Over the years the North Shore of Boston has been the backdrop to many well-known and even some Oscar nominated films. The waterfront views and old historic landscapes make the area a sought-after location for filmmakers, not to mention the state’s hefty film incentive tax credit. Below are some of our favorite notable films shot on the North Shore.
Little Women, released in 2019 and based off the 1869 novel by Louisa May Alcott, tells the story of Jo March and her three sisters who are determined to live life on their own terms. The film stars Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Meryl Streep, and Timothée Chalamet. The majority of movie was filmed in Concord, at the house where Alcott grew up; however, Castle Hill at the Crane Estate in Ipswich was the backdrop for Paris scenes, beach scenes were shot on Crane Beach, and downtown Lawrence was transformed into New York City.
Manchester by the Sea
Manchester by the Sea is an Oscar-winning 2016 film directed by Kenneth Lonergan. The movie follows a Quincy janitor returning to his hometown of Manchester-by-the-Sea to take care of his nephew after his brother’s death. The film stars Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler, and more, and was filmed all across the North Shore of Boston, including Beverly Hospital, Manchester Essex Regional Middle High School, as well as a few locations in Rockport and Salem.
This film, released in 2000, follows the story of commercial Gloucester fishermen who are caught in an intense and deadly storm pattern while fishing in the North Atlanic. The movie stars George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, and John C. Reilly, and was filmed mostly in California but has some scenes at The Crow’s Nest Bar and the Harriet Webster Pier in Gloucester.
The Witches of Eastwick
The Witches of Eastwick, based on a novel of the same name, was released in 1987. Starring Jack Nicholson, Cher, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Susan Sarandon, the film follows three women (unknowingly witches) who have their lives turned upside down by the arrival of a strange man in their little coastal Rhode Island town. Most of the filming took place in Cohasset, but some scenes were filmed at the Crane Estate in Ipswich, the Wang Theatre in Boston, and Abbot Hall in Marblehead.
The 2020 Netflix original film Hubie Halloween takes place in Salem, Massachusetts, and was shot mostly in Salem, Marblehead, Danvers, and Beverly. The film tells the fictional story of Salem local Hubie Dubois on his quest to save Halloween. The film, directed by Steve Brill, stars many household names like Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Maya Rudolph, and Modern Family star Julie Bowen. In this film you might recognize the Clock Tower at Abbot Hall in Marblehead, Crosby’s Market Place in Old Town Marblehead, the Salem Witch Museum, and the Derby Wharf Light Station.
Ghosts of Girlfriends Past
This 2009 comedy about a serial womanizer who is haunted by his ex-girlfriends is a modern take on the classic story A Christmas Carol. The film stars Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner and was filmed primarily in the Boston area, though parts were filmed at the Crane Estate in Ipswich.
Tender Bar is set to be released by Amazon Studios in 2022, and was recently filmed in a few locations around Boston. The film, directed by George Clooney, is based on The Tender Bar: A Memoir by J.R Moehringer. The movie stars Ben Affleck, Christopher Lloyed, and Lily Rabe, and was filmed this past spring in a few North Shore locations like Jacob’s Corner Pub in Beverly and Marcorelle’s Liquor in Ipswich.
Grown Ups is a 2010 comedy starring Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Kevin James, and David Spade. The film follows a group of friends who reunite for a Fourth of July holiday weekend after the death of their beloved childhood basketball coach. The movie was filmed primarily in Essex County, including locations in Marblehead, Essex, Beverly, and some in Boston.
Manchester-by-the-Sea and Rockport were remodeled in 2009 to fit the setting of Sitka, Alaska for The Proposal. The film, starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds, tells the story of a corporate woman who forces her young assistant to marry her in order to avoid deportation to Canada after her visa expires. Many of the Sitka scenes were filmed in Manchester and Rockport, and the New York scenes were filmed in Boston.
Of course, you can’t talk about movies filmed on the North Shore of Boston without mentioning this Halloween classic. The iconic film Hocus Pocus was released in 1993 and takes place in Salem. The movie, directed by Kenny Ortega, follows the story of a boy who awakens three witches who had been executed in the 17th century. Though many of the scenes were not actually filmed in Salem, many of the landscape shots feature Salem locations like Pioneer Village, the Salem Museum, Old Burial Hill, the Ropes Mansion, and the former Phillips Elementary School.
The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)
The original Thomas Crown Affair, starring Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway, follows the romance between a dashing millionaire bank robber (McQueen) and the insurance investigator (Dunaway) who attempts to thwart him. North Shore resident Charles John Arrigo recalls the film shooting in the rear lot of then YAZ Ford in Lynn, when he was general manager. “It rained and I cleared the showroom,” he recalls, to allow for cast to be costumed, plus vehicles, equipment, and crew.