New York and Hollywood are popular filming locations for films of various genres. However, a city where one sleeps frequently is Chicago. The incredible late director, John Hughes, chose Chicago and its surrounding suburbs as the locations for the majority of his films. This is in part because Hughes grew up in Northbrook, a suburb of Chicago.
The films Hughes created weren’t the only ones set in the Windy City – many genres of sci-fi, action, and comedy feature Chicago. These films include The dark knight, the breakfast club and Home Alone.
ten Chicago becomes Gotham City in The Dark Knight
Chicago transforms into Gotham City in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. Play Joker, The black Knight is considered one of Heath Ledger’s best performances. Ledger even won a posthumous Oscar for his work, the second actor to do so.
New York City was frequently used as a filming location for The black KnightSo the River North neighborhood in downtown Chicago turned Gotham City was a big deal for Batman fans. The black Knight series then took a different direction and was shot primarily in Pittsburgh for The dark knight rises.
9 Remember the Breakfast Club was filmed in Chicago
Any fan of the 80s genre will immediately recognize the iconic football field scene of The breakfast club. A group of five high school students find themselves in detention for various reasons throughout the day. With each opposing personality, they manage to bond and form friendships in the end.
The exterior plans of The breakfast club were filmed at the former Maine North High School in Des Plaines, a Chicago suburb. Interior shots were shot at Glenbrook High School, which is the same filming location as Ferris Bueller’s day off. Fans of The breakfast club can see the exterior of each location. However, Maine North is now the headquarters of the Illinois State Police Department.
8 Candyman portrays Chicago’s haunting history
Jordan peele Candy is the fourth film of the Candy franchise, which began in 1992. The supernatural slasher film series is inspired by the 1985 short story The forbidden by Clive Barker. The Candyman is an urban legend of a 19th-century ghost, a hook-handed murderer in Chicago’s Cabrini-Green housing project.
Anthony McCoy, who plays the protagonist of 2021 Candyman, has a creepy obsession with the Candyman – which gets him and his girlfriend into trouble. Candy was filmed on location in Cabrini-Green and other surrounding neighborhoods on the south side of Chicago.
7 Groundhog actually saw its shadow in Chicago, not Pennsylvania
Viewers might be surprised to learn that groundhog day was not shot in Punxsutawney, PA. This 1993 film starring Bill Murray was shot in Woodstock, a remote Chicago suburb. Murray plays Phil Connors, a moody meteorologist who travels to Punxsutawney to cover the events of Groundhog Day.
Connors finds himself trapped in an endless time loop and wakes up each morning to “I Got You, Babe” played on a clock radio. Connors takes advantage of this time loop by committing immoral acts like theft and trying to get his co-worker to sleep with him. Connors finally realizes he needs to use this time loop for good and starts helping people. This puts an end to his repetitive days.
6 Divergent uses Chicago for his dystopian city
The futuristic sci-fi movie 2014 Divergent was based on the first installment of Veronica Roth’s romance trilogy. Divergent stars Shailene Woodley and Theo James in their roles as future boyfriend / girlfriend Tris and Four in the Dauntless faction.
Divergent takes place in a dystopian society divided into five factions. People are placed in these factions based on their personality and a few are labeled divergent or factionless. The city of Chicago acts as the capital of this dystopian society, but it is not in the same form – although some viewers may see beyond its dilapidated state and recognize the iconic Ferris wheel at Navy Pier.
5 Home alone with Kevin in the Windy City
John Hughes’ 1990 film Alone at home is the frequent watch of many during the holidays. Alone at home is the kind of movie that appeals to both adults and families alike thanks to its hilarity and quotable lines. Macaulay Culkin plays 8-year-old Kevin McCallister who finds himself home alone when his parents travel to Paris and forget about him.
Kevin has to sail alone during the holidays, but neither is he at the start. He even organizes a dance party with his brother’s Michael Jordan cup and his mother’s models. Kevin must defend his house when thieves, played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern, break into his house. The exterior shots of the house, and some interior shots, were shot in Chicago’s suburb of Winnetka, which is visitable (albeit with restrictions).
4 Wayne and Garth make their way through Chicago
While most of the films of 1992 Wayne’s World is shot in Los Angeles, some driving scenes are shot on North Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago. The film stars Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar, die-hard rock music fans, played by Mike Myers and Dana Carvey respectively. The duo are filming a TV show in their parents’ basement in Aurora, Illinois. Fans of Wayne’s world are likely to remember the iconic singing scene of Bohemian Rhapsody, by the queen.
Wayne’s world was developed by Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels. Wayne’s world remains the most successful film based on a Saturday Night Live sketch. A sequel to the film was released a year later.
3 Ferris Bueller visits iconic Chicago landmarks on his day off
Ferris Bueller’s day off is another John Hughes classic that acts as an ode to Chicago. It is obvious to fans that FBDO was filmed in Chicago due to the number of landmarks featured throughout the film. Chicago is the setting for all filming locations except the home of Ferris Bueller.
Ferris Bueller is used to truancy and convinces his parents that he is taking a sick day. Ferris takes his best friend Cameron and his girlfriend Sloane on an adventure through Chicago – including sneaking into a match at Wrigley Field and visiting the Art Institute after stealing Cameron’s father’s Ferrari.
2 Transformers: Dark Of The Moon used the Chicago skyline
Transformers: The Dark Side of the Moon is the third film of the Transformers series. Shia LaBeouf reprise his role from nerdy Sam Witwicky and his adventures with the Autobots. Transformers got mixed reviews overall, but was nominated for an Oscar nonetheless. The following, Age of extinction was released in 2014.
Transformers: The Dark Side of the Moon uses the downtown Chicago skyline for battle scenes, however, Chicago is only one of the locations used on this movie’s list. Other locations include Moscow, Washington DC, Indiana, Milwaukee, and Florida.
1 Sixteen Candles is John Hughes’ directorial debut
Sixteen candles is another coming-of-age film written and directed by John Hughes. Sixteen candles follows the life of Sam Baker, a sophomore high school student who has a crush on classmate Jake Ryan. Molly Ringwald, just 15, plays Sam with Michael Schoeffling as Jake Ryan and his The breakfast club co-starring, Anthony Michael Hall.
Sam is upset that her family can’t remember her 16th birthday because she’s too focused on her older sister’s upcoming marriage. Sixteen candles was filmed in several surrounding Chicago suburbs such as Evanston, Skokie and Highland Park. Now, who hasn’t had a crush on Jake Ryan?
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