Wisconsin in the Movies

Discover Wisconsin

January 17, 2018

We’re no Hollywood, but Wisconsin has made an appearance in many noteworthy movies. From being set in Wisconsin to just having a small mention, several Tinseltown flicks have put Wisconsin on the map. Here are just a few:

  1. Titanic
    As films go, it doesn’t get much bigger than this Hollywood blockbuster. Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, