Who doesn’t love a good moonshine movie of the olden days when life was simpler, but Prohibition was in full effect. I wanted to collect some of the best moonshine movies in 2023, whether they are based on a true story, a cult classic, or even in the crime genre to watch.They may not be all nominated for Academy Awards, but they all teach us a little something about American history. Check out this list of the best moonshine movies 2023 to watch.
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Collection of Best Movies About Moonshine 2023
Plot: In 1931, the Bondurant brothers of depression-era Franklin County, Va., run a multipurpose backwoods establishment that hides their true business, bootlegging. Middle brother Forrest is the brain of the operation; older Howard is the brawn, and younger Jack, the lookout. Though the local police have taken bribes and left the brothers alone, a violent war erupts when a sadistic lawman (special deputy Charlie Rakes) from Chicago arrives and tries to shut down the Bondurants organized crime operation. Written by Matt Bondurant with soundtrack provided by Warren Ellis and Nick Cave.
Star Cast: Tom Hardy, Jason Clarke, Shia LaBeouf, Guy Pearce, Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska, Gary Oldman
White Lightning (1973)
Plot: Easygoing Arkansas good ol’ boy Gator McKlusky is serving his second federal prison sentence for running moonshine when he learns his straight-arrow college graduate brother and his girlfriend have been murdered. Eager to take down corrupt county sheriff J.C. Connors, whom he suspects is behind his brother’s death, Gator the ex con teams up with agents deal that releases him from prison to infiltrate Connors’ underground booze-running business.
Star Cast: Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty, Bo Hopkins
Thunder Road (1958)
Plot: Unrepentant Tennessee moonshine runner Luke Doolin makes dangerous high-speed deliveries for his liquor-producing father, Vernon, but won’t let his younger brother Robin join the family business. Under pressure from both out-of-town gangster Kogan, who wants a piece of the local action, and Treasury agent Barrett, who wants to destroy the moonshine business, Luke fights for his fast-fading way of life.
Star Cast: Robert Mitchum, Trevor Bardette, James Mitchum, Jacques Aubuchon, Gene Barry
Soggy Bottom, U.S.A. (1981)
Plot: In a small Southern town, the local Sheriff tries to keep everything peaceful and under control.
Star Cast: Ben Johnson, P. J. Soles, Jack Elam
The Untouchables (1987)
Plot: After building an empire with bootleg alcohol, legendary crime boss Al Capone rules Chicago with an iron fist. Though Prohibition era agent Eliot Ness attempts to take Capone down, even his best efforts fail due to widespread corruption within the Windy City’s police force. Recruiting an elite group of lawmen who won’t be swayed by bribes or fear, including Irish-American cop Jimmy Malone, Ness renews his determination to bring Capone to justice.
Star Cast: Robert De Niro, Kevin Costner, Sean Connery
Plot: A slapstick comedy set in rural Arkansas, a bunch of bootleggers feud over the rights to a moonshine run and try to get even with one another in the 1920s.
Star Cast: Charles B. Pierce, Slim Pickens, Paul Koslo
Paper Moon (1973)
Plot: Real-life father and daughter Ryan and Tatum O’Neal team up as slick con-artists Moses Pray and Addie Loggins in 1930s Kansas during the Great Depression. When “Moze” is unexpectedly saddled with getting the young girl, 9-year-old Addie to relatives in Missouri after the death of her mother, his attempt to dupe her out of her money backfires, and he’s forced to take her on as a partner. Swindling their way through farm country, the pair is nearly done in by a burlesque dancer and an angry bootlegger.
Star Cast: Tatum O’Neal, Ryan O’Neal, Madeline Kahn
The Devil’s 8 (1969)
Plot: A law enforcement federal agent trains a group of chain-gang convicts for a mission to break up a Southern moonshine racket in exchange for their freedom.
