Top Movies filmed in Ohio

Although Ohio is only the 34th-largest state in the US, with a population of almost 12 million, it ranks number seven in population and number 10 in most densely populated. The 17th state to enter the Union, among its almost eight million acres of forest, it also has 74 state parks, including the 33,000-acre Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

The Buckeye State, nicknamed due to its abundance of buckeye trees, has a few important industries, such as automotive, steel, agriculture, small appliances, and aerospace. It was also the home of several important inventions, such as the cash register in 1878 by James Ritty. And speaking of inventions, Thomas Edison was born in Milan in 1847.

Like most states, Ohio has a few things that make it extraordinary within its 44,825 square miles. At the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, you can find all sorts of goodies, like Chris Cornell’s guitar or John Mellencamp’s motorcycle. The state is also known as the “Mother of Modern Presidents,” as seven US presidents were born there.

The first-ever professional baseball team, the Cincinnati Red Stockings were established in 1869. You might know Jerry Springer from his wild talk show, but from 1977-1978, he was known to the residents of Cincinnati as mayor. The gas mask, as well as the traffic light, were also invented in Ohio, both by Garrett Morgan.

In 1899, the Goodyear tire company was founded in Akron. And for all the fast food lovers out there, owner Dave Thomas opened up the first Wendy’s right in Columbus in 1969. Another thing that makes Ohio stand out? It has frequently been used by Hollywood filmmakers. Check out this list of some of the most interesting:

Movies filmed in Ohio

The Rainmaker (1997)

John Grisham's The Rainmaker

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This legal drama directed by Francis Ford Coppola was based upon a 1995 John Grisham novel and starred Matt Damon, Danny Glover, Danny Devito, Claire Danes, and many others. Just beginning his career in law, Damon’s Rudy Baylor tries to do right by his clients, with corporations standing in his way. Some filming was done in Cleveland.

2 h 15 min | PG-13

The Gathering (1997)

The Gathering (1976)

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This made-for-TV movie starred Ed Asner as a man facing imminent death that gathers his estranged wife and four grown children together for Christmas. Costars included Maureen Stapleton, Gregory Harrison, Rebecca Balding, and Bruce Davison. Filming was done exclusively in the state, within Chagrin Falls and Hudson.

1 h 33 min | 7+

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

The Shawshank Redemption

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This drama was based upon a 1982 Stephen King novella. It starred Tim Robbins as a man sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of murder. At Shawshank, he meets Red (Morgan Freeman) who forever changes his life. Although the story was set in Maine, the prison was in Mansfield and some shots were done in Butler and Upper Sandusky.

2 h 22 min | R

Double Dragon (1994)

Double Dragon

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This martial arts film was based upon a 1987 arcade video game. It starred Mark Decascos, Scott Wolf, Alyssa Milano, and Robert Patrick and was set in a future Los Angeles. Patrick’s Shuko is intent on possessing the dragon medallion and taking its magical qualities, but not without a fight. Some filming was done in Cleveland.

1 h 36 min | PG-13

Airborne (1993)

This dramedy starred Shane McDermott, Seth Green, and Brittney Powell. A teenage surfer and rollerblader from California must adjust to a different life when he is shipped to Cincinnati, Ohio after his parents leave for an extended trip to Australia. Some filming was done there as well as in Hamilton.

1h 30m | PG

A Christmas Story (1983)

A Christmas Story (1983)

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The beloved Christmas classic that warned “you’ll shoot your eye out” was based upon stories from a 1966 book by Jean Shepherd. The film starred Peter Billingsley, Ian Petrella, Melinda Dillon, and Darren McGavin as the Parkers. The film is made up of several different stories, each comedic in nature. Some filming was done in Cleveland.

1 h 33 min | PG

Judas and the Black Messiah (2021)

This biopic was about Fred Hampton, a 1960s Black Panther leader in Chicago, who was befriended by Bill O’Neal, a supposed ally, who was actually an FBI informant forced to infiltrate the organization. The film starred Daniel Kaluuya, Lakeith Stanfield, and Jesse Plemons, among others. Some filming was done in Cleveland and Mansfield.

