap (2014), which is based on the novel of the same name and explores the folklore and traditions of a small Appalachian town.

The Mothman, a legendary creature with glowing red eyes and large wings, has long been a part of Appalachian folklore. It is believed to be an omen of impending tragedy and has been associated with mysterious sightings and unexplained events throughout history. The Mothman Prophecies delves into the chilling encounters and paranormal occurrences that surround this legendary creature, creating a gripping and suspenseful narrative.

“The Mothman Prophecies is a thrilling exploration of Appalachian folklore and the inexplicable events that captivate our imagination.” – Film critic

On the other hand, Big Stone Gap takes a more light-hearted approach to Appalachian folklore. Set in a charming town nestled in the Appalachian mountains, the film delves into the rich traditions, customs, and superstitions that have been passed down through generations. It celebrates the strong sense of community and the importance of preserving local folklore and heritage.

Both films showcase the unique aspects of Appalachian folklore, allowing viewers to immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of stories, legends, and beliefs that define this captivating region.

Movie Year Genre
The Mothman Prophecies 2002 Psychological Thriller
Big Stone Gap 2014 Drama, Romance

Musical Films Set in Appalachia

Appalachia’s rich musical heritage has been brought to life in several films that showcase the region’s distinctive sounds and traditions. These musical films set in Appalachia offer a captivating blend of storytelling and toe-tapping melodies.

“Songcatcher” (2001)

In this musical drama, an outsider ventures into Appalachia with a mission to record the region’s folk tunes. Set in the early 1900s, the film explores the power of music to bridge cultural divides and preserve the rich heritage of Appalachia.

“Coal Miner’s Daughter” (1980)

This iconic biographical film tells the inspiring story of country music singer Loretta Lynn and her journey from a humble upbringing in Kentucky to becoming a superstar. Featuring memorable performances and a heartfelt portrayal of Appalachian life, “Coal Miner’s Daughter” captures the essence of the region’s music and the struggles and triumphs of its people.

These musical films set in Appalachia not only entertain but also pay tribute to the enduring musical traditions that define the region.

Comedy and Romance Movies Set in Appalachia

Appalachia is not only a backdrop for thrilling horror films and gripping crime dramas. It also serves as a charming setting for light-hearted comedies and heartwarming romantic films. These movies capture the essence of the Appalachian region, showcasing its beauty, traditions, and the unique charm of its people.

Sweet Home Alabama (2002)

“Sweet Home Alabama” is a romantic comedy that tells the story of a young woman named Melanie Carmichael, played by Reese Witherspoon. Melanie, a successful fashion designer in New York City, must confront her past when she returns to her small hometown in the Appalachian region of Alabama to finalize her divorce. As she navigates the challenges of her past relationship and reconnects with her roots, Melanie discovers the true meaning of love and finds herself torn between her former life and her newfound happiness.”

Big Stone Gap (2014)

“Big Stone Gap” is a delightful film that combines romance and comedy in the picturesque setting of a small Appalachian town. The story revolves around Ave Maria Mulligan, played by Ashley Judd, a spinster who has dedicated her life to her community. When she discovers a long-held family secret, Ave Maria embarks on a journey of self-discovery and finds love in unexpected places. This heartwarming film captures the warmth, humor, and tight-knit nature of Appalachian communities.”

If you’re in the mood for laughter or a heartwarming love story, these comedy and romance movies set in Appalachia are sure to entertain you. From the small-town charm to the eccentric characters, these films bring the spirit of Appalachia to life in an entertaining and enjoyable way.

Independent Films About Appalachia

Appalachia has been a source of inspiration for independent filmmakers who seek to tell unique and compelling stories about this captivating region. Through independent films, audiences can delve deeper into the beauty, complexities, and untold tales of Appalachia. Here are two noteworthy independent films that explore different facets of this diverse and vibrant area:

The Veil (2013)

Set in the breathtaking Appalachian mountains, “The Veil” takes viewers on a journey of mystery and discovery. A group of filmmakers ventures into the wilderness to shoot a documentary when they stumble upon a hidden and enigmatic box. As they unravel its secrets, they find themselves entangled in a web of suspense and supernatural forces. With stunning visuals and an immersive storyline, this independent film offers a fresh perspective on the Appalachian landscape while captivating audiences with its intrigue and suspense.

Blood on the Mountain (2016)

Directed by Mari-Lynn Evans and Jordan Freeman, “Blood on the Mountain” is a hard-hitting documentary that delves into the history and impact of the coal industry in Appalachia. Through interviews with miners, activists, and experts, this film exposes the social, environmental, and economic challenges faced by the Appalachian communities reliant on coal mining. It sheds light on the exploitation of workers, environmental degradation, and the power dynamics involved in the region’s coal industry. “Blood on the Mountain” serves as a poignant call to action for change and environmental justice.

