While the 17th most populous state may not scream “Hollywood alternate” to you, there are plenty of reasons why Indiana is sometimes chosen as the perfect location for filming entire movies or scenes. From its connection to sports to its being the “Crossroads of America”, there’s a lot that the 38th state offers production companies.
Not only does Indianapolis host the biggest sporting event in the world (the Indy 500), but the state ranks no. 5 in producing professional basketball players, and the first ever professional league baseball game win was captured by the Fort Wayne Kekiongas back in May 1871. And of course, basketball legend Larry Bird is a native Hoosier.
The Crossroads of America moniker first came about as a nickname for the state’s capital, Indianapolis, due to the abundance of interstate highways that loop in and out of the largest city in the state. It eventually came to encompass the entire state, considering that Indiana has more interstate roads per square mile than any other.
Check out our short list below for some of the most famous movies that Indiana can claim at least some (and for many, all the) fame for:
Table of Contents
- Movies Filmed in the State of Indiana
- Public Enemies (2009)
- Natural Born Killers (1994)
- Pearl Harbor (2001)
- A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)
- A League of Their Own (1992)
- Blue Chips (1994)
- The Good Catholic (2017)
- Hoosiers (1986)
- Hard Rain (1998)
- Original Gangstas (1996)
- Soul Survivors (2001)
- Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)
- Lonesome Jim (2005)
- Some Came Running (1958)
- The Ryan White Story (1989)
- Rain Main (1989)
- Brian’s Song (1971)
Movies Filmed in the State of Indiana
Public Enemies (2009)
One of the most famous bank robbers, John Dillinger (aka Public Enemy Number One), made for quite a story when it came to the FBI tracking him. The biographical crime drama, starring Johnny Depp and Christian Bale in title roles, was set in Chicago with scenes done in Crown Point, where real-life Dillinger was actually a prisoner, and escapee.
Natural Born Killers (1994)
This romance/crime/thriller was filmed in various parts of the US, but the courtroom scenes after Mickey (Woody Harrelson) and Mallory (Juliette Lewis) are arrested were done right in Hammond at the City Hall. Although the screenplay was written by Quentin Tarantino, director Oliver Stone made significant changes to the final story and movie.
Pearl Harbor (2001)
Pearl Harbor, the place, is obviously in Hawaii, with those responsible for its attack, of course, coming from Japan. However, when it came to filming this fictional version of the events, many rules were broken in order to fit the filmmakers’ mold for the movie. What you are led to believe is Tokyo on the screen, is actually US Steel Works in Gary.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)
Although number nine in the lineup of Freddy Krueger horror movies, this one was actually a remake of the first one that was released in 1984. While a large part of it was filmed in and around Illinois, the church scene, and a few areas surrounding it, were in Gary. The movie itself was set in the fictitious town of Springwood, Ohio.
A League of Their Own (1992)
Rockford definitely isn’t in Indiana, but that didn’t stop director Penny Marshall from utilizing the state for its sports movie about women stepping up to the plate to play baseball during World War II. The Peaches’ home games were done at League Stadium in Huntingburg and the final game of the movie was done at Bosse Field in Evansville.
Blue Chips (1994)
This sports drama had a variety of scenes filmed all over the United States, including both Frankfort and French Lick. Starring Nick Nolte, the movie was set LA and included appearances by actual basketball players like Shaquille O’Neal, Penny Hardaway, Bob Cousy, and Larry Bird, whose hometown happens to be none other than French Lick itself.
The Good Catholic (2017)
The majority of filming for this romantic comedy was done in Bloomington. Three Catholic priests, Father Dan, Father Ollie, and Father Victor, all from different walks of life, have their daily routines turned upside down and their core beliefs and values questioned when Father Dan brings Jane, played by Wrenn Schmidt, into the mix.
It would be pure blasphemy for a movie called Hoosiers to not have to do with, be set, or have been filmed in Indiana. Thankfully, this movie gets a checkmark in each category, as it’s based on the 1954 Milan High School basketball team. Scenes were shot all over the state, including Crawfordsville, Knightstown, Lebanon, and New Richmond.
Hard Rain (1998)
Starring Christian Slater and Morgan Freeman, this action/thriller/disaster flick is about, as you may have guessed already, a big storm. However, it’s also about a bank heist in a now-evacuated town. While there were a few other shots taken in California, as well as over in Canada, the movie was set in Huntingburg and was also filmed there.
Original Gangstas (1996)
Starring blaxploitation veterans Pam Grier, Fred Williamson, and Jim Brown, this action movie was set in Gary and also filmed there. But this Gary is riddled with gangs, namely the Rebels, and after a boy is killed, there’s a new war in the city: old-school Rebels versus new Rebels. It was Larry Cohen’s last film as a director.
Soul Survivors (2001)
Although much of this psychological thriller about what immense guilt and sorrow can do to a person, both literally and figuratively, was filmed for the most part in Illinois (Chicago), there were a few scenes done right in Gary. The film starred Casey Affleck, Eliza Dushku, Wes Bentley, and Luke Wilson.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)
The third movie in this franchise was filmed in several states (and beyond), including Indiana. The “Chernobyl” reactor site is actually an old cement plant in Gary, and filmmakers also utilized a church there (the same one used for 2010’s A Nightmare on Elm Street). The movie took in a very impressive $1.124 billion at the box office.
Lonesome Jim (2005)
Moving his seat from in front of the camera to behind it yet again, this dramedy starring Casey Affleck and Liv Tyler was directed by Steve Buscemi. The movie was set in Goshen and a majority of it was also filmed there as well. It was shot on a budget of only $500,0000 (of a proposed $3 million one), but didn’t even make that back.
Some Came Running (1958)
Back in the late 1950s, the city of Madison was invaded by Hollywood. Legends like Frank Sinatra, Shirley MacLaine, and Dean Martin came to town to film this movie, which was based on a novel by James Jones (author of From Here to Eternity). Their presence, Sinatra’s especially, caused quite a stir. The movie was actually set in Illinois.
The Ryan White Story (1989)
In this TV movie, Lukas Haas took on the role of Ryan White, a young boy who contracted HIV from a blood transfusion, causing his school to ban his attendance. White lived with his mother (portrayed by Judith Light of Who’s the Boss) in the town of Russiaville, which is where they shot the film.
Rain Main (1989)
Since Rain Main is essentially a road trip movie, it’s no surprise that there were so many different filming locations, including some in the Hoosier State, such as the Hearthstone Inn and Cabins in Metamora, despite the scene being set in Missouri. The film won four Oscars, including Best Picture, Director, and Actor (Dustin Hoffman).
Brian’s Song (1971)
This made-for-TV movie retells the true story of Brian Piccolo, a player for the Chicago Bears, who found out he had cancer just after going pro. The film starred James Caan and Billy Dee Williams in the title roles. Some training scenes were shot in Rensselaer.
Not only has Indiana become a small hub for filmmakers to utilize, it also leads the US in manufacturing job growth and comes in second in size for the automotive industry. It is also known for its sugar cream pies, Hoosier sandwiches (breaded pork tenderloin), and producing a large amount of popcorn from its plentiful corn crops.
And you know what popcorn is great for…