This list of the 10 best small town movies will help remind moviegoers and aficionados of just how intimate and identifiable the small town film can be to viewers. Such movies can make us feel like the events of a story could happen anywhere, that we could very well be a part of what is being portrayed on the screen. 

  1. "Donnie Darko" is Richard Kelly's directorial debut. This mysterious sci-fi-horror-drama takes place in the small town of Middlesex, California and follows the travails of high schooler Donnie Darko as he slowly unravels his ultimate destiny: to travel back in time so that he may prevent a series of accidents which will lead to the death of his loved ones and the end of the world. Beautiful cinematography, sharp dialogue and a brilliant soundtrack highlight this film as one of the best small town movies ever made.

  2. "Garden State" is a small town movie about the numbness which the humdrum of the everyday world allows us to feel. Sometimes the only thing that can snap a person out of that is love. Zach Braff stars, writes and directs this beautiful dark romantic comedy.

  3. "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?" features both Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio at their best as a pair on brothers in small town mid-America. Gilbert (DiCaprio) is mentally retarded and in taken care of by his best friend and older brother. A new girl in town brings love to Gilbert's older brother and they must learn how to deal with this new upwell of emotion in their heretofore quiet lives.

  4. "Let the Right One In" is one of the greatest vampire movies ever made. This small town Swedish film is a complete departure from the traditional genres of both horror and science fiction and surpasses the modern mindless vampiric-zombie offerings, a la "True Blood," "Twilight" and others. 

  5. "Field of Dreams," which set in a small midwestern town, tells the story of a farmer who builds a baseball field on his property when he sees the spirits of the Chicago Black Socks appear to him. Kevin Costner delivers the performance of his career in one of the greatest baseball movies ever made.

  6. "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" may venture briefly into the city of Chicago, but it is at heart a small town movie about small town problems: the mind-numbing boredom of daily requirements and the thrill of living for yourself in escaping them. One of America's greatest cult classic films.

  7. "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" is a classic Cameron Crowe small town movie and a quintessential and hilarious account on high school life in the late twentienth century. Packed with culturally iconographic lines and a young, drugged out Sean Penn, it is a must-see for any high school graduate or attendee.

  8. "Dazed and Confused" is director Richard Linklater's take on the high school and small town film genre, creating a memorable cast of characters and honestly portraying the collision of a cross-section of society, which is exactly what being a teenager is all about.

  9. "Friday Night Lights," based on the best-selling book of the same name, chronicles the small town of Odessa, Texas and the consequences of its dangerous and violent obsession with its high school football tradition. Though a clear fictionalization of the book, the movie captures better than most the feel of a tight-knit community which a small town in a remote part of the country really represents.

  10. "A River Runs Through It" is a timeless and tragic drama of two young brothers of polar opposite dispositions, united by their love for their father, the land and trout fishing. Starring Brad Pitt in an early role and directed beautifully by Robert Redford, this small town film is an adaptation of the critically acclaimed novel of the same time.