Movies and TV shows shot in, or based in Chicago are all over Netflix. If you can’t get enough of the Windy City and its various unique locations, check out this list of Chicago shows on Netflix.
One caveat; streaming services are notorious for changing their lineups with little or no warning. What you find here may or may not be available for viewing depending on a number of variables; rest assured these titles have appeared on Netflix in the past, and may again in the future if not currently available.
The Blues Brothers
This has been featured on Netflix in the past, at press time it is unavailable but may return soon. And hope it does–this is an epic comedy starring some of the original Saturday Night Live cast from the 1970s including Dan Akroyd, John Belushi, and an extended cameo by Carrie Fisher as Belushi’s jilted significant other.
This movie also features many, many cameo appearances by James Brown, Ray Charles, Frank Oz, and too many others to name. There is a LOT of Chicago and the surrounding area on display in this film.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
This John Hughes comedy features both suburban Chicago, parts of what the locals call Chicagoland, and downtown Chi-town. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is a high-school comedy about a group of friends who decide to skip school for a day with hilarious consequences.
Starring Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, and Mia Sara. Look for a quick cameo by the late, great Del Close who was a major name in Chicago comedy. Ben Stein also appears as a droning teacher.
H.H. Holmes: America’s First Serial Killer
Once a Netflix staple but currently unavailable, this one is popular with fans of edgy material. This is the true story of Chicago resident H.H. Holmes who may have been the very first serial killer identified in America. Not a good look for Chicago, to be sure, but the story takes place in part during the 1893 World’s Columbian Expo.
This Netflix original comes from Lilly Wachowski, Lana Wachowski, and J. Michael Straczynski. With two seasons shot in Chicago, this show was sadly canceled by Netflix after the second run. But this sci-fi television is a binge-worthy two seasons, all about a psychic connection shared amongst a group of strangers who must deal with a sinister agency that is all too interested in that connection.
Another documentary, but far more uplifting in terms of overall content. This film was championed by the late Chicago film critic Roger Ebert, who gave it four stars. Hoop Dreams is a documentary about two boys and their journey to become pro basketballers. This film won Best Documentary at Sundance in 1994 and is well worth a look.
The Tina Fey comedy is said to be based in part on a Chicago-area suburban high school in Evanston or if it was based in a place called Winnetka. One reviewer notes of Mean Girls that it’s worth a watch if for no other reason than to remember that, “there was a time when Lindsay Lohan could play a naïve innocent.”
Here’s another Netflix casualty well worth a look once it returns to the streaming service. Huey Freeman is the main character in this animated comedy about modern society, privilege, and the collision of cultures. This show tended to be divisive amongst its viewers; most either loved or hated it during its heyday.
Trial of the Chicago 7
Starring Eddie Redmayne, Jeremy Strong, and Sascha Baron Cohen, this film is a biopic about the contentious trial of seven people who protested against the government during the 1968 Chicago Democratic National Convention, and is currently available on Netflix. A powerful and eye-opening film.
This film should be seen alongside Haskell Wexler’s powerful Chicago film Medium Cool which was actually shot in and around those same 1968 protests. Sadly, Medium Cool is not streaming on Netflix but is definitely worth a look.
There are many other Chicago-based films, but many of them are not streaming on Netflix at press time. The musical Chicago, for example, plus About Last Night, which was adapted from a stage play called Sexual Perversity In Chicago. There are also the Christopher Nolan Batman films, the television show Chicago Fire, and too many others to list here.