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Best Movies Set in South Carolina

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

South Carolina is a southeastern U.S. state known for its shoreline of subtropical beaches and marshlike sea islands. Coastal Charleston is a historic city, defined by pastel-colored houses, Old South plantations, and Fort Sumter, where the Civil War’s opening shots were fired. To the north is the Grand Strand, a roughly 60-mile stretch of beachfront known for golf courses and the vacation town Myrtle Beach.

What themes are in movies Set in South Carolina?

Movies set in South Carolina often explore a variety of themes that reflect the state’s rich cultural heritage, history, and diverse landscapes. Here are some common themes found in movies set in South Carolina:

  1. Southern Culture and Hospitality:
    • Films often delve into the distinctive aspects of Southern culture, including hospitality, manners, and a sense of community.
  2. Historical Context:
    • South Carolina has a deep historical significance, especially regarding the American Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement. Movies set in the state may explore these historical events and their impact on the local population.
  3. Plantation Life:
    • Some films set in South Carolina address the historical legacy of plantation life, including the complexities of relationships between different social classes and races.
  4. Gullah Culture:
    • The Gullah culture, with roots in West Africa, is prevalent in South Carolina’s Lowcountry. Films may explore the Gullah people’s unique language, traditions, and heritage.
  5. Southern Gothic:
    • South Carolina’s lush landscapes and historic architecture make it a fitting setting for Southern Gothic tales, characterized by elements of mystery, suspense, and the supernatural.
  6. Racial Tensions and Civil Rights:
    • Given the state’s historical significance in the Civil Rights Movement, movies may address racial tensions, discrimination, and the fight for civil rights.
  7. Military Presence:
    • South Carolina has a strong military presence, with bases like Fort Jackson. Films may explore themes related to military life, deployments, and the impact on families.
  8. Coastal Living:
    • The state’s coastline and barrier islands offer picturesque settings for films. Themes related to coastal living, fishing communities, and beach culture may be explored.
  9. Sports Culture:
    • South Carolina has a passionate sports culture, particularly in college sports. Movies may incorporate themes related to the excitement and fervor of sports events.
  10. Swamps and Wildlife:
    • The state’s swamps, marshes, and diverse wildlife provide a unique film backdrop. Nature-focused themes, environmental concerns, or stories involving the local flora and fauna may be explored.
  11. Music and Arts:
    • South Carolina has a rich musical heritage, particularly in genres like jazz, gospel, and bluegrass. Films may incorporate themes related to the music and arts scene in the state.
  12. Romance and Family Dynamics:
    • Many films set in South Carolina feature themes of romance and family dynamics, often set against the backdrop of the state’s scenic beauty.
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It’s important to note that individual films may emphasize one or more of these themes, and the portrayal can vary widely depending on the genre and storyline of the movie.

How to Create a State Unit Study for South Carolina

Creating a state unit study for South Carolina can be a comprehensive and engaging educational experience. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to develop a well-rounded unit study:

Step 1: Define Objectives and Goals

Clearly outline the objectives and goals of the unit study. Consider the age group, educational level, and specific learning outcomes you want to achieve.

Step 2: Gather Resources

Collect various age-appropriate resources, including books, documentaries, websites, and educational materials covering different aspects of South Carolina’s history, geography, culture, and more.

Step 3: Explore Geography and History


  • Study South Carolina’s geography, including its location, borders, and diverse landscapes (coastal areas, mountains, and the Midlands).
  • Explore maps and discuss how geography has influenced the state’s development.


  • Examine the history of South Carolina, from Native American cultures to European exploration and colonization.
  • Cover key historical events, such as the colonial period, the American Revolution, and the Civil Rights Movement.

Step 4: State Symbols and Motifs

Learn about South Carolina’s state symbols, including the state flag, bird, flower, and motto. Discuss the significance of these symbols and how they represent the state.

