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Memphis in the Movies

Memphis is famous for its world renowned music scene, with the city called home by some of the biggest stars the industry has seen. With that said however, Memphis has sparked the interest and imagination of many filmmakers over the years who have drawn on the city’s history, charm and unique settings for filming (prior to Covid-19 restrictions).
Whilst travel and filmmaking has been placed on hold for now, below we have compiled a list of some of the best motion pictures that have been inspired by locals or featured scenes filmed across the city of Memphis, in order to inspire those at home.
  • Walk The Line (2005) – this fantastic biopic tells the story of the life of legendary musician Johnny Cash, who played his first professional performance at the Galloway Church in Memphis – the site where a bronze statue now stands of Cash in honour or his memory. Staring celebrity A-listers including Reece Witherspoon, Joaquin Phoenix, and Memphis local Gennifer Goodwin, the movie highlights elements of Memphis’ music history with scenes throughout the film shot at Sun Studio, The Orpheum Theatre and the South Main Neighbourhood.
  • Hustle & Flow (2005) – another film with a major Memphis influence is Hustle & Flow, which was written and directed by Memphis local Craig Brewer. The movie tells the story of a loveable pimp-turned rapper, and is set and filmed in Memphis itself. The film features music recorded by renowned local rappers, and the movies feature song “It’s Hard Out Here For A Pimp,” written by Memphis-based hip-hop group Three 6 Mafia, went on to win an Academy Award for Best Original Song.
  • Cast Away (2000) – Actor Tom Hanks has starred in many leading movies and roles, with Cast Away being no exception. The iconic movie was primarily filmed on a deserted island, however Hanks’ character is actually shown to live in Memphis. FedEx also allowed filming at its international sorting hub located in the southern city, which is situated in close proximity to the Memphis International Airport.
  • The Firm (1993) – The 1993 film is based on John Grisham’s novel, and stars Tom Cruise, Holly Hunter and Jeanne Tripplehorn. The Firm is an American southern thriller, and tells the story of a young lawyer who is lured in by a hotshot law firm and quickly lands himself in hot water. John Grisham found Memphis to be the perfect setting for the movie version of The Firm, with scenes in the film featuring Tom Cruise racing past famous downtown sights such as the Cotton Exchange, the Peabody Hotel and Mud Island.
  • 21 Grams (2003) – this movie is for hardcore Memphis fans only, with the crime film telling the story of a fatal accident that brings three unlikely people together. Featuring names such as Sean Penn and Naomi Watts, the movie portrays scenes shot in Central Gardens in Midtown, the Arcade Restaurant which is Memphis’ oldest restaurant, and the city’s popular watering hole Earnestine & Hazel’s.
Whilst we may not be able to visit Memphis right now and re-live our favourite movie scenes, these films are sure to leave those at home feeling inspired to visit once the time is right to travel again.
For further information and to explore all that Memphis has to offer, please visit:

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