5 Best Movies That Take Place In Missouri
Acquired in the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 and granted statehood under the Missouri Compromise, Missouri is the 24th state in the US and lies smack-dab in the middle of the contiguous 48 states. Bordered on the right by the Mississippi River on the east, and split in the middle by the Missouri River, the midwestern state serves as the Gateway to the West. Not to mention, plenty of notable figures have come from there and plenty of movies take place there. Maya Angelou, Mark Twain, John Goodman, Robert Altman, and multiple Office alums all hail from the Show-Me State, which might explain why so many movies and TV shows have dabbled in the area. Even films you wouldn’t expect — like 2019’s Alita: Battle Angel — base their stories at least partly in the area. For that reason, it’s worth taking a look at some of the best modern movies to take place in Missouri.
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
A 2007 revisionist western written and directed by Andrew Dominik and based on the 1983 novel of the same name, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford stars Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck as the titular outlaws. Despite taking place in the middle of the US, the film was actually shot in Canada for budgetary reasons. The movie was instantly praised for its attention to detail and its excellent performances, with the cherry on top being the film’s soundtrack by Nick Cave. It’s Missouri history, through and through.
Based on the novel by Missouri writer Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl is David Fincher’s examination of the trials and tribulations of a toxic marriage and the nationwide repercussions caused by the disappearance of Rosamund Pike’s character. Much to the scorn of Ben Affleck, who plays her husband, Pike’s disappearance causes a whole lot of trouble for Affleck’s character. The movie takes place in a suburb of St. Louis, perfectly capturing that midwestern feel (even if it might be a little exaggerated).
A documentary about one very prominent part of the evangelical Christian community, Jesus Camp profiles church-sponsored summer camps that indoctrinate their campers with messages of prophetic gifts and Christ’s America. A significant part of the film deals with Rock of Agnes Church in St. Robert, Missouri, located just below dead-center of the state. Missouri has some incredibly conservative counties, and Jesus Camp is one of the strongest profiles of this integral part of the state.
Waiting for Guffman
A mockumentary from one of the greatest mockumentarians in the game, Christopher Guest, Waiting for Guffman is a (largely improvised) look at a fictional theater troupe in the fictional town of Blaine, Missouri, as they prepare to put on a production about the town’s history for its 150th anniversary. With a cast of great comedians like Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Parker Posey, and Fred Willard, the movie is undoubtedly one of the funniest satires of the state to exist.
Serving as Jennifer Lawrence’s breakout performance, Debra Granik’s Winter’s Bone takes place in the rural Ozark mountains in southern Missouri and follows a young girl who must locate her missing father. A huge part of midwestern life deals with small-town gossip, family ties, and toeing the line between poverty and steady living, all of which are touched on in the film. It’s realistic and true to the region and it’s powerful for that very reason.
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.