If you’re a movie buff, Hollywood might be on the top of your list of places to visit, but you’ll want to add Chicago to that list, too. In Chicago, you can take a variety of tours where some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters were filmed, including Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, When Harry Met Sally and The Fugitive.
When planning a trip, you can stay in Chicago hotels that were featured in movies. Scenes from Risky Business, My Best Friend’s Wedding and Mission Impossible were filmed at the Drake. Are you a Batman fan? The penthouse ballroom at the Wyndham Grand Chicago Riverfront was Bruce Wayne’s apartment and the setting of the party scene with the Joker in The Dark Knight.
The Chicago Film Tour offers a bus tour for movie buffs, taking you to the locations where more than 80 films were shot. You’ll see clips of films on the bus, preparing you for the restaurants, hotels and other locales for films set entirely in or including Chicago.
Did you know a stunt at one Chicago location actually ended up changing the script of a movie? The Hunter was a 1980 film starring Steve McQueen as a bounty hunter. During a car chase in Marina City, a vehicle plummets from a high-rise garage into the Chicago River. As it fell, the car flipped end over end and landed on its top in the water. The script called for the driver to survive it, but the stunt was such a marvel that the script was rewritten so that the driver died in the crash. Here’s another bit of related movie trivia: That car crash was such a spectacular stunt that the crew of another movie filming in the Windy City at the time, The Blues Brothers, stopped production just to watch it. Marina City was also a backdrop in The Blues Brothers and a host of other films, including I, Robot.
If you’re a Vince Vaughn fan, you’ve seen movies filmed in Chicago, including The Break Up and The Dilemma. Why? Because the actor grew up in Lake Forest near Chicago and asks (and in some cases has it written into his contract) that part or all of a movie be filmed in Chicago.
The Windy City is a choice location for filmmakers for several reasons, including Chicago’s architecture, which you can see in The Untouchables, Adventures in Babysitting and High Fidelity. You can see for yourself the locations that served as background for some great movies by taking a Chicago Architecture Foundation tour. The foundation offers boat tours as well as ones you can take on foot or by catching the L, train or bus. Some are bike or Segway tours.
When you’re planning your trip to or touring Chicago, make sure you check out the Chicago Film Office website and On Location Vacations to find out if a movie will be filmed during your stay. Who knows? Maybe you’ll end up as an extra in a film shot in the Windy City.