Can You Name All These Movies Set in the Big Easy?

By: Bambi Turner
Image: Charles Doyle/Moment/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Its location at the mouth of the Mississippi has long made New Orleans a desirable port for trade, so it's no wonder the French and Spanish spent so much time fighting over the city back in the day. That conflict between two European powers, combined with the city's proximity to the Caribbean, has given the Big Easy a flavor all its own, one where Cajun and Creole culture lives side-by-side with gorgeous Spanish architecture and the aptly named Vieux Carre — that's Francais for French Quarter, complete with its picturesque iron balconies, hanging gardens and cobbled streets. And of course, every culture that had a hand in this city's development also gave this jubilant city a reason to celebrate, resulting in regular festivals that include Mardi Gras, the Essence Festival, Jazz and Heritage events and one of the biggest LGBTQ+ get-togethers in the U.S.

All this helps to explain why New Orleans shows up so frequently as the setting for major Hollywood films. Sure, the Big Easy offers some great tax breaks for film crews, but it's the incomparable backdrop, unique culture and personalities and joyful, fighting spirit that make Crescent City a Hollywood darling. There's just something to be said for shooting against a backdrop of Mardi Gras floats and flying beads, low-slung bayous or creepy cemeteries filled with above-ground tombs rather than buried baskets. 

Think you can name the most familiar films shot in this city? Prove it with this quiz!

Vivien Leigh stars as the troubled Blanche DuBois, a once-wealthy woman who's fallen on hard times in the 1951 classic "A Streetcar Named Desire." The film helped make a star out of Marlon Brando, who poured his heart out screaming "Stella!" in the role of French Quarter resident Stanley Kowalski. The scene is so memorable that the New Orleans Literary Festival hosts an annual Stella-screaming competition.

The 1965 classic "The Cincinnati Kid" pits up-and-coming poker player Eric Stoner, played by King of Cool Steve McQueen, against pro Lancey Howard, who is known as The Man among poker circles. Set in New Orleans during the Great Depression, the movie includes scenes shot at St. Louis Cemetery, the nearby Cathedral and along Decatur Street in the French Quarter.

Clint Eastwood stars as New Orleans detective Wes Block in the tense thriller "Tightrope." As he investigates a serial killer who is targeting sex workers, Eastwood's character learns that the culprit may be much closer than he thinks.

Films like "Deja Vu" helped New Orleans return to normal after Hurricane Katrina. Filming took place just after Katrina struck, with Denzel Washington starring as a federal agent who travels back in time to prevent a terrorist attack that kills hundreds of people during Mardi Gras.

"The Pelican Brief" was inspired by a bestselling John Grisham thriller, and stars Julia Roberts as a law student from Tulane University. In the film, Roberts' character teams up with a reporter, played by Denzel Washington, to investigate the assassination of a pair of Supreme Court justices. Sharp-eyed viewers will notice that the assassination scene takes place at Spanish Plaza along Canal Street in the Big Easy.

After serving a prison sentence for killing her husband, Ashley Judd's character sets out to prove that her victim is actually still very much alive in the 1999 movie "Double Jeopardy." Set in New Orleans and co-starring Tommy Lee Jones, the film includes scenes shot at Lafayette Cemetery and the streets of the French Quarter.

Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise play a pair of the undead in the 1994 classic "Interview with the Vampire." The film takes place in both Europe and New Orleans, with Louisiana's Oak Alley Plantation playing a starring role. Many exterior shots were captured along Royal Street, while both Lestat and Louis are seen wandering at the city's Lafayette Cemetery, where bodies are buried above ground because of the low water table in the area.

"JFK" was inspired by the real-life 1963 assassination of President Kennedy in Dallas, and actually includes scenes shot at Dealey Plaza. The Oliver Stone film tells the story of a New Orleans district attorney named Jim Garrison, who investigated the assassination as a possible conspiracy. New Orleans locations that appear in the movie include the the iconic Antoine's restaurant and the Louisiana Supreme Court building.

Originally set in NYC, the setting for the 2009 thriller "Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans" was later moved to New Orleans in the days after Hurricane Katrina. It stars Nicolas Cage as a Big Easy police sergeant who is investigating a gang-related murder while battling a drug addiction of his own. Eva Mendes co-stars as Frankie, girlfriend to Cage's character.

The eighth James Bond film, "Live and Let Die," was the first to use New Orleans as its backdrop. Starring Roger Moore as Bond and Jane Seymour as his love interest, Solitaire, the film shows the city's jazz funeral tradition, in which the traditionally somber funeral procession is accompanied by a brass band parade.

