Major movies filmed in Camden, Maine
Throughout the years, the scenic landscape of Camden, Maine, a small coastal town with a population of only 3,000, has played backdrop to quite a few movies.
Here are some of the more memorable ones, starting with the most recent (which is not all that recent at this point, but well worth seeing). These could be fun to watch before you head here for your Maine vacation–or a great way to while away a rainy day when you’re already here! If you can’t find them online to stream, check the local libraries.
In the Bedroom (2001): This quality film directed by local Todd Field was primarily shot in nearby Rockland, with additional scenes in Camden. I was living in downtown Rockland at the time, and was able to observe much of the filming from my kitchen window, including a kissing scene between stars Sissy Spacek and Tom Wilkinson. (“In the bedroom” refers to a section of a lobster trap.) It was a pleasure to watch the finished product and find it to be quite good! Also starred Marisa Tomei.
Captains Courageous (1996): I never actually saw this remake (the original 1937 film based on Rudyard Kipling’s adventure story starred Lionel Barrymore and Spencer Tracy), but I remember well when it was being filmed around town, especially on sailing ships in the local harbors. Robert Urich was the big star people hoped to spot.
Thinner (1996): You’d think more adaptations of Stephen King books would have been filmed in Maine, since most are set here, but this is one of the few. About a fat man cursed by a gypsy to waste away, it featured the usual King creepiness. During its filming, I happened upon one scene being shot near the Camden post office that has haunted me ever since: a death face staring out of a passing car window.
Casper (1995): Based on the “Casper the Friendly Ghost” comics I loved as a kid, this movie featured an animated Casper and live humans, including a very young Christina Ricci. Mostly filmed in Camden, but one scene includes Marshall Point Lighthouse in Port Clyde. This lighthouse also played a notable role in Forrest Gump!
Man Without a Face (1993): Nope, I didn’t see this one, either, but I do remember the big buzz when Mel Gibson was in town! (This was long before he disgraced himself as a racist, when he was still “hot.”) Notable for being Gibson’s directorial debut.
- Peyton Place (1957): Considered a racy novel in its time–featuring rape, murder, and other dramas in a prim New England town–this hugely popular book by Grace Metalious went on to be made into a racy movie starring Lana Turner. I grew up hearing from my mother and other locals about how exciting the filming was when they were kids; they would follow the filming around town and vie to catch of the stars or be chosen as an extra. The now-defunct local cinema in Camden used to show the movie at least once a year, and viewers delighted in pointing out local extras or funny scenes. In one, for example, a character runs down a street in Camden and ends up in Belfast, 20 miles away. In another, someone’s “secret, special place” turns out to be a well-visited ledge on Mount Battie. There was, rightly, a big to-do in town when the movie celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2007.