The Ultimate Maine Movie Guide
Fortunately, streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and Amazon Prime have provided us with an abundance of entertainment options as we continue to spend more time at home. However, if you sometimes feel overwhelmed by the plethora of choices, you’re not alone. Our editors sat down to create a comprehensive set-in-Maine movie list, which will hopefully take some of the guesswork out of making a pick. These films will take you on a tour around the state to tide you over until you can get back out there.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, two of our favorite camp classics, The Parent Trap (available for rent on Amazon Prime) and Wet Hot American Summer (available for rent on YouTube), are both set in Maine. The Parent Trap’s Camp Walden is based on an all-girls summer camp of the same name in Denmark, Maine, and Wet Hot American Summer was inspired by director David Wain’s experiences at Camp Modin in Belgrade Lakes.
All set in Maine, Simon Birch (available for rent on iTunes and based on A Prayer for Owen Meany, a John Irving novel), The Cider House Rules (another Irving novel and available on Hulu), and In The Bedroom (developed from the short story collection by Andre Dubus and also available on Hulu) each garnered critical acclaim, with The Cider House Rules and In The Bedroom amassing several Academy Award nominations. While none of the films are especially light, they’re perfect for an evening when you’re looking for something thought-provoking to dig your teeth into.
The Shawshank Redemption (available for rent on iTunes), adapted from Stephen King’s novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, takes place at a fictional New England prison called Shawshank, generally assumed to be located in Maine; a part of the movie is also set in Buxton. This is slightly different from King’s typical horror fare, but it’s worth noting that nearly all his films take place in Maine, from Carrie (Hulu) to IT (iTunes), and they can make for a great fright night.
Based on the Isabelle Holland novel, Mel Gibson’s directorial debut, The Man Without a Face (available for purchase on Amazon Prime), takes place at the home of a reclusive painter on Deer Isle in Penobscot Bay in the aftermath of a disfiguring car accident. The cinematic adaptation of Mark Medoff’s play Children of a Lesser God (available for rent on YouTube) was Marlee Matlin’s film debut and one of the first contemporary films to star a deaf actor. The romantic drama centers around a Maine school for the deaf.
If the whole family is sitting down together, there are several children’s films set in the state that should not be missed. The 2006 remake of E.B. White’s timeless classic Charlotte’s Web (available on Hulu) transports viewers to Somerset County, where they learn lessons about friendship and the families we choose for ourselves. Andre was a real life seal pup found off Robinson’s Rock in Penobscot Bay. Like Charlotte’s Web, Andre (DVD for purchase on Amazon) centers around the unbreakable bond between an animal and child. And a kind ghost haunts a Maine mansion in Casper (available for rent on iTunes), restoring a family suffering from loss.
Isolation drives two lighthouse keepers to madness in the psychological thriller The Lighthouse (available for rent on Amazon Prime), set in 1890s Maine. Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe will keep you entranced until the credits roll. Bluebird (Amazon Prime) takes place in a small town in northern Maine that is reeling from one careless event. It shows the impact that individual moments can have on entire communities.