In 1917 New Orleans, Brooke Shields play a young sex worker named Violet, whose virginity is auctioned off in the controversial 1978 movie "Pretty Baby." The movie shows the dark history of Storyville, the local red light district, and includes scenes set at The Columns Hotel in the Garden District. If you visit this hotel today, you can order a pink cocktail named in honor of the movie.

The King stars as Danny Fisher, a teen working to support his poor family in the 1958 movie "King Creole." One memorable scene shows Elvis singing the song "Crawdad" while leaning over an iron balcony at the Hotel Royal in New Orleans' famous French Quarter.

In the 2004 movie "A Love Song for Bobby Long," Scarlett Johansson plays a young woman who moves to New Orleans to live in her mother's old house, only to learn that a man named Bobby Long is squatting at the property and claiming that it's his. The film includes footage of New Orleans sites ranging from French Quarter to bayou, but the house at the center of the film is actually located in the town of Gretna, Louisiana.

The 1975 flick "Hard Times" paints a gritty picture of life in Louisiana during the Great Depression. In between hopping on and off freight trains, Charles Bronson's character Chaney gets involved in illegal boxing matches under the direction of his manager Speed, played by James Coburn.

Released in 2009, "In the Electric Mist" stars Tommy Lee Jones as Detective Dave Robicheaux. As he investigates a murder that takes places during the filming of a Civil War movie in Louisiana, he must take on his old friend Baby Feet Balboni, who is mixed up with the Mafia and played by actor John Goodman.

The 2018 movie "Blaze" tells the story of singer Blaze Foley, who was killed by the son of a close friend at the age of 39. Directed by Ethan Hawk, the film features Kris Kristofferson in the role of Blaze's father.

A dark love story, "The Big Easy" features Dennis Quaid and Ellen Barkin as a New Orleans cop and an attorney who fall for one another while investigating police corruption. The film features a cameo from D.A. Jim Garrison, who investigated whether the JFK assassination was a conspiracy, and includes a scene at the famous Tipitina's club, which sits along the banks of the Mississippi in New Orleans.

With all that gorgeous desert scenery, it's easy to forget that the 1969 film "Easy Rider" was about a motorcycle journey that ended in the Big Easy. Stars Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper finally make it to their destination in time for Mardi Gras, then spend time in a French Quarter brothel as well as the spooky St. Louis Cemetery.

"Banjo on My Knee" is a classic Big Easy film with a ragtime and big band soundtrack. It stars Joel McCrea as a groom who runs off to New Orleans on his wedding night after fearing that he killed someone. His new bride Pearl, played by Barbara Stanwyck, and his father, played by Walter Brennan, are forced to head down south to find him and bring him back home.

In the 1987 horror movie "Angel Heart," Mickey Rourke plays a P.I. searching for a missing person in New Orleans. As many of his witnesses end up dead, he starts to wonder the true nature of Louis Cyphre, the man who hired him for the job. Magazine Street near the French Quarter served as the backdrop for many of the gritty exterior shots used in the film.

"The Skeleton Key" is set in a classic New Orleans plantation home that plays as big a role in the film as any of its actors. A sweet job as a hospice nurse in Terrebonne Parish quickly turns to horror as Hudson's character Caroline learns the true art of hoodoo.

The original 1992 horror flick "Candyman" takes place in Chicago, but the 1995 sequel "Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh" is set down south in the Big Easy. As Mardi Gras approaches, the characters learn the legend behind the Candyman, and also how to keep the horror from returning.

Like "A Streetcar Named Desire," the 1959 movie "Suddenly, Last Summer" is based on a play by Tennessee Williams. Set in New Orleans in the 1930s, the film stars Elizabeth Taylor as a woman driven nearly to madness after the death of her cousin. The star-packed film also features Katharine Hepburn and Montgomery Clift.

In the 2009 animated feature "The Princess and the Frog," Tiana turns into a frog after kissing a Prince-turned-frog in 1920s New Orleans. The atmospheric tale, which features Oprah in the role of Tiana's mother Eudora, also features a jazzy alligator named Louis and plenty of voodoo action.

While working at a New Orleans shop, Queen Latifah's character Georgia is injured and soon learns she is near death in the 2006 movie "Last Holiday." She decides to live it up on a trip to Europe, but soon learns she isn't actually dying after all. Bonus ... her character lives happily ever after with LL Cool J back at home in the Big Easy.

