Perhaps it is the dreamy backdrop of a Lowcountry landscape or the history that prevails in the architecture of its remarkable buildings. Whatever it may be, there is simply something about Charleston that seems to capture the attention of Hollywood directors and viewers across America. From popular love stories to iconic war movies and even new television series, Charleston has become a Hollywood hot spot for storytelling on the big screen. The next time you’re in Charleston, see if you recognize any of the backdrops from these famous films.
1. The Notebook (2004):
The Notebook, a 1940’s romantic drama based on the best-selling novel by Nicholas Sparks, gained much appraisal after its release ten years ago and is still considered a classic and timeless film. Most of us are familiar with the complicated love story of Allie and Noah, but did you know that nearly the entire movie was filmed in South Carolina? Many parts of downtown Charleston and surrounding areas can be seen in The Notebook, with some of its most memorable scenes taking place right on King Street.
Notable Filming Locations: The American Theatre, Upper King Street, Seabrook Island, The College of Charleston Campus, Boone Hall Plantation (shown above and below), the Calhoun Mansion, Old Village and Cypress Gardens.
2. Dear John (2010):
The charming streets of Charleston and the beachy, laid-back vibe of Sullivan’s Island creates the perfect scenery for Dear John, another popular romance movie based off of a novel by Nicholas Sparks. Though parts of the movie were filmed on nearby Edisto Island, SC and Oak Island, NC, a majority of the scenes were shot right here in Charleston.
Notable Filming Locations: Isle of Palms, Sullivan’s Island, Bowen’s Island Restaurant, The College of Charleston Campus and Cassina Point Plantation.
3. The Patriot (2000):
While Charleston does serve as quite the romantic setting, movies such as The Patriot showcase the Holy City in a much different light, utilizing the historic backdrop to bring historic war battles to life. Many of the characters in this American Revolutionary War film were based on real heroes of the war, including Andrew Pickens, Francis Marion, Daniel Morgan and Thomas Sumter.
Notable Filming Locations: The College of Charleston Campus, Cypress Gardens and Middleton Place (shown below).
4. Cold Mountain (2003):
Cold Mountain, another popular war film, is based on the bestselling novel by Charles Frazier and follows a wounded soldier’s treacherous journey home. The star-studded cast includes big names such as Nicole Kidman, Renee Zellweger, Jude Law, Natalie Portman and Philip Seymour Hoffman and uses Charleston as a “town hall” setting.
Notable filming locations: Downtown Charleston, The College of Charleston Campus (shown below).
5. Army Wives (TV Series, 2007-2013)
This popular Lifetime series was initially based off of a novel by Tanya Blank titled “Army Wives: the Unwritten Code of Military Marriage.” The television series acquired such a loyal following that it amounted to seven seasons, with the series ending after seven seasons.
Notable filming locations: Charleston Air Force Base in North Charleston, River Front Park in North Charleston and the Charleston Naval Base.
6. Top Chef (TV Series, set in Charleston season 14 )
Top Chef is a popular reality cooking competition television series on Bravo. For Season 14, Bravo Media’s Emmy and James Beard Award-winning Top Chef takes on the culinary hotspot of Charleston, South Carolina. Our very own renowned Executive Chef Michelle Weaver of the Charleston Grill was featured in the Southern Hospitality episode as a guest judge. The episode features traditional southern meals that can be found around the Lowcountry.
Concierge Tip: Take a day trip to Cypress Gardens, Boone Hall Plantation, or Middleton Place to learn more about the historic settings that have recently acquired fame thanks to these star-studded films. Looking to stay in the Peninsula? Our concierge team has a map with the sites that have been featured in movies and TV shows listed above, without stepping a foot outside of downtown Charleston!