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As Seen on the Big Screen–Beaufort County Edition

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As you walk along the pristine beaches of the Lowcountry, you can’t help but take a picture. With Spanish Moss hanging above your head, you pedal your beach cruiser along the winding pathways to the soundtrack of cicadas and bird song. The sun’s glow illuminating the historic homes and colorful buildings as it sets behind a peaceful marsh–now that’s the stuff of Hollywood, surely?

How can a region be so beautiful, so idyllic, so cinematic, even? Many a director and producer has had the same idea, making Beaufort County a much more popular place for filming than you might’ve thought.

Read on to learn about just a few of the major motion pictures that have hit the big screen, but started out being filmed in our corner of the world.

Filmed in Hilton Head Island, SC

Come Away Home, 2005

This family-friendly flick features the island’s very own, Gregg Russell, a musician and entertainer who’s known for his performances under the iconic Liberty Tree in Sea Pines’ Harbour Town. If you’re homesick for your home away from home, simply watch this movie since it was filmed on Hilton Head Island almost exclusively.

The storyline actually stems from the book, Come Away Home, written by Kat Shehata and Robert D. Slane.

Learn more on IMDb

Upcoming:

The Gregg Russell Story: If This Old Tree Could Talk, 2024

Head to Apple TV this summer to watch this movie showcasing Gregg Russell’s legacy as an entertainer on Hilton Head Island for the last forty-seven years. Special guests, Jim Nantz, Jay Demarcus, and Stan Smith, all share their stories about Russell.

More Information

Filmed in Beaufort, SC

Forrest Gump, 1994

This Oscar-winning movie featuring Tom Hanks is set partially in the small town of Greenbow, Alabama, and follows Forrest Gump on his travels throughout the United States and even to Vietnam. Fans of the film will recognize Chippewa Square in Downtown Savannah, Georgia, where Gump recounts his life story to various strangers. The exact bench he sits on was relocated to the Savannah History Museum.

Various locations in Beaufort County were used to help tell Gump’s tale, specifically Fripp Island, Hunting Island State Park, and the town of Beaufort. With the help of CGI, various waterways, bridges, buildings, and even a golf course were transformed.

Arguably the coolest fact? Stop by The Chocolate Tree in Downtown Beaufort to try some of the exact same chocolate used in Forrest’s box of chocolates during filming. You also have the opportunity to meet Forrest himself at the annual Beaufort Shrimp Festival every fall.

The Great Santini, 1979

Pat Conroy was a beloved American author who wrote classics based on many personal connections to Lowcountry locations like his alma mater, The Citadel, and where he taught on Daufuskie Island. His legacy continues in his books, the Pat Conroy Literary Festival in Beaufort, and the movies adapted from his writing.

Based on Conroy’s father, “The Great Santini” tells the story of a Marine Corps family who moves to Beaufort, South Carolina. All of the shots including the Meecham family’s home are of Tidalhom, a historic mansion on Laurens Street in Beaufort that was also used in the movie, The Big Chill, 1983.

The Prince of Tides, 1991

Starring Barbra Streisand and Nick Nolte, The Prince of Tides is also a screen adaptation of a best-selling novel by Pat Conroy. Various locations in the Lowcountry were used for filming, including Beaufort, St. Helena Island, and Fripp Island. That is, after director and co-producer, Streisand, was convinced to keep production in Beaufort County, after almost moving everything to Wilmington, NC. Film sets were constructed on sound stages in various buildings throughout Beaufort, and the Beaufort Naval Hospital even posed as a mental ward in New York. Both Nolte and Streisand rented houses in town to learn more about the area and work on their characters. Learn more about where this movie was filmed on Barbra Archives.

More Movies Filmed in Beaufort County

The Big Chill, 1983

Beaufort

G.I. Jane, 1997

Beaufort

The Fugitive, 1993

Beaufort

The Jungle Book, 1994

Beaufort, Fripp Island

Full Metal Jacket, 1987

Parris Island

Forces of Nature, 1999

Beaufort

Gone Fishin’, 1997

Beaufort, Jasper County

The Legend of Bagger Vance, 2000

Beaufort, Bluffton, Hilton Head

These are just a few movies filmed partially or entirely in Beaufort County. For a full list of every movie shot in the state of South Carolina, visit the South Carolina Information Highway’s website.

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