Move over Los Angeles, move over New York. Illinois has been front and centre of epic movies without you even knowing. While Chicago and the wider state of may not be the first place that springs to mind when you think movies, Illinois has in fact helped to set the stage for some of the greatest films of all time. Now that we are battening down the hatches, it’s time to know where some of your favourite movies were really filmed as well as where to watch them now.
The Dark Knight (2008)
Remember the opening scene where the Joker robs Gotham National Bank? That was filmed at the old Chicago Post Office. Further south, in the West Building of McCormick Place is where the Applied Sciences Division of Wayne Enterprises was set and Wayne Enterprises HQ is actually the Daley Center in the Loop. As for Mr. Wayne himself, his swanky pad that was said to be a penthouse in downtown Gotham was staged in the lobby of the One Illinois Center. As for fight scenes at both the memorial service and the epic Batman/Joker face-off, they filmed on the historic stretch of South LaSalle Street in the Loop and the evacuation of Gotham happens at Navy Pier. Watch Heath Ledger in all his glory on Amazon Prime, here.
Groundhog Day (1993)
When you can’t shake that uncanny feeling of déjà vu, you’re probably in Woodstock, Illinois. A replacement for Pennsylvania during the winter months, the town served as the backdrop for Bill Murray’s unshakeable time loop as a weatherman. Fanatics of the classic film can stay in the The Cherry Tree Inn Bed & Breakfast where the protagonist in the film stayed. Working from home and feeling like every day is Groundhog day? Really get into character, switch on and watch the classic film on Netflix, here.
The Blues Brothers (1980)
When Belushi’s character is released from prison, he’s actually being released from Old Joliet Prison in Illinois. Downtown Chicago cameos also take place across the South East Side, West Van Buren Street, Jackson Park, West Addison Street and more. The Blues Brothers’ 40th anniversary event will be held in August 2020 at Old Joliet Prison. To book a tour, see here. Feeling locked up? Watch The Blues Brothers on Amazon Prime, here.
Field of Dreams (1989)
Many scenes from this famous film were created in the beautiful, picture perfect town of Galena. This August, Galena host an interactive experience by recreating scenes from the movie to coincide with a Major League Baseball game between the Chicago White Sox and NY Mets, at one of the Field of Dreams filming locations in Iowa. Tune into Kevin Costner and watch on Google Play, here.
A League of Their Own (1992)
This 1992 film starring Geena Davis, Madonna and Tom Hanks follows the story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League during WWII. Though it was referred to as ‘Harvey Field’ in the film, the real location of the team tryouts took place at the historic Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs. Tickets to real life games can be purchased here. For a bit of wanderlust, Hotel Zachary is a new trendy, boutique hotel just across from Wrigley Field, right in the heart of the action for you to stay in the future. Hit a home run and watch on Amazon Prime, here.
Home Alone (1990)
It is this house where Kevin, (played by Macaulay Culkin) is infamously forgotten when his family travel to Paris and he is left at the hands of the ‘wet bandits’. The huge home, situated at 671 Lincoln Avenue, Winnetka, Illinois – north of Chicago and near Lake Michigan, is certainly a character in its own right in the classic Christmas movie. The house is now privately owned but avid fans can take a stroll by the green and bandstand, near where young Kevin shops for a toothbrush at Hubbard Woods, as well as Station Park where Kevin visits Santa Claus in front of Winnetka Village Hall, Green Bay Road. When landing at Chicago O’Hare Airport on a visit to Illinois, visitors will immediately step into a real-life film set as the airport famously appeared in Home Alone, both as itself and as the airport in Paris. Watch the classic film on Netflix, here.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
From Northbrook to Highland Park, Winnetka to West Wacker Drive, Ferris Bueller makes his way around the Chicagoland area throughout the entirety of this 1986 John Hughes classic film. Some of the most famous scenes were filmed across the exhibits and on the steps of the Art Institute of Chicago, one of the oldest and largest art galleries in America. Fans can also climb up to the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower to Skydeck Chicago – The Ledge and recreate the famous scene where Ferris, Cameron and Sloane gaze down from 1,353 feet. Enjoy Chicago at its finest and watch the movie on Google Play, here.