Sites of the Silver Screen
New England Area Celebrated Film Locations
The New England area is a ready-made location for filming. As well as stunning scenery, there are distinctive buildings, authentic historic sites and American icons galore to draw movie makers – and their audiences – to the region.
Trip ideas and itineraries are meant as suggestions only. They are intended as ideas and to highlight all there is to see and do in New England.
- Bangor, Maine: Stephen King country
Behind a cobweb and bat-studded fence, best-selling author Stephen King dreams up nightmare scenarios in his spooky Victorian house on West Broadway. Parts of his stories filmed in Maine include Thinner (1996) and Graveyard Shift (1990) in the tunnels beneath the Bangor Waterworks Building, plus Pet Sematary (1989) in Acadia National Park.
- Mount Desert Island, Maine: The Cider House Rules
See the docks in Bernard and Bass Harbor, then picnic on the pretty crescent of Sand Beach, just as Oscar-winner Sir Michael Caine and Tobey McGuire did in The Cider House Rules (1999).
- Deer Isle, Maine: Finding Home
The strength of Maine’s women is celebrated in Finding Home (2005). Filmed in the spectacular scenery of Deer Isle, as well as other locations in Maine, it stars Louise Fletcher and Geneviève Bujold.
- Camden, Rockport and Rockland, Maine: America’s coastal movie set
In the Bedroom (2001) is a term used by Maine lobster fishermen and this gritty movie was shot in numerous coastal locations. In the 1995 movie Casper, Camden stood in for Friendship, Maine as the home of the 'friendly ghost' and in 1957 most of the steamy movie Peyton Place was shot here.
- Bath, Maine: Costner was here
It’s supposed to be North Carolina, but in Message in a Bottle (1999), Kevin Costner is actually working on a boat at the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath. Other scenes show Popham Beach, near Phippsburg, and New Harbor, a charming fishing village south of Damariscotta.
- Boothbay Harbor and Newcastle, Maine: If I loved you
Way back in 1956, Shirley Jones and Gordon MacRae fell in love on the Maine coast in the evergreen musical, Carousel.
- Portland, Maine: Lights, action!
John Martin (Bull) Feeney, better known as the legendary filmmaker John Ford, was born in Cape Elizabeth and raised on Munjoy Hill in Portland. Ford was the director of more than 140 films, including Grapes of Wrath and The Searchers. Pay your respects at the statue of the director at Gorham’s Corner in Portland.
- Cape Elizabeth, Maine: The perfect light
Snow Falling on Cedars (1999) is all about the Pacific Northwest, but the producers had to go to Maine for the perfect lighthouse. The script calls for a snowstorm, and the crew got one, shooting the Portland Head Light during the infamous ice storm of 1998!
- Hampton Falls, New Hampshire: John Irving’s inspiration
The inspiration for John Irving’s The Cider House Rules (1999) was Applecrest Farm Orchards (Route 88). The Wagner family gave Irving his first job and they still run the farm, where you can buy berries, pumpkins, corn and, of course, apples.
- Gilmanton, New Hampshire: The real Peyton Place
It’s hard to believe that this quiet community was the inspiration for the steamy Peyton Place. Grace Metalious spilled the beans on her home town in the best-selling novel, made into a film (1957) starring Lana Turner.
- Squam Lake, New Hampshire: The real Golden Pond
This lake near Holderness doubled for Maine in the award-winning Hepburn/Fonda movie On Golden Pond (1981). Regular guided boat tours point out the locations.
- Thomaston, Waterbury and Naugatuck
Thomaston’s Railroad Museum of New England provides a nostalgic backdrop for Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio in Revolutionary Road (2009). In Waterbury, two restaurants – Drescher’s and Diorio’s – are locations for All Good Things (2009) starring Kirsten Dunst and Ryan Gosling. Further south, in an old chemical plant in Naugatuck, Tom Cruise battled alien invaders to save his family and the world in The War of the Worlds (2005), directed by Steven Spielberg. See the building from Route 8.
