A Cinematic Escape: Movie Magic in Mississippi
A Cinematic Escape: Movie Magic in Mississippi
With the highly anticipated Baz Luhrmann Elvis biopic released on June 24, it’s not just stars Austin Butler, who plays Elvis in the flick, and Tom Hanks, in the role of his infamous manager Colonel Tom Parker, who are about to be thrust in the spotlight. The State of Mississippi, and Elvis’s hometown of Tupelo in particular, will be front and center. Luhrmann even connected with Elvis’s childhood friend Sam Bell to learn more about the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s early days in the Mississippi.
And while Elvis wasn’t filmed in Mississippi, the new movie certainly isn’t the first instance of Hollywood rapping on the door of the Magnolia State. Over the years, several towns, cities, and landmarks throughout Mississippi have served as the backdrop for some of the silver screen’s biggest hits. Here are 10 Mississippi places to spot on your next movie night or even on your journey to see some of Mississippi’s top film locations.
This legendary downtown Jackson restaurant is today a favorite with locals and visitors. The capital city’s classic, Greek-inspired seafood and steak spot has known for its delectable cuisine since opening in 1935. The vintage dining room’s black-and-white checkered floors, cozy booths, and eclectic photo gallery walls were the setting for scenes in 2012’s The Help starring Octavia Spencer and Emma Stone, as well as Alec Baldwin and Whoopi Goldberg’s 1996 biographical crime drama Ghosts of Mississippi, which was based on events surrounding the 1994 trial of Byron De La Beckwith, who was convicted of the murder of civil rights activist Medgar Evers.
Also in Jackson, the classic ‘50s pharmacy, soda fountain, and diner Brent’s Drugs played a huge role in the movie The Help, based on Jackson native Kathryn Stockett’s novel of the same name. Set in Jackson, the vintage appeal of Brent’s formica countertops, turquoise banquettes, and original barstools were the perfect setting for Skeeter’s famous meeting with Hilly and her friends in the movie.
Did you know that nearly every scene in the Coen brothers’ cult hit O Brother, Where Art Thou? was filmed in Mississippi? Fans of the movie might recognize D’Lo Water Park at the Strong River as the location where the sirens charmed Everett, Delmar, and Pete.
Canton was the site of Homer’s famous political rally in O Brother, Where Art Thou?, but the charming town also played a role in the blockbusters A Time to Kill and My Dog Skip. Notably, Matthew McConaughey and Sandra Bullock stood on the Canton courthouse steps during filming of A Time to Kill, which was based on the novel by John Grisham.
Several locations in Mississippi’s oldest city were featured in the 2014 movie starring the late Chadwick Boseman Get On Up. Though none of the movie was actually set in Mississippi, the pre-Civil War mansion known as the Dunleith Historic Inn, as well as the Stanton Hall & Carriage House Restaurant, The Malt Shop, and Bilbo’s Fish Market, are all locations featured in the film.
Natchez was the setting for 2021’s holiday Hallmark movie Every Time a Bell Rings. In the movie, three sisters reunite in their hometown of Natchez to discover that their late father planned a scavenger hunt for them to find their family’s wishing bell. The scenic Bluff Park overlooking the Mississippi River was a prominent location in the film.
Parchman Prison | Sunflower County
As a native son of Mississippi, many of best-selling author John Grisham’s novels are set in Mississippi. His 1994 novel The Chamber was no different. Its 1996 movie adaptation was filmed partially at Sunflower County’s Parchman Prison, also known as Parchman Farm and the Mississippi State Penitentiary, where the movie’s protagonist lawyer Adam Hall, played by actor Chris O’Donnell, fights to get his grandfather taken off death row.
A 2021 drama featuring Oscar Isaac, Tiffany Haddish, Tye Sheridan, and Willem Defoe, The Card Counter is based around gambling and the drama that ensues in the high-stakes world of card counting. Many of the movie’s scenes are filmed in a casino, and eagle-eye fans noticed that Biloxi’s Golden Nugget in Biloxi was the lucky locale.
Oxford’s picturesque downtown known as the Oxford Square is the backdrop for the classic black and white crime drama Intruder in the Dust. Even almost 70 years after its release date, you can still recognize the charming Square when watching.
Bruce Willis’s action heist movie A Day to Die, released in March of 2022, brought the drama to downtown Jackson with several action scenes featuring stunts, explosions, and special effects filmed right outside the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion on East Capitol Street.
Whether you’re a casual movie-goer or a serious film buff, there’s no shortage of cinematic experiences to have in Mississippi. Explore the best in arts and culture across our wander-worthy state by clicking here today.