These nine movies were either set in our state (or made a cameo appearance)… and here’s where they were actually filmed.
1. Silence of the Lambs
The film’s protagonist, Clarice Starling, is originally from West Virginia. A flashback scene to her younger years was not shot here, however. Most of the film was apparently shot in Pittsburgh and southwestern Pennsylvania.
2. Mothman Prophecies
Although the story revolves around this West Virginia legend and the collapse of Point Pleasant’s Silver Bridge, like Silence of the Lambs, the film was mostly shot in and around Pittsburgh. Scenes set in Point Pleasant were actually shot in Kittanning, Pennsylvania, though several real police officers from the town appeared as extras.
3. Win a Date With Tad Hamilton!
This 2004 romantic comedy was set in Frazier’s Bottom in Putnam County, though the community in the movie bares little resemblance to the actual community. A lot of the action was set inside a Piggly Wiggly; there’s no Piggly Wiggly in the actual Frazier’s Bottom. The producers apparently shot most of the movie in California, even going so far as to borrow props from Piggly Wiggly Corp. to create an authentic store. Also this lady is really obsessed with finding this movie’s filming locations.
4. Superman III
The Mountain State makes a cameo in 1983’s Superman III. Near the end of the film, Superman whisks away Richard Pryor to a West Virginia coal mine. The movie was mostly shot in Canada and New Mexico.
5. My Fellow Americans
West Virginia makes a more plot-centric cameo in this 1996 Jack Lemon/James Garner movie. The two star as a pair of former presidents who are making their way on foot from the Carolinas to Cleveland, which inevitably takes them through our state. Laughter ensues as the two comically wind up in a fictional town’s Gay Pride Parade. The fictional town was actually Asheville, North Carolina.
6. We Are Marshall
Of course the movie about the 1970 Marshall University Football tragedy was both set and filmed in Huntington. The film even premiered at the legendary Keith Albee theater downtown.
This 1986 film about the 1920 Battle of Matewan was obviously set in Mingo County on the state’s southern border. Producers, however, chose to film in the town of Thurmond and around the New River Gorge in Fayette County.
8. Silent Hill
This 2006 horror blockbuster was set in the fictional West Virginia town of Silent Hill is the fictional West Virginia county Toluca. In the film, the haunted town was abandoned after a fire in underlying coal mines. In reality, the town was based on Centralia, Pennsylvania and shot in Ontario, Canada. Maybe West Virginia just sounds scarier?
9. October Sky
Like We Are Marshall and Matewan, this film tells a story important in West Virginia history. Unlike those two films, this one was not shot in West Virginia. The 1999 movie starring a young Jake Gyllenhaal was shot in eastern Tennessee. The weather there delayed filming however, with crews encountering major weather shifts and tornadoes.