4 Best Films Set in Florida
By Space Coast Daily // January 27, 2023
When people think of movies, they probably think of Hollywood, California, the movie capital of the world.
Or they might even think of New York City, the setting of iconic films such as Goodfellas, When Harry Met Sally, and Do The Right Thing.
But Florida is every bit as iconic a landscape for cinematic adventures as those two cities. From the sunny seaside shores of The Palm Beach Story to the sun-burnt racetrack of Days of Thunder, here are the best films set in Florida.
The Florida Project
Director Sean Baker followed up his excellent debut, Tangerine, with a film that captures the raw and vibrant vitality of Florida’s working class. The film follows a young girl named Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) who lives in a motel run by the kind-hearted but overworked Bobby (Willem Dafoe).
The Florida Project captures a side of the state rarely seen on film—not the beautiful beaches or atmospheric everglades, but the un-glamorous heart of its urban cores.
Watch real people go through their daily lives, cooking meals, arguing about solar battery cost, and other mundane activities imbued with warmth and humanity, making the film relatable and heartwarming.
The Palm Beach Story
Preston Sturgesis one of the most underrated masters of the classic Hollywood period. Directors like John Ford, William Wyler, and George Cukor understandably take up a lot of room in “greatest of all time” conversations for having made masterpieces like The Searchers, The Heiress, and Bringing Up Baby.
But Sturges, who wrote nearly all the films he directed (a rarity for the era), deserves just as much credit for his unique take on the screwball comedy.
One of his very finest screwballs was The Palm Beach Story, a daringly modern story about a woman who enters a second marriage to help fund her first, financially struggling marriage.
The film shows the Palm Beach coast as it used to be, a real-time capsule of a treat.
Days of Thunder
Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman made the best film of their collaboration as husband and wife in Days of Thunder, a fast-paced mashup of an action flick and a romcom set in the high-intensity, extremely Floridian world of NASCAR.
Tom Cruise made one of the highest profitable non-superhero movies of the past decade in 2022 with Top Gun: Maverick. See how he did it with sheer star power alone by revisiting Days of Thunder, where Cruise is on fire.
The Sam Raimi-produced alligator thriller Crawl takes the most Floridian things about Florida—hurricanes and alligators—and makes them into a horror movie.
In the film, a nasty hurricane floods a neighborhood, bringing monster-sized gators that a courageous young woman (Kaya Scodelario) must fight against to protect her father and dog. It may not be an advertisement to visit Florida, but it captures hurricane season accurately!
See the Sunshine State on Film
There’s no better way to celebrate your Sunshine State pride than watching a great Florida movie. Take a vacation without ever even leaving home.