Movies and Music from Memphis and Nashville
By Tim Leffel

Here's a collection of movies to get you in the mood for a road trip to Nashville and Memphis, plus a good selection of car music to pass the time in transit.

Nashville movie


Nashville — The Robert Altman classic. Lots of intersecting characters in the Nashville music biz of the 1970s.

Dill Scallion — A Spinal Tap for the country music crowd. An underground cult favorite.

Walk the Line — Local girl Reese Witherspoon wins an Oscar and Joaquin Phoenix plays Johnny Cash.

Neil Young: Heart of Gold — The master hits the stage of Nashville's Ryman Auditorium, backed by the city's best. Shot by Jonathan Demme.

Coal Miner's Daughter — Loretta Lynn was from Kentucky, but in this true life rags to riches story, Sissy Spacek's Loretta finally makes it big in Nashville.

Hustle & Flow — Terrence Howard gets an Oscar nomination and Three 6 Mafia takes home the statue for the single.

Hustle and Flow movieBlues Brothers — Not placed in Tennessee, but the Stax music plays a central role and Memphis stars like Aretha Franklin, Duck Dunn, Matt Murphy, and Steve Cropper all have cameos.

Great Balls of Fire — A fun Jerry Lee Lewis romp starring Dennis Quaid, Wynona Rider, and Alec Baldwin (as Jimmy Swaggert!).

The Rainmaker — Local author John Grisham's The Firm was filmed in Memphis, but this one is closer to the book and has more local flavor.

King Creole — Most of Elvis Presley's movies are campy and far from memorable. This 1958 one usually gets the nod as his best.

The Blind Side — Not much music, but an Oscar win for Sandra Bullock and two sides of Memphis.


Trying to pick a representative sample of music from Tennessee is like trying to pick the best barbecue restaurants in the south—an impossible and thankless task. But here is a good sampling that runs across a lot of styles and decades.

Otis Redding

Otis Redding The Very Best of Otis Redding

Various Top of the Stax, Vol. 1

Various Hustle & Flow Soundtrack

Al Green Greatest Hits

Big Star #1 Record

Patsy Cline

Judds Why Not Me

Patsy Cline The Very Best Of

Lucinda Williams Car Wheels on a Gravel Road

Waylon Jennings Greatest Hits

George Jones The Essential George Jones

Loretta LynnKings of Leon — Aha Shake Heartbreak

Loretta Lynn — Van Lear Rose (produced by Jack White)

Both (These performers have straddled both cities)
Roy Orbison Essential

John Hiatt Slow Turning

Elvis Presley The Sun Sessions or 30 #1 Hits

Elvis Presley

Johnny Cash At Folsum Prison

Ray Charles Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music


Hannah Montana: The Movie

Taylor Swift — Fearless

Carrie Underwood — Some Hearts

You can get the movies and music here from iTunes,, or eMusic.

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