ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Best Movies Set In Chicago

Updated on July 10, 2014

Best Movies Set In Chicago

Whether it is the comedy of John Hughes or the action of Batman, Chicago has played host to a variety of movie sets over the years. Who can forget iconic images of the Sears Tower, Lake Michigan, the Chicago River or O'Hare Airport in all sorts of movies from action to drama to comedy to everything in between? Chicago is a great place to live, visit, film movies and tell stories!

As you might be able to tell from my name, I'm a Chicagoan, and I try to see every movie that is set in Chicago as it comes out - and I'm working my way through the classics too. I've curated this list below of some of my favorites and can't miss movies. Let me know what your favorites are in the guestbook below!

Image courtesy of digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Romantic Comedies Set In Chicago

We laughed, we cried, we fell in love in Chicago...

My Big Fat Greek Wedding
My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Toula comes from a typical Chicago Greek family, and when she falls in love with a non-Greek man, the wedding planning gets out of control! Watch for scenes in Chicago's neighborhoods, Greektown, downton and more.

 
The Break-Up (Widescreen Edition)
The Break-Up (Widescreen Edition)

Gary and Brooke are breaking up, and all that remains is the Break Up. Watch for classic Chicago apartment buildings, the Chicago Trolley tour trolleys, the Chicago river boat tours, and scenes around the city.

 
My Best Friend's Wedding (Special Edition)
My Best Friend's Wedding (Special Edition)

Julianne decides, right on the eve of her best friend's wedding, that she wants him for himself. Watch for scenes of the Drake Hotel, Union Station and lots of running around downtown.

 
Only the Lonely
Only the Lonely

Loveable Chicago cop Danny falls in love with Theresa, but he's too worried about his mother to focus on the relationship. Watch for scenes of the El Trains, downtown Chicago and police stations.

 

Mystery/Suspense Movies Set in Chicago

It was a dark and stormy night...

Primal Fear
Primal Fear

A courtroom thriller featuring a Chicago defense attorney representing an altar boy accused of murdering a Catholic archbishop. Watch for scenes of Chicago area courtrooms, churches and downtown.

 
The Relic
The Relic

A creepy sci-fi/horror film taking place in Chicago's Museum of Natural History, where an anticipated exhibition about tribal artifacts causes all kinds of horror.

 
Road to Perdition (Widescreen Edition)
Road to Perdition (Widescreen Edition)

An old fashioned Chicago mob movie set in the 1930s, when a hit man runs from the Mob Boss after his son witnesses a shooting.

 
Wicker Park
Wicker Park

A noir about a woman who has disappeared, set in the hip Chicago neighborhood of Wicker Park.

 

My Big Fat Greek Wedding - Meet The Family!

John Hughes Movies Set in Chicago

Director John Hughes, who grew up in a suburb of Chicago, has set many of his movies here.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Ferris Bueller's Day Off

This film is a virtual love letter to Chicago, featuring Ferris and friends ditching school to go on an adventure. Watch for scenes at Wrigley Field, downtown Chicago, Glenbrook North High School, Willis Tower, The Art Institute and more!

 
The Breakfast Club (Flashback Edition)
The Breakfast Club (Flashback Edition)

The tale of a gang of misfits serving detention at the fictional Shermer High School, this film is now iconic. It was filmed at Maine North High School, in the suburb of Des Plaines, Illinois.

 
Uncle Buck
Uncle Buck

Single, city-dwelling Uncle Buck is here to babysit his brother's kids for the week in suburban Chicago! Watch for scenes of Emmit's pub, Wrigley Field and New Trier High School.

 
Sixteen Candles (Flashback Edition)
Sixteen Candles (Flashback Edition)

Samantha's 16th birthday is anything but sweet in this coming of age film. Watch for locations including Niles East High School, Glencoe Union Church, and Skokie's Village Hall, amongst others.

 

Ferris Bueller's Ferrari Follies!

Poll: What's your favorite kind of movie?

What's your favorite kind of movie?

See results


If you're looking for a Christmas gift for a friend, or a former Chicagoan just something to ease your homesickness, check out these movies showcasing the Second City during the holidays.

Home Alone
Home Alone

Hijinks ensue when young Kevin is left alone accidentally during the holidays. O'Hare Airport, Hubbard Woods, and the suburb of Wilmette are heavily featured.

