5 Best Movies That Take Place In Illinois
Located in the Midwest on the southernmost tip of Lake Michigan, Illinois is the birthplace of plenty of notable figures (namely the 16th president, Abraham Lincoln) as well as the setting for countless motion pictures and television shows. Perhaps because of the sheer size and significance of its largest city, Chicago, or because of the history contained within the borders of the state, Illinois continues to be an integral setting for plenty of projects. While its large cities to such celebrities as Harrison Ford, Laurie Metcalf, John Malkovich, and film critic Roger Ebert, Illinois is also known as the Prairie State for its vast farmland and beautiful landscapes. Across cityscapes and suburbs, some truly great films have set themselves in America’s 21st state.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Easily Matthew Broderick’s most recognizable role, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is an excellent hangout film that takes viewers throughout some of Chicago’s most iconic locations. It’s John Hughes’s greatest film, but it’s also one of the best to ever be set in Illinois. Placing the film anywhere else would be like robbing it of its identity.
One of the most respected horror films of all time, John Carpenter’s Halloween is a masterwork of low-budget filmmaking and pure, unbridled suspense. Part of that suspense and horror comes from the fact that the movie takes place in a little fictional town called Haddonfield, Illinois. Its fictionality makes it that much creepier, seeing as it could be anywhere in the state — Carpenter perfectly captures the tone and the feel of small-town Illinois.
Tina Fey’s hit comedy from 2004 stands as the most important and hilarious thing she’s done so far. Like Halloween, it takes place in a nondescript Illinois suburb. Somehow, that makes all the difference. The genius and joy of Mean Girls is its high stakes in such a small place. Midwestern living can be a lonely and isolated existence, and Mean Girl speaks to that better than any other comedy — being set in Illinois is key.
The Breakfast Club
Another John Hughes classic, The Breakfast Club forms a trilogy with Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Mean Girls to paint the perfect picture of what high school in the Midwest is like. Ferris Bueller shows off the fun and adventurous side, Mean Girls the petty and dramatic side, and Breakfast Club the difficult and deeply personal side — a story of self-discovery and the ways in which we define ourselves. Naturally, setting the story in Illinois makes sense for the same reasons as Mean Girls and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
Young Mr. Lincoln
Sort of the outlier on this list because of the fact that it’s not from the late 20th century or early 21st, Young Mr. Lincoln is a 1939 biopic about the early life of the 16th president. Directed by John Ford, the movie is Illinois history through and through. It’s an important and informative look at the life of one of the most important figures in American history and the state that helped shape him.
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