Movies Filmed in Chicago


Authored by Mike Bacon in Movies and Television 
Published on 10-31-2009

Chicago, Illinois has much to offer. It hosts a Naval Base, sits on Lake Michigan and is known as the Windy City. It has also been referred to as the City of the Big Shoulders, Second City (A famous comedy troupe named itself after that appellation) and is also remembered for a great fire allegedly started by a cow owned by a Mrs. O’Leary. What may not be as well known is its location for the filming of quite a few fine motion pictures.

Here are a few films that were filmed in and around Chicago.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

The late John Hughes directed this tale of a high school wise guy who decides to take a day off from school, because the day is just too nice to spend in school. He takes his friends along for the ride while dodging the principal. Matthew Broderick had the title role in this break out film, with Mia Sara and Alan Ruck as the friends who join Ferris on this whirlwind tour of Chicago. Jeffrey Jones is maliciously hilarious as Mr. Rooney, who is determined to find his young nemesis. Charlie Sheen has a cameo as a boy Ferris’ sister (played by Jenifer Grey) meets in a police station. One of the things that made the movie memorable was Broderick in character, speaking directly to the audience. The Chicago locations were well in evidence here as well.

The Dark Knight (2008)

Like its predecessor “Batman Begins” (2005), This film was shot at many Chicago locations which are recognizable to those who live in and around the city, or have spent any time there. Chicago was director Christopher Nolan’s first choice for a city to double for Gotham City of the Batman Universe. Christian Bale returned as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Michael Caine as his faithful servant and friend, Alfred, and Gary Oldman as Police Lt. James Gordon. Maggie Gyllenhall stepped into the role of Rachel Dawes vacated by Katie Holmes, and Aaron Eckert played crusading District Attorney Harvey Dent. The standout performance of the film was Heath Ledger as the psychopathic Joker. Ledger clearly stole the film, and his tragic death prior to the films opening may have helped lead Dark Knight to one of the biggest opening weekends in film history. Ledger would also be awarded the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor posthumously. The award was only the second posthumous Oscar ever awarded.

Risky Business (1983)

Tom Cruise and Rebecca De Mornay starred in this comedy about a bored Chicago teen looking for some wild adventure while his parents are away. He meets a hooker played by De Mornay while tooling around Chicago in his fathers’ Porsche. When things get out of hand and Dad’s prized auto ends up in Lake Michigan, Joel (Cruise) needs a quick infusion of cash. So he goes into business with Lana (De Mornay) for the weekend. One image that will always remain in many people’s minds is Cruise sliding into the doorway in a button down shirt and his tighty whiteys and lip-syncing to Bob Seeger’s “Old Time Rock and Roll”. As they drive around, many Chicago landmarks are highly visible.

The Fugitive (1993)

Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones starred as the accused murderer and the US Marshall chasing him in this big screen adaption of the 1960’s television series. Filmed almost entirely on location in the Windy City, Chicagoans will recognize their city as Ford’s character searches for the one armed man who is the real killer. Tommy Lee Jones won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his portrayal of the dogged lawman who always gets his man.

Home Alone (1990)

This is another John Hughes film about a resourceful 8-year-old boy who is accidentally left behind when his family goes on vacation to Paris. Filmed in and around Chicago, the film featured Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern as two inept burglars who run afoul of this savvy kid. They were obviously not smarter than this fifth grader! The sequence at the end of the film where young Kevin sets traps for the bungling would be thieves is hilarious.


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