INFOGRAPHIC: The United States of Movie Characters Map

The United States of Movie CharactersToday, we have big news.

So we’ll get to it.

Our team of bipartisan movie researchers has elected one movie character per state to be the state’s cinematic representative. (Think state birds for movie characters.) We present to you: The United States of Movie Characters Map.

To learn about the intense process for how we made our selections, scroll down to the very bottom.

Here’s what you’ll discover: Tennessee was to close to call, 6% of the US is represented by Kevin Costner and a Brooklyn girl won over Alabama. As a bonus, we elected a President of the USA of Movie Characters.

In alphabetical order . . .

My Cousin Vinny MarisaTomeiALABAMA
Mona Lisa Vito (Marisa Tomei) in My Cousin Vinny (1992)
Why: No, she isn’t from the Yellowhammer State. No, she doesn’t have a Southern Accent.  But the quick-witted car aficionado came into The Heart of Dixie, stole the show and won an Oscar. End of story.
Craig T Nelson The ProposalALASKA
Joe Paxton (Craig T. Nelson) in The Proposal (2009)
Why: It takes a real man like Joe to survive in The Last Frontier (or in a beautiful waterfront Alaskan estate). Disclaimer: Our appreciation for the tv show Coach absolutely influenced this decision.
Nic Cage Raising ArizonaARIZONA
Herbert ‘H.I.’ McDunnough (Nic Cage) in Raising Arizona (1987)
Why: Great tan. Great hair. Great father of a baby he kidnapped. H.I. really wants to embody the spirit of  The Grand Canyon State.  (Plus, he knows his was around a foldable lounge chair.)
True Grit Rooster CogburnARKANSAS
Rooster Cogburn (John Wayne) in True Grit (1969)
Why: His name is Rooster and he wears an eye patch. It’s that simple.
Fast Times at Richmont High Phoebe CatesCALIFORNIA
Linda Barrett (Phoebe Cates) in Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)
Why: Linda’s iconic exit from Stacy’s pool sealed the deal. If the Oscars had a lifetime bikini achievement award she would get it.
Misery Kathy BatesCOLORADO
Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates) in Misery (1990)
Why: We all dream of owning a lodge in the Rocky Mountains like Annie Wilkes. What you do in that lodge is up to you.
Joanna Eberhart (Katharine Ross) in The Stepford Wives (1975)CONNECTICUT
Joanna Eberhart (Katharine Ross) in The Stepford Wives (1975)
Why: Because Joanna made married women more afraid to move to Connecticut than ever. (Despite the fear of robot wife-swapping we hear The Nutmeg State is lovely.)
Mike_Myers in Wayne's WorldDELAWARE
Wayne Campbell (Mike Myers) in Wayne’s World (1992)
Why: This little clip has the best state-cameo in movie history. The First State should be proud. #PartyOnWayne
Scarface Al_pacinoFLORIDA
Tony Montana (Al Pacino) in Scarface (1983)
Why: This country was built on foreigners, like Tony, coming to the US with nothing and becoming something.  And if you take out the murder, drugs and “little friends,” then Mr. Montana is a beautiful rags-to-riches story in South Beach.
Jon-Voight in DeliveranceGEORGIA
Ed (Jon Voight) in Deliverance (1972)
Why: Ed has an appreciation for the little things like canoeing in Georgia, dueling banjos and not getting killed by backwoods locals – we can all relate.
Kate-Bosworth in Blue CrushHAWAII 
Anne Marie Chadwick (Kate Bosworth) in Blue Crush (2002)
Why: Two words: surfer chic.
Napoleon Dynamite Jon HederIDAHO
Napoleon Dynamite (Jon Heder) in Napoleon Dynamite
Why: He won just with his dance moves alone. #VotePedro.  Honorable Mention: Lafawnduh
Blues Brothers John-BelushiILLINOIS
Jakes Blues (John Belushi) in Blues Brothers (1980)
Why: 3 reasons: (1) He’s got soul. (2) He wears sunglasses at night. (3) We’re not one to stop anyone that’s on a “mission from god.”
Coach Norman Dale (Gene Hackman) in Hoosiers
Why: Coach Dale won this in a landslide.  Hoosier state. Hoosier movie.  And this iconic speech. He is the godfather of the slow clap.
Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) in Field of Dreams
Why: Because if you move to Iowa and don’t build a baseball diamond then it’s a fail in our books. (And in Ray’s book.)
Toto (Terry) in The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Why: Toto is the Marlon Brando of dog actors. “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas any more” has been uttered approximately 6,912,437,547 times.
