Top 9 Movies Filmed In Kentucky

by | Last updated Aug 28, 2023

Kentucky is mostly known for its bourbon and horses, but it also has beautiful national parks, woods and waterways. You will also meet some of the most friendliest people on the planet.

Producers have chosen Kentucky to film their movies for many reasons, including tax credits given by the state, to film their movies.

Let’s take a look at the top movies filmed in Kentucky.

Harlan County USA (1976)

Harlan County, USA was filmed in Harlan County and is a 1976 American documentary film about the Brookside Strike, a 1973 strike by coal miners in Harlan County, Kentucky. The film was directed by Barbara Kopple and won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 49th Academy Awards.

The film follows the miners and their families as they fight for better wages and working conditions. The film also documents the violence that erupts between the miners and the company’s security forces.

harlan county usa filmed in kentucky

Harlan County, USA is a powerful and unflinching look at the struggle for labor rights in the United States. The film is a testament to the courage and determination of the miners and their families, and it is a reminder of the importance of fighting for justice.

Goldfinger (1964)

Goldfinger is a 1964 British spy film produced by Eon Productions and starring Sean Connery as James Bond. It is the third film in the James Bond series, and is based on the 1959 novel of the same name by Ian Fleming.

The film follows James Bond as he investigates Auric Goldfinger, a wealthy gold smuggler who plans to contaminate the United States Bullion Depository at Fort Knox. Bond travels to Switzerland to meet with Goldfinger, and then to Kentucky to stop his plan.

Goldfinger was a critical and commercial success, and is considered to be one of the best James Bond films ever made. It was praised for its action sequences, humor, and performances. The film was also a box office success, grossing over $160 million worldwide.

Rain Man (1988)

Rain Man is a 1988 American road drama film directed by Barry Levinson and written by Barry Morrow and Ronald Bass.

It tells the story of abrasive, selfish young wheeler-dealer Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise), who discovers that his estranged father has died and bequeathed virtually all of his multimillion-dollar estate to his other son, Raymond (Dustin Hoffman), an autistic savant, of whose existence Charlie was unaware. Charlie is left with only his father’s beloved vintage car and rosebushes. Valeria Golino also stars as Charlie’s girlfriend Susanna.

Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980)

Coal Miner’s Daughter is a 1980 American biographical musical film set in Kentucky and directed by Michael Apted and starring Sissy Spacek as Loretta Lynn. The film tells the story of Lynn’s rise from poverty in the coal mining town of Butcher Holler, Kentucky, to becoming one of the most successful country music singers in the world. Tommy Lee Jones co-stars as Lynn’s husband, Oliver “Doolittle” Lynn, and Beverly D’Angelo plays Patsy Cline.

coal miners daughter poster

The film was a critical and commercial success, winning three Academy Awards, including Best Actress for Spacek, Best Supporting Actor for Jones, and Best Adapted Screenplay. Spacek’s performance was praised for its authenticity and depth, and she was able to capture Lynn’s unique voice and personality. The film also featured several of Lynn’s most popular songs, including “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl,” and “Fist City.”

Coal Miner’s Daughter is a heartwarming and inspiring story about a young woman who overcame adversity to achieve her dreams. It is a must-see for any fan of country music or American cinema.

Seabiscuit (2003)

Seabiscuit is a 2003 American sports drama film co-produced, written and directed by Gary Ross and based on the best-selling 1999 non-fiction book Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand. The film is loosely based on the life and racing career of Seabiscuit, an undersized and overlooked Thoroughbred race horse, whose unexpected successes made him a hugely popular media sensation in the United States during the Great Depression. At the 76th Academy Awards, Seabiscuit received seven nominations, including Best Picture, but ultimately lost all seven, including six to The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

seabiscuit filmed kentucky

The film stars Tobey Maguire as Red Pollard, a jockey with a history of injuries; Jeff Bridges as Charles Howard, a wealthy businessman who buys Seabiscuit; and Chris Cooper as Tom Smith, a horse trainer who helps Seabiscuit reach his full potential. The film also features Elizabeth Banks, Gary Sinise, and Viggo Mortensen in supporting roles.

