When you think of Minnesota, you might immediately think of the Mall of America in Bloomington, the biggest mall in the United States at 9.5 million square feet. But that’s not the only exciting thing The North Star state has within its boundaries.
It is also known for its water: There are 10,000 lakes within the state, including Lake Superior. This could be a reason why the Sioux named it Minnesota, which translates to “cloudy water.” And Minnesotans do love their water. It is estimated that there is one boat per every six people in the state.
There are also 66 state parks with 17.6 million acres of forest, as well as Voyageurs National Park, a frequented spot for all lovers of water from canoeists to fisherman.
It is the 12th largest state at 86,943 square feet, which is good because the population is over five million, making it the 22nd most populous state.
And just because it isn’t New York City, LA, Chicago, or Boston, doesn’t make Minnesota any less desirable for large companies. The Twin Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis are home to Target, Best Buy, General Mills, and Land O’ Lakes. And the world-famous medical center, the Mayo Clinic, is in Rochester.
It’s also not any less desirable to filmmakers either. See below for a list of some of the most interesting movies that came to Minnesota for filming.
Movies filmed in Minnesota
Young Adult (2011)
This dramedy was directed by Jason Reitman and starred Charlize Theron as a ghostwriter in her late 30s who goes back to her hometown to try and rekindle an old romance. Except it involves breaking up a marriage. Costars included Patton Oswalt and Patrick Wilson. Some shots were done in Rogers and Minneapolis.
1 h 33 min | R
Director Kevin Smith’s second movie, this comedy had an ensemble cast that included Jason Lee, Shannen Doherty, Ben Affleck, and as always, Jason Mewes. It is in the same universe as 1994’s Clerks, but takes place a day before as two friends head to the mall after they get dumped. Filming locations included Eden Prairie Mall and Minneapolis.
1 h 35 min | R
Purple Rain (1984)
This musical movie starred rock musician Prince as well as music from his album of the same name. It was done in Minneapolis for the most part, as Prince was born there. Many well-known locations were used, such as the First Avenue nightclub. Other areas for filming included Eagan. It won an Oscar for Best Original Song Score.
1 h 51 min | R
Nineteen years before it was a series on FX, it was a film directed by the Coen brothers. It starred Frances McDormand as a police chief assigned to a few roadside homicides. Other stars included William H. Macy and Steve Buscemi. Filming was done all over MN, including Forest Lake, Chanhassen, Edina, and Mahtomedi, among many others.
1 h 38 min | R
Grumpy Old Men (1993)
This romcom starred Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau as two grumpy old men, who despite being neighbors and quite similar, hate one another. Other stars included Ann-Margaret, Burgess Meredith, and Daryl Hannah. The story was set in Wabasha with filming done in Red Wing, Stillwater, Rockford, and St. Paul, as well as many other areas of the state.
1 h 43 min | PG-13
This drama was based on 1994 book by W. Glasgow Phillips. It starred Devon Bostwick and Natalie Dyer. The story about a young man struggling to maintain family, friend, and romantic relationships among the backdrop of the civil rights movement was set in Alabama, but all filming was done in MN, including Northfield, Elko, and Minneapolis.
1 h 41 min | NR
North Country (2005)
This drama had an ensemble cast, which included Charlize Theron, Frances McDormand, Sean Bean, and Sissy Spacek. It was based on a 2002 book by Clara Bingham and Laura Leedy Gansler about the first sexual harassment class-action lawsuit. The story was set in Minnesota with filming done there as well as in Chisholm, Eveleth, and Iron Range.
2 h 6 min | R
Jingle All The Way (1996)
This Christmas movie starred Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sinbad as two fathers both trying to get their sons the best toy for that year, but both having waited until Christmas Eve. It was both set and also filmed in the Twin Cities. Additional locations included the Mall of America, Edina, Minneapolis, and Falcon Heights.
1 h 29 min | PG
Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie (1996)
This sci-fi comedy was based on a long-running TV series. Mike Nelson and his robot buddies Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot are back, this time to thwart Dr. Forrester’s newest plan to take over the world by making people watch bad movies. Filming for the movie was done exclusively in St. Paul.
1 h 14 min | PG-13
That Was Then…This is Now (1985)
While The Outsiders was by far S.E. Hinton’s most successful and widely-known novel, another one of his books was made into this movie, which starred Emilio Estevez and Craig Sheffer. The two played brothers whose tight relationship becomes strained when one begins dating someone new. Filming locations included St. Paul and Minneapolis.
1h 42m | R
Ice Castles (1978)
This ice skating romance starred Lynn-Holly Johnson as an extremely talented skater who goes blind after a bad landing from a triple jump. A remake was released in 2010.
While the film is set in Iowa and Colorado, some shots were done at Williams Arena, South Bloomington, St. Paul, Waverly, and White Bear Lake.
1 h 49 min | PG
The Mighty Ducks (1992)
This sports movie starred Emilio Estevez as an attorney who is forced into community service, which involves him coaching a youth hockey team in Minneapolis. It was the first of three movies. Costars included Joshua Jackson and Kenan Thompson. Filming was done in Minneapolis, St. Paul, New Hope, South Bloomington, St. Cloud, and Coon Rapids.
1 h 43 min | PG
Drop Dead Fred (1991)
A lot of children had imaginary friends. But thankfully, most of those imaginary friends were nothing like Drop Dead Fred, who comes back into Elizabeth’s adulthood to make her feel better. The movie starred Phoebe Cates and Rik Mayall. It was set in Minneapolis with filming done there as well as in Chanhassen and St. Paul.
1h 43m | PG-13
Feeling Minnesota (1996)
This crime comedy starred Keanu Reeves, Cameron Diaz, and Vincent D’Onofrio. Although she is engaged to his brother, Diaz’s Freddie falls hard for Jjaks (Reeves). But since she is marrying his brother due to an owed debt, running off together isn’t going to be easy. Some filming was done in Lilydale, Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Bloomington.
1 h 38 min | R
Untamed Heart (1993)
After a long list of bad relationships, Marisa Tomei’s Caroline realizes that true love is right next to her at work. However, Christian Slater’s Adam has a heart defect that comes to light after a brutal attack. The film was set in Minneapolis, with some scenes done there as well as in St. Paul, South Bloomington, and Minnetonka.
1 h 42 min | PG-13
The 32nd state to enter the union was also home to some of the greatest famous figures of our time, such as musician Prince (Minneapolis), author F. Scott Fitzgerald (St. Paul), singer Bob Dylan (Duluth), and actress Judy Garland (Grand Rapids).
And you have The Gopher State to thank for such awesome inventions like water skis, Scotch tape, and even Snickers. While you find yourself thanking the state for such things as its people, inventions, scenery, and corporations, don’t forget to thank it for being the background of many of your favorite films too!