The Mississippi River is listed among the longest rivers in the world. It seems this river encourages songs, photographs, landscapes. This vast river has influenced real-life people, so why not movies. Movies that reference the Mississippi River use the location to define territory, lifestyle, timelines, and the era. What follows are some top-rated films that used this tremendous American river to help make its presence memorable. Grab yourself a snack, put on some comfortable pajamas, make sure your dog’s bowl stays full so you’ll have no interruptions, and get ready to take a deep dive into all that the Mississippi has to offer.
Mississippi Burning 1988 (Alan Parker):
The title of the river (state) mentioned in the movies defines the location, automatically giving the viewer the vicinity’s history without the need to precede its introduction with a great deal of information. The title, “Mississippi Burning,” needs no introduction. The movie Mississippi Burning,” a movie based on the slaying of civil rights workers in Mississippi. The film won numerous accolades and stirred praise as well as decent with the public.
Huckleberry Finn 1960 (Michael Curtiz):
The Mississippi was the center of the world for Samuel Clemons (Mark Twain). The movie references the Mississippi River, Twain’s boyhood playground in the cinema, Huckleberry Finn, which spins a tale of lazy days spent along the Mississippi River banks. He describes his exploits with fond quotes, sprinkled lavishly throughout the book turned movie, of a lad and his friends and foes growing up on the Mississippi River banks.
Actors in this movie are:
Huckleberry (Eddie Hodges).
Jim (Archie Moore).
Jonna Wilkes (Patty McCormack).
The Duke (Mickey Shaughnessy).
The King of France (Tony Randall).
Pap Finn (Neville Brand).
Mr. Carmody (Andy Devine).
Widow Douglas (Josephine Douglas).
Mary Jane Wilkes (Sherry Jackson).
Lion Tamer (Buster Keaton).
Captain Sellers (Finlay Currie).
The Long, Hot Summer 1958 (Martin Ritt):
The “Long Hot Summer” is an iconic movie of America’s South and a young man struggling for an independent identity. The determination of Ben Quick (Paul Newman) is memorable. Facing accusatory whispers down, Ben Quick introduces his charms to the Varner family; Will Varner (Orson Wells), Jody (Tony Franciosa) the spinless son, Clara the favored daughter (Joanne Woodward), Eula, Jody’s wife (Lee Remick), and the boyfriend of Clara, Alan Stewart (Richard Anderson).
Other famed actors making up this excellent film are; Minnie (Angelia Lansbury), Agnes Stewart (Sarah Marshall0, Elizabeth Stewart (Mabel Albertson), Ratliff (J. Pat O’Malley), Lucius (William “Bill” Walker), and the bass player (Francis Sibley). Will Varner has little use for his brood but takes a shine to the “My way or the highway” attitude of Ben Quick.
Cat on a Hot, Tin Roof-1958: (Tennessee Williams)
Turn the page back a few decades and visualize a picture of a hot summer along the Mississippi Delta, when roofs were, made of tin and temperatures sweltered along this stretch of the Mississippi River. Tennessee William’s play, “Cat on a Hot, Tin Roof, opened as one of the best movies of its day. A story of greed, deceit, sorrow, and a mixture of anxiety and fear of the future. This family did not lack wealth but faced the same trials as the rest of the world; perhaps, more so.
The actors that brought these characters into focus are:
Big Daddy (Burl Ives).
Brick (Ben Gaza/Jack Lord).
Big Mama (Mildred Dunnock).
Mae (Madeleine Sherwood).
Brotherman-Gooper (Pat Hingle).
Dr. Baugh (R.G. Armstrong).
Reverend Tooker (Fred Stewart).
Private Benjamin 1980 (Howard Zieff):
Private Benjamin was sheltered and wealthy. Dupped into joining the military, she soon realized she had no understanding of what the world was really about. Judith found herself always falling into traps due to her confused view of life. However, in the end, after sexual assault, a poor choice for a spouse, and being around people she could not trust, Judy finally realizes she is a capable person without any crutches.
The movie Private Benjamin entertained a cast of stars playing Private Judith Benjamin (Goldie Hawn), Henry Alan Tremont (Armand Assante), Captain Doreen Lewis (Eileen Brennan), Teddy Benjamin (Sam Wanamaker), Colonel Clay Thornbush (Robert Webber), Harriet Benjamin (Barbara Barrie), Aunt Kissy (Gretchen Wyler), Sergeant First Class Jim Ballard (Harry Dean Stanton) and as Private/Second Lieutenant Mary Lou Glass (Mary K. Place).
Mississippi Masala 1991 (Mira Nair):
This story speaks of two people in love from different parts of the world. They are thrown into each other’s lives by fate. Mina and Demetrius were unconcerned about people and believed they were meant to meet and build a life together with one another. However, society’s prejudices felt differently. People, although uninvolved, though they had the right to force their beliefs on the young couple. They faced isolation and financial oppression simply because they were not of the same skin tone.
Presenting this intense story is a cast of talented actors, many familiar to audiences: Demetrius Williams (Denzel Washington), Mina (Roshan Seth), Mina/young (Sahira Nair), Williben Williams (Joe Seneca), Tyrone Williams (Charles Dutton), Kinnu (Sharmila Tagore), Jay (Roshan Seth), Idi Amin (Joseph Olita), Anil (Ranjit Chowdhry), Dexter Williams (Tico Wells), Pontiac (Mohan Gokhale), Aunt Rose (Yvette Hawkins), Kanti Napkin (Mohan Agashe), and a host of other players.
Smokey and the Bandit 1977 (Hal Needham):
The Mississippi River’s interesting mention in “Smokey and the Bandit” is all about the love of ‘Coors Beer” This famous brand was once not so legal East of the Mississippi River. Yep, some you might say were bootlegging Coors Beer. The script was written by Hal Needham (Hollywood stuntman) and so was born, “Smokey and the Bandit.” The characters were brought to life by great acting, such as the infamous “Jackie Gleason (Sheriff Buford T. Justice), Burt Reynolds (Bandit), Sally Fields (Frog), Jerry Reed (Cletus “Snowman” Snow), Mike Henry (Junior Justice),
Mississippi Grind 2015 (Anna Boden/Ryan Fleck)
This film steps into the shoes of two average guys out to change their luck. These two characters drink and gamble their way from one end of the Mississippi to the next in an attempt to change their position in life and to pay off a not so happy loan shark. Eventually, they win big after a lot of losses. One partner leaves and the other plays a gambling disk in his car, but do they stop gambling?
This feature stars: Curtis Vaughn (Ryan Reynolds), Simone (Sienna Miller), Gerry (Ben Mendelsohn), Sam (Alfred Woodard), Vanessa (Analeigh Tipton), Clifford (Jayson Warner Smith), Kate (Jane McNeill), Tony Roundtree (James Toback), Dora (Indigo), Cherry (Marshall Chapman), Dorothy (Robin Weigert), and Chuck (Jason Shaffette).
The Mississippi River used for food, transportation, and creating lifestyles is also used to feed and transport people’s minds by referencing its existence with events related to its boundaries.
Janice is born and raised at Wisconsin. Her love for memory keeping through camera developed her love for filmmaking. Currently, she is an advisor for new directors but still do some filmmaking on her own.