Secretariat (Trolley Boy) in Secretariat (2010)
Why: This leggy creature is a bigger deal at the Kentucky Derby than Mint Juleps. Well, almost.
Steel Magnolias Sally-FieldLOUISIANA
M’Lynn Eatenton (Sally Field) in Steele Magnolias (1989)
Why: 50 States and not one grandma is represented. Until Now. And it might as well be a lovable Southern Belle.
TimRobbins The Shawshank RedemptionMAINE
Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) in The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Why: In this fictional Maine state prison, Mr Dufresne endures it all: prison. Inmate “abuse.” Crawling through, well, you know. He got our vote.
Ricki Lake HairsprayMARYLAND
Tracy Turnblad (Ricki Lake) in Hairspray (1988)
Why: Tracy is to hairspray what Darryl Jenks is to Soul Glo.
Matt-Damon-Good Will HuntingMASSACHUSETTS
Will Hunting (Matt Damon) in Good Will Hunting (1997)
Why: There are 1,000 reasons.  But we’ll just give one.  This epic scene at a Harvard bar.
Robocop (Peter Weller) in Robocop (1987)
Why: Tough. Humble. Made of Metal. (If only he was assembled on Henry Ford’s assembly line.)
Max (Walter Matthau) in Grumpy Old Men (1993)
Why: Three words: Flannel Jacket Icon
A Time to Kill Oliver-PlattMISSISSIPPI
Harry Rex (Oliver Platt) in A Time to Kill (1996)
Why: Because a quick-witted man in a seersucker suit that responds to the name Harry Rex is Mississippi royalty.
JudyGarland Meet Me in st. louisMISSOURI
Esther (Judy Garland) in Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
Why: A cute Missourian that’s forced to pick up everything and leave for the Big Apple but promises to comeback to St. Louis. That’s loyalty to a town. Plus, we assume she was Nelly’s inspiration.
Bad Pitt a river runs through itMONTANA
Paul Maclean (Brad Pitt) in A River Runs Through It (1992)
Why: After watching this performance, you’ll be mad that your childhood didn’t involve fly fishing with Norm and Paul on Blackfoot River.  (His looks didn’t hurt his case either.)
Nebraska Bruce DernNEBRASKA
Woody Grant (Bruce Dern) in Nebraska (2013)
Why: Do we really need to explain?
bradley cooper the hangoverNEVADA 
Phil (Bradley Cooper) in The Hangover (2009)
Why: Honorable mention goes to Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp) in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. At the end of the day, Phil was the leader of the wolfpack.
what about bob Richard-DreyfussNEW HAMPSHIRE 
Dr. Leo Marvin (Richard Dreyfuss) in What About Bob (1991)
Why: The Beard. Oh, and because the author of ‘Baby Steps’ goes to The Granite State for sailing vacations and passive-aggressive dinners with Bill Murray.
The Godfather - Marlon BrandoNEW JERSEY
Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) in The Godfather (1972)
Why: Afraid to know what would happen if we didn’t pick The Godfather.
Young Guns Emilo EstevezNEW MEXICO
Billy the Kid (Emilio Estevez) in Young Guns (1988)
Why: In 1988, Emilio Estevez + Billy the Kid = Cinematic Gold.  And because ‘Breaking Bad’ isn’t a movie, yet.
Michael-Douglas Wall StreetNEW YORK
Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) in Wall Street (1987)
Why: The pinstripe suits, the slicked back hair, the massive cellular phone. The financial capital of the world was at an all time high with him.  Insider trading has never looked so handsome.
Kevin-Costner_Bull DurhamNORTH CAROLINA
Crash Davis (Kevin Costner) in Bull Durham (1988)
Why: Real baseball team. Real town. Really good baseball name. How do you not give it to a guy named “Crash?”
Fargo Frances-McDormandNORTH DAKOTA
Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand) in Fargo (1996)
Why: Marge might have nailed the state accent better than anyone on this list. (Yes, even Matt Damon.)
Chris-Farley Tommy BoyOHIO
Tommy (Chris Farley) in Tommy Boy (1995)
Why: We wouldn’t have “Fat guy in a little coat” if it wasn’t for a little car parts factory in Sandusky, Ohio that employed this guy.
Twister Helen HuntOKLAHOMA 
Dr. Jo Harding (Helen Hunt) in Twister (1996)
Why: Nothing like a hard-as-nails female that isn’t afraid to go head-to-head with an F5 tornado.
Jeff-Cohen The Goonies ChunkOREGON
Chunk (Jeff Cohen) in The Goonies (1985)
Why: Because Portlandia isn’t a movie. And he has the best one syllable nickname of all time.
Brian-Doyle-Murray Groundhog dayPENNSYLVANIA 
Buster (Brian Doyle-Murray) in Groundhog Day (1993)
