I was shocked and saddened by the news yesterday that film director John Hughes had died. Hughes and Chicago are forever linked, as the city and its suburbs serve as the location for many of his films.
I grew up in Chicagoland, as it’s called locally, and was a teenager still when his early films were released. I particularly identified with his underdog characters and their class issues, having come from a blue-collar community, and his portrayals remained pretty honest. Also, how could you not love a guy who created the best soundtracks of the era, with The Psychedelic Furs, The Thompson Twins, Oingo Boingo, Simple Minds, The Vapors, The Divinyls and Yello? New Wave at its finest.
Cast from The Breakfast Club (© 1985 Universal Pictures); John Hughes, circa 1990 (© Paul Natkin/WireImage).
In 1984 I was working at the top movie theater in the city when Hughes was filming The Breakfast Club. Emilio Estevez came in several Sundays in a row to spend his one-day-a-week off watching movies. He was super sweet and always asked what I was studying, since I inevitably had a textbook perched on my lap when he’d buy his tickets. We’d then talk for a few minutes about how filming went that week before he disappeared into the screening room. Each time I see The Breakfast Club on cable I think about our brief chats and, again, how he was such a nice guy.
After Ferris Bueller’s Day Off came out, Chicago officially became Hughes’ town. In honor of the man and the city, here are a few memorable Chicago attractions wonderfully captured in John Hughes’ films.
10. Art Institute of Chicago — Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
9. American Airlines terminal at O’Hare International Airport — Home Alone
8. Chicago’s North Shore “Gold Coast” suburbs, including Evanston, Winnetka, Highland Park, Lake Forest and Glencoe, particularly the high schools in the area. Take your pick of just about any of Hughes’ movies, but especially The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
7. Chicago Marina Towers — Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. The “Corn Husk” towers parking garage attendants took Cameron’s Ferrari on a joy ride.
6. The Braidwood Inn (now the Days Inn Braidwood) — Planes Trains and Automobiles. “They’re not pillows!” scene. (Braidwood is a small town about 50 miles southwest of Chicago.)
5. Field Museum of Natural History — She’s Having a Baby
4. Wrigley Field — Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
3. Marshall Field & Company flagship department store (recently renamed Macy’s) in Chicago’s Loop — National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
2. Ben Rose Auto Museum, 370 Beech St., Highland Park — Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Cameron’s home and Ferrari garage. (The house was recently put on the market for $2.3 million.)
1. Chicago Pulaski Day Parade — Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
What are some of your favorite Chicagoland John Hughes movie locations?