15 Movies Have Been Filmed in Kentucky…Even a JAMES BOND Movie
If you are a movie buff AND a Kentucky buff, have I got a list for you! (Actually, if you're both, you're probably way ahead of me.)
When I came upon this list of movies, there were a few surprises.
The Kentuckian was not one of them. I mean, it would be odd to film THAT movie in, say, Maine.
But a James Bond movie? And a sci-fi thriller set in the future?
Anyway, dig in. It's pretty interesting:
The Kentuckian (1955)
Owensboro was one of the Kentucky locations used for this Burt Lancaster-starring western. (Yes, I believe it's considered a western even though, well, you know...) One of my favorite stories is about my dad who was down at a restaurant where Lancaster was dining and the Oscar-winning actor started making a you-know-what of himself. Dad politely reminded him that there was no need to act like that. I can't remember what Dad said was the response. Couldn't have been AS polite, right?
In Country (1988)
This one, starring Bruce Willis as a Vietnam vet struggling post-war, was filmed in the Purchase area, around Paducah and Mayfield.
Coal Miner's Daughter (1980)
The biography of country legend Loretta Lynn won Sissy Spacek an Oscar and was made authentic by its eastern Kentucky and Nashville location shooting.
I have good friends who live in Louisville and were living there at the time this classic Bill Murray comedy was filmed. In fact, they were spectators.
Yes, this mediocre Orlando Bloom-starring comedy used E'town locations, but it also used Versailles, not to mention the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Cave Hill Cemetery, Highland Middle School, and Meade County's Otter Creek Park.
Raintree County (1957)
I've never seen this Gone with the Wind wannabe (that's certainly what it looks like, judging by publicity stills), but it used some old historic sites in Paducah for filming.
Demolition Man (1993)
Yes, there's a futuristic sci-fi thriller on this list. And it's one that stars Sylvester Stallone, Wesley Snipes and early Sandra Bullock. The movie's set in California but there was one scene shot at an old building in Louisville.
How the West Was Won (1962)
Ah, yes, another WESTERN shot partially in Kentucky. (Well, we DID once have Guntown Mountain, so I guess it counts.) Areas around Paducah and Smithland were used for this one. And what a cast...John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, Spencer Tracy, Gregory Peck, and Debbie Reynolds. Must've cost a bundle, in its day.
Rain Man (1988)
Here is the only Oscar-winning Best Picture on the list. And none of it is set in Kentucky. But since Cincinnati figures into it heavily, parts of the Cincy metro in northern Kentucky, including the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, were used.
The most recent film on the list is this Melissa McCarthy comedy that, while partially set in Louisville, was filmed mostly in North Carolina. LaGrange, Kentucky--just up I-71 from the 'Ville--was, however, used for a few scenes.
The Insider (1999)
The true story of tobacco industry whistle-blower Jeffrey Wigand, played here by Russell Crowe, was partially shot in Louisville, even though a LOT of it was set there. Really good movie.
Fire Down Below (1997)
The plot involves the attempt to stop toxic dumping in a fictional Kentucky coal mine. It stars Steven Seagal and Kris Kristofferson and was filmed in the Appalachians in eastern Kentucky. Plus, there was a chase scene partially shot at Natural Bridge.
Yes, a James Bond movie. And, for the purists, it's one of the Sean Connery Bond films. Now this is mainly set in Europe, but a little town I've never heard of called Muldraugh, Kentucky was used for filming. Maybe I've never heard of it because it is completely within the Fort Knox army base. (Oh, yeah, GOLD. I get it.)
And, of course...
Naturally, the two horse-racing films on the list had to use Kentucky. This one stars Tobey Maguire and Jeff Bridges and utilized the services of Lexington's Keeneland Race Track to double as Pimlico in Baltimore. It also filmed in Paris, Kentucky. I'd imagine Seabiscuit was the most famous horse that ever lived until this NEXT guy came along...
Ah, yes, the legendary Triple Crown winner got his day on the big screen just seven years ago. It starred Diane Lane as his owner, Penny Chenery (who just passed away a couple of months ago, as a matter of fact), and was partially filmed at Churchill Downs and at Keeneland.
I still say Kentucky has a lot to offer filmmakers and I wish more would show up and start scouting. It always bugged me that the FX series Justified never filmed in Kentucky even though that's where it was set.
But...they didn't ask me.