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Live Free and Film in New Hampshire: Our Top 5 Films Either Set or Filmed in the Granite State

With its mountains white, its water blue, and its fierce motto of “Live Free or Die” — New Hampshire is the perfect place to set a film (and sometimes even the perfect place to film it.)

While we know of 23 movies filmed in New Hampshire, and 33 set (or mostly set) in the Granite State, the five below are most notable either because of their lakeside lineage (“On Golden Pond) or their use of New Hampshire in the title (thanks John Irving).

Here we go:

The Hotel New Hampshire – John Irving’s excellent novel of the whacky, contorted goings-on (with bears!) of course was set in New Hampshire, where Irving himself attended Phillips Exeter Academy as a wrestling youth. But was in filmed in our beautiful state? Sadly, no. This one went to Canada.

A Separate Peace – When Exeter’s IOKA movie theater was in business, this film was always on standby (if not on the marquee.) The movie features The Devon School, a fictional school created by author John Knowles and based on his alma mater, you guessed it: Phillips Exeter Academy.

Jumanji – Remember the scene with the monkeys, rhinos and Robin Williams running down the streets of this 1995 fantasy adventure film? If you did, that’s because portions of it were filmed in Keene, NH.

On Golden Pond – Even if you were born in 1990, you have probably heard of the idyllic setting of 1981 drama at which Henry Fonda and Katharine Hepburn traded barbs. If not: Shame. You’ll need to drive home via Squam Lake in Holderness, where part of the movie was filmed.

Here’s our favorite.

The Last Detail — If you’ve done the tour of Portsmouth, you’ve spotted what appears to be a beautiful yet decrepit old castle coming out of the water near the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. That’s no concrete castle, it’s the Portsmouth Naval Prison, a former U.S. Navy and Marine Corps prison. Occupied from 1908 to 1974, in 1973, the film The Last Detail, starring Jack Nicholson, Randy Quaid and Otis Young (and featuring Gilda Radner!) was set there.

Thanks for reading! We hope you enjoy this year’s festival!

 

(By J.L. Stevens)

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