Maine is the only state in the union that has a single syllable but has a lot more to boast about than just lobster (although 90% of the US supply does come out of the state).
There’s also the 65-square mile Acadia National Park, which is runs along the Atlantic Ocean. And the 5269-foot high Mount Katahdin, the endpoint of the 2169-mile long popular Appalachian Trail.
And lobster isn’t its only popular thing. The state’s animal is a moose, and it is speculated that there are over 75,000 living within the state. They are also the largest supplier of blueberries in the US. And then there’s popular companies who had their first start here: Burt’s Bees, Poland Spring, and LL Bean, just to name a few.
With borders that include the state of New Hampshire, Canada, and the ocean, Maine is a truly unique setting for filmmakers. Check out this list of some of the most interesting movies to have had shots done here. And although there are quite a few, and will probably be many more coming in the future, it’s not just all Stephen King movies!
Movies filmed in Maine
Five Nights in Maine (2015)
This drama about a husband dealing with the grief of the sudden death of his wife and subsequently, her mother, starred David Oyelowo, Dianne Wiest, Hani Furstenberg, and Rosie Perez, among others. The film was set in rural Maine, with filming locations done in several areas, including Phippsburg, Cape Elizabeth, and Brunswick.
1 h 22 min | 7+
This fantasy film about a board game and its trials and tribulations coming to life starred Robin Williams, Kirsten Dunst, Bonnie Hunt, and David Alan Grier. Since its release, there have been two sequels (2017 and 2019) as well as a TV series (1996-1999). The movie was set in New England with some locations in North Berwick and Kennebunk.
2 h 9 min | PG
The Cider House Rules (1999)
Based upon John Irving’s 1985 book, this drama told the story of Homer Wells (Tobey Maguire) and his life at a Maine orphanage and thereafter. Costars included Charlize Theron and Michael Caine. It won two Oscars: Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Caine. Some filming was done in Acadia National Park, Bernard, and Corea.
2 h 5 min | PG-13
The first Stephen King movie in this list, this film was based on his 1984 novel about a scummy lawyer who gets off on a murder charge after running over a Romani woman. But the real story starts when the victim’s father curses him to never gain weight. Filming locations included Belfast, Kittery, Thomaston, Augusta, Port Clyde, and many others.
1 h 32 min | R
Peyton Place (1957)
This drama starring Lana Turner, Diane Varsi, Arthur Kennedy, Lee Philips, and Russ Tamblyn, among others, was based upon Grace Metalious’s 1956 book about the daily lives, gossip, and dark secrets of several families in Peyton Place. Filming locations were done in New Hampshire as well as in Camden, Rockland, Belfast, and Thomaston.
2 h 36 min | 13+
Olive Kitteridge (2014)
This HBO miniseries was based on a 2008 novel by Elizabeth Strout. Main stars included Frances McDormand, Richard Jenkins, John Gallagher, Jr., and Bill Murray. The family story spans over 25 years and was set in Maine in the fictional town of Crosby. Only some shots were done in Camden, with most of the film made in Massachusetts.
Shutter Island (2010)
Number three in Dennis Lehane adapted novels, this psychological thriller about the investigation of a mental hospital in Massachusetts was directed by Martin Scorsese. It starred–you probably already guessed it–Leonard DiCaprio, among other notable actors like Ben Kingsley and Mark Ruffalo. Some filming was done at Acadia National Park.
2 h 18 min | R
The Langoliers (1995)
Another Stephen King adaptation, this horror miniseries about passengers disappearing during a flight from LA to Boston was based on his 1990 novella. The passengers who remain as well as the plane itself eventually land in Bangor, where most of the movie was shot. Principal actors included Bronson Pinchot, Kate Maberly, and David Morse.
This musical film was based on a stage production by Rodgers and Hammerstein. It starred Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones as polar opposites who find love (and trouble and tragedy) in Boothbay Harbor. Costars included Cameron Mitchell and Claramae Turner. The film itself was made in Boothbay Harbor as well as Camden, Newcastle, and Augusta.
2 h 8 min | ALL
Empire Falls (2005)
This HBO miniseries was based upon Richard Russo’s 2001 novel, which was set in the fictitious town of Empire Falls, Maine. It starred Ed Harris as Miles Roby, a long-time resident of the town. Filmmakers used a ton of local areas for shooting, such as Augusta, Waterville, Norridgewock, Skowhegan, Islesboro, Oakland, Ogunquit, and York.
In the Bedroom (2001)
Sissy Spacek, Nick Stahl, and Marisa Tomei starred in this crime drama, which was adapted from a 1979 short story by Andre Dubus. The story was set in Maine and its title even refers to lobsters. Among the many filming locations used were Camden, Old Orchard Beach, Belfast, Owls Head, Rockland, Rockport, Wiscasset, and Trevett.
2 h 11 min | R
Pet Sematary (1989)
Yet another Stephen King adaptation, this horror film showed what happens when the buried are brought back to life. It starred Fred Gwynne, Dale Midkiff, Denise Crosby, and Miko Hughes. A sequel was released in 1992 and a remake in 2019. The story was set in Maine with scenes done in Ellsworth, Bangor, Acadia National Park, and Sedgwick.
1 h 42 min | R
Message in a Bottle (1999)
Not to be confused with The Police’s 1979 hit song, this romance based upon a 1998 Nicholas Sparks novel starred Kevin Costner and Robin Wright Penn. While the pair fall in love in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, there were absolutely zero scenes filmed there. Filming locations in Maine included Bath, Phippsburg, New Harbor, and Portland.
2 h 11 min | PG-13
The Man Without a Face (1993)
This drama starred and was also directed by Mel Gibson. It was based on a 1972 novel by Isabelle Holland and costarred Nick Stahl and Margaret Whitton. The story about a young man who gives the gift of kindness to an older man with a facial disfigurement was set in Maine with locations in Deer Isle, Brunswick, Bath, Rockport, Rockland, and Pownal.
Dark Harbor (1998)
Starring Alan Rickman, Polly Walker, and Norman Reedus, this thriller about an unhappily-wed couple and their seemingly random encounters with a mysterious drifter took place in southeastern Maine. Although both Rickman and Reedus were praised for their performances, the film was unsuccessful. It was shot in its entirety in Rockland.
1 h 26 min | 16+
Black Rock (2012)
This horror movie starred Katie Aselton, Lake Bell, and Kate Bosworth as old friends whose reunion vacation on an isolated island goes from monumental, heartwarming, and renewing to tragic, dangerous, and criminal. The screenplay was written by Aselton’s husband, Mark Duplass. The film was set in Maine and filmed entirely within Milbridge.
1 h 19 min | R
Graveyard Shift (1990)
Staying on theme, another in the long line of Stephen King adaptations done in ME, this horror movie about so much more than just rats was based upon one of his short stories first published in 1970. It starred Stephen Macht, Brad Dourif, Andrew Divoff, and David Andrews, among others. Filming locations included Bangor, Harmony, and Brewer.
1 h 26 min | R
The Preacher’s Wife (1996)
Director Penny Marshall’s sixth movie, this dramedy about an angel bringing renewed hope to Reverend Biggs and his family featured Whitney Houston (her third role) as well as Denzel Washington and Courtney B. Vance. It was a remake of a 1947 movie and based upon a 1928 novel. The film was set in New York City, with some locations in Portland.
2 h 3 min | 13+
Due to its diversity and an abundant amount of natural features (3500 miles of coastline, 6000 lakes and ponds, and 17 million acres of forest), it should not be a surprise at all that so many filmmakers (who aren’t even working for Stephen King) choose Maine. One of the ten coldest states has been the perfect setting for a great deal of movies.