New England in Feature Films

Karan Sheldon
Co-Founder, Northeast Historic Film  


From the early days of projected motion pictures, representations of New England appeared on screens wherever movies were seen. Despite limited literature defining and analyzing "New England film," there are recognizable character types, situations, and uses of landscape rooted in the region's literature, traditions of nineteenth-century stage melodrama, and now a century of film conventions.

While similar thematic constructs may be found in other regional bodies of film, those cited here are central to perceptions of New England. Five themes serve to organize discussion of New England in feature films:

  • Development of Yankee Characters
  • Smalltown Life Contrasted with City Values
  • Seafaring Tales
  • Family Secrets
  • Haunted New England


A New England Feature Filmography can be found at the end of this essay.

Literary Sources

Nineteenth-century stage traditions and literature from Nathaniel Hawthorne to Carolyn Chute has served as sources for film narrative. Films draw heavily on the regional literary tradition; once a title proves commercially successful it may be remade many times, emphasizing and reinterpreting New England characteristics and landscape.

The Scarlet Letter, first produced by Kalem Pictures in 1909, was remade in 1917, 1926, 1934, and 1995 with Demi Moore as Hester Prynne, and had at least three television productions in the intervening years including one produced by WGBH in 1979.

The novels of Kate Douglas Wiggin and Louisa May Alcott are perennial favorites for film treatments, resulting in an emphasis on wholesome women in New England settings. Katharine Hepburn's appearance in Little Women (1933), directed by George Cukor, established her androgynous independent character with the protest, "I loathe elegant society." Hepburn's voice and posture may be the most widely-known representation of New England female, encompassing roles from ingenue Jo March to heroine addict Mary Tyrone.

Other films with literary sources include Edith Wharton's Ethan Frome (1993), and Henry James's The Bostonians (1984). Contemporary literature has been the source for a number of films, including The Cider House Rules (1999) from John Irving's novel, and Carolyn Chute's The Beans of Egypt, Maine (1994), released on videotape as Forbidden Choices.

Film Yankees: Rustic Sages & Other Characters

Stage melodramas fostered a character -- a Yankee rube often called "Uncle Josh" -- and a situation -- the city's siren call to country folks -- both present in many New England films.

An early surviving example of the Yankee rube in film is Uncle Josh at the Moving Picture Show (1902), in which a naive farmer as moviegoer tries to interact with the projected entertainment.

The Old Homestead (1915) was produced by Famous Players from Denman Thompson's long-running play nineteenth-century play about Joshua Whitcomb, set in West Swanzey, New Hampshire, and New York City. The film pits the civility and safety of the old homestead against hazards of city life such as gangs and strong drink.

Radio personality Phillips Lord developed the male Yankee rustic character with the preacher Seth Parker in Way Back Home (1931), a film packed with references to Way Down East (1920), including a barn dance and a fallen woman redeemed.

Many theatrical films with New England themes helped solidify notions of "Yankeeness" to a broad audience. Hayseed men ranged from squire to bumpkin -- Man With a Plan (1995) brings this role into the present. Women's roles encompassed the town gossip, comically portrayed by Vivia Ogden in Way Down East, along with the stalwart farm mother, and the wronged virgin, Lillian Gish.

The male Yankee figure was often a figure of fun, someone to whom the viewer could feel superior -- at least in practice of city ways. The rustic sage also delivered homespun truths which might otherwise be considered out of fashion. In the first half of the century, the shorthand for expressing the peculiarities of a region excluded many complications of regional heritage. Films for the most part avoided New England's urban communities and varied ancestral origins.

While Hollywood films seldom portrayed New England's French Canadian culture, or the region's American Indians, in the latter half of the century there has been a broadening in the definition of screen New Englander. In the independent feature set in 1927 rural Vermont, Where the Rivers Flow North (1992), the leading female role is played by Tantoo Cardinal, an American Indian.