Star Cast: Christopher George, Fabian, Leslie Parrish
Black Snake Moan (2006)
Plot: After her lover leaves to serve in the military, Rae, awild young woman, gives in to her raging libido and leaps into a life of wild abandon. Lazarus, a troubled yet god-fearing bluesman, finds Rae beaten and left for dead. He takes her in and holds her captive in an attempt to help her find a cure for her affliction which stems from sexual abuse.
Star Cast: Justin Timberlake, Christina Ricci, Samuel L. Jackson
Thunder and Lightning (1977)
Plot: Harley Thomas is accustomed to his dangerous life as a moonshine runner in Florida. However, when Harley enters into a competition with Ralph Junior Hunnicutt to see who can distribute the most liquor, things quickly get out of hand. Complicating matters is Harley‘s girlfriend, Nancy Sue, who happens to be Ralph Junior’s daughter. Meanwhile, both the mob and the local police force get involved, adding to the chaos.
Star Cast: David Carradine, Roger C. Carmel, Kate Jackson
The Dukes of Hazzard: The Beginning (2007)
Plot: Teenaged cousins Bo and Luke Duke spend their first few weeks in Hazzard County getting into trouble running outlawed liquor in order to save their Uncle Jesse’s farm.
Star Cast: April Scott, Randy Wayne, Jonathan Bennett
The Moonshine War (1970)
Plot: A federal agent attempts to make some real money before the alcohol ban is lifted so he sets his sights on the whiskey cache of an old army buddy.
Star Cast: Patrick McGoohan, Richard Widmark, Alan Alda
Bugsy Malone (1976)
Plot: In 1929 New York, a war between two rival gangsters, Fat Sam and Dandy Dan, rages. Meanwhile, an all-round nice guy, Bugsy Malone, falls for a singer at Fat Sam’s speakeasy.
Star Cast: Scott Baio, Jodie Foster, Flo Nancarrow
Road to Perdition (2002)
Plot: Mike Sullivan is an enforcer for powerful Depression-era Midwestern mobster John Rooney. Rooney’s son, Connor, is jealous of the close bond they share, and when Mike’s eldest son, Michael, witnesses a hit, Connor uses the incident as an excuse to murder Sullivan’s wife and youngest son. Forced to flee, Sullivan and Michael set out on a journey of revenge and self-discovery.
Star Cast: Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, Daniel Craig, Tyler Hoechlin, Jennifer Jason Leigh
The Girls From Thunder Strip (1970)
Plot: A trio of beautiful bootlegging sisters take on a vicious gang of murderous bikers, led by Teach. The situation becomes even more complicated when a federal agent shows up to shut down their illicit operation.
Star Cast: Jody McCrea, Mick Mehas, Maray Ayres
Hatfields & McCoys (2012)
Plot: Dramatization of the bitter blood feud between the two families on the West Virginia/Kentucky border in the years after the Civil War.
Star Cast: Kevin Costner, Bill Paxton, Matt Barr
Walking Tall (1973)
Plot: The small town Tennessee Sheriff Buford Pusser carries a big stick after thugs beat him up and kill his wife.
Star Cast: Joe Don Baker, Elizabeth Hartman
Walking Tall Part II (1975)
Plot: After his wife is murdered by a ruthless crime syndicate, Buford Pusser, more enraged than ever, is determined to go after the killers and make them pay.
Star Cast: Bo Svenson, Dawn Lyn, Bruce Glover
The Last American Hero (1973)
Plot: Junior Jackson is a Southern boy with a penchant for driving too fast along his native North Carolina backroads. But when his father, Elroy, is jailed for his moonshine business, Junior decides to go pro, if only to be able to buy Elroy a few prison privileges. With the help of his brother, Wayne, he slowly climbs the ranks of the various racing circuits. Often at odds with corporate sponsors, Jackson nevertheless becomes one of the first celebrities of NASCAR for being one of the best NASCAR racer.
Star Cast: Jeff Bridges, Art Lund, Gary Busey