Five Movies Filmed in Richmond, Virginia

With its historic background, easy accessibility and interesting architecture, Richmond has become a popular place for movie making. It has the ability to fill in for a larger city without the cost and hassle of filming in said city. Richmond's capital building has played the White House, and the city itself has performed as an understudy for Washington, D.C. From Civil War epics to nail-biting thrillers to side-splitting comedies, you just might be surprised at how much Hollywood can be found in Richmond, Virginia.

Richmond was abuzz for weeks with celebrity sightings, movie set stalking and social media sharing when the likes of Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones and Steve Spielberg came to town to film "Lincoln." The highly successful and award-winning 2012 movie, which starred Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln, was filmed in Richmond, Petersburg and Fredericksburg.

The Virginia State Capitol was used for the interior and exterior of the U.S. Capitol as well as the exterior of The White House. Inside the State Capitol, the House of Delegates became the set for The House of Representatives Chamber. On a side note, Richmonders were among the first to see Day-Lewis morph into the nation's 16th president. And we loved every minute of it.

Cold Mountain
While battle scenes from Petersburg's Battle of the Crater in "Cold Mountain" were filmed in Romania, there are snippets of Williamsburg and Richmond in the Civil War drama starring Jude Law, Nicole Kidman and Renee Zellweger. It's 1864 and Jude Law plays an injured soldier trying to make his way back to Cold Mountain in North Carolina. During his long journey, he walks along a rocky road with a river on one side and a cliff on the other. This is where he meets a shady minister, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman. This scene is none other than Richmond's Belle Isle and James River. Carter's Grove Plantation in Williamsburg was used for the exterior shots of a South Carolina Colonial mansion that has been turned into a Confederate hospital.

What could be creepier than Hannibal Lecter roaming the cobblestone streets and narrow alleyways of Richmond, Virginia? We don't know either, but back in 2001, that's exactly what happened. Directed by Ridley Scott and starring Anthony Hopkins and Julianne Moore, the sequel to "Silence of the Lambs" was partially filmed in Richmond.

A fish market shootout scene was filmed in Shockoe Bottom on a set behind the Canal Club. Clarice's (played by Julianne Moore) house is on Park Avenue, and the home of Paul Krendler (played by Ray Liotta) is near VCU at North Harrison Street and Grove Avenue. Richmond's old State Library, on Capitol Square, was used for scenes of the basement where Clarice works as well as Hannibal's cell. Richmond's 17th Street Farmers' Market is also featured in the film.

The Virginia State Capitol again filled in for the White House in "Dave," the 1993 film starring Kevin Kline and Sigourney Weaver. This seems only fitting as Kline's character was filling in for the president. Additionally, some state delegates also stood in as extras in the film. Who says politics has to be boring?

Major Payne
Directed by Nick Castle and written by and starring Damon Wayans, "Major Payne" is the hilarious tale of discharged Marine Major Benson Winifred Payne (Wayans) who now oversees a local school's JROTC program. Payne, a self-professed "killin' machine," must train a team of young and uninclined cadets to win the Virginia Military Games. The Miller School of Albemarle in Charlottesville is the exterior of the military school, and the train station in Ashland, just north of Richmond, is used for a memorable scene in this 1995 comedy.

Sandy has lived in Richmond for more than 25 years. She writes on lifestyle and travel topics for a variety of media outlets that include Examiner, AXS and AFAR.