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Movies that were filmed in Nashville

Grab the popcorn, it’s movie time. If you want to see Music City on the big screen, here’s where to start.

A hand holding up a vinyl record in front of trees

Members of the cast and crew, including Keith Carradine and Ronee Blakley, wrote original songs for the movie “Nashville.” | Photo by NASHtoday

As the Nashville Film Festival and International Black Film Festival get underway this week, we’re looking back at Nashville’s film credits over the decades. Here are a few movies that put a Music City spin on the silver screen.

“Nashville” (1975)

Robert Altman’s “Nashville” boasts an ensemble cast with notable stars like Keith Carradine, Shelley Duvall, David Arkin, and Jeff Goldblum. Look for local spots like Opryland, the Parthenon, and Berry Field (now Nashville International Airport). It’s often considered to be Altman’s “magnum opus,” but that’s not to say it wasn’t met with some criticism locally.

Fun fact: “I’m Easy,” written and performed by Carradine + filmed inside Exit/In, took home the Academy Award for best original song.

“The Green Mile” (1999)

Based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, Tom Hanks takes on the role of a corrections officer working at a penitentiary in the 1930s. Despite the Louisiana setting, the film’s scenes were captured at the Tennessee State Penitentiary (closed in 1992) and in neighboring towns such as Nolensville, Shelbyville, and Columbia.

“Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief” (2010)

Recognize this iconic place? While not entirely filmed in Nashville, the Parthenon was used as a backdrop for the first “Percy Jackson” film, which puts a modern twist on Greek mythology. We tip our hats to the special effects department.

Honorable mentions:

  • “Coal Miner’s Daughter” (1980) | Sissy Spacek’s Academy Award-winning performance as Loretta Lynn included scenes at Ryman Auditorium.
  • “Ernest Goes to Camp” (1987) | Featuring the character Ernest P. Worrell (portrayed by the late Jim Varney), this “Ernest” movie was filmed at Montgomery Bell State Park + is celebrated annually at the park’s “Ernest Day.”
  • “Walk the Line” (2005) | Although primarily shot outside of Nashville, this Johnny Cash biopic starring Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon was partially filmed at the old Tennessee State Penitentiary.
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