Until a few decades ago, Hollywood studios and surrounding areas were the filming locations for many classic movies. Southern California is the home base of many of the country’s largest production companies. The sunny weather and proximity to a variety of geographical features make the region an easy filming location.
If the movies aren’t filmed on the West Coast, studios tend to go to New York City to take advantage of some of America’s enduring images, such as Central Park and the Statue of Liberty.
Still, each state has unique characteristics that make it attractive to filmmakers, and with that in mind, 24/7 Tempo has tapped critic and audience ratings from Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb to find the best movie filmed in every state.
The film-going public, as well as the motion picture artistic community, often demands authenticity. While traveling to different states and setting up filming locations is expensive, there is no substitute for the screen-filling landscapes that make some movies, for example, especially westerns, such as “The Searchers,” unforgettable. These are the 25 best westerns of the 21st century.
The film industry’s need for genuine locations also means more states can benefit financially. A movie shoot can create jobs and create other economic advantages for the state. For this reason, states welcome and promote film shoots, setting up film commissions or offices with robust websites touting the advantages of filming in their state.
Some of the most popular, top grossing films may also draw tourism to their shooting locations as fans seek out memorable locations seen in their favorite movies. These are the top grossing films of all time.
To determine the best movie filmed in every state, 24/7 Tempo created an index of three measures from the Internet Movie Database and Rotten Tomatoes: IMDb rating, Rotten Tomatoes audience score, and Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score. All ratings were weighted equally.
Only films with at least 25,000 reviews on IMDb, 5,000 audience reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, and 10 Tomatometer critics reviews were considered. Film locations were based on IMDb data. Only films that were primarily filmed within a given state — based on the total number of filming locations — were considered for that state. The only exception to this rule is North Dakota, which was not the primary filming state for any film that meets our criteria — but rather was the secondary filming location for “Fargo.”
Supplemental data on domestic box office and production budgets by movie came from industry data site the Numbers. Data was collected mid-March 2021.