 
Miracle on 34th Street
Miracle on 34th Street

A little girl wishes for a home for Christmas, and for a strange man to really be Santa. Set in New York, mostly filmed in Chicago. Key scenes are filmed at the Thompson Center State of Illinois Building, Lincoln Park Zoo, and Holy Name Cathedral.

 
Christmas with the Kranks
Christmas with the Kranks

The Kranks' Chicago neighborhood is in an uproar when they hear the couple is going on vacation this year instead of hosting their usual holiday gathering. When their daughter unexpectedly returns home, they must scramble to put on a fest! Set in various Chicago residential neighborhoods.

 
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (Special Edition)
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (Special Edition)

Chicago family the Griswolds welcome their dysfunctional family to their home. Filmed in Chicago neighborhoods.

 

Classic Christmas Chicago - Home Alone!



Every Chicagoan should see these movies at least once!

The Blues Brothers  (Widescreen 25th Anniversary Edition)
The Blues Brothers (Widescreen 25th Anniversary Edition)

Jake and Elwood Blues reunite their old band to save the orphanage where they were raised in this music-filled romp of iconic talent. Filming locations include the Joliet Prison, Pilgrim Baptist Church, Dixie Square Mall, Museum Campus, Ray's Music Exchange, Wrigley Field, South Shore Country Club and many more.

 
Barbershop (Special Edition)
Barbershop (Special Edition)

Calvin wants out of the family barbershop, but has a change of heart when he realizes how important it is to his neighborhood and community. Filmed in many locations on the South Side of Chicago, especially along 47th Street.

 
Backdraft (Two Disc Anniversary Edition)
Backdraft (Two Disc Anniversary Edition)

A classic movie about Chicago's firefighters, this was filmed in various Chicago firehouses (many of the extras are real firefighters!) as well as Emmit's Pub, Uptown Theatre, Graceland Cemetery and more.

 
Rookie of the Year
Rookie of the Year

Henry's broken arm results in an almost magical pitching strength, and he's recruited to the Chicago Cubs! Set in Wrigley Field and the Lakeview neighborhood.

 

Aretha Tells Those Blues Brothers To "Think"

What is YOUR favorite movie set in Chicago?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Loved Backdraft. Russell and Baldwin were outstanding in that movie. I have to admit that I cried. I wasn't expecting it to end the way it did.

      Great list - thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      nonya222 4 years ago

      Love the Blues brothers.

    • christinsword profile image

      christinsword 4 years ago

      Very cool. Voted up!!

    • eightieschild profile image

      eightieschild 5 years ago

      Didn't realise that some of these movies were set in Chicago. Two other Chicago-based movies I love, which aren't on this list are High Fidelity and Some Like It Hot (although the latter is also in Miami).

    • TACTCI LM profile image

      TACTCI LM 5 years ago

      Who could forget Ferris! Nice lens, thanks!

    • Alana-r profile image

      Alana-r 5 years ago

      When i saw the title, i automatically heard the Blues Brothers singing Sweet Home Chicago, i love that movie.

    • TwistedWiseman profile image

      TwistedWiseman 5 years ago

      Out of all of these I only know about The blues brothers and Home alone, I guess it's Home alone for me.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Childs play

    • Wedding Mom profile image

      Wedding Mom 5 years ago

      The Breakfast Club.

    • profile image

      brynimagire 5 years ago

      Nice video. Thanks.

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 5 years ago from Southampton, UK

      There is one really intense one about friends in an RV going to a ball game getting lost in the ghetto - Judgement Night. Well worth seeing. Good list of movies, blessed.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Stir of Echos, Red Heat, Hi Fidelity. Those are a few that should be on your list.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      My Big Fat Greek Wedding!

    • profile image

      Li-Li-ThePinkBookworm 5 years ago

      The Blues Brothers and My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

      Li Li

    • Afteretc profile image

      Afteretc 5 years ago

      Probably the Batman or Transformers movie. They filmed both near my work. Have you ever done the Movie Tour? It's very cool! I saw it on a Groupon and bought it, very very fun!

    • blessedmomto7 profile image

      blessedmomto7 5 years ago

      My Big Fat Greek Wedding hands down!

    • thesuccess2 profile image

      thesuccess2 5 years ago

      Jen, How about a Poll (your favorite Chicago Film)?

    • thesuccess2 profile image

      thesuccess2 5 years ago

      If you love Blues Brothers then you are my friend!