There have been films with Jewish, Italian, Portuguese, and African American main characters, and more than a few with Irish protagonists. Mermaids (1990) stars Cher and Bob Hoskins as Jews in a coastal Massachusetts town. The character delineations in the comedy allow explorations of religious and cultural differences. Cher's older daughter has an affinity for Catholicism, promoted by their proximity to a convent, and tested by her attraction to the Italian Catholic handyman. Mermaids plays with nationally-recognized iconography born of New England origins. Rural Massachusetts in 1963 is conveyed through a variety of textual means: a Coronet classroom instructional film on the first Thanksgiving; the Kennedy assassination in television footage and a tableau vivant of the town as people stop to absorb the news; the young handyman's recollection of his mother's death, "I didn't care about anything any more, not even the Red Sox." Cher reads Peyton Place in the bathtub and must later decide whether to stay in the small town, given their own Peyton Place circumstances, lamenting, "There's going to be so much talk."

 

The Inkwell (1994), directed by Matty Rich, is a coming-of-age film set in the African American summer community on Martha's Vineyard. Same Difference (1999) by Don Mays was made in Providence and concerns gang violence and AIDS among people of color. The Portuguese fisherman played by Spencer Tracy in Captains Courageous (1937), the Portuguese-American families in Mystic, Connecticut, in Mystic Pizza (1988), and Ali MacGraw's Italian character in Love Story (1970) are among the other New England film roles representing people with ancestry other than British. The Last Hurrah (1958), directed by John Ford and starring Spencer Tracy, broadly sketched urban Boston Irish and other immigrant groups in a political melodrama.

Depictions of a character's ancestry may be supported or undermined by casting. Spencer Tracy in Captains Courageous, Sophia Loren in Desire Under the Elms (1958), and Donald Woods as Stan Jankowski in As the Earth Turns (1934), from a Gladys Hasty Carroll novel about rural Yankee and Polish families, may all be described as dissonant portrayals. Other actors' failures to produce regional voice patterns undermines the New England audience's acceptance of character authenticity.

Small Town Life Contrasted with City Values

In early film, rural landscapes were used for a pragmatic reason: in the pre-feature era, before air conditioning made cities more bearable in the summer, major film companies including Vitagraph, Edison, and Lubin took working vacations in New England seaside towns and other resorts.

Even in the present-day, location shooting in New England is almost always done in the summer. Mel Gibson's The Man Without a Face (1993), Message in a Bottle (1999), Me, Myself and Irene (2000), and In the Bedroom (2000) are examples, as is Lindsay Anderson's The Whales of August (1987) with Bette Davis, Lillian Gish, and Ann Sothern. David Mamet's State and Main (2000) with Massachusetts location photography, spoofs what happens when Hollywood comes to Vermont. To the dismay of New England film commissions, Canada often stands in for the New England landscape, as in Dolores Claiborne (1995), Affliction (1997), and The Weight of Water (2000).

Directors employ production designers, set dressers, carpenters, costumers, cinematographers, and lighting directors to create New England under the constraints of period conventions and studio budget. The New England of the cinema screen presents a geography formed of real and constructed places -- wooden sets, paint on glass and lately, digital creations like Jumanji (1996), of streetscapes and vistas, most never visited by actors. Incidentally, Jumanji's shoe factory is a rare industrial setting; Whistle at Eaton Falls (1951), noted below, the comedy Other People's Money (1991), and the courtroom ecodrama A Civil Action (1998) also use New England factory settings.

Before virtually all production decamped to California in the teens and early twenties there were numerous locally based film companies. Rhode Island's Eastern Film Corporation, the commonwealth Photoplay Corporation in Massachusetts, Maine's Dirigo Pictures and Pine Tree Pictures are among dozens. These companies made many two-reel films and a few features, however little of their output survives.

Irving Berlin's White Christmas (1954) typifies Hollywood's representation of bucolic New England created, with no verisimilitude intended, entirely on a set. Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye put on a show at an inn in Pine Tree, Vermont. The housekeeper, a "Yankee gossip" character, says of the inn's proprietor, "He sunk everything -- his pension, his life savings -- into remodeling this place. Used to be a grist mill and a barn. Now it's a Tyrolean haunted house." Other New England musicals include Welcome Stranger (1947), with Bing Crosby as a singing doctor, and Henry King's Carousel (1956), shot in Camden, Maine.

