For generations, Alabama school children have watched To Kill a Mockingbird and read the book of the same name by Birmingham native Harper Lee. Much less attention has been paid to these other movies filmed in our home state.
This is the second of two articles about movies with scenes shot in Alabama.
The Grass Harp
The Grass Harp, released in 1995, won three awards for Piper Laurie’s performance and Charles Mathau’s direction in the film which also starred Walter Mathau and Sissy Spacek. This film also had scenes shot in Wetumpka.
Mississippi Burning, starring Gene Hackman and Willem Dafoe, was released in 1989. The Oscar-winning movie based in Mississippi had two scenes filmed in the historical downtown district of Lafayette with the Chambers County Courthouse featured prominently in both.
Norma Rae, starring Sally Field and Beau Bridges, was filmed at a textile mill in Opelika with additional scenes shot in Auburn and at a lake in Waverly. The 1979 film won two Oscars and nine other awards along with six nominations.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Close Encounters of the Third Kind, written and directed by Stephen Spielberg and starring Richard Dreyfuss, had scenes filmed in Bay Minette and Mobile in south Alabama. The 1977 science fiction movie won an Oscar 11 additional awards and 30 nominations.
Stay Hungry, starring Jeff Bridges, Sally Field and Arnold Schwarzenegger, was filmed entirely in Birmingham. Schwarzenegger won a Golden Globe Award for Best Acting Debut in a Motion Picture for his role as a bodybuilder. The 1976 movie was based on a novel by Alabama author Charles Gaines. Birmingham residents will recognize many locations in downtown, including businesses in the Five Points South dustrict.
To Kill a Mockingbird
To Kill a Mockingbird, starring Gregory Peck, was based on the book by Monroeville native Harper Lee. The 1962 film was shot partly in the town of Monroeville in which it was set and partly on a soundstage in California with a set painstakingly recreated to reflect the original. The film won three Oscars and garnered another 11 wins and 12 nominations.