A steadfast darling on the list of Virginia filmography is Dirty Dancing starring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey. Filmed in Giles County, Virginia in 1986, the flick received an Oscar for Best Music, Original Song for “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.”
Argo was filmed in McLean and Fairfax County, Virginia in 2011. The film starring and directed by Ben Affleck received the 2013 Academy Awards for Best Picture, Adapted Screenplay, and Achievement in Film Editing.
During that same 2013 awards presentation LINCOLN won for Production Design, and Daniel Day-Lewis, whom portrayed Abraham Lincoln, took home the Best Actor award. LINCOLN was filmed in the Richmond region, including Petersburg, Virginia.
The Bourne Ultimatum, the final piece of the Bourne Trilogy, was filmed in Fauquier County, Virginia in 2007 and starred Matt Damon as Jason Bourne. The film won three Oscars in 2008 – Best Achievement in Film Editing, Best Achievement in Sound Mixing, and Best Achievement in Sound Editing.
Renee Zellweger won the Oscar in 2004 for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her work in Cold Mountain alongside Jude Law and Nicole Kidman. Cold Mountain was filmed in Richmond and Williamsburg, Virginia in 2002.
Filmed in Quantico, Virginia in 1990, The Silence of the Lambs starred Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster. The 1992 Academy loved the feature film, awarding five Oscars for the following categories: Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Director, and Best Writing.
Wise County, Virginia was the setting for the 1980 filming of Coal Miner’s Daughter, a biography of Loretta Lynn, starring Sissy Spacek and Tommy Lee Jones. In 1981 Spacek won the Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role.
In 1956 Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and James Dean starred in Giant, a western love story that included filming in Charlottesville, Virginia. Nominated for ten Academy Awards, it won one – Best Director – in 1957.
Loving documents the true story of a black woman, Mildred (Negga), and a white man, Richard (Edgerton), who married in 1958 and were subsequently banned from the state of Virginia until they won their 1967 Supreme Court case, Loving v. Virginia, which struck down prohibitions on interracial marriage. The movie made the Oscar short list before it even premiered.
Other big name movies filmed in Virginia that you may recognize include Captain Philips with Tom Hanks and War of the Worlds with Tom Cruise.
Virginia is a popular location for the filming of television shows as well. TURN: Washington’s Spies was a long-running historical thriller based on Alexander Rose’s book Washington’s Spies that recounts the story of America’s first spy ring during the Revolutionary War. The popular television show shot every season in Virginia. The Virginia Tourism Corporation has also established TURN: The Trail that features locations from the filming of TURN, as well as other Colonial-era sites across the state. Locations from the series include Colonial Williamsburg, several historic estates and homes, and Old Towne Petersburg.
The PBS Civil War drama series Mercy Street shot two seasons in Virginia. The series was inspired by real events that took place at Mansion House, an Alexandria hotel owned by a Southern family that was turned into a Union hospital during the Civil War. Visitors can get a close look at the stories that inspired Mercy Street at Alexandria’s historic sites, with more than two dozen new exhibits, events and tours. Visitor experiences uncover the real people behind the characters on the show, the realities of Civil War medicine, changing roles for women, and the breakthrough experience of enslaved African Americans claiming their freedom.
Premiered in the UK, the SKY TV series and also available on NetFlix, Jamestown is set in the early 17th Century and tells the story of three courageous, dynamic women who leave their dark pasts behind in England, and make the journey of a lifetime across the ocean for a new life in the first permanent British colony in America, Jamestown. While the show was not filmed in Jamestown, Virginia experts were utilized to ensure the accuracy of the early colony. And of course, you can come to Virginia and visit the real Jamestown!
A few popular music videos highlight the well-known Virginia is for Lovers brand, including Kenny Chesney’s ‘Get Along‘ and Old Dominion’s ‘Song for Another Time‘. And yes, Old Dominion does take their name from their home state of Virginia. Jason Mraz, another famous Virginian, also shot ‘Have it All’ in Richmond.