Movie Locations in Chicago

Chicago has been home to lots of Hollywood movies.  The beautiful Windy City has played the role of home base for many of Hollywood’s classic films. When you take a look at movies in which Chicago took top billing, the list is long and impressive: “Home Alone,” “Ordinary People,” “About Last Night,” “Road to Perdition,” “North by Northwest,” “Risky Business,” “The Breakfast Club,” “When Harry Met Sally,” and “The Untouchables,” just to name a few.


The entire 2013 was another record year with a 20 percent increase in overall production and a total of 2,198 filming days. In 2012 a previous record was set with nearly 40 percent growth over 2011.      The 2014 theatrical releases of Jupiter Ascending and Transformers 4 is expected to keep the filming spotlight on Chicago.     “The most impressive growth was in episodic television,” said Rich Moskal, Director of the Chicago Film Office. “Scripted one-hour dramas see Chicago as a versatile, cinematic and affordable destination. The expansion of Cinespace Studios and the influential endorsement of two Dick Wolf series (‘Chicago Fire’ and ‘Chicago PD’) have sent the entire industry a powerful message: Chicago is full service, highly functioning and open for business.”    TV series shooting in Chicago during 2013 included “Betrayal” (ABC), “Chicago Fire” (NBC), “Chicago PD” (NBC), “Crisis” (NBC), “Mind Games” (ABC) and “Sirens” (USA). Studio features filmed in Chicago in 2013 included “Divergent,” “Jupiter Ascending” and “Transformers 4.”


There are also a number of Chicago TV shows filming in the city in April:


Filming in Illinois:

Empire (pilot) is filming at 1709 W Chicago Ave in Chicago. Also filming at Clark and Kinzie in Chicago. (Thanks Amanda). Lee Daniels’ TV pilot Empire, which stars Terrence Howard as the head of a hip-hop empire, is currently shooting in Chicago and we have a few set photos taken yesterday, April 2. Fox ordered the pilot after announcing they plan to largely abandoning the traditional pilot season and instead focus on year-round producing which means more episodes will likely be shot in the summer for a fall debut.

Chicago Fire is filming at 2143 N Humboldt Blvd (6:00 AM – 8:00 PM) and 2101 N Mozart St in Chicago(6:00 PM -10:00 PM)




Here are 10 scene-stealing film locations where Chicago was a star.

1. “The Blues Brothers.” 1980. John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd. This film, directed and co-written by John Landis, brought an authenticity by using locations that were not only famous and elegant, but also areas that were considered not as glamorous, like Lyon’s Delicatessen on Maxwell Street, the setting for the “four chickens and a Coke/Aretha Franklin” scene.


Some of the other Chicago highlights from “The Blues Brothers” include the lovely Chez Paul Restaurant on Rush Street, where Jake and Elwood started tossing around shrimp cocktails into each other’s mouths and shocking upscale diner patrons by asking, “How much for the little girls?”


The Picasso Statue and City Hall are also spotlighted, including the infamous chase scene in the County Building, where Steven Spielberg makes a cameo appearance as a Cook County Assessor Office clerk.

2. “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” 1986. Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck. I’m sure this movie was a dream for the Chicago Office of Tourism, as filming locations prominently showcased our most popular attractions like The Loop, Sears Tower, Lake Shore Drive, the Art Institute, and Wrigley Field.

A majority of the classroom scenes took place at New Trier and Glenbrook North high schools, where many of the actual students were used as extras. Katie Bueller’s real estate office was Koenig & Strey in Winnetka, Illinois.

3. “The Color of Money.” 1986. Paul Newman, Tom Cruise. Pool lovers and movie buffs enjoy checking out Chris’s Billiards in Jefferson Park just to see the framed photos that fill the hallway, marking the location where Newman and Cruise shot pool room scenes.

If you visit Fitzgerald’s, a local favorite in Berwyn, Illinois, you will see where director Martin Scorsese filmed a pool scene starring Newman and Cruise’s alter egos, Fast Eddie and Vincent, along with Julian (John Turturro). O’Brien’s Steakhouse on North Wells Street is the place where Eddie, Vincent, and Mary (Elizabeth Mastrantonio) enjoyed their dinner.