    • bhavesh lm profile image

      bhavesh lm 6 years ago

      Home Alone, of course, and all the other Holiday movies set in Chicago.

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 6 years ago

      Oh boy! Blues brothers and My Big Fat Greek Wedding!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Probably "Road to Perdition", but I like a lot of others on this list, too! I'd never thought about how many movies are set in Chicago. I've been to Chicago a few times--once I spent most of a day in Union Station on a stopover--we did get out to do some sightseeing, and mostly at O'Hare, changing planes. Someday I want to spend more time in your fascinating city! Great lens!

    • christinsword profile image

      christinsword 6 years ago

      Thanks for the Like! Don't forget that Transformers 3 was also shot in Chicago...although i wouldn't say it was a 'good' movie LOL

    • DuaneJ profile image

      DuaneJ 6 years ago

      Nice lens....I loved the 'Home Alone' series from among the movies you have listed here...

    • FengShuiStyle profile image

      Jennifer Alison Emmer 6 years ago from San Jose, California

      I know it's lesser known, but one of my favorite movies of all time is "About Last Night" (Classic 80's with Demi Moore and Rob Lowe), which is based on the David Mamet play "Sexual Perversity in Chicago" ~ (that title probably wouldn't have flown as well at the box office ;-) This movie has some of the best lines ever.

    • profile image

      Eric_Rogers 6 years ago

      You should mention the next Superman movie is currently being filmed in Plano - about 40 mins west of Chicago but still part of the Chicago Metropolitan Statistical Area.

      Eric Rogers

    • howdoyouspellst profile image

      howdoyouspellst 6 years ago

      These are some great movies, for sure!! Ferris Bueller is classic... So is Blues Brothers!! I didn't know that all of these were set in Chicago! Good to know. Awesome lens!

      Blessed by a Squid Angel!! :)

    • profile image

      Brownhub 6 years ago

      I wish I can visit those set in Chicago but I don't know what is the approach to visit over there.

      Brown Hub

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Wowzers, what a list of great movies made in Chicago...and since you are including only the best, I would guess there are many, many more!

    • chezchazz profile image

      Chazz 6 years ago from New York

      I'm amazed at how many of my favorite movies are on this lens! (And I've never even been to Chicago. Guess I should plan to visit soon!)

    • profile image

      JCEverett 6 years ago

      Basically all of John Hughes' movies. Great Lens.

    • ClinicallySigni profile image

      ClinicallySigni 6 years ago

      Ferris Bueller's Day Off!

      Maitre D': "You're Abe Froman?"

      Ferris: "That's right, I'm Abe Froman."

      Maitre D': "The Sausage King of Chicago?"

      Ferris: "Uh... yeah, that's me."

      lol.. I love that movie.

      Thanks for a great lens!

    • Cinnamonbite profile image

      Cinnamonbite 6 years ago

      Really? Had no idea those movies were in Chicago.

      Spouse is in Chicago right now on business. He says it's cold, in June, too funny!

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 6 years ago

      Well, Chicago, is my favorite movie, of course!

      Nice lens, I didn't know that all of those movie were in Chicago.

    • profile image

      MarkFashionista 6 years ago

      Ferris Buellers Day Off for sure! I love that movie :)

    • profile image

      Twism360 6 years ago

      Ferris Buellers Day Off

    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 6 years ago from La Verne, CA

      Some day I will get to Chicago.

    • profile image

      Hiyaha 7 years ago

      Blues Brothers.

    • profile image

      poutine 7 years ago

      The Blues Brothers.

    • jodijoyous profile image

      jodijoyous 7 years ago from New York

      The Untouchables!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Ferris Buehler

    • jasminesphotogr profile image

      jasminesphotogr 7 years ago

      The Untouchables!

    • Timewarp profile image

      Paul 7 years ago from Montreal

      It's nice when Hollywood occasionally gets itself outside of Hollywood!

    • BuckHawkcenter profile image

      BuckHawkcenter 7 years ago

      I lived over 20 years of my life in Chicago and still have a daughter living there, and never knew some of these movies were made there. How exciting. And I love your lens!

    • jdwheeler profile image

      jdwheeler 7 years ago

      gotta be the Blues Brothers. Honorable mention would be Uncle Buck and Home Alone for the tree-lined streets and neighborhoods.

    • junecampbell profile image

      June Campbell 7 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      I'd have to go with Miracle on 34th Street. I was a very young kid at the time. As a matter of fact, it was the first movie I ever saw. Memorable for that reason, perhaps.

