Wisconsin isn’t all just beer and cheese. Although, there are over 200 breweries in its over 65,000 square miles, many of them offering styles and brands that you can only get in the state. And, it is also known as “America’s Dairyland” and does produce the most cheese in the United States.
The Badger state has a coastline along not one, but two of the Great Lakes (Superior and Michigan). And although it does not have any national parks, there are over 60,000 acres of state parkland and more than 450,000 acres of forest. And tourism is doing well. Areas like Door County, pull in 10 times more tourism than any area of the state.
The state has also had its share of firsts, like the first ice cream sundae in 1881 in Two Rivers. Or the first circus taking place in Delavan in 1871. And in 1982, it was the first in the United States to pass statewide laws for gay rights.
And like any other state, it also has its share of weird things, like that Barbie (the doll) hails from Willows or that the world’s largest cranberry festival is held in Warrens. Or even that they are the leading producer of ginseng. And get this, Sheybogan is (or claims to be) the bratwurst capital of the world!
And whether or not you find it weird is your call, but over the years, there have been quite a few movies that have had scenes done in Wisconsin. Check out our below list of some of the most interesting:
Table of Contents
- Movies filmed in Wisconsin
- The Straight Story (1999)
- The Amityville Horror (2005)
- Public Enemies (2009)
- Mr. 3000 (2004)
- I Love Trouble (1994)
- Back to School (1986)
- Bridesmaids (2011)
- A Simple Plan (1998)
- The Last Kiss (2006)
- Chain Reaction (1996)
- Damian: Omen II (1978)
- The Deep End of the Ocean (1999)
- For Keeps (1988)
- The Blues Brothers (1980)
- Major League (1989)
- Fever Lake (1997)
Movies filmed in Wisconsin
The Straight Story (1999)
Director David Lynch’s 8th movie, this biopic was about an elderly veteran named Alvin Straight who took a trip from Laurens, Iowa to Mount Zion, Wisconsin to visit his brother, via a lawnmower. The movie starred Richard Farnsworth and Sissy Spacek. Filming stayed true to the story and used Mount Zion and Prairie du Chien.
The Amityville Horror (2005)
Although this was the 9th film in the series, this Ryan Reynolds-led version was actually a remake of the original 1979 movie. It is about a family that moves into a house on Long Island only to be forced out by malevolent forces 28 days later. The story is, of course, a farce and so was the filming, done in Salem and Silver Lake.
Public Enemies (2009)
The crime drama was based on a 2004 book by Bryan Burroughs. The film starred Johnny Depp as John Dillinger and Christian Bale as Melvin Purvis, the FBI agent trying to track down the notorious bank robber. Locations were done in several parts of the state, including Manitowish Waters, Milwaukee, Madison, Beaver Dam, and Darlington.
Mr. 3000 (2004)
In this sports comedy, Bernie Mac played Stan Ross, a 47-year-old former first baseman who decides to get back into the game in order to actually finish his record and be able to really use the “3000” name. When he left nine years earlier, it was only with 2,997. The team was the Brewers and filming was done right in Milwaukee.
I Love Trouble (1994)
This romcom crime movie starred Julia Roberts and Nick Nolte as two rival newspaper reporters in Chicago, who despite their differences, find love and also get themselves wrapped up in trying to uncover a government conspiracy involving a train derailment. Filming locations included Madison and Baraboo.
Back to School (1986)
When Jason Melon starts to distance himself from his extremely rich family and seems unhappy at college, it only seems natural that his father (Rodney Dangerfield) would head out and sign up for classes there. Other actors included William Zabka and Robert Downey, Jr. The University of Wisconsin-Madison was used for filming.
This comedy directed by Paul Feig had Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Melissa McCarthy, Rose Byrne and a host of others in starring roles. When Annie is asked to be Maid of Honor for her best friend’s wedding, she never imagines it will go as disastrously as it actually does. The movie was set in Milwaukee with some scenes shot there.
A Simple Plan (1998)
Although well known as a director in the Evil Dead series, Sam Raimi also did many other films, including this crime thriller starring Bridget Fonda, Bill Paxton, and Billy Bob Thornton. After brothers discover money in a crashed plane, they do their best to keep it a secret. The story was set in Minnesota with scenes shot there as well as Ashland.
The Last Kiss (2006)
This romcom was based on a 2001 Italian movie. It starred Zach Braff, Casey Affleck, Jacinda Barrett, and Rachel Bilson. Although Michael has the perfect life, job, and girlfriend, he craves more, and finds it in a younger woman. Filmmakers utilized Madison, including the university, heavily for locations.
Chain Reaction (1996)
This sci-fi movie had Keanu Reeves, Rachel Weisz, and Morgan Freeman in starring roles. After finding an important breakthrough in fusion, a research team finds themselves in danger of not only losing it to another company but also losing their lives. Filming locations included Madison, Lake Geneva, and Williams Bay.
Damian: Omen II (1978)
The second in this horror series, this one starred Jonathan Scott-Taylor, William Holden, and Lee Grant. Someone has to take Damian in after the death of his parents, and that just so happens to be his kind aunt and uncle. Filming locations included Delafield, Lake Geneva, Twin Lakes, and Eagle River.
The Deep End of the Ocean (1999)
This movie was based on a 1996 Jacquelyn Mitchard book. It starred Michelle Pfeiffer and Treat Williams. At three years old, a young boy goes missing, never to be seen again. Until nine years later, when he shows up at their doorstep, asking if they need any lawnmowing. Some filming was done in Madison.
For Keeps (1988)
Although released around the same era as Molly Ringwald’s other coming-of-age movies, this one was a little different. She starred as a high school senior, who gets pregnant by her boyfriend and decides to have the baby, against all odds. The story was set in Kenosha with some scenes filmed there.
The Blues Brothers (1980)
After about four years of performing on SNL’s small screen, John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd took their skit onto the big screen. It was directed by John Landis and set in Chicago. Other actors appearing in the movie included Carrie Fisher and John Candy. There was some filming in Milwaukee, but the movie was mostly done in Illinois.
Major League (1989)
This sports comedy had a host of popular actors including Tom Berenger, Charlie Sheen, Wesley Snipes, and Rene Russo. It follows a fictionalized version of the Cleveland Indians baseball team. Two sequels followed, but neither came close to the success of the first. Filming locations included Milwaukee and Whitefish Bay.
Meet the Applegates (1990)
This sci-fi movie was certainly not a box office smash, but it has gained a cult following. The main actors included Ed Begley, Jr. and Stockard Channing. Four insects pretend to be humans to take over a power plant, except they rather like being humans. The film was set in Ohio with some locations done in Neenah, Appleton, and Oshkosh.
Fever Lake (1997)
Although it had recognizable names within its cast like Mario Lopez and Corey Haim, this movie went direct to video. The film was about a group of teens who head out to a cursed lake, despite being advised otherwise. Scenes were done in Kenosha and Twin Lakes.
At about 5.8 million people, the 30th state to enter the Union ranks 21st in population. And due to its abundance of water and idyllic scenery, it also ranks somewhere in the middle for popular states filmmakers visit for shooting.