The contrast between city and country life drives the storyline of many feature films. Exposition often includes the disappearance of a family member into the maws of a city, which is sometimes Boston, as in Way Down East, but more often New York. Theodora Goes Wild (1936) is a screwball comedy set in Lynnfield, Connecticut, with small-town moral strictures contrasted with decadent New York. The protagonist, played by Irene Dunne, is Theodora Lynn or Caroline Adams, depending on where she is and whom she's with. The film includes motifs representative of New England traditions on film, among them town gossip and scandal, outsider-phobia, the small-town newspaper, and the dilemma of an unmarried women with a child. Movie depictions of small-town mores are typified by Peyton Place (1957) from Grace Metalious' novel.

The Seventh Day (1921) begins at a New York City club and takes a yacht full of Prohibition-averse New Yorkers to a coastal Maine village where they encounter the local people's traditional ways, such as observing the Sabbath and dressing conservatively. Richard Barthelmess plays a sea captain as romantic lead in the role that followed his success in Way Down East.

A characteristic common among many later New England themed films is the idealization of isolated small-town life as a refuge from urban trouble. In HouseSitter (1992) Goldie Hawn says, "I just wanted to see what it would be like to live in that picture," to explain why she fled her job in Boston to try out life in a village with a town square and fireman's picnic breakfasts. Many of the films noted here -- a selection of New England representations -- begin with that "picture" of a steeple among hills.

Seafaring Tales

The salty sea captain, like the hick farmer, was a stock character from nineteenth-century melodrama. The Perfect Storm (2000) with George Clooney and crew didgreat box office as we entered this century. The Lighthouse by the Sea (1924), stars dog hero Rin-Tin-Tin foiling bootleggers off the coast of Maine. Down to the Sea in Ships (1922), The Coast Patrol (1925), Old Ironsides (1926), and The Yankee Clipper (1927) all take the Yankee, or Yankee ship, to sea. Captain Salvation (1927) concerns a seagoing seminary graduate, "a youth in a narrow little New England sea town," reported Variety. "The bigoted village turns against him when he befriends a fallen woman cast among them. He goes to sea to escape his disappointment." And so does she, but that's all you'll find out here.

There are a number of representations of people of color in motion pictures about the sea. Perhaps the most familiar is Queequeg. Moby Dick made the screen in 1956 with Gregory Peck as Ahab, directed by John Huston; in the film, Queequeg, Daggoo, and Tashtego, the harpooneers, are visually and functionally essential as the trio of Isolatoes.

Warner Bros. had already made the story of Moby Dick twice within four years: The Sea Beast (1926) stars John Barrymore as Captain Ahab -- with added romance. According to the American Film Institute Catalog of Motion Pictures summary, "Ahab returns to New Bedford and, his obsession gone, settles down with Esther," a minister's beautiful daughter. The 1930 Warner Brothers Moby Dick also starred John Barrymore, but lacked an Esther. This Vitaphone sound film was produced in a German-language version, too. Jaws (1975) is the most successful sea-creature descendant, with its own remakes.

Shadows (1922) has an Asian character prevailing over an evil Yankee. When a New England captain is lost at sea, his wife, Sympathy, marries the young minister. Lon Chaney plays the couple's Chinese friend, Yen Sin, whose advantageous connection with another Chinese launderer allows him to reveal the duplicity of the minister's jealous Yankee rival, Nate Snow.

Family Secrets

In the arena of family pain, New England has high standing: The Ice Storm (1997), Ang Lee's drama set in urban Connecticut in the 1970s, inhabited the lives and geography of the place.

Eugene O'Neill's plays translated to film are linchpins in the definition of screen New England, and have stimulated some of the few scholarly works on New England film and literature, including dissertations by Cutler (1977) and Orlandello (1976). Long Day's Journey Into Night (1962) with Katharine Hepburn, Ralph Richardson, Jason Robards, Jr., and Dean Stockwell, was directed by Sidney Lumet. A dysfunctional nineteenth-century rural family appears in Desire Under the Elms (1958), from another Eugene O'Neill play. The comic side of family life in rural New England appears in Ah, Wilderness (1935), an O'Neill play set in 1906. The film stars Wallace Beery and Lionel Barrymore. Strange Interlude (1932) is a family melodrama with Norma Shearer and Clark Gable.

