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).

Like any snarky college student worth his salt, Seth MacFarlane happily mocked the quirky locals during his years at Rhode Island School of Design. He may, however, be the only graduate who made a career out of the state’s odd landmarks as well as Rhode Islanders’ inability to pronounce their R’s and their inexplicable love for Narragansett Beer.
View Story | Show on Map

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 encounters with the specter. Over time, people have…
View Story | Show on Map

In March 1997, the Newport Saint Patrick’s Day Parade was rerouted so that a group of Mende tribesmen could be tried for murder in the Colony House. However, parade music was still audible inside the courtroom, and the filming of Stephen Spielberg’s Amistad had to be postponed until the afternoon.
View Story | Show on Map

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 against the rich social landscape of the Roaring…
View Story | Show on Map

As the Gilded Age reached full swing in the late 1880s, ornate, elegant stone mansions appeared on the Newport skyline, eclipsing earlier, more humble, wooden summer cottages. The city developed a new identity as a summer resort and place of conspicuous consumption, and the “cottages” along Bellevue Avenue became even more extravagant.
View Story | Show on Map

A gruesome discovery made at Clarendon Court on the morning of December 22, 1980, set in motion one of the most sensational scandals in Newport’s history, involving money, adultery, and drugs, a scandal that would leave the resort community deeply divided.
View Story | Show on Map

The 1956 movie High Society featured an all-star cast: Legendary singers Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, along with actress and future princess Grace Kelly; not to mention musical entertainment provided by jazz trumpeter Louis Armstrong. While essentially a remake of 1939’s The Philadelphia Story, the captivating plot and cast, combined with music by Cole Porter, made this a classic film.
View Story | Show on Map

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.