Hollywood’s love affair with Beaufort dates back to the 1940s, but movies have been made here for even longer. The Southerners, released in 1914, was the first-ever movie shot here. Since then, over 100 movies and TV series have been shot here. Between its rural scenery, small-town storefronts and sub-tropical jungles, it isn’t hard to see why. South Carolina also offers some of the country’s leading incentives for feature films and TV series, including cash rebates and tax credits. Intrigued to find out whether you’ve seen any of Beaufort’s best movies? Here are seven famous movies filmed in Beaufort.
Seven famous movies filmed in Beaufort
1. Forest Gump (1994)
Best locations: Bay Street, University of South Carolina, Fripp Island, Basil Green Sports Complex
This heartwarming tale tells the story of Forest Gump, a simple man with good intentions. He joins the army for service in Vietnam, wins medals, starts a ping-pong craze and imparted some very wise words of wisdom that have inspired a generation of memes, including ‘stupid is as stupid does, ‘life is like a box of chocolates’ and ‘we goes together like peas and carrots’.While the story is set in Alabama, filming mostly took place in and around Beaufort. Producers cast dozens of locals as extras too.
The University of South Carolina Beaufort campus stands in for Gump Medical Center, the Vietnam scenes are actually Fripp Island and Hunting Island State Park and the Mississippi River is actually Beaufort River. The Basil Green Sports Complex stands in for the local football stadium in Alabama too. Lots of filming also took place along Bay Street.
2. The Big Chill (1983)
Best locations: Tidalholm Mansion
Directed by Lawrence Kasdan, this comedy-drama launched the career of a handful of A-list actors including Tom Berenger, Glenn Close and Jeff Goldblum. It tells the story of a group of baby boomers who reunite 15 years after college when one of their friends passes away.
Tidalholm Mansion, in downtown Beaufort, featured throughout the movie as the place where the old friends come together. The house actually sold for nearly USD 2 million a few years ago too. The jogging scene between Nick and Harold takes place on Bay Street, while the opening funeral scenes were captured at Sand Hill Baptist Church. Tom Berenger fell hard for Beaufort while filming and ended up buying a house here too.
3. The Great Santini (1979)
Best locations: Tidalholm Mansion, Beaufort Marine Corps Station, Point Neighbourhood
The Great Santini really kick-started Beaufort’s reputation amongst moviemakers. Based on the 1976 novel by Pat Conroy, The Great Santini tells the story of the son of a US Marine Corps officer who struggles to win the approval of his aggressively competitive father.
If you’ve visited Beaufort, you’ll recognise countless landmarks in the movie. The movie uses Tidalholm (also in The Big Chill) for the Meechum family home scenes, Beaufort Marine Corps Station for the military scenes and Point Neighbourhood for Ben’s exchange with his drunken father under the tree.
4. GI Jane (1997)
Best locations: Harbor Island, Hunting Island
Directed by Ridley Scott and starring Demi Moor, GI Jane tells the fictional story of a woman undergoing training for the U.S. Navy SEALs. No one expects her to succeed an excruciating regime with a standard 60% dropout rate for men, but she’s determined to prove them all wrong.
Filming took place all over the country but you’ll be able to spot Beaufort in the survival camp scenes, which were filmed on Harbor and Hunting Islands.
5. The Fugitive (1993)
Best locations: Stumphouse Tunnel, Walhalla
This pulse-raising movie tells the story of Dr Richard Kimble as he hunts down the killer of his wife while being the target of a nationwide manhunt. The star-studded cast includes Harrison Ford, Tommy Lee Jones and Julianne Moore.
While most of the movie takes place in rural Illinois, Beaufort SC fills in for many of the scenes. One of the most memorable scenes takes place in the Stumphouse Tunnel, near Walhalla.
6. Forces of Nature (1999)
Best locations: The Castle on Craven Street and South of the Border
Starring Sandra Bullock and Ben Affleck, Forces of Nature tells the story of a man who is all set to marry the love of his life, until his plane crashed during takeoff. Stranded at the airport he meets the free-spirited Sarah who finds an alternative – but unpredictable – route home. He soon starts questioning whether he’s marrying the right woman after all.
‘The Castle’, on Craven Street, stands in for most of the scenes shot at Cahill’s house. All of the amusement park scenes were shot over three days at South of the Border, near Dillon too.
7. The Prince of Tides (1991)
Best locations: Beaufort River, Old Point mansion, Fripp Island, St Helena Islands
Produced and directed by Barbara Streisand and based on the novel by Pat Conroy, The Prince of the Tides received seven oscar nominations on release. The romantic drama tells the story of a troubled man who opens up to his suicidal sister’s psychiatrist and falls in love with her in the process.
Filming location highlights include an impressive house in Old Point, Fripp Island and St. Helena Islands. You can also visit the beach house in the movie on Fripp Island too. The opening scenes depict the Beaufort River.