Lights! Camera! North Carolina! 8 Shows and Movies Set in North Carolina
North Carolina’s diverse geography and natural beauty make it an ideal setting for a variety of films and TV shows. Many remember the folksy, easy-going (fictional) town of Mayberry and the gritty but charming world of Bull Durham’s minor league baseball shenanigans. And the misty Blue Ridge Mountains happen to be a perfect setting for many horror films.
If you’re in for a night of streaming your favorite movies or bingeing classic TV series, going with a North Carolina theme promises a wealth of options, including the following eight.
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)
Will Ferrell’s NASCAR-inspired comedy is the rare film that pokes satirical fun at the sport while simultaneously showing it some love. Ferrell portrays Ricky Bobby, a strong-headed driver who dreams of being a racing star. Cameos by real-life drivers Jamie McMurray and Dale Earnhardt Jr. lend some good-natured credibility for racing fans.
While the eponymous Talladega Speedway is in Alabama, much of the film was shot at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord. Additionally, many of the nonracing sequences were filmed in Charlotte.
This Appalachian drama earned Jodie Foster a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal as Nell, the lead character. Neglected, abused, and sheltered by her mother, Nell’s journey into civilized society is set among the beautiful and moody Blue Ridge Mountains. Other real-life locales used in the shoot include Robbinsville and Charlotte.
This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
This beloved mockumentary is always good for a few laughs—though the portrayal of a dim-witted yet oddly charismatic heavy-metal band from the UK might be a little more accurate to real-life bands than the film intended. As Spinal Tap embarks on the American leg of their world tour, they play a show at the University of North Carolina. It’s a bit of reach to say the movie was “set” in North Carolina, but any excuse to watch this head-banging classic is worth it.
Bull Durham (1988)
Bull Durham, set and filled in Durham, is one of those rare movies that appeals to everyone for the romance and sports angles. Kevin Costner and Susan Sarandon co-star as mentors (sort of) to a young up-and-coming minor league pitcher. Largely cheeky and occasionally raucous, Bull Durham nonetheless is remembered for its witty writing and baseball-centric plot with a lot of heart.
Cat’s Eye (1985)
As previously mentioned, there are a lot of horror movies either filmed or set in North Carolina, so it made sense to pick one that was written by master horror writer Stephen King. Cat’s Eye is a collection of three short pieces, with the most memorable segment, “General,” set in Wilmington, NC. General is a stray cat who befriends young Amanda, who happens to be the target of a murderous troll. General makes it his feline life’s work to protect her.
American Horror Story: Roanoke (2016)
Moving to the small screen, we continue the horror genre with American Horror Story: Roanoke, a fictional paranormal documentary set on the North Carolina island of the same name. Combining modern horror themes with the historical creepiness of the colonial Roanoke Colony, the mystery of the cursed farmhouse at the center of the story is unveiled over the course of ten episodes.
Mayberry RFD, Andy Griffith Show, and Matlock (1960s on)
Andy Griffith is synonymous with North Carolina. The well-loved actor was born in Mount Airy and created the fictional town of Mayberry (the setting of both The Andy Griffith Show and Mayberry RFD) based on his childhood in North Carolina. In later life, Griffith portrayed the cantankerous but savvy lawyer Matlock in the series of the same name. Matlock was set in Atlanta, but real-life production moved from California to North Carolina to accommodate Griffith.
Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks (2014 to present)
Despite being an unapologetic follower of the real-life documentary style established by The Deadliest Catch, Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks has its own cast of memorable fishing die-hards. Originally set up as a North vs. South reality program, the show has matured in its five seasons, championing the captains and crew that fish for bluefin tuna in the Outer Banks.
No matter what you favor, CenturyLink’s high-speed internet connection lets you stream content clearly and easily. The next time you want to watch a movie, just pop some corn, grab an icy drink, and settle in for the night. CenturyLink can handle the rest.