- New Haven: Indiana Jones
Think back to the megahit Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Several scenes in the archaeological action movie were filmed at New Haven’s Yale University, the fictional Marshall College. More scenes were shot in Essex, 37 miles to the east, where Harrison Ford rode the historic Essex Steam Train.
- Mystic Seaport and Stonington, Connecticut: Old and new
With its mid-19th century setting, this seaport provided the perfect backdrop for Amistad (1997) as it has for other movies looking for authentic atmosphere. In town, Julia Roberts got her big break serving ‘A Slice of Heaven’ at the Mystic Pizza parlor in the movie of the same name (1988). Much of the movie was actually filmed in nearby North Stonington.
- Providence and Warwick, Rhode Island: Familiar settings
As well as the setting for the television series of the same name, Providence featured in the 1998 hit There’s Something About Mary. At the Hot Bar, you can order up a beer and sit at the table where Matt Dillon and Ben Stiller talk about Cameron Diaz. Italian-American Federal Hill was a movie (1994) and is a district known for its Italian restaurants. In nearby Warwick, weddings and conferences are held at the posh Aldrich Mansion, home to Anthony Hopkins in Meet Joe Black (1998).
- Jamestown and Narragansett, Rhode Island: Farrelly brothers' outdoor set
Rhode Island movie makers Peter and Bobby Farrelly often work in the state. In Me, Myself and Irene, split personality cop Jim Carrey roars round on his massive motor bike with Renée Zellweger. Filming took place in the seaside town of Narragansett and also in Jamestown, where Carrey drives through the windows of a restaurant and barbershop. That was on Main Street, about half way up the hill.
- Newport, Rhode Island: Mansions and more
High Society, the Grace Kelly/Frank Sinatra/Bing Crosby classic, is all about Newport, especially the title song, sung by ‘Satchmo.’ Kelly stayed at the Inn at Castle Hill during filming. At Rosecliff, one of the city’s opulent mansions, you can see the ballroom where Arnold Schwarzenegger danced the tango in True Lies (1994) and where the state dinner was held in Amistad (1997). Stephen Spielberg also used the Old Colony House on Washington Square for the Amistad courtroom scenes. Other movies set in this swish town that hosts an international film festival each summer include the 1974 version of The Great Gatsby with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow.
- Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts: Sharks’ teeth
They called it Amity Island, but the terrified holidaymakers in Jaws (1975) were actually on the Vineyard. Although Quint’s workshop was just a temporary set, Spielberg used the American Legion Memorial Bridge (between Edgartown and Oak Bluffs) and Sengekontacket Pond, actually a fun place to canoe.
- Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts: Hollywood east?
The cameras love this city, from Love Story (set at Harvard University) and the African American regiment in Glory (1989) to Ally McBeal. Pubs are popular, from the Boston Common’s Bull & Finch (Cheers!) to South Boston’s Woody’s L Street Tavern (Good Will Hunting, 1997). The Matt Damon/Ben Affleck hit also includes scenes in Cambridge, as did Legally Blonde (2001). In 2003, two movies showed different sides of Greater Boston: the Oscar-winning Mystic River, with Sean Penn and Tim Robbins, and Mona Lisa Smile, filmed at Wellesley College and starring Julia Roberts. An extended sequence in The Witches of Eastwick was shot at the Wang Center, where the grand lobby doubled as one of the interiors of the Devil’s (Jack Nicholson's) house.
- Concord, Massachusetts: The real home of Little Women
Orchard House, home of author Louisa May Alcott, served as the inspiration for filmmakers shooting Little Women, the 1994 film starring Winona Ryder.
- Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts: Life imitates art
On the North Shore, this delightful village plays the backdrop to David Mamet’s State and Main (2000), starring Alec Baldwin. Life imitates art, as the movie shows how the arrival of a film company affects a small community!
- Gloucester, Massachusetts: Real life drama
The hit book/film The Perfect Storm is the true tale of fishermen working out of this port. Although the Crow’s Nest Bar was used by the film crew after hours, the bar was rebuilt for the movie, down on the Harbor Loop. The Love Letter, the 1999 comedy produced by Kate Capshaw, also features Gloucester, as well as Rockport and Cape Ann.