As the Chicago Blackhawks season draws to a close, and the Bulls set to make their way through a play in tournament that will likely end in a first round exit, I found myself thinking about what movies were filmed in the great city of Chicago. It’s a city with a very storied history and influence that spreads all across the mid west. Conveniently, the city of Chicago has a very detailed log of the movies that were filmed there which can be found here. After spending sometime looking through this list, I picked my favorite 5 movies that were filmed in Chicago.
5. National Lampoon’s Vacation
I only included this movie because if my mom reads this and finds out that I didn’t pick one of her favorite movies, she’d probably never look at the site again. I’m also working my way through Community for the first time and Chevy Chase is killing it. I haven’t researched all the drama that is famously known to have existed, but I’m not letting it ruin the show for me. Anyway, National Lampoon is a comedic treasure from the early 80s, not unlike some of the other movies down the list.
4. Groundhog Day
Bill Murray might as well be the mascot for Chicago. He’s a native to Cook County and is known for his many enthusiastic appearances at Cubs games. Groundhog Day is one of his best roles in my opinion, second to Ghostbusters and Zombieland. If you haven’t seen the comedy mastermind try to take out that pesky gopher, do yourself a favor and get to know this classic. While it might not hold up well by today’s standards (my 16 year old brother would hate it), it’s a part of movie history that deserves to be watched.
3. Spider-Man 2 (2004)
Spider-Man 2 is the first time we got to see the infamous Doc Ock on screen, played by Alfred Molina. Returning to the role of the web slinger was Tobey McGuire, who to this day is still the best actor to portray Peter Parker. Spider-Man 2 gave us plenty of shots in Chicago from both the ground and the air as Peter Parker struggled with his fading powers.
2. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
The parade scene with Ferris singing Twist and Shout by The Beatles is the highlight of Matthew Broderick’s film career I’m pretty sure. The John Hughes masterpiece is a love letter to Chicago. He’s quoted as saying “A lot of Ferris is sort of my love letter to the city… I really wanted to capture as much of Chicago as I could, not just the architecture and the landscape, but the spirit” (AMC Archives). I think he succeeded because as much as this movie is about a young man named Ferris, it’s about the city.
1. The Dark Knight
The Dark Knight is bar none, one of the best comic book movies ever made. Heath Ledgers performance is continuously hailed as one of the best Joker’s of all time. His take on the character is what raised the Dark Knight to the upper echelon of comic book movies. The dark and dreary downtown streets of Chicago lend themselves well to the feel of Gotham. The transport scenes in particular felt imposing and menacing as Chicago often does.