Dolores Claiborne (1995), a suspense drama directed by Taylor Hackford, is thick with New England themes including an isolated setting on a Maine island, class conflict, family secrets, city-country contrast, a monochromatic present and an intensely polychromatic if traumatic past. The film is carried by strong women: "Sometimes being a bitch is the only thing a woman has to hold on to," is spoken by Kathy Bates as hardy survivor and by Judy Parfitt as upper-class crone.

Reversal of Fortune (1990) portrays poisoned family life in Newport, Rhode Island, starring Jeremy Irons and Glenn Close as Claus and Sunny Von Bulow. Our Town (1940), Grovers Corners, probably the best-known fictional New England town, from Thornton Wilder's play, was also seen in several television productions including a 1955 version with Frank Sinatra as a singing narrator.

Haunted New England

The imagined heritage of Salem in The Crucible (1996), in I Married a Witch (1942), directed by Rene Clair with Fredric March and Veronica Lake, and Maid of Salem (1937) with Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray, gives regional roots to manifestations of the supernatural and mass psychology. The geographical presence of Stephen King, a mighty force in entertainment today, lends energy to Gothic New England.

Mother Carey's Chickens (1938), from Kate Douglas Wiggin's 1911 novel, is set in a Newport mansion. The film was remade by Disney as Summer Magic (1963), starring Hayley Mills, and has a slew of descendants including Pet Sematary (1989) and Casper (1995). "Haunted houses aren't easy to come by," is the theme of Beetlejuice (1988), a film that takes place in a house whose value as real-estate is contested by the protagonists, Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis, as house-haunters in conflict with a family from New York. The comedy uses the trendy new owner, Catherine O'Hara, to deflate country life, "I can't believe we're eating Cantonese. Is there no Szechuan up here?" She prepares a dinner for "The few hip people I can get to set foot in this part of Connecticut." Her urban interior designer, horrified by the house's hick decor, wails, "Deliver me from L.L. Bean!"

The Faust story gets a workout in a number of films, from The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941) to The Witches of Eastwick (1987). The latter, from a book by John Updike, begins with the establishing shot of New England green and church. The enormous house of the devil is dominated by Jack Nicholson as Daryl Van Horne, conjured up by three women -- blonde, red- and dark-haired, their superficial ethnic differentiation overshadowed by Hollywood glamour -- in an exchange of souls for thrills. Uncle Josh in a Spooky Hotel (1900) may be the grandaddy of these films, putting the rube in the haunted house.

Landscape: North Woods & College Greens

North Woods dramas were once a popular sub-genre of adventure film. In the teens and twenties, loggers, timber barons, hunters, guides, French-Canadian trappers, and Mounties populated "snow pictures" set in a mythic North that conflated northern New England with Canada (especially the Yukon) and Alaska. A number of these films featured heroic female stars shooting, riding, and river-driving. One of these is the lumber-country melodrama The Conflict (1921). Both the comedy A New Leaf (1971), directed by Elaine May, and the strange horror film Prophecy (1979), directed by John Frankenheimer, are mutations of the North Woods genre.

The Paper Chase (1973), Good Will Hunting (1997), and Love Story (1970) were world-wide carriers of Ivy League mythology; Harvard graduate Alek Keshishian made a campus drama, With Honors (1994). A New England college is the setting for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), directed by Mike Nichols, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Carnal Knowledge (1971) includes a collegiate setting and was partially shot on location in New England. Male prep schools were the setting for School Ties (1992), A Separate Peace (1972), and Dead Poets Society (1989).

New England Settings, Characters & Issues

A few feature films by important directors deserve study regarding conventions of setting, character, and social issues closely tied to New England. Alfred Hitchcock's dry comedy The Trouble with Harry (1955) is set in a tiny Vermont village populated with natives along with new residents who are glad to have escaped the city. Sam Marlowe, played by John Forsythe, puts down Fifth Avenue's "little people with hats on." A line spoken by Mildred Natwick about her husband's demise, "He was caught in a threshing machine," is delivered for a laugh, capturing a strange sense of violence in rural life.



Orson Welles' The Stranger (1946) establishes a Nazi in a Connecticut town. New Hampshire resident Louis de Rochemont was responsible for a didactic feature film about labor issues in a New Hampshire mill, Whistle at Eaton Falls (1951), one of the few feature films to represent industrial New England. He also produced Lost Boundaries (1949), directed by Alfred L. Werker, a film about a black family facing racial bigotry in a small New England town. And Oscar Micheaux' Within Our Gates (1919) portrays professional class African Americans in Boston.

