Move over Gilmore Girls! If you’re anything like me by now you’re spending more time indoors watching movies. The days are already much shorter as the night begins earlier. We light fires and the house smells nice with all sorts of autumn scents throughout the air. I like to watch classic movies including the black and white ones. And I love to find movies with New England themes because, well they are just the kind of aesthetics that I really enjoy whether it be summer, winter or especially now the fall.
Today I’ll share with you some of my favorite all time movies set in New England. Not only are they great stories to watch but they have amazing cast, some of the best locations of course and interiors you can only dream of.
The Great Gatsby, the original 1974 American romantic drama based on the 1925 novel of the same name by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It stars Robert Redford in the title role of Jay Gatsby along with Mia Farrow as Daisy Buchanan.
I love that the Rosecliff and Marble House mansions in Newport, Rhode Island, where we have visited many times, were used for many of the scenes. If you’re ever in Newport I highly recommend you definitley visit these beautiful ‘cottages.’
There was also the exterior of Linden Place mansion in Bristol, Rhode Island, where my son went to college, that was used for Gatsby’s house, with other scenes filmed in New York City and Uxbridge, Massachusetts.
Mystic Pizza is a must watch and another favorite movie of mine. The 1988 romcom starring Julia Roberts, Lili Taylor and Annabeth Gish. It follows the coming-of-age of three young Portuguese-American friends who work at a pizza parlor in, you guessed it, the beautiful seaside Connecticut town of Mystic! You can actually visit Mystic Pizza, the restaurant and get “a slice of heaven” as well as find all the memorabilia!
Most of the film was shot on location in Mystic, Connecticut in true New England coastal aesthetics! Other scenes were shot in the neighboring coastal towns of Stonington, (where Daisy played pool), and Noank, (where JoJo’s wedding took place and where Daisy & Kat’s mom works).
Go east across the state line into Rhode Island into other towns where filming took place. Pawcatuck, (the homes where all three girls live), and Watch Hill (the Country Club scenes and the renovation of Tim’s house).
Reversal of Fortune a 1990 noir drama starring Glenn Close and Jeremy Irons tells the story of real life Newport, RI socialites Claus and Sunny von Bulow and the attempted murder case that captured international headlines rocked the small Newport community.
The City-by-the-Sea is featured right away with an aerial shot along the Cliff Walk, showcasing the many mansions. Bellevue Ave in Newport is also featured as part of the address of Von Bulow’s home. Interior scenes were filmed in numerous estates in Manhattan, Long Island and New Jersey.
Good Will Hunting is a 1997 fantastic drama written by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon who also star in the film alongside Robin Williams. This is the kind of movie that everybody has to watch at least once. The story is about Will Hunting, an unknown math genius who works as a janitor at MIT. After solving an expert-level equation anonymously his life begins to change.
The story is set in Boston with most of the scenes shot on location in the Greater Boston area. Many of the interior shots were filmed at locations in Toronto, with the University of Toronto standing in for MIT and Harvard University.
School Ties is an exceptional 1992 drama starring Brendan Fraser and a bunch of now famous cast including Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Chris O’Donnell, and Cole Hauser! Fraser plays the lead role as David Greene, a Jewish high school student, who hides the fact that he is Jewish, and who is awarded an athletic scholarship to an elite prep school in his senior year.
This film gives off classic New England prep school vibes! Most of the movie was filmed on location at Middlesex School in Concord, Massachusetts. In addition, Groton School, Worcester Academy, Lawrence Academy at Groton and St. Mark’s School (all area prep schools) were involved in the filming.
The Cider House Rules a 1999 bittersweet drama that follows Homer Wells, played by Tobey Maguire, who lives in a World War II–era Maine orphanage. It is run by a doctor, played by Michael Caine who trained him, and his journey after leaving the orphanage. It’s a coming of age movie and the decisions that Homer is forced to make.
The locations of the film are just so nostalgic to watch and true to New England charm.
The Cider House Rules was shot in Massachusetts (orphanage), Maine (lobstermen scenes), Vermont (railroad, orchard and cider house scenes), and New Hampshire (drive-in). The exterior scenes of the orphanage took place at Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum in Lenox, while the interiors were filmed at Northampton State Hospital, MA.
You know I couldn’t do a round-up without mentioning the G.O.A.T. of all New England movies, Little Women. This particular version is the seventh film (2019 adaptation) of the 1868 novel of the same name by Louisa May Alcott. It has a wonderful ensemble cast consisting of Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, and Timothée Chalamet to name a few.
Interestingly, none of the previous adaptations of Alcott’s novel used Massachusetts (where Alcott grew up) as a primary filming location until Greta Gerwig arrived in 2018 for production. It was filmed entirely in Massachusetts.
Shot in 11 Massachusetts municipalities, with only a few of the sets built from scratch. The March family’s home, for example, was an exact house temporarily created on a property in Concord, rather than the historic Orchard House. But other scenes were shot at historic residences around the region, many of which are open to visitors.
Go ahead and settle in near the TV and cozy up by the fire. It’s time to watch one of these fabulous movies. And then come back and tell me how they make you fall in love with New England!🍂