Henry Fonda and Katherine Hepburn in a scene from 'On Golden Pond'
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10 movies that feature quaint and cozy cabins

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June 10, 2022
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10 movies that feature quaint and cozy cabins

Cabins represent a way to get away from it all. Their isolation in the woods, on lakes, or atop mountains helps occupants take a break from a hectic life, slow down, and get more in tune with nature.

This also makes them a great setting for movies. Cabins are key to summer camp comedies like “Meatballs” and summer vacation flicks like “What About Bob?” They’re great residences for the witches and ogres of animated films like “Shrek.” They’re also a top location for a long list of horror movies like the “Friday the 13th” franchise and “The Evil Dead” because once people are sequestered in the woods—and without a phone—no one can hear them scream.

Although their association with horror films can give cabins a bad rap, they can also be cozy places that relax and soothe the soul. In fact, there are plenty of films that showcase the warmer side of cottage living. Hush compiled a list of 10 movies that feature cozy cabins, using information from IMDb and Metacritic.

As you continue reading, let these cabins inspire you to embrace the comfier side of life—or find your own cozy getaway for your next vacation.

Snow White in front of the cottage
1 / 10
Walt Disney Animation Studios

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

- Directors: William Cottrell (sequence), David Hand (supervising), Wilfred Jackson (sequence)
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Runtime: 1 hour, 23 minutes

Walt Disney’s first full-length animated feature retells the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tale about a young woman named Snow White who must flee her home after her evil stepmother, the Queen, orders that she be killed for being more beautiful. The Huntsman ordered to kill Snow White instead allows her to live but tells her to hide in the forest where the Queen can’t find her. There, Snow White finds a cozy but filthy cabin inhabited by seven dwarfs who work in a jewel mine. She befriends them and maintains the house for them in exchange for lodging.

Snow White brings new life to the cabin by cleaning and cooking for the dwarfs. It’s also where she spent a year in slumber after being poisoned by the Queen, leaving the dwarfs to watch over her until she’s awakened by a kiss from her true love. The film’s cottage is so inspirational that a husband and wife who were fans of the movie built their own version of it outside Olalla, Washington.

Gene Tierney and Cornel Wilde in a scene from "Leave Her to Heaven"
2 / 10
Twentieth Century Fox

Leave Her to Heaven (1945)

- Director: John M. Stahl
- Metascore: data not available
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Runtime: 1 hour, 50 minutes

This film noir’s cozy Maine lake cottage is where newlyweds Ellen and Richard settle down to start their life as a couple. From there, the plot takes a dark turn when Ellen becomes obsessively possessive of Richard’s love to the point where she becomes responsible for his brother’s death and her own miscarriage and death.

Gene Tierney stars as the movie’s anti-heroine, and Cornel Wilde plays Richard. The cast also features Vincent Price in a supporting role. “Leave Her to Heaven” was nominated for four Academy Awards, earning cinematographer Leon Shamroy the Best Cinematography (Color) Oscar for the film’s lush Technicolor look.

Maureen O'Hara and Hayley Mills in a scene from "The Parent Trap"
3 / 10
Walt Disney Productions

The Parent Trap (1961)

- Director: David Swift
- Metascore: 73
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Runtime: 2 hours, 9 minutes

Serendipity, the cabin in “The Parent Trap,” had to be cozy—it was where Susan Evers and Sharon McKendrick had to spend the last four weeks of summer camp as a punishment for fighting with each other at a camp dance.

However, while isolated together at Serendipity, Susan and Sharon discovered they are twins who had been separated as babies due to a split custody agreement in their parents’ divorce. The girls then decide to trade places once camp is over so they could meet the parent they’d never known, which evolves into a scheme to get their parents back together.

Hayley Mills plays both girls in one of the first big movies to use split-screen technology, and the efforts that the film crew made to make the scenes between Mills and herself look seamless helped viewers buy into the idea that the twins were two separate people.

Henry Fonda and Katherine Hepburn is a scene from 'On Golden Pond'
4 / 10
IPC Films

On Golden Pond (1981)

- Director: Mark Rydell
- Metascore: 68
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Runtime: 1 hour, 49 minutes

“On Golden Pond” is a movie of firsts and lasts: It was the first time Katharine Hepburn and Henry Fonda worked together, and it was the first time Fonda and his daughter Jane acted together. It would also mark Henry’s first Academy Award win as an actor as well as his last big-screen appearance; he died a few months after his Oscar win.

The cabin is the centerpiece of the movie, as it’s been the beloved summer home of the film’s family for decades. Although the movie was set in Maine, it was filmed on Squam Lake in Holderness, New Hampshire. The cabin was owned by a physician who loved the major modifications the production company made to it so much that he requested they remain in place once filming wrapped.

Cary Elwes and Robin Wright in a scene from "The Princess Bride"
5 / 10
Act III Communications

The Princess Bride (1987)

- Director: Rob Reiner
- Metascore: 77
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 1 hour, 38 minutes

Equal parts romantic comedy, fairy tale, swashbuckling fantasy, and adventure, “The Princess Bride” is a cult classic with its numerous quotable lines like, “Inconceivable,” and, “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die.”