An understanding of New England in film may be enriched by delving into the themes touched on here, or by following other aspects of New England representation, some more serious than others. One might examine the actor Troy Donahue's roles in Parrish (1961), set on a Connecticut tobacco farm, and in A Summer Place (1959), on a Maine island, both directed by Delmer Daves. Or one might follow Cold War family films from patriotism to eco-worship through Walt Disney Productions' Johnny Tremain (1957) and Those Calloways (1965) -- about Canada goose rescue by a Micmac Indian-raised Irish protagonist. The interpretation of Eugene O'Neill will never be exhausted, offering small-town settings, repercussions of nineteenth-century melodrama, and the definition of self within the family. And one might wish to examine the late twentieth century drive to explore urban New England in films such as Monument Ave. also known as Snitch (1998), Southie (1998), and Outside Providence (1999) side by side with screen characterizations of our region's smaller communities, Jay Craven's A Stranger in the Kingdom (1997) and Frederick Wiseman's documentary, Belfast, Maine (1999).

© 2001 Karan Sheldon

New England Feature Filmography

An initial list of feature films with New England related themes or locations. Comments and suggestions are most welcome.

* The Actress, 1953
* Affliction, 1997
* Ah, Wilderness, 1935
* Alice's Restaurant, 1969
* All That Heaven Allows, 1955
* All That Money Can Buy, 1941
* All the Brothers Were Valiant, 1953
* All the Rage, 1998
* America, 1924
* American Buffalo, 1996
* And Now Tomorrow, 1944
* As the Earth Turns, 1934
* Autumn Heart, 1998
* Baby Boom, 1987
* Back to the Woods, 1918
* Backbone, 1923
* Battling Jane, 1918
* Banjo, 1947
* The Beans of Egypt Maine, 1994
* Bed and Breakfast, 1992
* Beetlejuice, 1988
* Before and After, 1996
* Behind the Door, 1919
* Behind Masks, 1921
* Belfast, Maine, 1999
* Below the Surface, 1920
* Between the Lines, 1977
* Biography of a Bachelor Girl, 1935
* The Blinking Madonna, 1995
* Blown Away, 1994
* Blueprint for Robbery, 1961
* Boomerang, 1947
* The Boston Strangler, 1968
* The Bostonians, 1984
* The Bride Goes Wild, 1948
* Bringing Up Baby, 1938
* The Brinks Job, 1978
* Brown of Harvard, 1918, 1926
* Cappy Ricks, 1921
* Captain January, 1924, 1936
* Captain Salvation, 1927
* Captains Courageous, 1937
* Carnal Knowledge, 1971
* Carousel, 1956
* Casper, 1995
* Celtic Pride, 1996
* Charlotte's Web, 1973
* Charly, 1968
* Christmas in Connecticut, 1945
* The Cider House Rules, 1999
* The City of the Dead, 1960
* A Civil Action, 1998
* The Coast Patrol, 1925
* Coma, 1978
* Come to the Stable,1949
* The Come-back, 1916
* The Conflict, 1921
* The Courtship of Miles Standish, 1923
* Crash Dive, 1943
* Creepshow 2, 1987
* The Crucible, 1996
* Dark Victory, 1939
* A Daughter of the Sea, 1915
* David Harum, 1934
* Dead Men Tell No Tales, 1920
* Dead Poets Society, 1989
* Dealing, or The Berkeley-to-Boston Forty-Brick Lost-Bag-Blues, 1972
* Deep Waters, 1947
* A Delicate Balance, 1973
* Desire Under the Elms, 1958
* The Devil and Daniel Webster, 1941
* Doctor Bull, 1933
* Dolores Claiborne, 1995
* Down to the Sea in Ships, 1922
* Eadie Was a Lady, 1945
* Ethan Frome, 1993
