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I sure love ‘dem Hillbilly movies, characterized by their depiction of rural American life, which have always held a distinctive charm. These films portray the grit, tenacity, and resilience of individuals living on the outskirts of mainstream society, often in a humorous or poignant manner.

My article goes right into 22 of the best hillbilly movies that every man must watch, especially those who appreciate tales of survival, camaraderie, and the human spirit.

List of 22 Awesome Hillbilly Movies

1. Hillbilly Elegy (2020)

Primary Cast: Amy Adams, Glenn Close, Gabriel Basso, Haley Bennett, Freida Pinto

Location: Middletown, Ohio, and Jackson, Kentucky

Based on J.D. Vance’s bestselling memoir, Hillbilly Elegy is a modern exploration of rural Americana. The film features compelling performances by Amy Adams and Glenn Close, who bring to life the complex dynamics of Vance’s story and troubled family. The narrative centers on a Yale Law school student, portrayed by Gabriel Basso, who grapples with his Appalachian roots and the impact of his mother’s drug abuse on his life.

2. Deliverance (1972)

Primary Cast: Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty

Location: Cahulawassee River, Deep South

Deliverance is a riveting tale of survival set against the backdrop of the Cahulawassee River in the Deep South. A canoeing trip turns into a nightmare for four city dwellers when they encounter demented rednecks in the middle of the woods. The film is a commentary on the brutal side of nature and the primitive instincts that surface when civilization is stripped away.

3. Winter’s Bone (2010)

Primary Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes

Location: Ozark Mountains, Missouri

Winter’s Bone provides an unfiltered glimpse into the hardships of life in the rural Ozark Mountains. Jennifer Lawrence delivers a stellar performance as a teenager who navigates her way through a hostile environment to find her missing father and save her family from eviction.

4. Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980)

Primary Cast: Sissy Spacek, Tommy Lee Jones

Location: Butcher Hollow, Kentucky

Coal Miner’s Daughter traces the journey of country music legend Loretta Lynn from her humble beginnings in Kentucky to her rise to stardom. The biographical film offers insight into the challenges Lynn faced in her personal and professional life, set against the backdrop of the coal mining community of the hills of Appalachia.

5. Wrong Turn (2003)

Primary Cast: Eliza Dushku, Jeremy Sisto

Location: Rural West Virginia

Wrong Turn is a hillbilly horror flick that revolves around a group of friends who end up stranded in the remote parts of West Virginia following a car accident. They soon find themselves targeted by cannibalistic, disfigured hillbillies. The film is a chilling reminder of the perils that can lurk in desolate, rural areas.

6. The Last Picture Show (1971)

Primary Cast: Timothy Bottoms, Jeff Bridges

Location: Anarene, Texas

The Last Picture Show is a poignant depiction of the decline of rural Texas during the early 1950s. The film follows a group of high school seniors navigating the complexities of adolescence amidst the economic downturn and cultural monotony of their rural southern town.

7. O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

Primary Cast: George Clooney, John Turturro

Location: Rural Mississippi during the Great Depression

A unique blend of comedy, adventure, and music, O Brother, Where Art Thou? is a captivating tale of three escaped convicts who embark on an epic journey to find a hidden treasure. Along the way, they encounter a host of eccentric characters and challenging situations that paint a vivid picture of rural Southern life during the Great Depression.

8. Hillbilly (2019)

Primary Cast: Bell Hooks, Billy Redden, Ronny Cox

Location: Kentucky and West Virginia

This enlightening documentary takes you on a personal and political journey into the “real” Appalachian region. Hillbilly goes on a mission to dismantle common stereotypes about the Hillbilly trope and presents a thoughtful analysis of rural America’s social, cultural, and political issues.

9. The Beverly Hillbillies (1962-1971)

Primary Cast: Buddy Ebsen, Irene Ryan

Location: Beverly Hills, California

A classic sitcom, The Beverly Hillbillies charts the amusing escapades of a poor mountain family who move to Beverly Hills after striking oil on their land. The show is a delightful exploration of the clash between rural and urban lifestyles and the humorous complications that ensue. Family life will never be the same!

10. Hell or High Water (2016)

Primary Cast: Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Jeff Bridges

Location: West Texas

Hell or High Water is a modern Western crime thriller that sheds light on the economic woes of rural America. The film follows two brothers who resort to bank robberies to save their family ranch, setting them on a collision course with a determined Texas Ranger.

More Hillbilly Movies!

