Best Massachusetts Movies: Top 10 Movies Filmed in Massachusetts
The state of Massachusetts has long had a distinct identity across film, one that spans over several decades and plenty of movie stars. Ben Affleck and Matt Damon famously rose to prominence by writing and starring in the Boston-set "Good Will Hunting," catapulting both to stardom. Damon has since co-starred in the 2005 Best Picture winner "The Departed," while Affleck's "The Town" is among the most highly regarded thrillers in recent years.
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Mark Wahlberg, John Krasinski and Chris Evans are three other stars who never forgot their Boston roots, with Wahlberg in particular headlining the films "Patriots Day" and "The Fighter" in recent years. All three aren't shy about showing support for the state's Patriots, Red Sox and Bruins, either.
Ben's younger brother Casey Affleck also captured an Academy Award for his heart-breaking performance in the 2016 film "Manchester By The Sea."
Even the late Paul Newman took a late-career victory lap in 1982's "The Verdict," earning an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of a boozy Boston lawyer who takes on a medical malpractice case.
All of those films (and stars) have become synonymous with Massachusetts culture, but, surprisingly, not all rank among the best films shot in the state.
Today, we found the 30 highest ranked movies shot in the state by utilizing the following data points — IMDB rating, Rotten Tomatoes Audience score, Rotten Tomatoes Critic score, Box Office and Oscars recognition. While you can claim several Massachusetts sportsbook promos, you unfortunately cannot wager on the Oscars or other award shows...yet.
With apologies to "The Town," and other favorites on Massachusetts natives, here's what we found.
Best Movies Shot in Massachusetts
How It Shook Out
As you can see, there appears to be some recency bias on our list, but not at the No. 1 spot.
That of course went to the 1966 Mike Nichols-directed "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?," an Academy Award juggernaut that remains firmly entrenched in pop culture today. The film, shot in Northampton, earned Elizabeth Taylor her second Oscar and helped launch Nichols, a Broadway veteran, to a long career in film that would include "The Graduate." By far the oldest film on our list, "Woolf" has stood the test of time since its release over 50 years ago.
At No. 2 is a usual suspect in the previously mentioned "Good Will Hunting," a film responsible for two of the biggest movie stars of the modern era in Damon and (Ben) Affleck. The two will reunite on-screen this year in "Air," a film about Nike landing a young Michael Jordan. Massachusetts betting apps will not offer odds on movie rankings, but if we could, we'd love to place a wager on this classic film to be a mainstay in the Top 3 Massachusetts movie rankings for years to come.
Coming in at No. 3 is 2019's "Sound of Metal," a Ipswich-based tale of a rock drummer who loses his hearing. Lead performer Riz Ahmed earned an Oscar nomination for his performance. Just behind it was David Fincher's "The Social Network," which Mark Zuckerberg may not have loved but audiences ate up in 2010. The story of Facebook's launch at Harvard earned 8 Oscar noms.
At No. 5 and No. 6 are two recent films, though one is a head scratcher. 2018's "Little Women" was a hit with audiences and critics alike, with the Boston-set tale boasting a rich cast including Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh and Timothee Chalamet, just to name a few. But last year's "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" at No. 6 is something. While the film shot a few scenes in Boston, few folks would identify that as a Massachusetts film.
Borat, Denzel Washington Crack The Top 10
Sacha Baron Cohen's 2006 classic "Borat" filmed a few scenes in Massachusetts as the fictional Kazakhstan reporter made his way across the U.S., good for No. 7 on our list. At No. 8 is 2021's "Don't Look Up," the global warning social commentary that shot in Brockton.
Finally, the last two spots went to No. 9 "The Equalizer," a Denzel Washington-led thriller that snatched up $193 million at the box office in 2014, and No. 10 "The Firm," the second oldest film on our list that starts out with a young Tom Cruise graduating from Harvard Law School.
And there you have it, the top 10 films shot in the state of Massachusetts. Surprised by our rankings? Well, we were too, but no one said Hollywood is fair.
Check back at BetMass for fun pieces like this. Additionally, you might also be surprised on how many of these films feature some of the most famous Massachusetts celebrities.
Famous Massachusetts Movies FAQs
Several scenes from The Social Network movie were filmed in Cambridge, Massachusetts, making it one of many famous movies shot in Massachusetts.
Yes, many scenes from the movie Good Will Hunting were filmed in Boston, Massachusetts.
The movie Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? was filmed in Northampton, Massachusetts. It is often regarded as one o the most famous movies shot in Massachusetts.