Why: Buster is the best friend of Punxsutawney Phil and he makes the top hat work.
Jim-Carey Me, Myself & IreneRHODE ISLAND
Charlie Baileygates / Hank Evans (Jim Carey) in Me, Myself & Irene (2000)
Why: Nothing portrays Rhode Island more than a caucasian state trooper that suffers from multiple personalities and has three African-American sons.  Right?
rachel mcaddams The NotebookSOUTH CAROLINA
Allie (Rachel McAdams) in The Notebook (2004)
Why: A Southern Belle. Plantation’s in Charleston. Southern drawls. A kiss in the South Carolina rain.  This was not even close.
Kevin-Costner Dances with wolvesSOUTH DAKOTA
Lieutenant Dunbar (Kevin Costner) in Dances With Wolves (1990)
Why: How else would we know what “Tatonka” means?  Thank you South Dakota and Lt. Dunbar.
terrancehoward Hustle and flowTENNESSEE
Djay (Terrence Howard) in Hustle & Flow (2005)
Why: ‘Walk the Line.’ ‘The Firm.’ Tennessee was a toss up.  With two amazing music cities in the state (Nashville and Memphis), we just wanted a movie that had some soul. Plus, we needed a pimp on this map.
David Wooderson Matthew McConaughey Dazed and confusedTEXAS
David Wooderson (Matthew McConaughey) in Dazed and Confused (1993)
Why: No cowboys. No quarterbacks. No stereotypes. Austin is, arguably, the best thing about Texas so we’re highlighting the character that gets that better than anyone.
JamesFranco 127 hoursUTAH
Aron Ralston (James Franco) in 127 Hours (2010)
Why: He cut his arm off.  Enough said.
Thorny Jay Chandrasekhar Super Troopers VERMONT
Thorny (Jay Chandrasekhar) in Super Troopers (2001)
Why: Thorny is an upstanding man of the law that might crash the occasional keg party in Vermont. But, really, it’s because of his mustache.
DEnzel Washington Remember the Titans VIRGINIA
Coach Herman Boone (Denzel Washington) in Remember the Titans (2000)
Why: We’re a sucker for a good coach speech. Especially, when it happens at Gettysburg.
Twilight Robert Pattinson Edward CullenWASHINGTON
Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) in Twilight (2009)
Why: Honorable mention: Sam Baldwin (Tom Hanks) in Sleepless in Seattle.  If that movie would have ended on the Space Needle instead of on the Empire State Building then we would have a different situation.
BenStiller ZoolanderWEST VIRGINIA
Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) in Zoolander (2001)
Why: He is a really, really, really ridiculously good looking coal miner. Well, he was for at least 44 seconds.
JohnnyDepp Public enemiesWISCONSIN 
John Dillinger (Johnny Depp) in Public Enemies (2009)
Why: When your state serves as the race track for a notorious outlaw on the run, well, you earn some serious street cred.  Plus, we’re still waiting on a Zombie Thriller at a dairy farm.
Heath-Ledger-Brokeback MountainWYOMING
Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) in Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Why: Rodeos. Cattle rides. Campfire building. Ennis is a man’s man. (We’ll just leave it at that.)

To top it off, here’s the President of the United States of Movie Characters.

air force one harrison fordWASHINGTON D.C.
President James Marshall (Harrison Ford) in Air Force One (1997)
Why: Shaking Hands. Kissing Babies. Single-handedly taking back a plane from ruthless hijackers. What more does the man have to do to get your vote?


To tackle this massive project, we listed the top movies that took place in each state.  Then we ranked the performances in those movies by one main factor: was the performances memorable?  Please don’t confuse memorable with “award winning.”  We don’t judge the quality of a person’s performance. (The Academy hasn’t let us in yet.)  But we can determine if the actor’s performance was memorable and somehow reflects that state.

To pick the final winner, we narrowed each state down to two movie characters and did a heated round table debate to squeeze out the winners.

This is what caused the most debate: Kevin Costner represents 3 states (it’s hard to argue against Dances with Wolves, Bull Durham and Field of Dreams.)  The Delaware argument always came back to one scene from Wayne’s World. Animals are characters too, right? Cartoons were immediately disqualified. Real people played by actors were allowed if that person wasn’t on any form of United States currency.

Don’t agree?  Let us know what you think.