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Best Movies Set in Virginia

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

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Virginia, a southeastern U.S. state, stretches from the Chesapeake Bay to the Appalachian Mountains, with a long Atlantic coastline. It's one of the 13 original colonies, with historic landmarks including Monticello, founding father Thomas Jefferson’s iconic Charlottesville plantation.

The Jamestown Settlement and Colonial Williamsburg are living-history museums reenacting Colonial and Revolutionary-era life.

What themes are in Movies Set in Virginia?

Movies set in Virginia often explore a variety of themes, reflecting the state's diverse history, culture, and landscapes. Some common themes in movies set in Virginia include:

  1. Historical Significance:
    Virginia has played a crucial role in American history, being one of the original 13 colonies. Movies set in Virginia often explore historical events such as the American Revolutionary War, Civil War, and the founding of the nation.
  2. Civil Rights and Racial Tensions:
    Virginia has been a significant battleground for civil rights, particularly during the desegregation era. Films set in the state may delve into racial tensions, discrimination, and the fight for equal rights.
  3. Southern Culture:
    Virginia is often associated with Southern culture, and movies set in the state may depict aspects of Southern life, including traditions, manners, and family dynamics.
  4. Military and War:
    Virginia has a strong military presence with numerous military bases. Movies set in the state may explore themes related to the military, including war, sacrifice, and the impact of military life on families.
  5. Natural Beauty and Rural Life:
    Virginia's diverse landscapes, from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Chesapeake Bay, provide a picturesque backdrop for films. Some movies set in Virginia showcase the state's natural beauty and explore themes related to rural life.
  6. Political Drama:
    Given its proximity to Washington, D.C., and its historical significance, Virginia is often portrayed in movies that involve political dramas, whether at the national or state level.
  7. Literary Adaptations:
    Virginia has been home to many famous authors, and movies set in the state may adapt literary works that capture the spirit of Virginia, its people, and its landscapes.
  8. Small-Town Life:
    Many films set in Virginia focus on small-town life, exploring themes of community, tradition, and the challenges faced by residents in these close-knit communities.
  9. Education and Academia:
    With prestigious universities such as the University of Virginia, movies set in the state may touch on themes related to education, intellectual pursuits, and campus life.
  10. Identity and Coming of Age:
    Like any state, Virginia has a diverse population, and films set there may explore themes related to individual and collective identity, as well as the coming-of-age experiences of its characters.
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It's important to note that the themes in movies set in Virginia can vary widely, and not all films will touch on the same topics. The diversity of the state allows for a rich tapestry of stories and themes in cinematic portrayals.

How to Create a State Unit Study for Virginia

Creating a state unit study for Virginia can be an engaging and educational project. Here's how you can go about it:

  1. Define the Scope: Decide on what aspects of Virginia you want to cover. This could include civics, history, geography, language arts, applied math, science, and art. You can also focus on interesting facts about Virginia.

  2. Gather Resources: There are numerous resources available online that you can use. These range from comprehensive unit studies to worksheets and courses. Pinterest can also provide a wealth of ideas.

  3. Plan Your Time: A good unit study can take a full school year to complete. However, if you prefer, you can spread the unit study over a 2-week period.

  4. Incorporate Various Learning Styles: Use books, arts and crafts, recipes, and more to cater to different learning styles. You can also include hands-on activities that combine history and language arts skills.

  5. Make It Fun: Use interactive elements to make the study more interesting. This could be activities for younger students or even digital products that only require printing the necessary pages.

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Remember, the goal of a unit study is not just to learn about the subject, but also to develop research, reading, and note-taking skills. So, encourage your child to be an active participant in the process.

Best Movies Set in Virginia

Donnie Darko
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Mary McDonnell (Actors)

Donnie Darko

Year: 2001

In this enigmatic psychological thriller, a troubled high school student, portrayed by Jake Gyllenhaal, grapples with existential questions and strange occurrences. Donnie, haunted by a mysterious six-foot-tall rabbit named Frank, becomes entangled in a surreal journey.

As he navigates a delicate balance between reality and imagination, the film weaves a complex narrative exploring time travel, mental health, and the profound impact of choices.

With its atmospheric tone and stellar performances, this cult classic challenges conventional storytelling and leaves audiences captivated by its profound and surreal exploration of the human psyche.

Flag of Virginia at Cloudy Sky Background on Sunset

Arlington Road [Blu-ray]
  • Jeff Bridges, Tim Robbins, Joan Cusack (Actors)
  • Mark Pellington (Director)

Arlington Road

Year: 1999

Arlington Road follows Michael Faraday, a history professor, who grows suspicious of his neighbors' involvement in domestic terrorism. As he investigates, the line between truth and conspiracy blurs, culminating in a tense and unpredictable climax.

This gripping thriller explores themes of trust, deception, and national security, delivering a thought-provoking narrative with stellar performances, and leaving audiences on the edge of their seats.

Body of Lies
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, Russell Crowe, Mark Strong (Actors)

Body of Lies

Year: 2008

Body of Lies is an espionage thriller directed by Ridley Scott. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio as CIA operative Roger Ferris, working in the Middle East to track down a terrorist leader. Russell Crowe plays his manipulative boss back in the United States.

The movie explores the complexities and moral dilemmas of modern intelligence operations, depicting the challenges of trust and deception in the world of counterterrorism. It offers a tense and realistic portrayal of the complexities of contemporary espionage.

The Hunt for Red October
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Sean Connery, Alec Baldwin, James Earl Jones (Actors)

The Hunt for Red October

Year: 1990

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A high-stakes mental chess match unfolds as the naval forces of the United States and the Soviet Union clash. Tensions escalated when the USSR's cutting-edge nuclear submarine ventured close to the eastern seaboard of America without authorization. This intense confrontation is adapted from Tom Clancy's gripping novel, bringing to life the strategic warfare and geopolitical intrigue between the two superpowers.

Deep Impact
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Robert Duvall, Tea Leoni, Elijah Wood (Actors)

Deep Impact

Year: 1998

In this gripping disaster film, Earth faces an unprecedented threat—a colossal comet hurtling toward our planet. As the world grapples with the impending cataclysm, diverse characters navigate personal and professional challenges.

A reporter unearths government secrets, a teenage astronomer discovers the impending doom, and global efforts intensify to prevent the comet's catastrophic impact. Starring a cast led by Téa Leoni, Morgan Freeman, and Elijah Wood, this emotional and suspenseful tale unfolds against a backdrop of human resilience and unity in the face of impending disaster.

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 Virginia.

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Further Reading About the State:

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