Chicago in the Movies

I was recently in Chicago for the first time and fell in love with the city. The beaches along Lake Michigan, the architecture and the restaurants had a part in that, obviously, but as a movie buff I kept looking for a few other things as well. I did find the Buckingham Fountain that is featured in the title sequence of Married… With Children, as well as the Union Station stairs from The Untouchables (1987). A cruise on the Chicago River also reminded me of the Dark Knight movies. But how has Chicago been portrayed onscreen? A few examples:

The Untouchables (1987). Brilliantly recreating the Odessa Steps scene from Potemkin (1925), Brian De Palma made the Union Station stairs look larger than life.

Adventures in Babysitting (1987). This scene in Chris Columbus’s first film as director was set at the Crain Communications Building that looks like it was built for an accident to happen.

The Dark Knight (2008). In the PR clip above, Christopher Nolan and others talk about how important Chicago and its architecture was to the shooting of this comic-book masterpiece.

The Blues Brothers (1980). This John Landis comedy took great advantage of the city’s standing as one of America’s hottest blues joints.

Call Northside 777 (1948). James Stewart stars in this film, which has been called the first major Hollywood picture filmed in Chicago.

Road to Perdition (2002). Tom Hanks and Paul Newman star in this portrayal of 1930s gangsters in Chicago. Obviously features manipulated decades-old footage of the city.

Hoop Dreams (1994). A lauded documentary that shows another side to Chicago. This is not merely a city of gangsters, tough politicians and superheroes – it’s also a city of everyday heroes.

ER (1994-2009). This show was set in Chicago and there were occasional scenes actually filmed in the city. The CTA “L” played a huge part over the years; the clip above features several shots from the city. 

Boss (2011-2012). Now, about those tough politicians I mentioned… This show really takes advantage of the city, and in the clip above, some of the actors talk about their favorite Chicago spots.

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