tidbits, fragments, and ephemera 20: movies set in the South

tidbits, fragments, and ephemera is a usually weekly but not always, sometimes substantial but not making any promises glimpse at some information and news related to Generation X in the Deep South.


Of all the Southern movies that came out in the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s, almost none depict the lives of Generation X in the South. Actors from Generation X may have been employed for the movies, but the stories usually weren’t about our lives. For example, Brooke Shields in being in Pretty Baby in 1978 when she was 12, but the story was set in 1917. Some of the movies that show our generation in the South in any kind of way were: Conrack (kind of), Six Pack, Crossroads, School Daze, Steel Magnolias (kind of), some of ’90s John Grishams, and Sling Blade. Mostly, filmmakers talked around us, focusing on historical episodes, Civil Rights dramatizations, or the lives of older generations. Where other parts of the country had films about what it was like to be GenX – Suburbia set in California, Kids set in New York City, and The Breakfast Club filmed in Illinois – there are no significant portrayals that focus on being Generation X in the South.

1970s

The Liberation of LB Jones (1970) • I Walk the Line (1970)

tick . . . tick . . . tick . . . (1970) • WUSA (1970)

A Walk in the Spring Rain (1970) • The Beguiled (1971)

Preacherman (1971) • Mississippi Summer (1971)

This Stuff’ll Kill Ya (1971) • Deliverance (1972) • Sounder (1972)

The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972) • Moon of the Wolf (1972)

Corky (1972) • The Glass Menagerie (1973, TV)

Walking Tall (1973) • White Lightning (1973)

Preacherman Meets Widderwoman (1973)

Lemora: A Child’s Tale of the Supernatural (1973)

Gator Bait (1974) • The Klansman (1974)

Buster and Billie (1974) • Macon County Line (1974)

Black Oak Conspiracy (1974) • Conrack (1974) • Abby (1974)

Cockfighter (1974) • Hot Summer in Barefoot County (1974)

Bucktown (1975) • Poor Pretty Eddie (1975)

WW & the Dixie Dance Kings (1975) • Hard Times (1975)

Bad Georgia Road (1975) • The Night They Robbed Big Bertha’s (1975)

Truckin’ Man (1975) • Nashville (1975) • Moonrunners (1975)

Framed (1975) • Return to Macon County (1975) • Walking Tall 2 (1975)

Emma Mae (1976) • Gator (1976) • Ode to Billy Joe (1976)

The Town that Dreaded Sundown (1976) • Nashville Girl (1976)

Eaten Alive (1976) • JD’s Revenge (1976) • Passion Plantation (1976)

Stay Hungry (1976) • Roots (TV 1977) • Redneck Miller (1977)

Death Driver (1977) • Walking Tall, the Final Chapter (1977)

Smokey and the Bandit (1977) • Moonshine County Express (1977)

Bootleggers (1977) • Greased Lightning (1977) •  French Quarter (1978)

Pretty Baby (1978) • Seabo, or Buckstone County Prison (1978)

Smokey and the Good Time Outlaws (1978) • Lawman without a Gun (1978)

Norma Rae (1979) • Wise Blood (1979) • Roots: Next Generation (1979)

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1979)

(There are also the pornographic “hicksploitation” films: Tobacco Roody, Southern Comforts, Country Cuzzins, Sweet Georgia, Country Hooker, and Midnight Plowboy.)

1980s

Georgia Peaches (1980) • The Sky is Gray (1980)

The Loveless (1981) • Back Roads (1981)

The Night the Lights Went out in Georgia (1981)

Southern Comfort (1981) • The Evil Dead (1981)

Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981, TV)

Smokey Bites the Dust (1981) •  Six Pack (1982)

The Beast Within (1982) • Stroker Ace (1983)

A Gathering of Old Men (1983) • Cross Creek (1983)

Tank (1984) • Ellie (1984) • The River Rat (1984)

The Fix (1985) •The Color Purple (1985) • Crossroads (1986)

Down by Law (1986) • Angel Heart (1987) • Shy People (1987)

From a Whisper to a Scream (1987) • The Glass Menagerie (1987)

The Big Easy (1987) • School Daze (1988) • Mississippi Burning (1988)

Long Walk Home (1988) • Driving Miss Daisy (1989) • Blaze (1989)

Mystery Train (1989) • Steel Magnolias (1989)

Trapper County War (1989) • Sweet Bird of Youth (remake, 1989)

Miss Firecracker (1989) • Tennessee Waltz (1989)

1990s

Cape Fear (remake 1991) • Voodoo Dawn (1991) • Ramblin’ Rose (1991)

Forrest Gump (1991) • Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)

The Prince of Tides (1991) • Mississippi Masala (1991)

Paris Trout (1991) • Daughters of the Dust (1991) • Doc Hollywood (1991)

Carolina Skeletons (1991) • My Cousin Vinny (1992) • Borderlines (1992)

The Firm (1993) • Sommersby (1993) • Dead Man Walking (1995)

Sling Blade (1996) • A Time to Kill (1996) • Heaven’s Prisoners (1996)

Ghosts of Mississippi (1996) • The Chamber (1996) • Nightjohn (1996)

Bastard Out of Carolina (1996) • The Rainmaker (1997) • Rosewood (1997)

Macon County Jail (1997) •The Apostle (1997) • Clover (1997)

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997) • Eve’s Bayou (1997)

Carolina Low (1997) • Traveller (1997) • The Waterboy (1998)

Beloved (1998) • Evidence of Blood (1998) • Down in the Delta (1998)

The Secret Path (1999) • End of Innocence (1999)


level:deepsouth is an online anthology about growing up Generation X in the Deep South during the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s. The anthology is open to submissions of creative nonfiction (essays, memoirs, and reviews) and images (photos and flyers), as well as to contributions for the lists.

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