These independent films provide compelling narratives that capture the essence of Appalachia, celebrating its natural beauty, uncovering its hidden stories, and shedding light on important social issues. Through their creativity and independent vision, filmmakers have enriched the cinematic landscape with diverse perspectives on this unique American region.

Biographical Films Set in Appalachia

Biographical films have the power to bring real-life stories to the big screen, offering a glimpse into the lives of remarkable individuals. In the context of Appalachia, these movies shed light on the struggles, triumphs, and personal journeys of people who have called this unique region their home.

1. October Sky (1999)

Based on the true story of Homer Hickam, “October Sky” follows the inspiring journey of a coal miner’s son who defies expectations and pursues his dream of becoming a NASA engineer. Set in Coalwood, West Virginia during the 1950s, this biographical drama captures the determination, passion, and resilience of a young man who discovers his love for rockets.

2. Matewan (1987)

Directed by John Sayles, “Matewan” is a captivating film that explores the historical events surrounding the 1920 coal miners’ strike in Matewan, West Virginia. This biographical drama delves into the complex dynamics between laborers, coal company officials, and the efforts to form a union. The film highlights the importance of solidarity and the fight for justice in the Appalachian context.

Both “October Sky” and “Matewan” offer poignant portrayals of individuals navigating the challenges and opportunities in the Appalachian region. These biographical films provide a deeper understanding of the true stories that have shaped the identity and history of Appalachia.


Appalachia has captivated the silver screen with a diverse array of films that showcase its unique culture, history, and folklore. From thrilling horror movies and gripping crime thrillers to compelling dramas and eye-opening documentaries, the Appalachian filmography offers something for every movie enthusiast.

These movies provide a rich tapestry of stories that delve into the struggles and triumphs of Appalachian characters. They offer a glimpse into the daily lives of the people who call this region home, exploring their deep-rooted traditions, family connections, and unwavering resilience.

Whether you’re drawn to tales of supernatural beings lurking in the mountains, intrigued by the allure of Appalachian folklore, or simply curious about the challenges faced by the Appalachian community, there is a film on this list that will pique your interest.

As the Appalachian filmography continues to expand, it reflects the enduring fascination with this distinctive American region. So grab some popcorn, settle in, and let these movies transport you to the breathtaking landscapes and captivating narratives of Appalachia.


Are there any horror movies set in Appalachia?

Yes, there are several horror films set in Appalachia, including “Wrong Turn” and “The Devil Below”. These movies often incorporate the unique landscape and folklore of the region into their stories.

What are some historical dramas set in Appalachia?

“Cold Mountain” and “Lawless” are examples of historical dramas set in Appalachia. These films explore different time periods, such as the Civil War and the Prohibition era, and showcase the struggles and resilience of Appalachian characters.

Are there any crime and thriller movies set in Appalachia?

Yes, there are crime and thriller films set in Appalachia, such as “The Dark and Bloody Ground” and “Out of Time”. These movies often delve into the criminal underworld of the region and feature suspenseful plots.

Are there any documentaries or TV series about Appalachia?

Yes, there are several documentaries and TV series that explore the culture and history of Appalachia. Examples include the documentary “Country Boys” and the TV series “Justified”, which provide insight into the people and communities of the region.

Do any films explore the folklore and legends of Appalachia?

Yes, there are films that delve into the folklore and legends of Appalachia. Movies like “The Mothman Prophecies” and “Big Stone Gap” incorporate Appalachian myths and traditions into their stories.

Are there any musical films set in Appalachia?

Yes, there are musical films set in Appalachia, such as “Songcatcher” and “Coal Miner’s Daughter”. These movies showcase the rich musical heritage of the region and often feature Appalachian folk tunes.

Are there any comedy and romance movies set in Appalachia?

Yes, there are comedy and romance films set in Appalachia, such as “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Big Stone Gap”. These movies combine humor and love stories with the unique backdrop of the Appalachian region.

Are there any independent films about Appalachia?

Yes, there are independent films that focus on Appalachia, such as “The Veil” and “Blood on the Mountain”. These movies often shed light on important issues affecting the region, such as environmental concerns and the impact of industries like coal mining.

Are there any biographical films set in Appalachia?

Yes, there are biographical films set in Appalachia, such as “October Sky” and “Matewan”. These movies tell the true stories of individuals who have had significant experiences or achievements in the region.

What are some popular movies about Appalachia?

Some popular movies about Appalachia include “Cold Mountain”, “Sweet Home Alabama”, and “October Sky”. These films have resonated with audiences and have contributed to the growing Appalachian filmography.

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