Atlanta really is the “Hollywood of the South.” At any given moment, there could be up to a dozen television shows and movies shot in the metro area. Thanks to tax breaks given to production studios and even independent film producers, Atlanta and the state of Georgia have lured many major productions from California, Canada and other parts of the South. The Atlanta area is also packed with experienced and talented production team members willing and able to work. While “Hollywood of the South” is a relatively new term, the Atlanta area has been the setting for big budget movies going back decades. Let’s look at some of the best movies filmed in Atlanta.
Smokey And The Bandit (1977)

This action-packed comedy, featuring Burt Reynolds was one of the most anticipated releases of 1977. It still plays on numerous cable movie channels each week and it’s always good for a laugh. This was Reynolds when he was one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. Follow along as Reynolds and Jerry Reed travel to Texas to bring back beer to Atlanta. Locations used include I-20, Downtown Jonesboro, Cumming and points inside the I-285 perimeter of Atlanta. Reynolds used Atlanta as a backdrop for many of his movies but there was no bigger hit than Smokey and the Bandit. The movie also starred Sally Field and Jackie Gleason.

The Slugger’s Wife (1985)

Gone but not forgotten is this baseball movie. The Slugger’s Wife showed what life in Atlanta was like in 1985. The Atlanta Braves were terrible, young people were out at glitzy nightclubs and Atlanta was a growing city. The cult hit, starring Michael O’Keefe and Rebecca De Mornay was filmed almost entirely in Atlanta. This included many scenes at the old Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. Baseball fans will recognize the broadcasting voices of Pete Van Wieren, Ernie Johnson and Skip Caray in the baseball scenes.

Footloose (2011)

The remake to the 1980s hit was filmed all over Atlanta. Kenny Wormald and Julianne Hough danced in places like Cowboys in Kennesaw and Atlanta’s Starlight Drive-in. The big race scene took place at popular Senoia Raceway and the church scenes in Acworth. Craig Brewer directed this refresh of Footloose and the updated look and feel was welcomed by movie and dance fans throughout the country.

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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)

This installment of the popular Hunger Games series was filmed throughout the metro area. Filming spots included the Georgia World Congress Center, the Swan House and locales in Clayton County. Credit Georgia’s tax breaks for luring the Hunger Games franchise and stars like Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth to the Atlanta area. This movie has grossed over $424 million and exposed part of Atlanta and Georgia to movie watchers all over the world.

Selma (2014)

It’s only appropriate that the Oprah Winfrey-produced movie about Martin Luther King’s journey from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama was filmed mostly in Atlanta. Atlanta was the center of King’s work and the civil rights movement. Selma was filmed at spots like Marietta Square and the Rockdale County Courthouse. The movie starred David Oyelowo and Carmen Ejogo and should be a “must watch” for every American.

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Rick Limpert is a freelance writer/photographer in Atlanta and he loves covering anything sports and tech-related. His work can be found at Examiner.com.