Although Hollywood gets all the glory when it comes to the American film industry, many famous movies were filmed right here in the city of Chicago. And what many Chicagoans aren’t aware of is the fact that our city once served as the central hub for the movie industry before Hollywood.
In the early 1900’s, Essannay Studios, founded by George K. Spoor, oversaw the birth of genres like the Western and Nickelodeons. Essannay Studios was also the jumping-off point in the illustrious careers of actors like Charlie Chaplin and Gilbert M. “Broncho Billy” Anderson.
Even though Chicago was out of the game for decades after the fall of Essannay Studios, the city has fortunately been revitalized as a place where aspiring film makers like John Hughes can make movies. Here’s a great quote from Hughes explaining why he set his film, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off in Chicago:
“Chicago is what I am. A lot of Ferris is sort of my love letter to the city. And the more people who get upset with the fact that I film there, the more I’ll make sure that’s exactly where I film. It’s funny—nobody ever says anything to Woody Allen about always filming in New York. America has this great reverence for New York. I look at it as this decaying horror pit. So let the people in Chicago enjoy Ferris Bueller.”
Below is an interactive map of just some of the most famous and classic movies that featured scenes, or were entirely shot, here in Chicago: