Which movie set in South Carolina is the best?

There have been quite a few movies set in South Carolina. Which one do you think evokes the state’s identity best?
There have been quite a few movies set in South Carolina. Which one do you think evokes the state’s identity best? smardis@thestate.com

The gang at Thrillist are at it again. This time, they’ve tried to find the one movie that takes place within each state of the US that best evokes that state’s identity.

Their criteria narrows choices to movies that took place mainly in a given state — so no road trip classics such as “Thelma and Loise” or “Easy Rider,” nor did “Forrest Gump” make this cut. Thrillist picked films “that represent a state’s place in the nation’s collective consciousness.”

Keep that in mind when you find out what they picked for South Carolina.

It’s not that SC doesn’t have that many movies to choose from... check out the top eight:


“Conrack” (1974) was the first Pat Conroy novel to be given the Hollywood treatment (“The Prince of Tides,” “The Great Santini,” “The Water is Wide” and “The Lords of Discipline” were others). This one is about his teaching days on Daufuskie. Jon Voight is cast as Conroy and the verbage on the movie poster says it all — “I want all of you to take a real long look at me. That shouldn’t be any hardship because I’m handsome. Moreover, I have a penetrating wit, a fanciful imagination, and my eyes are bluer than Paul Newman’s.” Under the movie title is the tagline “One beautiful man. His story is true.”


“The Big Chill” (1983) has a great ensemble cast — Glenn Close, Tom Berenger, William Hurt, Mary Kay Place, JoBeth Williams, Jeff Goldblum, Kevin Kline and Meg Tilly — and the (unseen) body of Kevin Costner! The thirtysomething friends gather along the coast for the funeral of a friend (Costner) and things get... complicated.

“Glory” (1989), set during the Civil War, tells the story of Col. Robert Gould Shaw (Matthew Broderick) and the Union Army’s first all-black volunteer company. The movie also starred Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington and Andre Braugher.

“Bastard Out of Carolina” (1996) finds a mother (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and daughter’s (Jena Malone) lives adversely affected when a new man (Ron Eldard) enters the picture.

“The Secret Life of Bees” (2008) is about 14 year-old Lily Owens (Dakota Fanning) who is haunted by the memories of her late mother. She turns to Rosaleen (Jennifer Hudson) and the Boatwright sisters (Queen Latifah, Alicia Keys and Sophie Okonedo) to find solace.

“The Notebook” (2004) has the poor guy (Ryan Gosling) falling for the rich girl (Rachel McAdams) but their social differences keep them separated. It’s the way that Nicholas Sparks tells the tale that makes this movie special, along with direction from Nick Cassavetes and acting from veterans such as Gena Rowlands and James Garner. Did we mention the electricity between Gosling and McAdams?

“The Patriot” (2000) Mel Gibson takes on the English Army as the leader of the Colonial Militia during the American Revolution after a British officer murders his son (Heath Ledger).


“Rich in Love” (1992) is set in Charleston. Albert Finney is the patriarch of the family that is thrown into chaos when his wife (Jill Clayburgh) decides she’s had enough and walks out. Daughters (Kathryn Erbe and Suzy Amis) are left to try and cope with the fallout.

So which movie in the bunch was named Thrillist’s best in SC? Get out the hankies, it’s “The Notebook.”