4. “The Fugitive.” 1993. Harrison Ford, Tommy Lee Jones. When on-the-run Dr. Richard Kimble made his pay phone call to the police, it was at the corner of Wacker Drive and Wells. When you see the good doc donning a green party hat and marching in the St. Patrick’s Day parade, that’s North Dearbron Street in full glory.


Chicago Hilton & Towers and the Four Seasons Hotel were used for many thrilling moments, and veteran Chicago broadcaster Pam Zekman and crime-fighting reporter John Drummond brought their real-life selves to the silver screen, playing small roles as local reporters.


5. “High Fidelity.” 2000. John Cusack, Jack Black. As much as I enjoyed this particular film that starred our hometown, I only wish record store guys looked like the handsome Mr. Cusack!


When Cusack’s character Rob is shown in the school scenes, you will no doubt recognize that building as Lane Tech High School on Addison/Western in Chicago. The record store shots used an abandoned building in the 1500 block on North Milwaukee Avenue in Wicker Park, and the interior shots were a film set.


Here’s a fun fact: Local musician Mike Felten, who owned the indie music shop Record Emporium in Roscoe Village, was used as a consultant on “High Fidelity.” Record Emporium was voted Best of Chicago in 2009, and even though it has since closed down, the music store lives online, selling vintage vinyl and CDs.

6. “The Dark Knight.” 2008. Christian Bale, Heath Ledger. As Batman and Joker fought it out on screen, it was actually Chicago that created that Gotham City illusion. The old post office on West Harrison Street was used to film the opening bank robbery scenes featuring that insanely demented Joker, played brilliantly by the late Heath Ledger, and his merry band of freaks.


When Batman takes down more bad guys, including a few Joker wannabes, it took place inside the parking garage at 200 W. Randolph. Other scenes were filmed along Adams Street and in the downtown Financial District.


One of the guys who worked on the set of “The Dark Knight” told me this story: “I do remember talk about Health Ledger riding his skate board in the Financial District, still wearing his Joker makeup. There were a few times where people called the police on him, and the crew had to explain that he was the villain of the movie they were filming, and not some random goofball.”


7. “Public Enemies.” 2009. Johnny Depp, Christian Bale. When the notorious mobster John Dillinger, played by Johnny Depp, was filmed in Portage Park, the Northwest Side was all abuzz.

I was living in the neighborhood at the time, and a friend of mine who worked as an extra said that a huge crowd of people waited patiently outside the shoot location of the Portage Theater on North Milwaukee Avenue, hoping of getting a peek at the mega movie star Johnny Depp. After one of the days of filming, admirers got their wish as Depp walked out the back door of the theater and stopped to greet fans and say hello.

Other recognizable “Public Enemies” filming spots are the Aragon Ballroom, Bridgeview Bank on North Broadway, and, of course, the historic Biograph Theater, the very place where the on-screen and real-life John Dillinger met his inevitable demise.


2011 was a good release year that included three Chicago-based filming locations, which round out the top 10 list:


8. “The Dilemma.” Vince Vaughn, Kevin James. There were several key scenes shot in Chicago, including one with Clint Howard, brother of the film’s director Ron Howard, when Vaughn’s character gets into a nasty encounter with some lovely foliage at the Garfield Park Conservatory. You might also recognize the dark, sultry interior of the legendary Green Mill, where Kevin James, Vince Vaughn, Winona Ryder, and Jennifer Connelly enjoyed a night on the town.


“The Dilemma” used approximately 1,000 extras and local actors to film the hockey scenes at the United Center. One of them was Melanie Christy, an actress who relocated from Ohio to Chicago in pursuit of her dream. Melanie shared a great story about working on location at the United Center: “Ron Howard was so amusing. He pretended to use one of the [mannequin] seat fillers as a copy of himself. He even put his own Imagine logo hat on the dummy and pretended to talk like it was him!”

9. “Transformers: Dark of the Moon.” Shia LaBeouf, Josh Duhamel. We watched as the usually stunning areas around the Chicago River, Michigan Avenue, and LaSalle Street were transformed into total chaos by the magic of Hollywood, with overturned vehicles, concrete slabs, and burning buildings filling the streets. This particular film location was a real tourist attraction, with people from all around the globe snapping photos and gawking at the amazing set.


Willis Tower was also featured, as was the Lincoln Park favorite, Bacino’s Pizza on North Lincoln Avenue. I guess even Transformer creatures like to munch on our Chi-Town deep-dish pizzas!