Seabiscuit tells the story of how these three men, along with Seabiscuit himself, came together to create a racing dynasty that captured the hearts of a nation. The film is an inspiring story about overcoming adversity and achieving success against all odds.

Elizabethtown (2005)

Elizabethtown is a 2005 American romantic comedy-drama film written and directed by Cameron Crowe and set in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. It stars Orlando Bloom as Drew Baylor, a young shoe designer who is fired from his job after his latest design is a huge flop. Drew is also dumped by his girlfriend, Ellen, and he is feeling suicidal. When Drew’s father dies, he is forced to travel to his hometown of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, to bring his father’s body back to Oregon. On the flight, Drew meets Claire Colburn (Kirsten Dunst), a flight attendant who helps him to start to heal.

elizabethtown movie poster

The film was a critical and commercial disappointment, grossing only $52 million worldwide against a budget of $50 million. However, it has since developed a cult following, with many fans praising its humor, its emotional depth, and its soundtrack.

Secretariat (2010)

Secretariat is a 2010 American biographical sports drama film directed by Randall Wallace and starring Diane Lane as Penny Chenery Tweedy, John Malkovich as Lucien Laurin, and Scott Glenn as Christopher Chenery. The film is based on the 1983 book Secretariat: The Making of a Champion by William Nack, and chronicles the life of Secretariat, the 1973 Triple Crown winner.

The film begins with Penny Chenery inheriting her father’s failing horse breeding farm in Virginia. She decides to train Secretariat herself, and with the help of trainer Lucien Laurin, they turn the horse into a champion. Secretariat goes on to win the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes, becoming the first horse to win the Triple Crown in 25 years.

Secretariat was a critical and commercial success, grossing over $60 million worldwide. The film was praised for its performances, direction, and screenplay. Lane was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance, and the film was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.

Tammy (2014)

Tammy is a 2014 American road comedy film directed and co-written by Ben Falcone and produced, co-written by, and starring Melissa McCarthy as the title character. The film also stars Susan Sarandon, Allison Janney, Gary Cole, Mark Duplass, Nat Faxon, Toni Collette, Sandra Oh, with Dan Aykroyd, and Kathy Bates. The film tells the story of a woman named Tammy who hits the road with her profane, alcoholic grandmother after finding out her husband is cheating. Tammy was released in theaters on July 2, 2014.

HauntedWeen (1991)

HauntedWeen is a 1991 horror-comedy film directed by Doug Robertson and filmed in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Set in the fictional town of Hollowgate, the movie follows a group of college students who decide to throw a Halloween party in an old, supposedly haunted mansion. As the night progresses, they unwittingly awaken the spirit of a vengeful, axe-wielding killer named Mervyn Mooney, who was executed decades earlier.

As the guests start to disappear one by one in grisly fashion, the remaining partygoers must unravel the mansion’s dark history and find a way to stop the malevolent ghost before they become his next victims. With a blend of eerie atmosphere, comedic elements, and classic slasher tropes, HauntedWeen delivers a mix of scares and laughs that make it a cult classic among fans of 90s horror cinema. The film captures the essence of Halloween-themed horror and provides an entertaining, if somewhat campy, viewing experience for those who enjoy a balance of frights and fun.

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1 Comment

  1. Terry

    Love Etown!


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Trey Copeland

Trey Copeland

Founder & Editor

Hello folks! I’m Trey Copeland, founder and editor of Stay Bluegrass, along with my wife Kaci. We’ve been fortunate to travel to many countries such as Mexico and Costa Rica, but our true roots remain here in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the Bluegrass State.

Our goal is to help you live like a local while traveling and exploring the great state of Kentucky. We want to help you find the best places to eat, the must see and do attractions and more.

Hey! I'm Trey

Hey! I'm Trey

I live in Owensboro, Kentucky and have traveled around the Bluegrass state with my wife Kaci.

Read more about us

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