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Written by Abstract Samm

Savannah is one of those cities that is not just recognized for its historic charm, even though that is one of the major selling points. Along with a thorough job done preserving the historic district of Savannah, this place is also home to artists and mixed media creators from all backgrounds. Fused with a quirky, fun and totally chic side, history presents itself with a flair that is truly unmatched by any other location. Maybe that is why Georgia (Savannah specifically) has been a popular film setting since long before the early 90’s.

Zombies, male strippers, talking dogs and even cartoon sponges have graced the streets of Savannah in some way or the next and we here at Savannah Sip N’ Cycle are hyped to tell you all about it. While this list is not all inclusive and completely open to changes as they come, everyone who has spent time in the city has their own opinions and memories about filming in Savannah. Don’t forget to ask your tour guide (or pedicab driver) if they’ve ever been affected by filming and what celebrities they’ve had the chance to speak with. Sometimes, you’d be shocked to hear what they have experienced as locals. Sometimes entire blocks will be closed to the public for weeks at a time!

From Forrest Gump to Magic Mike and back again, film makers seem to find the sweet spot for all genres of creative recordings and we’ve compiled a list of some fan favorites.

The Longest Yard (1974)

 ? 79%
Featuring Burt Reynolds, who starred in six different movies that were filmed in Georgia alone, The Longest Yard has to be one of the most classic football related movies of all time. The best part for us locals is that the story features an epic car chase clearly rolling through Forsyth Park. With the most dramatic and aesthetically pleasing drift possible taking place alongside the infamous fountain, everyone is sure to enjoy that classic scene.

Return Of The Swamp Thing (1989)

 ? 44%
Try as we all might, forgetting the 1982 original,The Swamp Thing is nearly impossible once you’ve seen it. Unlike it’s predecessor, directed by Wes Craven and filmed primarily in Charleston South Carolina, Return Of The Swamp Thing was shot right here in Savannah. Known for having a playful vibe, this sequel seems to poke fun at itself and should have a place in any horror film collection. Every classic element of a good b-rate sci-fi/horror flick makes the entire experience feel so 80’s and many of the movie’s scenes were shot on Oakland Island, where you can still visit and photograph the locations. You might be surprised to see just how much of the original location would still sit well as the backdrop for a slasher flick.

Glory (1989)

 ? 93%
“Boston” has never looked so charming as it did when Denzel Washington and Matthew Broderick took to the streets (Bull and River, that is) for the US Army based production of Glory, set in the Civil War era. Without having to search for Savannah as the backdrop to far more than a few scenes, you’d be hard pressed to miss the historic district throughout the whole movie. Though the tale was portrayed to be from the locations of Massachusetts and South Carolina, every bit was actually shot here in Savannah and in the surrounding coastal areas. Jones Street, the Mercer-Williams House (yes, that Mercer-Williams House) and River Street are just a couple of regular haunts showcased. Along with being one of the classics, those who call the city “home” will get a kick out of a nostalgic (and lightly edited) views of Savannah.

Forrest Gump (1994)

 ? 71%
Easily regarded as Savannah’s most notorious claim to fame, Forrest Gump still brings in fans from all over to stand in Chippewa Square to contemplate life and chocolates. While the actual bench is no longer featured in Chippewa Square, hard core fans can still go have a visit with it in the Savannah History Museum on Martin Luther King, Jr Boulevard. Tourists love asking their guides about Gump and its relation to the area because everyone has something interesting to say when prompted! #AskAndYouShallReceive

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997)

 ? 49%
Written originally by Jon Berendt and made famous by Clint Eastwood, the nonfiction story set in Savannah was filmed here as well. Focus placed on Bonaventure and featuring legendary shots of the Mercer-Williams house, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil showcases the Gothic look of this area, especially in the cemetery. Look for other spots like Forsyth Park and the Tomochichi federal building in this adaptation of the story. If you’re the photographer type and want to catch a classic photo, the Bird Girl statue has since made its home in the Telfair Museum’s Telfair Academy and is still on display.

X-Men: First Class (2011)

 ? 86%
Though you may not recognize the area while watching the movie, Jekyll island is actually featured in X-Men: First Class. After planting more palm trees and dressing up the area to appear more “tropical” in the shots, scenes were filmed on Jekyll instead of Tybee (where the producers originally planned to shoot).

The Last Song (2010)

 ? 21%
Miley Cyrus made waves in the Tybee area back in 2010 when filming her movie The Last Song, based on the same name book by Nicholas Sparks. This coming of age production stars Miley Cyrus and her now husband Liam Hemsworth as teens going through the dramas of falling in love. Unlike the other movies on this list, the entire plot is not just filmed on Tybee but set in the Savannah area as well. Be sure to look out for the Tybee pier, during the bonfire scene, you absolutely couldn’t miss it if you tried.

