Mississippi Movies Tour
TUPELO TO HOLLY SPRINGS
One of the first and most enchanting introductions to Mississippi is the Natchez Trace Parkway. You can drive on this scenic roadway that runs a total of 715 kilometers from Natchez, Mississippi, to Nashville, Tennessee. The original Natchez Trace was an ancient trail used by Native Americans and was most heavily used from 1785-1820 by boatmen who floated down the Mississippi River to sell their goods in ports like Natchez, then traveled back north along the Natchez Trace. In addition to Elvis’ birthplace, other interesting sites along the Natchez Trace Parkway include the new Tupelo Automobile Museum which features more than 150 vehicles from every era of the motor industry. One of Hollywood’s most respected and popular directors, Robert Altman, chose the scenic town of Holly Springs as the locale for his 1998 comedy of Southern manners, Cookie’s Fortune. Only a one-hour drive northwest of Tupelo, the town of Holly Springs boasts more than 80 antebellum homes, many of which are open for tours.
HOLLY SPRINGS TO TUNICA
Historic Highway 61 in the Mississippi Delta, known as the Blues Highway, begins in Tunica—the fastest growing casino resort in the U.S., ranking third behind only Las Vegas and Atlantic City. The backdrop of the Delta and the neon towers of Tunica were used to great effect in Finding Graceland starring Harvey Keitel. The casinos and area hotels offer more than 6,000 hotel rooms with luxury rooms, swimming pools, spas, two championship golf courses, and star-studded entertainment nightly.
TUNICA TO VICKSBURG
The Mississippi Delta is known as the "most Southern place on earth." A tour along Highway 61, the Blues Highway, beginning in Tunica and traveling south through Delta townssuch as Clarksdale, Cleveland, Leland, and many other places brings you through the places known for blues musicians and their heritage. Apart from the numerous musicians, including Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and Robert Johnson, who have sung about this legendary landscape, Hollywood captures its essence in Crossroads. Among the many films shot on location in the Delta are classics like Baby Doll directed by Elia Kazan and Thieves Like Us directed by Robert Altman, as well as current titles like O Brother, Where Art Thou? directed by the Coen Brothers. Mississippi author, John Grisham, has penned many novels set in the Delta many of which have become films including The Chamber which starred Gene Hackman.
Further south along Highway 61 (the
Blues Highway), the city of Vicksburg, known as the “Gibraltar of the
Confederacy,” is the site of one of the bloodiest battles and longest sieges of
the American Civil War. The National Military Park commemorates this epic
battle with an 18-minute film recounting the campaign as well as life-sized
exhibits and artifacts from the siege. If you want to take the extra time, take
an optional side trip to Canton, the “Movie Capital of Mississippi.” This
charming town was the scene for such popular films as A Time to Kill, The
Chamber, and My Dog Skip. Be sure to visit the Canton Movie Museum while you’re
VICKSBURG TO NATCHEZ
Just south of Vicksburg, you’ll find the earliest permanent settlement on the Mississippi River and once home to more millionaires than anywhere else in America in Natchez. With more than 500 pre-Civil War mansions, you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped back in time. Natchez’s history as one of the major cities on the Mississippi River is interwoven with the fiction of Mark Twain, and it is no surprise that several of his stories have been adapted for the big screen in Natchez. The best way to see Natchez is by horse-drawn carriage. Be sure to overnight in one of the many antebellum mansions now established as luxurious B&Bs. Nearby is the charming town of Port Gibson declared by Union Army General Ulysses S. Grant as "too beautiful to burn." The most recent and successful movie filmed on location in Mississippi primarily in the Natchez area is O Brother, Where Art Thou? which featured George Clooney and an all-star soundtrack credited with reviving bluegrass music.
NATCHEZ TO GULF COAST
No trip to Mississippi is complete without taking in some of the 42 kilometers of sun-drenched, white sandy beaches of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Always a traditional getaway in the South but now home to worldclass casinos and resorts usually found in Las Vegas, be sure to explore the quaint seaside towns like Ocean Springs, Pascagoula, Bay St. Louis, and Pass Christian. The Mississippi Gulf Coast has been the setting for cult classics such as Down By Lawdirected by Jim Jarmusch as well as box office favorites like Mississippi Masala starring Denzel Washington. Gulf Coast casinos and hotels offer gambling, fine dining, spas, upscale shopping, live music and top-name entertainers which make the Gulf Coast like nowhere else in America.