Official State Theatre of Ohio

14 Movies Filmed in Ohio: An Incomplete List

Did you know that there have been many popular movies filmed in Ohio? 

Ohio is no New York or California when it comes to the movie industry, but you might be surprised by how often Ohio has served as a movie set! Many films, even extremely well-known ones, have been made in Ohio.

Official State Theatre of Ohio
State Theatre of Ohio

Some of these are actually set in the Buckeye State, while others use the Ohio scenery as a stand-in for other places. Here are 14 movies you may not have known were films shot in Ohio…

The Shawshank Redemption (1994) — Mansfield/Sandusky

The Shawshank Redemption is widely considered one of the best films of all time. Based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, the film is technically set in Maine. However, it was filmed almost entirely in Ohio.

Locations used for filming include the Ohio State Reformatory, the Wyandot County Courthouse in Sandusky, and other sites around Mansfield, Ohio. Many of these are now a part of the Shawshank Trail, which welcomes tourists each year.

Roebling Suspension Bridge - Cincinnati Ohio
Roebling Suspension Bridge

Rain Man (1988) — Cincinnati

1988’s Rain Man follows a man from Los Angeles as he travels to Ohio to meet his autistic savant brother. The film is set in Ohio and indeed was largely filmed in Ohio and Kentucky. Many locations in Cincinnati are noticeable throughout the film, including the Dixie Terminal Building.

Cincinnati natives will also recognize the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge as the backdrop of one scene featuring Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman.

A Christmas Story (1983) — Cleveland

Arguably one of the most famous movies shot and based in Ohio is A Christmas Story. At the time, only the exterior of the Parkers’ home was used, with the rest of the filming taking place on a set.

These days, the property is a museum dedicated to the film, having been turned into an exact replica, from the green bathroom to the infamous leg lamp.

The Cleveland Public Square was also used for several of the movie’s scenes.

"A Christmas Story" House, Cleveland - Winter Festivals, Cleveland Children's Museum
“A Christmas Story” House | photo via @robby_robinette

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) — Cleveland

Marvel fans from Ohio were probably excited to see some familiar places in 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Though the movie was set in Washington, DC, it was filmed in downtown Cleveland.

Many of the city’s landmarks can be spotted in chase scenes, including the downtown area, the Cleveland Museum of Art, Lake View Cemetery, and Tower City Center. In fact, the museum’s atrium served as the set for the headquarters of S.H.I.E.L.D. 

Cleveland Ohio sign

Tommy Boy (1995) — Sandusky

1995’s Tommy Boy was filmed in Sandusky, and Sandusky natives might be able to spot some familiar sites throughout the movie.

The film’s plot centers on Sandusky as the hometown of the protagonist, and filming took place in Sandusky as well as Marblehead, Ohio (in addition to other locations throughout the United States and Canada).

While it wasn’t exclusively shot in the Buckeye State, Tommy Boy counts due to its use of Sandusky and Lake Erie as both a shooting location and a central plot point.

Sandusky Ohio sunset over the marina
Sandusky, Ohio

The Ides of March (2011) — Cincinnati/Oxford

The Ides of March was a political thriller released in 2011, starring George Clooney. While some filming took place elsewhere in the country, many of the film’s pivotal scenes were shot at Miami University in Ohio, as well as other locations throughout Cincinnati and Oxford.

The university was used as the set for Clooney’s character’s political debate. People familiar with the area may be able to spot sites such as Mount Lookout, Over-the-Rhine, Xavier University, and Fountain Square. 

My Friend Dahmer (2017) — Akron/Bath/Middleburg Heights

The 2017 film My Friend Dahmer follows Jeffrey Dahmer, the future serial killer, throughout his senior year of high school. The real Dahmer did indeed attend Revere High School in Bath Township, Ohio.