“As you wish” is one of the first quotable lines of the film. These are the only words Westley, a farmhand, speaks to Buttercup, as she orders him to do chores around her farm. While in her cozy farmhouse cabin, she realizes she has fallen in love with the handsome Westley and learns that his one-liner is actually code for “I love you.”

Buttercup’s request for Westley to pull down a pitcher that she could easily reach leads to a kiss from her true love and sets this adventure film in motion.

Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze in a scene from "Dirty Dancing"
6 / 10
Great American Films Limited Partnership

Dirty Dancing (1987)

- Director: Emile Ardolino
- Metascore: 65
- IMDb user rating: 7.0
- Runtime: 1 hour, 40 minutes

The cozy cabins of Kellerman’s, a vacation resort tucked into upstate New York’s Catskill Mountains, are where some of the pivotal scenes of “Dirty Dancing” take place. Patrick Swayze’s Johnny first teaches Jennifer Grey’s Baby to dirty dance at a party in one of the staff bungalows. Baby loses her virginity to Johnny in his spartan cabin. Baby’s father, a doctor, comes to the rescue to aid Johnny’s dance partner, Penny, in her cabin after a botched abortion.

Although set in New York, the movie was filmed at Mountain Lake Lodge in Pembroke, Virginia, and a now-gone boys camp in Lake Lure, North Carolina. At Mountain Lake Lodge, guests can book “Baby’s Cabin,” a three-bedroom cottage with a wraparound porch. Lake Lure also has an annual “Dirty Dancing Festival” that includes a competition for the best recreation of Baby and Johnny’s iconic lake lift.

Dan Aykroyd and John Candy in a scene from "The Great Outdoors"
7 / 10
Universal Pictures

The Great Outdoors (1988)

- Director: Howard Deutch
- Metascore: 24
- IMDb user rating: 6.5
- Runtime: 1 hour, 31 minutes

John Candy and Dan Aykroyd team up for this 1988 comedy about families on vacation. Candy plays Chet, a man who takes his family on vacation to a Wisconsin lake resort, and Aykroyd plays Roman, Chet’s scheming brother-in-law, whose family crashes Chet’s vacation to try to bilk money from them.

The cabin in this movie doesn’t start out as a very cozy place. Chet’s family arrives at a filthy cottage which, with some elbow grease, becomes a fun family hangout, even with the tension between Chet and Roman’s families.

Although “The Great Outdoors” celebrates a classic family summer vacation that features a lake, woods, and plenty of wildlife, the cabin in this movie was actually located on a backlot at Universal Studios. It may come back to life: Aykroyd revealed in 2021 that a sequel is in development.

Ken Marino in a scene from "Wet Hot American Summer"
8 / 10
Eureka Pictures

Wet Hot American Summer (2001)

- Director: David Wain
- Metascore: 42
- IMDb user rating: 6.5
- Runtime: 1 hour, 37 minutes

“Wet Hot American Summer” takes place on the last day of summer camp and follows the staff as they have one last shot at love with each other, put on the big talent show, and keep the campers alive. This low-budget parody of 1970s and 1980s teen movies bombed at the box office but has since become a cult classic that spawned a prequel series on Netflix. 

Filmed at Camp Towanda in Pennsylvania, producers made this movie for just $1.8 million. One way they kept costs down was to have the cast bunk in the same cabins they filmed in. During filming, Janeane Garofalo, who plays camp director Beth, discovered a bunk that had a plaque in honor of fellow actor Hank Azaria, who spent most of his childhood summers at the camp.

A scene outside the cottage in "Spirited Away"
9 / 10
Tokuma Shoten

Spirited Away (2002)

- Director: Hayao Miyazaki
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Runtime: 2 hours, 5 minutes

Zeniba’s cottage in this anime classic is the textbook definition of cozy. It’s a warm, one-room house that heroine Chihiro visits in an effort to get advice on how to save her parents and friend Haku from Zeniba’s evil twin, Yubaba. The cottage is the perfect place for the hospitable host Zeniba, who offers Chihiro a scrumptious tea spread, dishes out advice, and knits her a magical hairband.

Created by the legendary Hayao Miyazaki, “Spirited Away” is one of the most successful anime films of all time, topping Japan’s highest-grossing movies chart for 19 years and winning an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. Its mostly hand-drawn animation has enchanted audiences for 20 years.

Exterior shot of the cottage in "The Holiday"
10 / 10
Columbia Pictures

The Holiday (2006)

- Director: Nancy Meyers
- Metascore: 52
- IMDb user rating: 6.9
- Runtime: 2 hours, 16 minutes

In this Christmastime movie from rom-com master Nancy Meyers, two women who are having problems with men decide to swap homes for the holidays in hopes that a change of location will do them good. While Kate Winslet’s Iris gets to stay in a tony Los Angeles mansion, Cameron Diaz’s Amanda discovers she’ll be vacationing in an idyllic English cottage. Although both women use the exchange as a way to escape men, they both end up finding love.

This cottage checks all the boxes: stone walls, roaring fireplace, exposed wood beams, open kitchen shelving, sloped second-floor ceilings, and a clawfoot bathtub. Sadly, none of it is real. The exteriors were built especially for the movie, and the interiors were created on a soundstage.

This story originally appeared on Hush and was produced and distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.

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