10 movies shot in the suburbs -- including, of course, 'Contagion'

  • An unethical social media blogger (Jude Law) tries to profit from a disease outbreak in Steven Soderbergh's "Contagion," partially filmed in Elgin.

    An unethical social media blogger (Jude Law) tries to profit from a disease outbreak in Steven Soderbergh's "Contagion," partially filmed in Elgin.

 
 
Updated 4/10/2020 11:04 AM

These movies hit close to home.

A number of popular films have been made in the suburbs over the years, and they're great to stream while you're hunkered down during the pandemic.

 

Here are 10 shot in our backyards. To find out where to stream or rent them, search reelgood.com.

'Bad Boys'

Sean Penn stars in this 1983 crime drama filmed in St. Charles. Not to be confused with the 1995 Will Smith/Martin Lawrence action comedy, director Rick Rosenthal's production spent a week filming at the Illinois Youth Center, located on Campton Hills Road.

'The Blues Brothers'

Elwood Blues, played by Dan Aykroyd, convinces model/actress Twiggy to rendezvous at the West Wind Motel in West Chicago. She shows. He doesn't. The West Wind still stands at 27W271 Roosevelt Road. Structurally, it looks mostly the way it did in 1979.

Some scenes were filmed in Wauconda. Jake and Elwood promoted their rhythm and blues revue via loudspeaker while driving down Route 12 and onto Phil's Beach. That memorable state trooper pileup? Those squad cars were junked at the intersection of Illinois routes 12 and 176. Catch the film on Starz.

"The Breakfast Club" was filmed largely at Maine North High School in Des Plaines, with some hallway shots done at Glenbrook North.
"The Breakfast Club" was filmed largely at Maine North High School in Des Plaines, with some hallway shots done at Glenbrook North. - Courtesy of Universal
'The Breakfast Club'

Maine North High School in Des Plaines was closed for four years before a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal spent a fictional detention day there. Renamed Shermer High for this 1985 John Hughes coming-of-age classic, the location at 9511 Harrison St. was used for exterior and some interior shots. It now houses the Illinois State Police and Illinois Lottery. The film is currently streaming on Starz.

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'Contagion'

Not freaked out enough as it is? Wash your hands again before watching this Steven Soderbergh-directed thriller about a rapidly spreading virus. Elgin's Sherman Hospital serves as a prime location for this 2010 movie filmed largely in the Chicago area. Other scenes were shot at a Western Springs grocery store and a Wilmette elementary school. "Contagion" can be streamed via Max Go.

Woodstock's Town Square doubles for Punxsutawney in the 1993 movie "Groundhog Day."
Woodstock's Town Square doubles for Punxsutawney in the 1993 movie "Groundhog Day." - Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
'Groundhog Day'

Feel like you've been reliving the same day over and over lately? Bill Murray can relate in this 1993 comedy filmed in Woodstock. A walking tour of the Woodstock town square and nearby filming sites is available for download. Many filming sites are marked with plaques. See "Groundhog Day" on Netflix.

'Lucas'

A 14-year-old Corey Haim reminds us in this angsty 1986 film why football helmets should never be removed during football games. Filmed in Glen Ellyn, the film featured many locals from the Village of Volunteers as extras. Scenes were shot at Glenbard West High School, Lake Ellyn Park and the Glen Theatre. "Lucas" is available on Starz.

'The Lucky Ones'

This road movie about three Iraq War veterans stars Tim Robbins, Rachel McAdams and Michael Pena. The late Roger Ebert called the characters they play "simply likable, warm, sincere and often funny." Filming sites included a Naperville church and a Hoffman Estates house, among others. Now streaming on Max Go.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Diane Lane was on location in suburban Sugar Grove for the filming of "Man of Steel" in the summer of 2011.
Diane Lane was on location in suburban Sugar Grove for the filming of "Man of Steel" in the summer of 2011. -
'Man of Steel'

A good portion of this episode in the Superman saga was filmed in the far West suburbs and surrounding countryside. The area doubled for Clark Kent's home state of Kansas. Filming locales included an Aurora International House of Pancakes, a Sugar Grove underpass along Illinois Route 56, a Plano cemetery and a bridge over the Fox River a few miles east of Serena, according to movie-locations.com. "Man of Steel" is available for rental via major streaming services.

'My Best Friend's Wedding'

Julia Roberts' plan to foil a wedding comes together all too well in a scene filmed in Vernon Hills. The now 106-year-old Cuneo Mansion and Gardens serves as the setting for a pre-wedding brunch supposedly hosted by the bride-to-be's parents. Catch it on Hulu or CBS All Access.

Paul Newman starred in "Road to Perdition," which was filmed in Chicago and the suburbs.
Paul Newman starred in "Road to Perdition," which was filmed in Chicago and the suburbs. -
'Road to Perdition'

Stark cinematography adds to the Al Capone-era feel of this Tom Hanks-Paul Newman vehicle. Director Sam Mendes filmed this 2002 release throughout Chicago and the suburbs, including the downtowns of West Dundee and Geneva. The film also contains exterior shots from Barrington Hills and Evanston. See it on Netflix.

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