On Nov. 24, 2020, the Ron Howard film "Hillbilly Elegy" — which stars Amy Adams and Glenn Close and tells the story of a Yale Law School student with family roots in rural Appalachia who's brought back to his Ohio hometown to deal with a tragic event — debuted on Netflix. To mark its release, Wonderwall.com is taking a look at more of the movies and television shows set in the Appalachian region. Keep reading for more…
2013's "Out of the Furnace," which is set in Pennsylvania, stars Christian Bale as Russell Baze, a disillusioned steel mill worker whose sole motivation in life is his family and friends. When his brother, veteran Rodney Baze (Casey Affleck), returns home from Iraq and struggles to pay off several debts, he looks to dangerous crime boss Harlan DeGroat (Woody Harrelson) for financial assistance. Rodney, however, suddenly goes missing, and as the police struggle to piece together the details of his disappearance, Russell takes matters into his own hands to bring his brother home.
RELATED: Stars who've played royals
1999's "October Sky," which is set in the late '50s, stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Homer Hickam, a young man whose path to becoming a West Virginia coal miner, just like his father, is neatly laid out before him. Homer, however, has different plans after he sees Sputnik 1 in the sky and develops an interest in rocket science. While his father disapproves of his growing interest in the sciences, Homer finds support and guidance in his teacher, Miss Freida J. Riley (Laura Dern), who encourages him to follow his dreams and strive for a better way of life. The film is based on Homer H. Hickam Jr.'s 1998 memoir of the same name.
RELATED: Jack Nicholson's best movies
2010's "Get Low," which is set in the '30s, tells the story of Tennessee hermit Felix Bush (Robert Duvall), who decides to throw his own funeral. When mischievous mortician Frank Quinn (Bill Murray) catches wind of the impending service, he believes it to be a huge business opportunity that could result in a serious payday. As a result, Frank sends his charming apprentice, Buddy, to strike a deal with Felix. However, as the peculiar event looms near, Frank begins to uncover a long-buried secret that involves Felix and two others: a widow and preacher from Illinois.
2012's "Lawless" tells the story of Franklin County, Virginia's Bondurant brothers, who run a bootlegging company under the guise of a backwoods business in 1931. All three brothers serve very different, imperative purposes: older brother Howard (Jason Clarke) is the muscle; middle brother Forrest (Tom Hardy) is the brains; and younger brother Jack (Shia LaBeouf) is the watchman. While local law enforcement has decided to turn a blind eye to the brothers' seedy business venture in exchange for bribes, their entire operation is jeopardized when a newcomer, Special Deputy Charley Rakes (Guy Pearce), makes it his mission to take them down.
1989's "Next of Kin" stars Patrick Swayze as upstanding police officer Truman Gates, who was born and raised in Appalachia but relocated to Chicago for his career. After brother Gerald (Bill Paxton) is murdered by a Chicago mob man (Adam Baldwin), Truman's other brother, Briar (Liam Neeson), wants to viciously retaliate despite Truman's protests. Believing law enforcement is better equipped to handle the situation, Truman chooses not to go after the men. However, when Briar is suddenly killed by Chicago gangsters, Truman's entire perspective shifts. Now, desperate to avenge the death of his brothers, Truman makes it his mission to get even.
Based on Charles Frazier's 1997 novel of the same name, 2003's "Cold Mountain" tells the story of W.P. Inman (Jude Law), a young, wounded soldier who ventures through the South in hopes of reuniting with wife Ada (Nicole Kidman), who was left to care for their home during the American Civil War. As W.P. embarks on his strenuous journey, Ada, with the help of a drifter named Ruby (Renee Zellweger), tries her best to keep things together. Renee earned the 2003 Academy Award for best supporting actress for her performance.
"Nell" starring Jodie Foster follows the life of its titular character, a young woman who's spent her whole life isolated in a cabin in North Carolina with her mother. After her mother's death, Nell is found by Dr. Jerome Lovell (Liam Neeson), a doctor who takes a particular interest in the means of communication she's created for herself. Joined by his colleague, psychologist Dr. Paula Olsen (Natasha Richardson), Dr. Lovell takes it upon himself to introduce Nell to the world she's long been kept away from. Jodie received widespread critical acclaim — she won the inaugural Screen Actors Guild Award for outstanding performance by a female actor in a leading role and also earned Academy Award and Golden Globe Award nominations for best actress.