Abraham Lincoln Vs. Zombies (2012)

 ? ?
Fort Pulaski has been a staple of Savannah’s history since before the Civil War. Along with being a popular tour location for schools, tourists and even the occasional recurring local, this site has housed its fair share of photographers and filmmakers. Abraham Lincoln Vs. Zombies is a parody flick but worth a watch for those wanting to see Fort Pulaski being attacked by a raging hoard of the undead and just how Lincoln decides to handle that situation. Though it is a low budget film, there is a surprising amount of historical accuracy throughout.

The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water (2015)

 ? 81%
Anyone who lived here during filming of this sequel to The Spongebob Movie would have a hard time trying to forget how Broughton Street was made to look like the beachy city known as Salty Shoals at the time of production. For a short time, Broughton was closed to visitors and open to the members of Bikini Bottom.

Tybee residents may recognize the island serving as a backdrop immediately upon first view of the theatrical trailer. Those who were around during production may even remember the giant pirate ship that parked downtown for a while while the movie was being made. This live action cartoon hybrid was a project suited for the area, a fluid combination of old and new, just like Savannah overall.

Magic Mike XXL (2015)

 ? 65%
Channing Tatum was the name of 2015 when referencing the top pretty boys of that era and the Magic Mike trend was one that took hold of social media pretty hard. For a while there, you couldn’t escape memes and posts of male strippers clipped straight from both films. Though half of this one was filmed in South Carolina, there is definitely no missing where Savannah played a huge part in location selection. The Savannah Gentleman’s Club got some attention with its role as Mad Mary’s and Tybee island was once again showcased. From the very opening scene of the trailer, the island is easily noticed as Tatum sits on the bench.

Baywatch (2017)

 ? 17%
Channing Tatum was the name of 2015 when referencing the top pretty boys of that era and the Magic Mike trend was one that took hold of social media pretty hard. For a while there, you couldn’t escape memes and posts of male strippers clipped straight from both films. Though half of this one was filmed in South Carolina, there is definitely no missing where Savannah played a huge part in location selection. The Savannah Gentleman’s Club got some attention with its role as Mad Mary’s and Tybee island was once again showcased. From the very opening scene of the trailer, the island is easily noticed as Tatum sits on the bench.

Lady and the Tramp (2019)

 ? 66%
Creators from every background tend to love being in Savannah because we have so many spots that just haven’t changed much in the last 100 years or so. Because the live action adaptation of Lady and the Tramp was set to be during the holiday season in the year 1909, there was no question to why this Historic District was chosen. Look out for Johnson and Wright Square along with the St. John Cathedral Baptist Church throughout. Savannah is a city of many hats and for this particular showing, the city posed as New Orleans, Louisiana in the time and all it took was a few more horse drawn carriages! You can even visit the Victorian style dream home at 219 E 31st street downtown to find that it is even more beautiful in person.

TV SHOWS

Alongside many movies, there have been a fair amount of TV episodes filmed right here as well. Being that Southeast Georgia is a hub for southern food and haunted beings, we the city have spent our share of time gracing television screens. Here is a short list of a few of our favorite Savannah based television shows:

Vintage Savannah (2016) HGTV

Just two episodes were made but they are worth a watch for the folks that want to see what makes up some of the houses in the Historic District. Another restoration show with a whole lot of Southern Charm, Vintage Savannah could have been a local favorite.

Southern Charm Savannah (2017)

Showcasing what makes the elite side of Savannah, the Southern Charm franchise made waves with a spinoff set right here. Full of the dramatics that make us so iconic as southerners, this extended series is virtually perfect.

Roots (2016)

96%
Using Savannah as a set depicting Africa, the TV remake of Roots was based on the original novel. Different in ways from the 1977 adaptation but still true to the original story, this rendition of a classic story is more than worth taking a look at.

Home for Dinner with Jamie Deen (2012)

We sure are proud to be so close to everyone’s favorite butter loving chef, the infamous Paula Deen. Featuring her son (and business partner) Jamie alongside the entire Deen crew, this Food Network series was filmed right on Tybee Island!

Conclusion

Round’ these here parts, we take a lot of pride in what comes out of our home towns and Savannah is sure proud of what we’ve done so far. This list does not even begin to tell the story of the city (and surrounding Georgia areas) and its involvement in media as a whole. From reality TV to documentaries and everything in between, Savannah has a historic aesthetic just just cannot be beat. Whether it be fireworks from across the river or a row of shops being dressed for a completely different time of year, there always seems to be something going on in the area so be sure to stay tuned to the Savannah Sip N’ Cycle blog to read up what’s going on and why!