10. “Contagion.” Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow. The recently released film shot in and around the city, including at Sherman Hospital in Elgin and the General Jones Armory on South Cottage Grove in Chicago.


James Petrean, a background artist and college student who lives in Oak Forest, Illnois, worked on “Contagion” and shared an interesting location story. His particular scenes were shot at Illinois Science and Technology Park in Skokie, Illinois. “Our shoot was filmed over two days. One was the lotto system to announce who will get the medicine for the virus. The other day was to tell the world how many were affected and where.” Despite the serious subject matter of “Contagion,” Petrean said, “Bryan Cranston was very hilarious in between takes. He made all the extras laugh. We left the day happy and full of good spirits.”



MOVIES FILMED IN CHICAGO — Just Click On The Title To View It’s Filming Locations:
  1. About Last Night
  2. Above The Law
  3. Adventures In Babysitting
  4. A Night In The Life Of Jimmy Reardon
  5. The Babe
  6. Baby On Board
  7. Baby’s Day Out
  8. Backdraft
  9. Bad Boys (1983)
  10. Barbershop
  11. Barbershop 2
  12. Blankman
  13. Blink
  14. Blue Chips
  15. Blues Brothers
  16. The Breakfast Club
  17. The Break-Up
  18. Candyman
  19. Ca$h
  20. Chain Reaction
  21. Chicago Cab
  22. Chicago Overcoat
  23. Child’s Play
  24. Class
  25. Code Of Silence
  26. The Color Of MoneyThe Company
  27. Cooley High
  28. Curly Sue
  29. The Dark Knight
  30. Dennis The Menace
  31. Derailed
  32. The Dilemma
  33. Doctor Detroit
  34. DutchExcessive Force
  35. The Express
  36. A Family Thing
  37. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
  38. Flatliners
  39. FolksFred Claus
  40. The Fugitive
  41. The Fury
  42. Gladiator (1992)
  43. Grace Is Gone
  44. Groundhog DayHardball
  45. High Fidelity
  46. Home Alone
  47. Home Alone 2
  48. Home Alone 3Hoodlum
  49. The Hudsucker Proxy
  50. The Hunter
  51. I Heart Shakey
  52. I Want Someone To Eat Cheese With
  53. The Ice Harvest
  54. Judgment Night
  55. Kissing A Fool
  56. The Lake House
  57. The Last Rites Of Joe May
  58. Light It Up
  59. Losing Isaiah
  60. Love Jones
  61. Lucas
  62. Mad Dog And GloryMercury Rising
  63. Midnight Run
  64. Miracle On 34th Street (1994)
  65. Mo’ Money
  66. My Best Friend’s Wedding
  67. My Bodyguard
  68. My Life
  69. The Negotiator
  70. New Port South
  71. Next Of Kin
  72. Never Been Kissed
  73. A Nightmare On Elm Street (2010)
  74. Normal Life
  75. Nothing In Common
  76. Nothing Like The Holidays
  77. Of Boys And Men
  78. Only The LonelyOpportunity Knocks
  79. Ordinary People
  80. The Package
  81. Payback
  82. Planes, Trains And Automobiles
  83. Poltergeist 3
  84. Prelude To A Kiss
  85. Primal Fear
  86. The Promotion
  87. Public Enemies
  88. Rapid Fire
  89. Red Heat (1988)
  90. The Relic
  91. Rent-a-Cop
  92. Return To Me
  93. Risky BusinessRoad To Perdition
  94. Roll Bounce
  95. Rookie Of The Year
  96. Running Scared
  97. Save The Last Dance
  98. She’s Having A Baby
  99. Sixteen Candles
  100. Soul Food
  101. Soul Survivors
  102. Source Code
  103. Stir Of Echoes
  104. Straight Talk
  105. Stranger Than Fiction
  106. Surviving Christmas
  107. Thief
  108. Transformers: Dark Of The Moon
  109. The Unborn
  110. U.S. Marshals
  111. Uncle BuckUncle Nino
  112. Unconditional Love
  113. The UntouchablesVice Versa
  114. V.I. Warshawski
  115. Wanted
  116. The Weather Man
  117. Weird Science
  118. What Women Want
  119. While You Were Sleeping
  120. Wildcats