Chicago is no stranger to movies. With its large metropolitan area and aboveground transit system, Chicago has become a recent hub for big blockbusters in the last 30 years. Movies including The Dark Knight and the 2002 movie-musical Chicago bare great tribute to the city’s monuments and history, including the culture and music that has grown with the city throughout the 20th century. Here’s a look at some of those memorable moments in movies that have captured the look and/or feel of The Windy City.
1) The Blues Brothers (1980)
If you live in Chicago, and you haven’t seen this movie…you may seriously want to consider moving! Director John Landis reunited with Animal House favorite John Belushi, and Dan Aykroyd to write and direct The Blues Brothers. With a wild chase scene all across The Loop and guest appearances by Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Carrie Fisher and James Brown, The Blues Brothers is one of the quintessential Chicago movies. The film is a triumphant blend of slapstick comedy and large-scale musical numbers, which makes The Blues Brothers a must see if you live in Chicago or you just want to hear some great music and have some laughs in the process!
2) Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
Not only does this movie take us all over Chicago, including the famous Parade scene that was filmed right downtown, it has also gone down as one of the greats of filmmaker John Hughes, whose writing and directing credits include The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, Home Alone 1 and 2, and National Lampoon’s European and Christmas Vacations’. Ferris Bueller has become an 80s movies icon, but not only because of Hughes’ writing and directing talents. Yes, we all know that Matthew Broderick was probably at his best when he made this movie, but a great amount of credit is owed also to actor Jeffery Jones, who portrays Principle Ed Rooney in such a cartoonish way, it’s impossible not to laugh at his childish antics and his undeserved pompous demeanor! This movie is a great watch, every time!
3) The Untouchables (1987)
With the same director as Scarface, the story of the most famous gangster of the Prohibition era, and the original James Bond, how can you not expect good things from this movie? Brian DePalma directed this epic story of a U.S. Treasury officer who forms a team of honest police with the sole purpose of charging and sentencing Al Capone. Not only did The Untouchables score three Academy Awards nominations for Best Art Direction (Set Decoration), Best Costume Design and Best Music (Original Score), it also won Sean Connery his first Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Chicago also played a starring role in the film. Several scenes were filmed right downtown on LaSalle Street, and even a climactic scene involving a mother and her infant playing pickle in a gun fight was shot right in the entrance to Union Station on Canal Street and Jackson Blvd. If you’re a history fan, or you just want to get a feel about Chicago and Al Capone, The Untouchables is a must see!
4) The Fugitive (1993)
Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones star in this modern update of the 1963-1967 television series of the same name. The storyline is pretty loyal to the original series, which tells of Dr. Richard Kimble and his escape from prison after being wrongly convicted of murdering his wife and now must prove his innocence. Ford does a decent enough job as Dr. Kimble, the character not being all around complex but a little more of the quiet type. The highlight of the film, however, is Tommy Lee Jones, who steels the stage with his portrayal of U.S. Marshal Sam Gerard, winning him the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1994. The Fugitive is filled with both suspense and mystery, at points drawing you to the edge of your seat, and you definitely get some good shots of Chicago too! Look for the famous fight scene that takes place right on the CTA…its good shit!
5) Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)
Director Michael Bay had already made a great success of the first two Transformers movies, which also brought Megan Fox into the spotlight and threw Shia LeBeouf to the top of the list of Hollywood A-List actors. I was less impressed with the storyline than I was with the first two films, but then the writers did have to patch up the story after Megan Fox’s untimely withdrawal. But what Michael Bay lacks in story he makes up for in action and special effects, scoring Academy nominations for Sound Editing, Mixing, and Visual Effects. And if you ever wondered what it would be like if all-out war broke out in the Loop, all you have to do is watch this movie! The visual effects are so incredible, you can literally watch Chicago get blown and smashed to bits, including the new Trump Tower which seems to take the worst of the damage. Be sure to pay attention to the skydiving scene too. Five divers actually flew around the skyscrapers surrounding the Loop on Randolph, Lake and Michigan Avenue!