With temperatures dropping and many (home) offices closed, what better time is there to settle on the couch and enjoy some rural stories?
We’ve published two other lists of movie and TV recommendations from our staff and Daily Yonder readers but, based on your continuing submissions, there are plenty more great rural movies to choose from! Here is another set of rural recommendations from our readers, perfect for you to enjoy during the holiday weekend and beyond.
Have more to add? Send us your suggestions.
Beasts of the Southern Wild
“Set in a bayou community cut off from the rest of the world. The movie captures, in unforgettable images, this place and the threats it, and the young girl protagonist, face every day.” –Dianne Engleke, Millerton, NY
Beasts of the Southern Wild is available to stream on HBO Max or through streaming services like Hulu and Amazon Prime with the HBO add-on.
“Dark Waters tells the shocking and heroic story of an attorney (Mark Ruffalo) who risks his career and family to uncover a dark secret hidden by one of the world’s largest corporations and to bring justice to a community dangerously exposed for decades to deadly chemicals.” –Focus Features
Recommended by Faith Hagenhofer from Tenino, WA.
You can rent or buy Dark Waters on YouTube, Google Play, Vudu, or Amazon Prime Video.
“Hoosiers! The greatest film of all time and it takes place in [a] rural area. Such a great story and beautiful scenes and feel of small-town life.” –Amy Swiatek from Colorado
“My favorite movie of all time. Illustrates the importance of something for small town citizens to rally around (in this case high school sports). There is beautiful rural scenery, nice background music, interesting characters, etc.” –S. Warner
Hoosiers is available to stream on Starz or via the Starz add-on for streaming services like Hulu and Amazon Prime. It is also available to rent through YouTube, iTunes or Google Play.
“Like a lot of her family before her, Norma Rae works at the local textile mill, where the pay is hardly commensurate with the long hours and lousy working conditions. But after hearing a rousing speech by labor activist Reuben, Norma is inspired to rally her fellow workers behind the cause of unionism. Her decision rankles her family, especially her fiancé, Sonny, and provokes no shortage of contempt from her employers.” –IMBD
Recommended by Faith Hagenhofer from Tenino, WA.
Norma Rae is available to watch via paid television providers Xfinity and DIRECTV.
“I recommend Nebraska. This is the story of a young man and his cantankerous father who wants to claim what he believes is some money coming to him and their journey back to Nebraska. The shots in this film reminded me more of the rural area I’d grown up in than any movie about rural life I’ve seen as [did] the cantankerous father, frustrated son, and the other characters too.” –Anonymous Reader
Nebraska is available for streaming on Pluto TV, and can be rented on YouTube, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu or Amazon Prime Video.
The Great Debaters
“Poet and professor Melvin B. Tolson (Denzel Washington) teaches at the predominately black Wiley College in 1935 Texas. He decides to start a debate team, something nearly unheard of at a black college. While at first he butts heads with the influential father (Forest Whitaker) of one of his best debators, eventually he is able to form a team of strong-minded, intelligent young students, and they become the first black debate team to challenge Harvard’s prestigious debate champions.” –Rotten Tomatoes
The Great Debaters is available for purchase on YouTube, iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon Prime Video.
“Honeyland is an award-winning documentary about a woman who is the last resident of her rural North Macedonian village and raises bees in the traditional way. New neighbors move in and start raising bees and livestock with little regard to the environment due to economic pressures. This movie is charming and beautiful and illustrates that factors affecting rural life are global.” –Mara Slepyan from Lexington, KY
You can stream Honeyland on Hulu. It is also available to rent on YouTube, Google Play, Vudu, and Amazon Prime Video.
“Directed by Elia Kazan and starring Montgomery Clift and Lee Remick, Wild River tells the story of a young Tennessee Valley Authority bureaucrat coming to rural Tennessee in the 1930’s to purchase the land that will be flooded to build a TVA damn. On its surface the film is a classic battle of wills between a seemingly urban born-and-bred purveyor of progress and rural residents rooted in their land. Underneath there are amazing vignettes about class, race, matriarchy, nature and of course a love story.
Although I did not know it at the time, I loved this film as a boy because it reminded me of my father’s longing for the rural roots of his boyhood, and his life fishing, hunting, and knowing the woods or rural Wisconsin. Of course, at the time I loved it because I watched it at least three times with my father (and I suspect Lee Remick had something to do with that.)” –Steven Frisch from Truckee, CA
You can rent Wild River on YouTube, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, or Amazon Prime Video.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
“After months have passed without a culprit in her daughter’s murder case, Mildred Hayes (Academy Award winner Frances McDormand) makes a bold move, painting three signs leading into her town with a controversial message directed at William Willoughby (Academy Award nominee Woody Harrelson), the town’s revered chief of police. When his second-in-command Officer Dixon (Academy Award winner Sam Rockwell), an immature mother’s boy with a penchant for violence, gets involved, the battle between Mildred and Ebbing’s law enforcement is only exacerbated.” –IMDB
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is available for streaming on Hulu with a Live TV plan, and can be rented on YouTube, Google Play, Vudu, and Amazon Prime Video.
“My favorite rural-themed program is from Canada. “Corner Gas” is a comedy centered in the fictional town of Dog River, Saskatchewan. It’s a farming town along the highway that stretches across the endless plains of western Canada. What I love about it is how funny it is without making the rural setting the butt of the joke. It takes the place and the people “seriously” and finds humor in the real experiences of rural life. And it is very funny, arguably among the best comedy programs of the early 2000s. I believe it was the highest rated Canadian-produced comedy in history, but didn’t get as much attention here in the U.S. The very first scene in the pilot episode sets the tone almost perfectly.” –Aaron Brown, from Balsam Township, MN
Corner Gas is available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
“The story of a German immigrant woman who travels to WWII-era Minnesota as a wife for a Norwegian immigrant farmer, the prejudice they face, and how love and family pull them through.” –Amanda Worman Holmgaard
You can watch Sweet Land with paid television provider DIRECTV. It is also available to rent via Xfinity.
Hell or High Water
“Hell or High Water” is a thrillingly good movie — a crackerjack drama of crime, fear, and brotherly love set in a sun-roasted, deceptively sleepy West Texas that feels completely exotic for being so authentic … “Hell or High Water” merges the excitement of a crime-spree noir with a haunting undertow of family history and destiny.” –Owen Gleiberman for Variety
Recommended by Nadine Bailey
You can rent Hell or High Water on YouTube, Google Play, Vudu, or Amazon Prime Video.
RElated Posts: See Previous Rural PICKS
10 Rural Movies (and 1 Show) to Watch Instead of Netflix’s Hillbilly Elegy
What to Watch: 8 Rural Movies (and 1 Show) Recommended by Daily Yonder Readers
What rural movies (and shows) would you add?
We know these lists only scratch the surface of great rural stories from popular entertainment. What are your favorite rural movies or shows? Let us know using the form below and we may share some of the best audience suggestions in future articles.