11. Mudbound (2017)

Primary Cast: Carey Mulligan, Jason Clarke, Mary J. Blige

Location: Mississippi Delta

Mudbound is a powerful portrayal of two families — one white, one black — struggling to cope with the harsh realities of farm life in the Mississippi Delta during the 1940s. The film masterfully exposes the racial tensions and socio-economic struggles prevalent in the American south.

12. October Sky (1999)

Primary Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Laura Dern, Chris Cooper

Location: Coalwood, West Virginia

October Sky is an inspirational tale of a coal miner’s son who, inspired by the launch of Sputnik 1, dreams of escaping his small town life to become a rocket scientist. The film is a testament to the power of ambition and the human spirit in overcoming adversity.

13. First Language: The Race to Save Cherokee (2014)

Primary Cast: Documentary

Location: North Carolina

This short documentary highlights the efforts of the Cherokee community in North Carolina to keep their language and culture alive. It provides a rare glimpse into the challenges faced by indigenous communities in rural America.

14. Songcatcher (2000)

Primary Cast: Janet McTeer, Aidan Quinn, Emmy Rossum

Location: Appalachian Mountains

Songcatcher tells the story of a musicologist who ventures into the heart of the Appalachian Mountains to document the region’s rich musical heritage. The film is a celebration of folk music and a testament to the enduring spirit of Appalachian culture.

15. Harlan County, USA (1976)

Primary Cast: Documentary

Location: Harlan County, Kentucky

Harlan County, USA is an Oscar-winning documentary that chronicles the struggles of coal miners in rural Kentucky as they fight for better wages and working conditions. The film offers an unflinching look at the harsh realities of life in America’s coal-mining communities.

16. Where the Red Fern Grows (1974)

Primary Cast: James Whitmore, Beverly Garland, Jack Ging

Location: Ozark Mountains, Oklahoma

Where the Red Fern Grows is a heartwarming tale of a young boy and his beloved coonhounds in the rural Ozark Mountains. The film is a poignant exploration of friendship, love, and loss set against the backdrop of rural American life.

17. Iron Ivan (2014)

Primary Cast: Mikhail Porechenkov, Denis Lavant, Vladimir Ilin

Location: Russia, USA

Although not set in the United States, Iron Ivan is a unique exploration of rural life and the spirit of resilience. The film tells the story of a famous Russian wrestler, offering a fascinating cross-cultural perspective on the hillbilly genre.

18. The Hills Have Eyes (1977)

Primary Cast:  Susan Lanier, Robert Houston, Michael Berryman

Location: Deserted desert area

A family’s road trip through the desert takes a horrifying turn when they become stranded and are hunted by a group of mutant hillbillies. A great folk horror for all guys to enjoy.

19. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

Primary Cast: Marilyn Burns, Gunnar Hansen, Edwin Neal

Location: Texas countryside

A group of friends falls victim to a family of cannibalistic psychopaths in rural Texas, led by the chainsaw-wielding Leatherface. As they stumble upon a dilapidated farmhouse, their nightmare begins, culminating in a brutal struggle for survival against the deranged family’s sadistic brutality. Classic horror movie…

20. The Village (2004)

Primary Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Bryce Dallas Howard, Adrien Brody

Location: Pennsylvania, a small, remote village

Residents of a secluded village in the late 19th century live in fear of mysterious creatures that inhabit the surrounding woods, but the truth behind the village’s secrets is even more shocking.

21. Cabin Fever (2002)

Primary Cast: Rider Strong, Jordan Ladd, James DeBello

Location: Rural North Carolina

A group of preppy college students vacationing in a remote cabin contract a flesh-eating virus, leading to paranoia and gruesome deaths. As the infection spreads and tensions rise, these college kids must confront their own fears and the terrifying reality of their situation to survive the night.

22. Backwoods (2008)

Primary Cast: Ryan Merriman, Danny Nucci, Haylie Duff

Location: Appalachian Mountains

A group of city folk on a camping trip encounters a sadistic backwater family of serial killers deep in the Appalachian Mountains, leading to a fight for survival. As they become hunted by the ruthless hillbillies, they must rely on their wits and courage to escape the deadly trap of the backwoods.

Final Camping Trip Anyone? 

From tales of resilience and drug addiction to heartwarming stories of friendship and love, these hillbilly movies provide a fascinating exploration of rural American life and the unique challenges and triumphs of the people who inhabit these regions.

Whether you’re a fan of movie hillbillies or simply like your movies a little rough, there’s a hillbilly movie on this list that’s sure to resonate with you. So grab some snacks crack open a beer and get the young children into bed ASAP. Enjoy these cool flicks~

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