Movie Mom

Movie Mom

List: Alaska Movies (and one television show)

posted by Nell Minow

In honor of the new Republican nominee for Vice-President, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, here’s a list of movies that take place in Alaska:

1. North to Alaska This easy-going comic “Northern” (that’s a western set up north) stars John Wayne and the lovely Capucine


2. The Gold Rush Charlie Chaplin memorably turns shoelaces into spaghetti in this Klondike classic.

3. Mystery, Alaska Russell Crowe is a hockey player on an underdog team from a small Alaska town that takes on the pros.

4. Insomnia If you have insomnia, going to a place with no nights is probably not a good idea, especially if you’re investigating a murder. Three Oscar-winners — Al Pacino, Hillary Swank, and Robin Williams — star in this remake of a Norwegian thriller written and directed by “The Dark Knight’s” Christopher Nolan.


5. Grizzly Man Werner Herzog’s tragic documentary about a man who wanted to live with grizzly bears is a thoughtful meditation on the impulse to go to extremes.


6. Into the Wild Sean Penn wrote and directed this fact-based story of a young man who wanted to leave everything behind and died in the Alaskan countryside.


7. Balto Kevin Bacon provides voice talent in this animated film based on the true story of the dog who saved the lives of Alaskan children by delivering essential medicine. There’s a statue in his honor in New York’s Central Park.

8. Road to Utopia Hope and Crosby’s “Road” travels take them to Alaska in this silly comedy.


9. The Simpsons Movie Homer Simpson leaves Springfield for Alaska in the first feature film from this record-breaking comedy classic television series.

10. Northern Exposure This beloved television series about a naive young doctor is well loved for its endearing characters and understated humor.

  • Dustin Putman

    Nice list, Nell. Might I also add that one of my favorite Alaska-set films is John Sayles’ picturesque yet searing 1999 drama “Limbo.” Great scenery, wonderful performances from Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and David Strathairn, a first half that focuses almost wholly on the milieu of what it is like to live in small-town Alaska, and a second that turns into something much more tragic and unpredictable. Kudos, also, to a highly controversial and unorthodox ending that, I think, is just perfect.
    For families: the adventure pic “Alaska,” starring Thora Birch, Vincent Kartheiser and Charlton Heston.

  • Alicia

    “The Gold Rush” is my favorite Chaplin movie, Nell. “Grizzly Man” and “Into the Wild” were both excellent, and “Mystery, Alaska,” was a lot of fun (I used to enjoy Russell Crowe movies before I decided he was a jerk). Thanks for the list.

  • Leon Speencer

    OMG Nell. This isn’t hinting at who you’ll be voting for in November is it?

  • Nell Minow

    Leon, the only think it’s hinting at is what movies I like to watch!

  • Lorraine

    I am trying to remember a movie I have seen only once. All I can recall, is a waitress acquires an unfinished house/cabin from her ex husband I think in Alaska, quits her job, takes a battered housewife with her, finds vagrants in the unfinished frame of the cabin, somehow the battered girl meets a truck driver, and they write letters back and forth, and he comes to visit once. Can yo help me with the tittle or at least who was in this movie? I am guessing it is about 20 years old maybe

  • Nell Minow

    Hi, Lorraine! That movie is “Leaving Normal,” with Christine Lahti and Meg Tilly. Thanks for writing!

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