The movie was filmed in several locations in Northeast Ohio, most notably Akron and Middleburg Heights. Some scenes were also filmed in Jeffrey Dahmer’s real childhood home in Bath, Ohio.

views of Akron Ohio

The Avengers (2012) — Cleveland/Sandusky

The Marvel franchise seems to have a penchant for filming in Cleveland and passing the city off as other cities — even ones on the other side of the world! In 2012’s The Avengers, Cleveland was used as a stand-in for not just New York City, but also Stuttgart, Germany.

Scenes were shot throughout downtown Cleveland and in some parts of Sandusky. You may be able to spot landmarks like the Public Square, the NASA Plum Brook Facility, and the Detroit-Superior Bridge.

Detroit Superior Bridge
Detroit Superior Bridge

Air Force One (1997) — Cleveland/Mansfield

Air Force One’s opening scene supposedly takes place in the presidential palace in Kazakhstan. But viewers with a quick eye will spot Severance Hall in Cleveland standing in for that official government building.

Other scenes in the movie were also filmed in Ohio, including the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, made famous by its use in The Shawshank Redemption, and the Cuyahoga County Courthouse. You may even be able to spot Case Western University in the background.

Spider-Man 3 (2007) — Cleveland

Like we said, Marvel seems to love using Cleveland as the location for many of its films, whether or not the movie actually takes place in The Forest City. 2007’s Spider-Man 3, starring Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst, might have taken place in New York City, but it was filmed all over the country.

Some of the film’s biggest scenes were shot in downtown Cleveland, and viewers may be able to spot Euclid Avenue, Foley Square, the Wyndham Hotel, and the Cleveland Trust Building.

views of downtown Cleveland Ohio

Lost in Yonkers (1993) — Wilmington

It might shock you to learn that a film that is literally about Yonkers, New York, wasn’t actually filmed in Yonkers at all. Or, to be more exact, it wasn’t filmed entirely in Yonkers. Much of the film was shot in Wilmington, a suburb of Cincinnati.

If you’re from the area, you might recognize Wilmington’s Murphy Theatre standing in as “the Bijou” theater. Murphy Theatre was built in 1918 and is still the site of events and performances every year.

Eight Men Out (1988) — Cincinnati

Eight Men Out is the story of the Black Sox Scandal of 1919, wherein eight members of the Chicago White Sox were accused of throwing a game for gambling money.

The film was shot partially in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, which is considered the country’s most intact urban neighborhood of the 19th century. It was ideal for depicting 1919 Chicago thanks to its historical architecture.

Other locations around Cincinnati were also used for filming, particularly in the city’s historic downtown.

Downtown Cincinnati

Traffic (2000) — Cincinnati/Columbus

Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood again made a cameo in 2000’s Traffic, this time as a dangerous neighborhood falling apart thanks to drugs, crime, and poverty. Other parts of the city appear as Judge Wakefield’s home, filmed in Cincinnati’s Hyde Park District.

Since the film was made, Over-the-Rhine has undergone significant revitalization and no longer looks so run-down.

Some scenes were also filmed at the Ohio Judicial Center and the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus.

Edge of Seventeen (1998) — Sandusky

The 1998 film Edge of Seventeen grappled with topics of sexuality, growing up, leaving home, and coming out of the closet. The story ostensibly took place at Ohio State University in Columbus. However, the vast majority of the movie was shot in Sandusky.

Viewers can spot Sandusky landmarks such as Cedar Point Amusement Park and Oberlin College. Edge of Seventeen is a rare example of one city in Ohio (Sandusky) standing in for another city in Ohio (Columbus). 

Cedar Point Shores Water Park
Cedar Point Shores | photo via @beach_mama_tracy

The Best Movies Filmed in Ohio: An Incomplete List

There are many more wonderful films that were shot, either partially or totally, in Ohio. This is by no means a complete list!

As filmmakers continue to choose Cleveland, Cincinnati, or other Ohio destinations as the perfect backdrop for their movie, you might find yourself pointing at the screen and exclaiming. You never can tell when you’ll see your own hometown pop up on the big screen.

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