The 2004 movie "Ray" was inspired by the life story of musician Ray Charles. Jamie Foxx plays Charles, and won a Best Actor Oscar for the part. The film was set all around New Orleans, with real French Quarter locales representing many of the bars and clubs used in the movie.

She'll always have Paris, and thanks to Ingrid Bergman's role as Creole woman Clio Dulaine in "Saratoga Trunk," she'll always have New Orleans too. The 1945 film pits Bergman opposite Gary Cooper as Colonel Clint Maroon, a gambler seeking revenge on a railroad owner. The film earned an Oscar nomination for Flora Robson, who played a Haitian maid...while wearing blackface, which wasn't exactly seen as culturally acceptable, even back then.

In "Undercover Blues," Dennis Quaid and Kathleen Turner play Jefferson and Jane Blue, a pair of spies taking a break to care for their new baby. The film features shots of famous New Orleans locales like Cafe du Monde, Napoleon House Cafe and Jackson Square.

Mae West wanted to call the movie "It Ain't No Sin," but the censors forced her to settle on "Belle of the Nineties" as the title for this 1934 film. West stars as Ruby Carter, a tough woman who falls for a man called the Tiger Kid. The New Orleans based flick features a cameo by none other than Duke Ellington.

The fourth film in the X-Men series, "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" was filmed in Louisiana, Australia and New Zealand. It is at a bar in New Orleans that viewers see Jackman's character Logan meet with Gambit, and it's also in the Big East that John Wraith is murdered by Victor Creed.

Filmmakers seem to love shooting brothel scenes against the backdrop of the French Quarter, and the 1962 movie "Walk on the Wild Side" is no exception. Featuring scenes shot in Audubon Park and Jackson Square, this film noir takes place at the Doll House, where Barbara Stanwyck plays Madam Jo Courtney.

It's no surprise that "The Expendables," which starred such legendary action heroes as Sly Stallone and Jet Li, was a big hit at the box office. Featuring scenes shot at the city's historic Fort Macomb and under I-10, the movie starts in New Orleans before the stars head off to the Middle East to fight Somali pirates.

The 2008 movie "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" stars Brad Pitt as a man who ages backwards. It opens on that tragic day that Hurricane Katrina strikes the city, and includes scenes set at City Park, Fontainbleau State Park and at an historic 19th century mansion known as Nolan House.

When thieves release the body of Dracula from a sealed casket, the creepy vampire heads straight to New Orleans to take vengeance on a Van Helsing relative in the thriller "Dracula 2000." Gerard Butler plays the title character, and New Orleans' locals might recognize scenes shot on Esplanade Ave, which connects the Mississippi levees to City Park.

Action hero Jean-Claude Van Damme stars as Chance Boudreaux, a man hired to protect a woman investigating her father's death in "Hard Target." Turns out, he was killed as part of a human-hunting game, which Van Damme's character blows wide open. A pivotal scene takes place at a warehouse where Mardi Gras floats are built and stored.

When her husband is killed at his New Orleans stockbroker job, a widow sues the maker of the gun that shot him in the 2003 thriller "Runaway Jury." The star-studded film features scenes shot at beignet destination Cafe du Monde as well as the Louisiana Supreme Court.

No, Abbott and Costello never went to Mars in this 1953 comedy, but they did end up riding a rocket ship to New Orleans. After enjoying the festivities of Mardi Gras, the duo is forced back on the rocket, where they are sent to Venus before being ejected by the planet's female rulers. A young Harry Shearer of "Simpsons" fame appears in the flick.

The 1986 romantic thriller "No Mercy" pairs Richard Gere with Kim Basinger as a agent who goes from investigating Gere's character to falling in love with him. Set in both Chicago and New Orleans, the film features scenes showcasing the clubs and bars of Bourbon Street in the French Quarter.

Set in New Orleans in 1939, "All Dogs Go To Heaven" is a 1989 tearjerker starring Burt Reynolds as the voice of a dog named Charlie B. Barkin. After sacrificing his spot in heaven to save an orphaned girl, Charlie saves the day and ends up earning his halo in the end for his good deeds. The animated flick also stars Dom Deluise and Loni Anderson.

Queen Latifah, Regina Hall, Tiffany Haddish and Jada Pinkett Smith play four friends nicknamed the Flossy Posse who get together for a trip to New Orleans to attend the Essence Music Festival — a real, annual event that draws thousands of attendees to the city. Things go wrong for the ladies when they end up at a pay-by-the-hour motel, then end up hallucinating after drinking absinthe.

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