Movies Filmed on Greater Cape Ann
Have you ever thought to yourself while watching a film or TV show, “Wait, I’ve been there!” Maybe you recognized the famous Gloucester bar that anchored The Perfect Storm, or the scenic spots showcased in Manchester-by-the-Sea, The Witches of Eastwick, The Tender Bar, and many others. Perhaps you’re a fan of National Geographic’s Wicked Tuna or HBO’s Olive Kitteridge. They all share something in common—Cape Ann played a role. For decades, Cape Ann has been a sought-after location for film and television, given its dramatic horizons and classic New England architecture. And when Hollywood comes to town, the region transforms, often masquerading as completely different locales–each one adapting a Cape Ann setting to meet artistic needs.
Recent & Popular Movies
2022: Salem’s Lot
(Ipswich) A new horror rendition based on the 1975 Stephen King novel, the story follows a writer who returns to his hometown of Jerusalem’s Lot, ME, in search of inspiration only to discover that something sinister has taken over. The filming took over the Riverwalk and South Main Street in downtown Ipswich. To be released
(Gloucester, Rockport) Winner of the 2022 Academy Award for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay, the film centers around the only hearing member (a Child of Deaf Adults) of a family of fishermen based in Gloucester. Shooting took place in other Cape Ann venues as well. The scene set in Boston’s Berklee College of Music was actually shot in Rockport at The Shalin Liu Performance Center.
2021: THE TENDER BAR
(Ipswich, Beverly) Directed by George Clooney and starring Ben Affleck, The Tender Bar chronicles a boy growing up on Long Island and seeking out father figures among the patrons at his uncle’s bar.
2020: Hubie Halloween
(Ipswich, Gloucester) Hubie Halloween is a 2020 American mystery comedy film directed by Steven Brill, written by Adam Sandler and Tim Herlihy, and starring an ensemble cast consisting of Sandler in the title role, Kevin James, Julie Bowen, Ray Liotta, Rob Schneider, June Squibb, Kenan Thompson, Shaquille O’Neal, Steve Buscemi, and Maya Rudolph. The film follows a Halloween-loving delicatessen worker who must save the town of Salem, Massachusetts, from a kidnapper. Marini’s Farm in Ipswich created a special 100 yard x 30 yard corn maze for filming purposes,
2020: The Will
(Essex, Rockport) The Will is a 2020 American romance film. It was based on the 2014 novel of the same name by Kristen Ashley. Early in her life, Josephine Malone learned the hard way that there was only one person she could love and trust: her grandmother, Lydia Malone. Out of necessity, unconsciously and very successfully, Josephine donned a disguise to keep all others at bay. She led a globetrotting lifestyle on the fringes of the fashion and music elite, but she kept herself distant. While Josephine was trotting the globe, retired boxer Jake Spear was living in the same small town as Lydia. There was nothing disguised about Jake. Including the fact he made a habit of making very bad decisions about who to give his love. But for Josephine and Jake, there was one person who adored them. One person who knew how to lead them to happiness. And one person who was intent on doing it. Even if she had to do it as her final wish on this earth.
2019: Little Women
(Ipswich) This American coming-of-age period drama based on Louisa May Alcott’s 1868 novel takes place in Concord, MA, and stars Meryl Streep. You may not find beachgoers in 19th century swimwear there today, yet visitors to this Crane Beach enjoy the same smooth sands and the gentle waves as the March sisters in the film.
(Manchester-by-the-Sea, Gloucester, Rockport) Manchester by the Sea is a 2016 American psychological drama film written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan that stars Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler, and Lucas Hedges. Centered around the themes of depression, guilt, grief, responsibility, dysfunctional families, and post-traumatic stress disorder; the plot follows a depressed and grief-stricken man who was accidentally responsible for the deaths of his three children and must care for his teenage nephew after the death of his brother.
2014: The Equalizer
(Ipswich) Robert McCall, played by Denzel Washington, is a former special service commando who faked his own death in hopes of living out a quiet life. Instead, he comes out of his self-imposed retirement to save a young girl, and finds his desire for justice reawakened after coming face-to-face with members of a brutal Russian gang. McCall becomes the go-to man when the helpless require the kind of vengeance they would never find without his skills.
2010: Grown Ups
(Essex) Filming took place in Southborough, Massachusetts, but most of the filming was done in Essex, Massachusetts, Water Wizz at Wareham, Massachusetts, as well as some scenes shot in Marblehead, Massachusetts on the exclusive Marblehead Neck. The restaurant scene takes place in Woodman’s of Essex. The “lake house” and basketball scene at the end were filmed at Chebacco Lake in Essex, MA.
2009: Ghosts of Girlfriends Past
(Ipswich) While attending his brother’s wedding, a serial womanizer is haunted by the ghosts of his past girlfriends. Starring Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Lacey Chabert, Emma Stone, and Michael Douglas. Scenes were shot at Castle Hill on the Crane Estate.
2009: The Proposal
(Rockport, Gloucester, Manchester-by-the-Sea) The film was actually filmed in Boston and on Boston’s North Shore. In one of the scenes, you can see the famous Rockport icon, “Motif No.1”, the little red shack famous for being a subject of many famous painters’ and photographers’ work. Snow-capped mountains (or any mountains, for that matter) are nowhere to be found on the North Shore. Those were added in digitally. The family boat used to transport Margaret and Andrew from the airport is a Wasque 26, built in Marblehead, MA – just a few miles from where the movie was filmed.
2000: The Perfect Storm
(Gloucester, Rockport) The Perfect Storm is a 2000 American biographical disaster drama film directed by Wolfgang Petersen and based on the 1997 non-fiction book of the same name by Sebastian Junger. The Perfect Storm tells the story of the Andrea Gail, a commercial fishing vessel that was lost at sea with all hands after being caught in the Perfect Storm of 1991. The film stars George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Diane Lane, William Fichtner, Karen Allen, Bob Gunton, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and John C. Reilly.
1996: The Crucible
(Ipswich) The Crucible is a 1996 American historical drama film written by Arthur Miller adapting his 1953 play of the same title and starred Daniel Day-Lewis and Winina Ryder. Set during the Salem witch trials, the film chronicles a group of teenage girls who, after getting caught conjuring love spells in the woods, are forced to lie that Satan had “invaded” them, and subsequently accuse several innocent people of witchcraft.
1987: The Witches of Eastwick
(Ipswich) The Witches of Eastwick is a 1987 American dark fantasy-comedy film directed by George Miller and starring Jack Nicholson as Daryl Van Horne, alongside Cher, Michelle Pfeiffer and Susan Sarandon as the titular witches. The film is based on John Updike’s 1984 novel of the same name, telling the story of three women who are unaware of the power of the words they speak; as they tell each other their deepest desires, a man (Nicholson) arrives just in time and fulfills them, but has a dark side of his own.