Step 5: Notable People

Research and learn about notable individuals from South Carolina, including historical figures, artists, musicians, and influential leaders. Discuss their contributions to the state and beyond.

Step 6: Cultural Exploration

Explore the rich cultural diversity of South Carolina, including Gullah culture, traditional arts and crafts, and regional cuisine. Consider engaging in hands-on activities or cooking traditional dishes.

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Step 7: Economy and Industry

Examine South Carolina’s economy and major industries. Discuss the historical and current significance of agriculture, manufacturing, and other economic activities.

Step 8: Natural Resources and Environment

Explore the state’s natural resources, environmental features, and wildlife. Discuss the importance of conservation and environmental stewardship.

Step 9: Virtual Field Trips

Take virtual field trips to important landmarks and museums in South Carolina. Many cultural institutions offer online tours and resources that can enhance the learning experience.

Step 10: Hands-On Activities

Incorporate hands-on activities to reinforce learning. This could include art projects, creating a map of South Carolina, or participating in a cultural exchange activity.

Step 11: Culminating Project

Encourage learners to work on a culminating project, synthesizing their learning. This could be a presentation, a research paper, a creative piece, or any format that allows them to showcase their understanding of South Carolina.

Step 12: Assessment

Create assessments, quizzes, or discussion prompts to gauge learners’ understanding of the material. This can be informal, such as class discussions, or more formal assessments based on the objectives you defined in Step 1.

Step 13: Reflection

Conclude the unit study with a reflection session. Discuss what learners found most interesting or surprising about South Carolina and how the unit study has broadened their understanding of the state.

Tailor the unit study to your learners’ specific needs and interests, and feel free to adapt or expand upon these steps based on your educational goals.

Best Movies Set in South Carolina

The Secret Life Of Bees
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Queen Latifah, Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson (Actors)

The Secret Life of Bees

Year: 2008

The Secret Life of Bees is an adaptation of the 2001 novel of the same name by Sue Monk Kidd. Set in 1964 South Carolina, it tells the story of a teenage girl named Lily Owens who escapes her troubled life and finds solace in the company of African-American beekeeping sisters. The film explores themes of racism, female empowerment, and the search for identity.

The Notebook
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams, James Garner (Actors)

The Notebook

Year: 2004

Set in the 1940s, The Notebook tells the timeless love story of Noah Calhoun and Allie Hamilton. Noah, a poor but passionate young man, falls deeply in love with Allie, a wealthy young woman, during a summer romance. Despite their differences in social status, they form a deep connection. However, their love faces obstacles when Allie’s parents disapprove of their relationship and try to keep them apart.

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  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Denzel Washington, Matthew Broderick, Cary Elwes (Actors)


Year: 1989

Glory is a 1989 war film directed by Edward Zwick. Set during the American Civil War, the movie tells the inspiring true story of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, one of the first all-black regiments in the Union Army. Led by Colonel Robert Gould Shaw (played by Matthew Broderick), the regiment faces discrimination and battles against Confederate forces.

This movie explores themes of racial inequality, bravery, and sacrifice. The film received critical acclaim for its powerful performances, gripping storytelling, and poignant portrayal of the African-American soldiers’ struggle for dignity and freedom.

The Big Chill
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Jeff Goldblum, Glenn Close, Kevin Kline (Actors)

The Big Chill

Year: 1983

The Big Chill is a 1983 comedy-drama film directed by Lawrence Kasdan. The movie follows a group of college friends who reunite after years apart to attend the funeral of one of their own. Set in South Carolina, the film delves into themes of friendship, nostalgia, and the challenges of adulthood.

As the friends come together, they reflect on their past, confront their present, and contemplate their future. The Big Chill features a star-studded ensemble cast, including Tom Berenger, Glenn Close, Jeff Goldblum, William Hurt, Kevin Kline, Mary Kay Place, Meg Tilly, and JoBeth Williams. The film was acclaimed for its stellar performances and poignant exploration of life’s complexities.

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


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

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

Further Reading About the State:

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