* Ever in My Heart, 1933
* The Face in the Sky, 1933
* Fear Strikes Out, 1957
* Federal Hill, 1995
* Feed, 1992
* Firm, The, 1993
* Flames of the Flesh, 1920
* The Flaming Sword, 1915
* Floating, 1997
* Follow the Band, 1943
* The Friends of Eddie Coyle, 1973
* Funny Farm, 1988
* The Gazebo, 1959
* Get Going, 1943
* Get Hep to Love, 1942
* Getting Mary Married, 1919
* Girl Loves Boy, 1937
* The Good Mother, 1988
* The Good Son, 1993
* Good Will Hunting, 1997
* Graveyard Shift, 1990
* The Great John L., 1945
* The Great Moment, 1944
* H.M. Pulham, Esq., 1941
* The Haunting, 1963
* Head Above Water, 1996
* Hearts of Oak, 1924
* Here Comes the Groom, 1951
* Holiday Inn, 1942
* Home Before Dark, 1958, 1996
* The Hotel New Hampshire, 1984
* The House of the Seven Gables, 1910, 1940
* HouseSitter, 1992
* Huddle, 1932
* Hush, 1921
* I am the Cheese, 1983
* I Married a Witch, 1942
* Ice Capades Revue, 1942
* The Ice Storm, 1997
* Icebound, 1924
* In the Bedroom, 2001
* The Imported Bridegroom, 1989
* In Dreams, 1998
* The Inkwell, 1994
* The Inside Story, 1947
* The Iron Giant, 1999
* It Happened to Jane, 1959
* Jacqueline, or Blazing Barriers, 1922
* Janice Meredith, 1924
* Jaws, 1975
* Jazz on a Summer's Day, 1959
* Joe & Joe, 1996
* Johnny Tremain, 1957
* The Judge Steps Out, 1949
* Jumanji, 1996
* Key to the City, 1950
* A Kiss in Time, 1921
* The Last Hurrah, 1958
* The Late George Apley, 1947
* Leave Her to Heaven, 1945
* The Liar, 1918
* The Lighthouse by the Sea, 1924
* Little Men, 1934, 1940, 1997
* Little Women, 1919, 1933, 1949, 1994
* Lonesome Corners, 1922
* Long Day's Journey Into Night, 1962
* Lost Boundaries, 1949
* The Love Nest, 1922
* Love Story, 1970
* Lydia, 1941
* Maid of Salem, 1937
* Make a Wish, 1937
* Malice, 1993
* The Man in the Net, 1959
* Man With a Plan, 1995
* The Man Without a Face, 1993
* Marriage is a Private Affair, 1944
* The Matchmaker, 1997
* Mermaids, 1990
* Message in a Bottle, 1999
* A Midwife's Tale, 1994
* The Miracle Man, 1919, 1932
* Mission Hill, 1982
* Moby Dick, 1930, 1956
* Moonlight in Vermont, 1943
* Mother Carey's Chickens, 1938
* Mourning Becomes Electra, 1947
* Mr. and Mrs. North, 1942
* Mr. North, 1988
* Mrs. Winterbourne, 1996
* My Kingdom for a Cook, 1943
* Mystery Street, 1950
* Mystic Pizza, 1988
* Mystic River, 2003
* The Myth of Fingerprints, 1997
* The Nature Man, 1915
* Never Met Picasso, 1996
* A New Leaf, 1971
* Next Stop, Wonderland, 1998
* The North End, 1998
* The Offenders, 1924
* An Old-Fashioned Girl, 1948
* The Old Homestead, 1915, 1922, 1942
* Oleanna, 1994
* On Golden Pond, 1981
* One Crazy Summer, 1986
* One Man's Journey, 1933
* Other People's Money, 1991
* Our Hearts Were Growing Up, 1946
* Our Town, 1940
* Outside Providence, 1999
* The Paper Chase, 1973
* The Parent Trap, 1961, 1998
* Parrish, 1961
* The Pearl of Love, 1925
* The Perfect Storm, 2000
* Pet Sematary, 1989
* Pete's Dragon, 1977
* Peyton Place, 1957
* Pied Piper Malone, 1924
* Portrait of Jennie, 1948
* Practical Magic, 1996
* The President's Mystery, 1936
* Pretty Poison, 1968
* The Price of Success, 1925
* Private Affairs, 1940
* Private Number, 1936
* Prophecy, 1979
* Puritan Passions, 1923
* Queen of the Sea, 1918
* Quincy Adams Sawyer, 1912, 1922
* Rachel, Rachel, 1968
* The Raid, 1954
