Top Movies filmed in Missouri


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Missouri has a tendency to stay somewhere in the middle. It’s the 19th most populous state at over six million people, the 21st most extensive state at 69,704 square miles, and even the 24th state to enter the union. But the Show-Me State also has some top things as well.

There’s St. Louis’s Gateway Arch, which at 630 feet tall is the highest man-made one in the nation. Kansas City has a lot of fountains, so many that only Rome has more than them. And St. Joseph was the beginning point for the Pony Express.

While it’s California that gets a lot of earthquakes, Missouri is no stranger. In fact, four of the largest to ever occur on the continent happened in New Madrid. And forget Texas, the worst tornado in the nation’s history occurred in Missouri in 1925. It killed almost 700 people, injured over 2000 and destroyed over 75 percent of Annapolis.

Unlike several other states, Missouri also has a few professional sports teams: the Kansas City Royals and St. Louis Cardinals (MLB), the St. Louis Blues (NHL), and the Kansas City Chiefs (NFL).

There is one national park (Gateway Arch National Park) in the state as well as 92 state parks among its 15.3 million acres of forest. The state also has a lot of caves, over 6000.

And over the years, Missouri has also been an ideal spot for moviemaking. See below for a list of some of the most interesting that came to state over the years:

Movies filmed in Missouri

American Flyers (1985)

This sports movie starred Kevin Costner, Alexandra Paul, and Rae Dawn Chong. Brothers Marcus and David are handed news that they both may be susceptible to brain injuries. To bond, they head to Colorado to compete in the “Hell of the West” bicycle race. Some filming was done in St. Louis.

Jesse James (1939)

This Western starred Henry Fonda, Tyrone Power, and Nancy Kelly. The film is partly based on the real outlaw, Jesse James. This tale follows he and his brother Frank, who are out to exact revenge after their mother is murdered. Filming was done all over the state, including Pineville, Lake of the Ozarks, and Noel.

You’re Next (2011)

This slasher flick was about a family reunion in Missouri gone horribly wrong when just about everyone in the house is in danger of being assaulted by masked killers who have broken in. Sharni Vinson, Barbara Crampton, and Joe Swanberg, among others, were in starring roles. The film was shot entirely in Columbia.

Up in the Air (2009)

This dramedy was director Jason Reitman’s third film. It was based on a 2001 book by Walter Kirn and starred George Clooney, Anna Kendrick, Vera Farmiga, and Danny McBride. Ryan’s job entails traveling around the US, firing people on behalf of their employers who cannot do it themselves. The movie was done almost entirely in St. Louis.

Child’s Play 3 (1991)

The third installment in the slasher series about a Good Guy doll that comes to life only to take lives was set eight years after the previous movie. Charles Lee Ray comes back to life through the voice of Brad Dourif, and once again, he wants to find Andy. Some filming was done in Boonville.

Escape from New York (1981)

Director John Carpenter’s 6th movie, this one starred Kurt Russell as prisoner Snake Plissken. He is given 24 hours to rescue the President of the United States who has been taken by rebels in a crime-ridden, dystopian future New York City, which is now an island prison. A sequel was released in 1996. Much of it was filmed in St. Louis.

The Informant! (2009)

This crime comedy was based on a 2000 book by Kurt Eichenwald, which discussed whistleblower Mark Whitacre’s involvement in the lysine price-fixing scheme. Stars included Matt Damon, Scott Bakula, and Joel McHale. The film was set in Decatur, Illinois with some filming done in several cities in the US, including St. Louis.

Killshot (2009)

This thriller starred Diane Lane and Thomas Jane as a couple who go into Witness Protection after being informed of an extortion plan involving very dangerous men. Except Witness Protection might not be enough to save them. The film was partly set in Missouri with some filming done on Cape Girardeau.

Paper Moon (1973)

This road dramedy starred Ryan O’Neal and his daughter Tatum as two traveling con artists. It was based on a 1971 novel called “Addie Pray” by Joe David Brown. Tatum, at age 10, won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, the youngest person to ever win it. It was set in both Missouri and Kansas with some filming done in St. Joseph.

Meet Bill (2007)

This comedy starred Aaron Eckhart, Jessica Alba, Logan Lerman, Timothy Olyphant, and Elizabeth Banks. Eckhart is the title character, a middle-aged, unhappy man trying to make changes despite the large obstacles that deter his progress. Filming was done in St. Albans and St. Louis.

The St. Louis Bank Robbery (1959)

This heist movie starred Steve McQueen (in his 5th role) and was based on an attempt to rob an actual bank in St. Louis in 1953. Local police, residents, and even some employees of that bank had parts in the movie. Other Hollywood actors included Crahan Denton and Molly McCarthy. Filming was done in St. Louis.

King of the Hill (1993)

This drama was based on a 1972 book by A.E. Hotchner. Aaron is literally on his own at a young age, as his mother is gravely ill at a sanatorium, his brother has been sent away to live with another relative, and his traveling salesman father is always on the road. It starred Jesse Bradford and Adrien Brody. Some filming was done in St. Louis.

Gone Girl (2014)

Director David Fincher’s 10th movie, this thriller was based upon Gillian Flynn’s 2012 novel. When Amy (Rosamund Pike) ends up missing, the first person looked at is, of course, her husband Nick (Ben Affleck). But this disappearance is a little different. The story was set in Missouri with some filming done on Cape Girardeau.

The Abyss (1989)

This science-fiction film was directed by James Cameron and had Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Ed Harris, and Michael Biehn in lead roles. Initially a search operation for a US submarine that had sunk, the team hired to do so finds a lot deeper below the water’s surface. Filming locations included Bonne Terre Mine.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (1987)

Neal Page (Steve Martin) desperately wants to get home to his family in Chicago for Thanksgiving. But the transportation fates continue to fail him as he and polar opposite Del Griffith (John Candy) try to navigate their way from NYC. This comedy was filmed in many areas across the United States, including St. Louis.

The Brown Bunny (2003)

Actor Vincent Gallo starred, directed, wrote, produced, edited, and photographed this drama. A man on a motorcycle driving from New Hampshire to California spends his time lamenting a past lover, and not fully connecting to any others. Chloë Sevigny costarred. Some filming was done in St. Louis.

Winter’s Bone (2010)

This drama was based upon a 2006 novel by Daniel Woodrell and had Jennifer Lawrence in the lead role as a young girl who must take care of her siblings and mother while searching for her missing father. Other actors included John Hawkes and Dale Dickey.
The movie was set in the Ozarks with filming done in Forsyth and Branson.

With so much to offer Hollywood when it comes to unique settings, this midwestern state will most likely keep on hosting movie sets in its future.