Hollywood is, of course, known as the movie capital of the world. People flock from all over the world to take in the glitz, glamour and starlight of Southern California. Naturally we associate movie production with the big movie houses located down there—Paramount, MGM, Universal, Disney, Warner Brothers, etc.—but what about other places in the states?
Movies in Chicago from chicagoloopster on Vimeo.
Sure, the New York scenery has inspired some epic films, and who could forget Woody Allen’s infatuation with the place? But what about the rest of the states, aren’t there other places that directors have racked up frequent flyer miles traveling to? Michael Bay is almost finished shooting “Transformers 3″ in downtown Chicago, Ill.—just the latest in a long, long list of films that have been shot on location in the Windy City. The Chicago Film office has the complete listing by decade, but here are some of the more notable pictures made in Chicago during the last 60 years:
1959: Back in 1959, Alfred Hitchcock thrilled audiences with North by Northwest, and the film was nominated for three Oscar Awards.
1961: Lorraine Hansberry’s play, A Raisin in the Sun, was brought to the silver screen and directed by Daniel Petrie.
1967: Sidney Poitier of A Raisin in the Sun took the lead in Norman Jewison’s In the Heat of the Night, playing a detective investigating a murder down South.
1968: Steve Mcqueen starred in Bullitt, an adaptation of Robert L. Fish’s novel. Chicago began gathering attention as a prime spot for shooting feature films, and a whole host of productions were made in the 70’s.
1973: Winner of “best picture,” George Roy Hill directed The Sting, which featured the legendary Paul Newman as Henry Gondorff and Robert Redford as Johnny Hooker.
1975: Michael Schultz directed the 1975 comedy Cooley High, about a group of high school students in Chicago.
1976: Gene Wilder, of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory fame starred alongside Richard Pryor in Silver Streak.
1979: There were a number of memorable films shot in Chicago during the 70’s: Somewhere in Time, My Bodyguard, The Hunter, 1941, and Ordinary People, but no film in the decade defined Chicago more than The Blues Brothers. The saga of John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd is as iconic as any in the Midwest.
The 1980’s showed the continued growth of Chicago’s movie scene as hit after hits rolled through the city. Films about teen angst met gangster flicks as the Chicago movie scene erupted.
1980: Ironically enough, pieces of Escape From New York, were, in fact, shot in Chicago. Kurt Russell starred in the action film directed by John Carpenter.
1982: One of Chevy Chase’s more memorable roles was as Clark Griswald, a father hell-bent on delivering a good family vacation in Vacation. Tom Cruise also melted hearts and inspired party themes everywhere by singing in his underwear in Risky Business.
1983: John Hughes’ memorable coming of age story Sixteen Candles featured a young Molly Ringwald. Hughes wrote and directed the film.
1985: Arguably, Matthew Brodrick most famous role was as a hooky-playing senior in High School in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. The film inspired role-calling teachers everywhere to say “Bueller…anyone, Bueller” every time their was a lull in the classroom.
1986: Kevin Costner starred as federal agent Elliot Ness in The Untouchables, trying to bring down the legendary Al Capone.
1987: John Hughes delivered with the comedy Planes, Trains & Automobiles, starring Steve Martin and the late John Candy.
The 1990’s introduced neon to us. The decade showcased Zack Morris’ massive cell phone in Saved by the Bell and most notably, delivered one of the most famed child stars of all time.
1990: Macaulay Culkin’s hands pressed on his cheeks might be the most recreated movie scene of all time. The Home Alone star eluded and abused two crooks until his parents finally made it home from vacation.
1991: Mike Meyers’ and Dana Carvey rocked some outrageous wigs while filming Wayne’s World in Chicago.
1992: The sound of Bill Murray’s alarm clock from Groundhog Day may still be stuck in your head. Murray relived the same day over and over until he finally got it right with Andie MacDowell.
1993: That “one-armed man excuse” was sure a hard sell for Harrison Ford in The Fugitive. This year also featured hits like Natural Born Killers, Blue Chips, and Baby’s Day Out.
1994: Macaulay Culkin struck again after the success of Home Alone and Home Alone 2 with Richie Rich, directed by Donald Petrie.
1995: Hometown hero Michael Jordan help the Warner Brother’s cartoons defeat the monSTARS in Space Jam.
1996: Julia Roberts proves to be an inopportune maid of honor for Cameron Diaz in My Best Friend’s Wedding.
1998: Two airport controllers, John Cusack and Billy Bob Thorton feud during Pushing Tin, directed by Mike Newell.
1999: John Cusack played a compulsive, list making, record storeowner in High Fidelity, based off of Nick Hornby’s novel.
Chicago Films in the 2000’s are marked by a ton of action and enormous price tags. Though many of the films sported a hefty budget, the revenues were even more outlandish—with box office records shattering year in and year out.
2000: Before Mel Gibson released The Passion of the Christ and got a few people upset, he starred in What Women Want, where the ability to read the minds of the opposite sex was zapped into his mind.
2001: Will Smith bulked up and was nominated for “Best Actor” for his role in Michael Mann’s Ali.
2002: Box offices everywhere felt the rush of Spider Man II, which used intense CGI and the Chicago landscape.
2003: In a futuristic world, Will Smith had to chase down a robot or two in Alex Proyas’ I, Robot.
2004: Christopher Nolan chronicled the origins of Batman in Batman Begins, starring Christian Bale with Michael Caine as the loveable butler, Alfred.
2007: In Heath Ledger’s final performance he won “Best Supporting Actor” in the Batman sequel, The Dark Knight, which set new records for movie sales worldwide.
2010: Transformers 3 shut down parts of downtown Chicago for filming. Michael Bay is directing this one, so explosions are sure to follow.
Also in this issue…
Hollywood does Chicago: Transformers’ visit a benefit to Chicagoans, local economy — not just about Bay and LaBeouf
Raking it in and dishing it out: The most lucrative and expensive Chicago productions
Chicago Loopster chats with Chicago film expert Patrick McDonald
What’s in it for Paramount? The incentives and expenses for filming in Chicago
Movies in Chicago: Features of the past 60 years
What’s the buzz on “Transformers 3?″