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A few weeks ago, in response to the release of Netflix’s adaptation of Hillbilly Elegy, the team at the Daily Yonder got together to make a list of some of our favorite rural-themed movies and shows. But since there are far more great rural stories than what we could fit in that original list, we asked you, our readers, to offer your recommendations.

Here are just a few of the suggestions that you’ve submitted so far. And be sure to keep your recommendations coming, using the form at the bottom of this article.

Winter’s Bone

“Faced with an unresponsive mother and a criminal father, Ozark teenager Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence) does what she can to manage the household and take care of her two younger siblings. Informed by the sheriff (Garret Dillahunt) that their father put their home up for bond and then disappeared, Ree sets out on a dangerous quest to find him. Her entire family’s fate now in her hands, Ree challenges her outlaw kin’s code of silence and risks her life to learn her father’s fate.” –Roadside Attractions

Recommended by multiple readers, including Suzette from Oakland, California.

Winter’s Bone is available through Cinemax or the Cinemax add-on for streaming services such as Amazon Prime and Hulu. It can also be rented on YouTube, Google Play and iTunes.

The Straight Story

“[This] great story of an elder who wants to see his brother once more before he dies—and drives his lawnmower to get there—includes all kinds of rural folk who help him along the way.” –Jean, from Monticello, Iowa

Recommended by both Jean from Monticello and Phil McDade from Monona, Wisonsin.

The Straight Story is available for streaming on Disney+, and can be rented on Amazon, YouTube, Google Play and iTunes.

October Sky

“October Sky (1999), the true story of West Virginia coal miner’s son Homer H. Hickman Jr., who was inspired by the 1957 launch of Sputnik 1 and built a rocket with the help [of] a few friends and a teacher at their high school. They succeed, despite opposition from elders in their rural community, and Hickman goes on to become a NASA engineer.” –Jennifer Brown from Hopkinsville, Kentucky.

October Sky is available to stream on Starz or through the Starz add-on for streaming services like Hulu and Amazon Prime. It can also be rented on YouTube, Google Play and iTunes.

Where the Lilies Bloom


“A family of Appalachian children live together in the backwoods so that they can stay together after the death of their widower father.” –IMDb

“Where the Lillies Bloom is good. I saw it in the 1970s and I’ve always remembered it. It depicted compelling characters and you had a sense of place.” Suzette, from Oakland, California

Where the Lilies Bloom can be streamed on Amazon Prime and Sling TV.

Breaking Away

“A small-town boy obsessed with the Italian cycling team vies for the affections of a college girl.” –IMDb

Breaking Away, filmed entirely in and around Bloomington, Indiana, depicts the clash in culture and attitudes between townies and the college kids. Plus, beautiful Indiana countryside during the bicycling scenes.” Phil McDade from Monona, Wisonsin

You can rent Breaking Away on Amazon Prime, YouTube, iTunes, Vudu, and Google Play.

Secondhand Lions

“Great movie [about a] young teenager dropped off to stay with his troubled mom’s older, pre-World War II-era eccentric uncles in rural Texas. Provides a beautiful story of love and redemption with plenty of action! Stars Robert Duvall, Michael Caine, and Haley-Joel Osment. Love these actors and what they bring to the characters and story. Movie resonates with all ages.” Lynn from Tennessee

You can rent Secondhand Lions on Amazon Prime, YouTube, iTunes, and Google Play.

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape

“A young man in a small Midwestern town struggles to care for his mentally disabled younger brother and morbidly obese mother while attempting to pursue his own happiness.” –IMDb

Recommended by Debby Chattillion.

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape is available to stream on Starz or through the Starz add-on for streaming services like Hulu. It can also be rented on YouTube, Google Play, and iTunes.

August: Osage County

“A look at the lives of the strong-willed women of the Weston family, whose paths have diverged until a family crisis brings them back to the Oklahoma house they grew up in, and to the dysfunctional woman who raised them.” –IMDb

You can rent August: Osage County on YouTube, Google Play, Amazon, and iTunes.

Friday Night Lights

“A drama that follows the lives of the Dillon Panthers, one of the nation’s best high school football teams, and their head coach Eric Taylor.” IMDb

According to the reader who submitted this suggestion, “No show or movie has come close to Friday Night Lights (the TV show) in diving into the lives, politics, and hearts of a small rural town.”

You can stream Friday Night Lights on Peacock, Hulu, Amazon Prime (via IMDbTV), and Starz.

Related Story – See Our Staff Picks


What are your favorite rural movies (and shows)?

Add your recommendations using the form below and we’ll continue sharing some of the best audience suggestions in future articles.