Movie Making Outside of Hollywood

Five Other U.S. Cities That Have Embraced Film and Television

Filmmaking in the U.S. is no longer relegated to Hollywood and New York. Explore a little about five other cities that can make their claim to film and television fame.

While most people think of Hollywood and New York City as the centers for movie making in the U.S., there are plenty of other cities throughout the States that can boast with pride the number of films that have used their skylines as backdrops. In fact, recently ranked the top ten cities to live, work in, and the film is based on a number of criteria including available local support for talent and financial incentives.

However, instead of looking at those ten cities, our focus is on five that have been perennial favorites of filmmakers as evidenced by the movies and television programs that have been created in each.

Boston, MA

Boston is so proud of the nearly 400 movies that have been filmed there, that there is even a tour company that offers a 90-minute walking and two-hour bus tour to view the well-known locations around the city.

Movies like academy-award winners Good Will Hunting (best screenplay in 1997 from hometown faves Matt Damon and Ben Affleck) and The Departed (best picture 2006 and another Matt Damon vehicle), as well as television programs like Boston Legal and Cheers, provide a great topic of conversation as you view interior and exterior landmarks.

Philadelphia, PA

It’s tough to visit the City of Brotherly Love and walk away without humming the theme from Rocky. This 1976 Best Picture movie has one of the most memorable scenes of Rocky Balboa (played by Sylvester Stallone, who also wrote the award-nominated screenplay) as he bounces up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art with his arms stretched into the air. Did you know that the Museum has been in existence for over 125 years and welcomes nearly one million visitors each year?

Of course, no one can overlook the movie that bears the name of the city, Philadelphia, which won Tom Hanks his first Oscar for best actor (the following year he won again for Forrest Gump). Other movies filmed here include the Eddie Murphy/Dan Akroyd comedy Trading Places and the six-time Oscar-nominated The Sixth Sense.

Chicago, IL

While the Windy City is probably best known as home to Oprah Winfrey, lots of movies have used the city as their backdrop including the 2006 comedy Stranger Than Fiction with Will Ferrell, Emma Thompson, and Dustin Hoffman which was filmed entirely on location here.

Hit movies that can also claim to use Chicago include Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest, The Untouchables with Kevin Costner, the John Belushi/Dan Akroyd classic Blues Brothers, academy award winner (Tommy Lee Jones, Best Supporting Actor) The Fugitive, and, of course, the 13-time Oscar-nominated, 6-time Oscar-winning musical Chicago (2003 Best Picture), though only for exterior shots. The interior was filmed in Canada.

Television shows have used Chicago, too. Such as the two medical series that debuted head-to-head in 1994: Chicago Hope and E.R. While they each take place at Chicago hospitals, most of the filming actually has been done in Los Angeles.

Las Vegas, NV

While there have been a ton of movies that have featured this glitzy city, including three in a five year period for Oscar-winner Nicolas Cage – Honeymoon in Vegas (1992), Leaving Las Vegas (Best Actor, 1995) and Con Air (1997) – two of the biggest hits from this hit-making town are probably the 1995 Robert De Niro film Casino and mega-star focused Ocean’s Eleven (both the classic 1960 Frank Sinatra/Dean Martin version as well as the 2001 George Clooney/Brad Pitt remake).

Of course, it doesn’t take anything more than turning on the television these days to get a glimpse of the Vegas scene, with a television show named after the city and any number of poker tournaments that are routinely televised.

Miami, FL

There must be something about Miami that automatically makes people think of fast-paced and trendy, otherwise, there wouldn’t be so many action-packed movies and television shows filmed in this area.

Take for instance the 1995 film Bad Boys and its 2003 sequel with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. Or 2 Fast 2 Furious, the second installment of The Fast and the Furious trio. Not to mention the action-packed television-show-turned-into-a-movie, Miami Vice, and the current CSI: Miami. And probably best known as the movie that scores for using the f-word a reported 289 times, Scarface with Al Pacino filmed primarily in the Miami area.

So there it is five cities outside Hollywood and New York City that have played host to some of the most memorable performances on celluloid. Something for visitors to consider next time they drop by.

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