RI Film & Television Locations

According to the online film and television resource IMDb, more than two-hundred feature films, forty television series, and thirty television movies have been filmed in Rhode Island. The Rhode Island Film and Television Office counts sixty-two projects since 2005 alone. These numbers do not include film projects that include Rhode Island in its storyline like Reversal of Fortune (1990), and other projects that are not “filmed” like the animated television series Family Guy.

Why is Rhode Island so popular with filmmakers? Rhode Island is “The Ocean State.” Its miles of coastline with beaches, rocky shores, and secluded coves and inlets provide filmmakers like Wes Anderson, who shot Moonrise Kingdom in Jamestown in 2012, with settings that match their vision for their films. Rhode Island contains a vast collection of well-preserved historic architecture, from colonial buildings like the Newport Colony House used in Amistad (1997), to Gilded Age mansions like Marble House, where filming for 27 Dresses (2008) took place. Newport, famous for its Gilded Age allure, helps filmmakers to establish the wealth and glamour of its stars, like Robert Redford in The Great Gatsby (1973) and Grace Kelly in High Society (1956).

The Drunken Clam and Family Guy

Since 1999, MacFarlane has capitalized on Rhode Island’s quirks in his adult, animated sitcom Family Guy. Always irreverent, and often raunchy, the show is not for everyone. With more than 225 episodes and three primetime Emmys under its belt.…

Fort Wetherill State Park and Moonrise Kingdom

Redcoats are patrolling this fortified outcropping near Jamestown, when one sees a devil dog—black coat, with red eyes and fangs. The soldier takes such a fright that he dies two days later. Soon after, other British soldiers go insane from their…

The Newport Colony House and Amistad

Amistad is based on the 1839 story of Sierra Leone tribesmen, kidnapped as slaves, who staged a mutiny. The mutineers ordered the crew to return them to Africa, but the navigator instead sailed to New England. Importing slaves had been illegal since…

Rosecliff and The Great Gatsby

The film adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, directed by Jack Clayton, starred Robert Redford as the newly wealthy businessman Jay Gatsby trying to win the affection of his former love Daisy Buchanan, played by Mia Farrow. Set…

Marble House and 27 Dresses

In 1888, William Kissam Vanderbilt gave his wife Alva Marble House as a 39th birthday gift. The railroad magnate spared no expense on his wife’s summer home, which used 500,000 cubic feet of various marbles, gathered from across the globe, and is…

Clarendon Court and Reversal of Fortune

Sunny von Bülow, a wealthy Newport resident active in charity and social organizations, was found unconscious and undressed on the floor of her bathroom. Sunny had suffered catastrophic brain damage and would likely remain in a persistent vegetative…

Castle Hill and High Society

While the story is set in Newport, many of the scenes were shot at MGM Studios in Culver City, California, with a Bel Air mansion standing in for Newport. The film opens with a scenic flyover of Newport and its Gilded Age mansions including The…
This tour was produced by the students in the 2016 Brown University course, "Shrine, House, or Home: Rethinking the House Museum Paradigm." The students were Lena Bohman, Sean Briody, Ryan Cruise, Chelsea Fernando, Marjory O'Toole, Ryan Paine, and Jeremy Wolin. The instructor was Ron Potvin. Susan Smulyan served as an advisor for this tour.