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Best Movies Set in California

Every state is known for something. As you work your way through the list, don't miss the best movies set in California. While you're at it, check out the best books set in California, too.

California, a western U.S. state, stretches from the Mexican border along the Pacific for nearly 900 miles. Its terrain includes cliff-lined beaches, redwood forest, the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Central Valley farmland, and the Mojave Desert.

The city of Los Angeles is the seat of the Hollywood entertainment industry. Hilly San Francisco is known for the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, and cable cars.

Best Movies Set in California

(500) Days of Summer
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel (Actors)

(500) Days Of Summer

Year: 2009

Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), greeting-card writer and hopeless romantic, is caught completely off-guard when his girlfriend, Summer (Zooey Deschanel), suddenly dumps him. He reflects on their 500 days together to try to figure out where their love affair went sour, and in doing so, Tom rediscovers his true passions in life.

La La Land
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Amiee Conn (Actors)

La La Land

Year: 2016

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Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and Mia (Emma Stone) are drawn together by their common desire to do what they love.

But as success mounts, they are faced with decisions that begin to fray the fragile fabric of their love affair, and the dreams they worked so hard to maintain in each other threaten to rip them apart.

Blue Jasmine
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Alec Baldwin, Cate Blanchett, Louis C.K. (Actors)

Blue Jasmine

Year: 2013

After her marriage to a wealthy businessman (Alec Baldwin) collapses, New York socialite Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) flees to San Francisco and the modest apartment of her sister, Ginger (Sally Hawkins).

Although she's in a fragile emotional state and lacks job skills, Jasmine still manages to voice her disapproval of Ginger's boyfriend, Chili (Bobby Cannavale). Jasmine begrudgingly takes a job in a dentist's office, while Ginger begins dating a man (Louis C.K.) who's a step up from Chili.

Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Al Pacino (Actors)

Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood

Year: 2019

Actor Rick Dalton gained fame and fortune by starring in a 1950s television Western but is now struggling to find meaningful work in a Hollywood that he doesn't recognize anymore.

He spends most of his time drinking and palling around with Cliff Booth, his easygoing best friend, and longtime stunt double. Rick also happens to live next door to Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate — the filmmaker and budding actress whose futures will forever be altered by members of the Manson Family.

Almost Famous
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Billly Crudup, Frances McDormand (Actors)

Almost Famous

Year: 2000

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In this acclaimed film by Cameron Crowe, a high school boy is given the chance to write a story for Rolling Stone Magazine about an up-and-coming rock band as he accompanies them on their concert tour.

Now that you've completed the list of best books in this state, why not check out some others? Here are the Best Movies Set in All 50 States.

To continue learning, check out the California State History Project.

DOWNLOAD AND PRINT MOVIES SET IN ALL 50 STATES

Click here to download the printable. It has a list of movies in all 50 states including the Best Movies Set in California.

printable mock-up image of Movies Set in all 50 states

If you enjoyed this list of movies, I have a monthly membership for parents and educators that want to teach or supplement lessons with shows and movies.

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  • List of This Month’s Suggested Themes
  • List of Monthly Observances
  • List Of Movies for Unit Study
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