History channel's 2012 three-part miniseries "Hatfields & McCoys" chronicles the long-running feud between two American families who resided in West Virginia and Kentucky and covers the years from 1863 to 1891. The three two-hour episodes, which received generally favorable reviews from critics and earned particular praise for the acting performances. Kevin Costner, Bill Paxton, Tom Berenger, Powers Boothe, Mare Winningham and Jena Malone were among the miniseries' star-studded cast.
Starring Steven Seagal, 1997's "Fire Down Below" follows government official Jack Taggart as he ventures to Kentucky to investigate the death of an Environmental Protection Agency agent. While there, Jack comes to learn of coal miner Orin Hanner Sr. (Kris Kristofferson), who recklessly throws out hazardous waste wherever he desires in an effort to save money. As a result of his actions, children throughout the small Midwestern town turn up dead. As Jack works to put an end to this dangerous behavior, Orin and his allies grow increasingly weary.
2014's "Big Stone Gap," which is set in Virginia in the late '70s, tells the story of Ave Maria Mulligan (Ashley Judd), a single, 40-year-old woman whose monotonous life in Appalachia is thrown for a loop after she discovers an explosive family secret. The romantic drama-comedy, which is based on Adriana Trigiani's 2000 novel of the same name, also stars Patrick Wilson and Whoopi Goldberg.
Set during World War II, 1984's "The Dollmaker" stars Jane Fonda as Gertie Nevels, an exceptional woodcarver married to misfortunate Kentucky-based farmer Colvis Nevels (Levon Helm). In an effort to improve their financial situation, Colvis accepts a factory job in Detroit. However, upon arriving in the big city, the Nevels still find themselves desperate for cash. As a result, Gertie takes matters into her own hands and devises a way to care for her family — by starting a wooden-doll-making business.
WGN America's "Outsiders" is a drama series centered on the Farrells, a family with long-standing traditions who've inhabited the fictional rural Kentucky town of Blackburg for upwards of 200 years. Now, in a changing Appalachia, the Farrells find themselves struggling to maintain their land and protect their traditions, but they've vowed to do so no matter what. The series, which ran for two seasons in 2016 and 2017, starred David Morse, Joe Anderson, Gillian Alexy, Ryan Hurst (picured), Kyle Gallner, Christina Jackson and Thomas M. Wright.
Oscar best picture nominee "Sergeant York," which was the highest grossing film of 1941, is a biopic about one of the United States' most accomplished soldiers, Alvin C. York. The film chronicles Tennessee sniper Alvin's (Gary Cooper) internal struggle as he's recruited to fight for his country during World War I. Morally conflicted about whether he is to uphold his non-violent way of life or forego his personal beliefs to serve his nation, he ultimately opts for the latter. However, while he continues to impress as a marksman, his conscience doesn't become any clearer. Gary's portrayal of the real-life war hero earned him the Academy Award for best actor.
In 2009's "White Lightnin'," Edward Hogg stars as real-life Appalachian mountain dancer Jesco White, a once-troubled West Virginia boy whose father, mountain dancer D. Ray White (Muse Watson), teaches him the art as a means of keeping him out of trouble. Following his father's death, Jesco hits the road in an effort to honor his legacy and perform wherever he possibly can. The thriller, which premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, also stars Carrie Fisher.
2000's "Songcatcher" stars Janet McTeer as Dr. Lily Penleric, a passionate musicologist whose frustration with being overlooked for a promotion in her heavily male field leads her to Appalachia, where she researches and records folk music in 1907. The drama, which was written and directed by Maggie Greenwald, was loosely based on folklorist Olive Dame Campbell and folk song collector Cecil Sharp.
1972's "Deliverance" tells the story of Ed Gentry (Jon Voight), Lewis Medlock (Burt Reynolds, pictured), Bobby Trippe (Ned Beatty) and Drew Ballinger (Ronny Cox), four family men who embark on a relaxing, week-long canoe trip in Georgia. But their carefree trip turns into a desperate attempt at survival after they're viciously attacked by locals and pursued by a sadistic man as they attempt to return home. The movie, which is considered a culturally significant piece of filmmaking, was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.
Written and directed by John Sayles, 1987's "Matewan" marks Chris Cooper's feature film debut and co-stars James Earl Jones, Mary McDonnell and Will Oldham. The drama chronicles the Battle of Matewan, a strike between coal miners in the rural West Virginia town of Matewan. While the film, which earned an Academy Award nomination for best cinematography, was deemed a critical success, it was a box office bomb that earned less than $2 million on a $4 million budget.