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 7 years ago from Canada

      OhMy! I'm no good at picking favorites...great idea for a lens. You have me thinking that probably very few movies were ever made in my homecity.

    • drifter0658 lm profile image

      drifter0658 lm 7 years ago

      I second the Color of Money nod, although you could throw a blanket over that and Road to Perdition

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      The Color of Money - I think that was the title of the Paul Newman/Tom Cruise movie about pool sharks. I actually shot pool in the hall they used for the early scenes in the movie. :)

      Great showcase on Chicago's movie scenes!

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 7 years ago from New Zealand

      I grew up in Chicago, and love watching movies filmed there. I even have a few friend in extra scenes of Risky Business and Pretty in Pink. I LOVE this lens. I posting out on facebook for all my "Chicago" friends.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      why is Cooley High nowhere on this list!!!! its one of the best movies ever made and is the most Chicago out of all of these suburban Chicago movies listed!!!!

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 7 years ago from UK

      I've seen more than I even knew were set in Chicago! Love Uncle Buck and Breakfast Club, and My Best Friend's Wedding showed off Chicago well so I knew that one was set there.

    • joanhall profile image

      Joan Hall 7 years ago from Los Angeles

      Ferris!!!!!

    • RuthCoffee profile image

      RuthCoffee 7 years ago

      I've seen a few of these but not all of them. Love Chicago. I live just a couple of hours away so we find our way up there a few times a year.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      The Fugitive.

    • JohannDog profile image

      Johann The Dog 7 years ago from Northeast Georgia

      How fun!!! This are some of my favorite movies. Love the Blues Brothers, BOL!!!

    • WindyWintersHubs profile image

      WindyWintersHubs 7 years ago from Vancouver Island, BC

      Chicago...what a lovely setting for a movie. My absolute favorite movie of all time is "Home Alone." I have no idea why! There are so many more favorite movies here. Happy New Year!

    • Franksterk profile image

      Frankie Kangas 7 years ago from California

      Great lens. Didn't know so many movies had been made in or about Chicago.

    • The-Best-Movies profile image

      The-Best-Movies 8 years ago

      What a great lineup of movies! My favorite is "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" - I've never laughed so hard in my life!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      They forgot Adventures in Babysitiing!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      I dont know about which is my fav movie set in Chicago but thanks for reminding me that I have not seen one of my fav films in a long time: The Blue Brothers. Now lets see if you have done a fav TV sets in Chicago - ER?????

    • Grasmere Sue profile image

      Sue Dixon 8 years ago from Grasmere, Cumbria, UK

      I had no idea so many movies were set in Chicago.

      I've visited several times- but only the airport, sorry! Next time I'll try to stop over instead of just changing planes!

    • PromptWriter profile image

      Moe Wood 8 years ago from Eastern Ontario

      Wow, I had no idea I have seen so many movies set in Chicago.

    • ILoveLegosToo profile image

      Tom Fattes 8 years ago from Naperville, IL

      I've watched the original Miracle on 34th street for years and since it was about New York, I always assummed the remake was there too. I'll have to go out and rent it now.

    • AppalachianCoun profile image

      AppalachianCoun 8 years ago

      Great lens. We enjoyed the Greek wedding movie. Thank-you for all the info on the others and GO Cubs. We want to see them win the series (that's on our bucket list).

    • profile image

      California_Dreamin 8 years ago

      Great idea for a lens. 5 stars for sure but, IMHO, The Blues Brothers wins the contest of best movie set in Chicago hands down.

    • cappuccino136 profile image

      cappuccino136 8 years ago

      One of my favorite movies, While You Were Sleeping, is set in Chicago. Sandra Bullock's character works for the transit authority taking subway tokens. There are some nice shots of the city in the movie. I love the part when she takes a walk from downtown back home with Bill Pullman. It is very sweet and funny. A wonderful romantic family comedy.

      Great lens and a wonderful idea.

    • profile image

      jaye3000 8 years ago

      Cool lens~ Gotta love the Blues Brothers :)

    • profile image

      Sojourn 8 years ago

      How cute! I do have a friend who is from Chicago and I never know what to get him for Christmas or birthdays. I think I'll start adding to his Chicago movie list. He travels and always needs a movie to take with him. Bookmarked for future reference. Nice job!

    • Mortira profile image

      Mortira 8 years ago

      Great idea for a list!