5 Best Movies Filmed In Chicago
The largest city in Illinois, Chicago got its start all the way back in the 19th century as a grain market and food processing hub. Two decades later, the city has lost many of its manufacturing and factory jobs while maintaining the massive population and one-of-a-kind culture that has spawned all kinds of creative people and projects. From musicians to actors to filmmakers to writers, the city of Chicago has certainly earned its notoriety. Part of that notoriety comes from the plenty of pop culture staples that base themselves in the city. Whether it’s a Kanye West song or a deep dish pizza, one can often instantly recognize a piece of Chicago history without a second thought. The same goes for films shot in Chicago — if you know the city, you know that plenty of movies shoot there as a substitute for bigger cities like New York or LA. These are just a few of the best movies to come out of the city so far.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
John Hughes’s seminal high school movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off takes place in and around the Chicago metropolitan area — naturally, Hughes shot the film there, as well. Whether the viewer is observing Ferris and his friends infiltrating a parade in the city streets or perusing the artwork in the Art Institute, the city of Chicago serves as the backdrop for plenty of great hi-jinx and adventures. Thanks to the fact that it was shot in Chicago, the movie is essentially a piece of Chicago history.
A documentary about basketball and so much more, Hoop Dreams follows two high schoolers as they dream of becoming professionals in their sport. What started out as a thirty minute short ended up taking five years to shoot and resulted in over 250 hours of footage — it’s no surprise, considering how interesting the story is and how essentially Chicagoan it is. Hoop Dreams is inspiring, it’s deeply personal, and it gives viewers a one-of-a-kind look at what real life is like in Chicago for countless people.
When Harry Met Sally…
Nora Ephron’s masterwork, When Harry Met Sally… isn’t a movie one would expect to be shot partially in Chicago — after all, it’s one of the most New York-y movies ever made. Still, like the next film on the list, Chicago streets make for a great substitute for busy big cities. The average viewer wouldn’t even be able to tell that When Harry Met Sally… spent some time filming thousands of miles from The Big Apple.
The Dark Knight
Because Gotham City is obviously not real, Christopher Nolan and any other filmmaker working with Bruce Wayne’s vigilante alter-ego get to blend a bunch of different cities together to create their vision for the fictional place. Nolan was particularly partial to Chicago, and this is clearest in The Dark Knight. All kinds of iconic scenes from the film were shot throughout the Illinois city, from bank robberies to car chases to exploding buildings.
Taking place in both Milwaukee and Chicago, Bridesmaids is one of the funniest and most impressive ensemble comedies of the 21st century, Kristen Wiig was always the standout on Saturday Night Live, but this movie really gave her the chance to prove that. Filmed in multiple cities — including downtown LA — but at least partially in its setting of Chicago, Bridesmaids deserves a spot on this list for sure.
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