* Ready for Love, 1934
* Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, 1917, 1932, 1938,
* Reckless, 1995
* The Ref, 1994
* The Reincarnation of Peter Proud, 1975
* The Resurrected, 1992
* Return of the Secaucus Seven, 1980
* Reversal of Fortune, 1990
* Revolution, 1985
* Rich and Famous, 1981
* Riddle: The Woman, 1920
* The Rider of the King Log, 1921
* Route One/USA, 1989
* The Russians are Coming! The Russians are Coming! 1966
* Ruthless, 1948
* The Sainted Sisters, 1948
* Same Difference, 1999
* The Scarlet Letter, 1917, 1926, 1934, 1995
* Scattergood [Series], 1941
* Scenes from a Mall, 1991
* School Ties, 1992
* Sci-fighters, 1996
* The Sea Beast, 1926
* Second Sight, 1989
* A Separate Peace, 1972
* The Seventh Day, 1922
* Shadows, 1922
* The Shocking Miss Pilgrim, 1947
* The Shuttered Room, 1967
* Signs of Life, 1989
* Simon Birch, 1998
* The Singing Kid, 1936
* Six Bridges to Cross, 1955
* The Skulls, 2000
* A Small Circle of Friends, 1980
* Small Town Girl, 1936
* Snitch, 1998
* Song of Surrender, 1948
* Southie, 1998
* The Spitfire Grill, 1996
* Splash,1984
* Squanto: A Warrior's Tale, 1994
* Squeeze, 1996
* State and Main, 2000
* Stella Dallas, 1925, 1937
* The Stepford Wives, 1975
* A Stolen Life, 1946
* The Story of Alexander Graham Bell, 1939
* The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry, 1945
* Strange Interlude, 1932
* Strange Woman, The, 1946
* A Stranger in the Kingdom, 1997
* The Stranger, 1946
* Summer Holiday, 1948
* Summer Magic, 1963
* A Summer Place, 1959
* Summer Stock, 1950
* Sunrise at Campobello, 1960
* The Swimmer, 1968
* Tarnished, 1950
* That Certain Age, 1938
* That Darn Cat, 1997
* That's My Boy, 1932
* Theodora Goes Wild, 1936
* The Thomas Crown Affair, 1968
* Those Calloways, 1965
* The Time of Their Lives, 1946
* Time Out of Mind, 1947
* Timothy's Quest, 1921, 1936
* Titicut Follies, 1967
* To Die For, 1995
* To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday, 1996
* Together Again, 1944
* Too Young to Kiss, 1951
* The Trail of the Law, 1924
* The Trouble With Harry, 1955
* Two Sisters from Boston, 1946
* Uncle Tom's Cabin, 1918
* The Unseen, 1945
* The Verdict, 1982
* Vermont is for Lovers, 1992
* A Vermont Romance, 1916
* Voice of the Whistler, 1945
* A Wake in Providence, 1999
* Walk East on Beacon, 1952
* Warlock, 1989
* Way Back Home, 1931
* Way Down East, 1920, 1935
* The Weight of Water, 2000
* Welcome Stranger, 1947
* The Whales of August, 1987
* What About Bob? 1991
* What Lies Beneath, 2000
* Where are the Children, 1986
* Where the Rivers Flow North, 1992
* Whispering Winds, 1929
* Whistle at Eaton Falls, 1951
* White Christmas, 1954
* Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, 1966
* Winter Carnival, 1939
* The Witches of Eastwick, 1987
* With Honors, 1994
* Within Our Gates, 1919
* The Wizard of Loneliness,1988
* The Woman,1915
* The Working Man, 1933
* Wreck of the Hesperus, 1948
* The Yankee Clipper, 1927
* The Yankee Way, 1917
* Young People, 1940
* Young Romance, 1915

Thanks to these contributors: AFI Catalogs, Margie Compton, Philip Carli, Paul Frobose, Jan-Christopher Horak, Rob Edelman, Kathryn Fuller, Saul Fussiner, Eithne Johnson, Audrey Kupferberg, John Lowe, Mac McKinley, BJ Roche, Donna Ross, Eric Schaefer, John Skillin.