December 22, 2016

7 More Awesome Preservation-Themed Movies

When we shared our original list of 15 Awesome Preservation-Themed Movies, it definitely got preservationists' wheels turning. We heard from folks around the country with additional movie suggestions, so without further ado, let us present seven more films about saving places.

1. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)—George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart), a man who has given up his dreams in order to help others, is considering suicide until his guardian angel intervenes and shows him how different life in his community of Bedford Falls would be had he never been born.

2. The Blues Brothers (1980)—Jake Blues (John Belushi), just out from prison, puts together his old band to save the Catholic home where he and brother Elwood (Dan Aykroyd) were raised.

3. The Christmas Gift (1986)—A widowed New York City architect (John Denver) and his young daughter take a Christmas vacation and end up in a small mystical town in Colorado where everyone believes in Santa Claus. (Fun fact: Much of the film was shot at Hotel de Paris, a National Trust Historic Site. In one poignant scene, John Denver's character sings the hit song "Love Again" to his daughter at bedtime in one of the hotel rooms.)

4. Pom Poko (1994)—In this Japanese film, a community of magical shape-shifting raccoon dogs struggles to prevent their forest home from being destroyed by urban development.

5. The Second Chance (2006)—Pastors Ethan Jenkins (Michael W. Smith) and Jake Sanders (Jeff Obafemi Carr) are suddenly thrown together in a tough neighborhood and forced to work side by side at the Second Chance Church. While the church is demolished in the film, the real-life Lindsley Avenue Church of Christ in Nashville, where the movie was shot, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and continues to be an active parish. In 2015, the congregation created a separate nonprofit, Preserve Lindsley Avenue Now, to raise money to restore its 1894 building.

6. Be Kind Rewind (2008)—High-end development threatens to demolish the declining "Be Kind Rewind" VHS rental store in New Jersey unless owner Mr. Fletcher (Danny Glover) can find the money to renovate his building. When Mr. Fletcher leaves town, his two bumbling clerks inadvertently erase the footage from all the tapes in the store, so in order to keep the business running, they re-shoot every film with their own camera.

7. Shower (1999)—This Chinese film centers on a family-run bathhouse managed by an aging father and his younger, mentally challenged son. When elder son Da Ming, who left years ago to seek his fortune, abruptly returns one day, he sees anew the decaying district of his childhood that is now slated for razing.

Hats off to all of our Facebook friends and email subscribers who shared recommendations! Have additional ideas? Send them to

By purchasing any of these products using the links on this page, you'll be supporting the National Trust. Check out other ways you can support preservation as you shop, travel, and play.

Julia Rocchi was the senior director of digital marketing at the National Trust. By day she wrangles content; by night (and weekends), she shops local, travels to story-rich places, and gawks at buildings.

Join us in protecting and restoring places where significant African American history happened.

Learn More