2 h 5 min | R

Tommy Boy (1995)

Tommy Boy

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Produced by SNL’s Lorne Michaels, this comedy starred SNL alums David Spade and Chris Farley. After his father passes away, Tommy must save his father’s auto parts plant from the clutches of his new stepmom. He enlists the help of Spade’s Richard. The movie was partly set in Sandusky with some filming done there as well as in Marblehead.

1 h 37 min | PG-13

Milk Money (1994)

Milk Money

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This romcom starred Ed Harris and Melanie Griffith. After stripping for three young boys, V kindly drives them back from the city to their suburban homes, where she gets stuck when her car breaks down. Which is just as well, since there is a mobster after her. Some filming was done in Cincinnati and Lebanon.

1 h 48 min | PG-13

The Ides of March (2011)

George Clooney not only starred in this drama, but he also directed and co-wrote. Costars included Ryan Gosling, Paul Giamatti, and Seymour Hoffman. Stephen Meyers would do anything, within reason, to help his boss Mike Morris climb the political ladder. The film was set in Ohio with some filming done in Cincinnati and Oxford.

1 h 41 min | R

Traffic (2000)


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Director Steven Soderbergh’s 13th film, this crime movie is several stories within one, all of them connected in some way to the drug trade. It had an ensemble cast, which included Michael Douglas, Don Cheadle, and Benicio Del Toro, among many others. It won four Oscars. Some shots were done in Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland.

2 h 27 min | R

Spiderman 3 (2007)

Spider-Man 3 (Editor's Cut)

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The final movie with Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker, this superhero film takes place one year after the second movie and pits Spidey against three different villains. Other costars included James Franco, Kirsten Dunst, and Thomas Haden Church. The series was later rebooted twice with two different actors. Some filming was done in Cleveland.

2 h 17 min | PG-13

The Oh in Ohio (2006)

The OH in Ohio

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This comedy starred Paul Rudd, Danny Devito, Parker Posey and Mischa Barton.
The movie was set in Cleveland and filmed there as well. Fed up with being unable to properly satisfy his wife, a teacher leaves his wife for a younger woman / one of his students while his wife also explores different options.

1 h 28 min | R

The Avengers (2012)

Marvel's The Avengers

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The 6th film in the MCU, this one brought together the team composed of Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, and Hawkeye for the first time. Their mission is to take down Thor’s brother Loki, who is attempting to take over Earth. Parts of the film were done in Cleveland, Fairborn, Sandusky, Cincinnati, and North Olmsted.

2 h 22 min | PG-13

Wrong Turn (2003)

Wrong Turn

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This slasher movie starred Desmond Harrington, Eliza Dushku, and Jeremy Sisto. A motorist collides with a stranded car and group of people on a rural road in West Virginia. But the flat tire that caused the collision was not an accident nor is the group is safe. The film was done in Hocking Hills State Park, Cincinnati, and Milford.

1 h 24 min | R

The Deer Hunter (1978)

The Deer Hunter

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This war film was about three friends (Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, and John Savage) who fight in the Vietnam War together, an experience that alters each of their lives. Although the film was set in Pittsburgh and Vietnam, some filming was done in Cleveland, Mingo Junction, Youngstown, Steubenville, and Struthers. It won five Oscars.

3 h 4 min | R

Air Force One (1997)

Air Force One (4K UHD)

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This action movie starred Harrison Ford as the president of the United States, whose airplane is hijacked by terrorists. But this president will not let the attackers go down without a fight. Other stars included Gary Oldman, Glenn Close, and William H. Macy. Some filming locations included Mansfield and Cleveland.

2 h 4 min | R

Being as though the shape of the state looks like a heart, Ohio picked up “The Heart of It All” as its slogan in 1984. While not everyone may agree on that particular saying, for many filmmakers, the state has been just that!

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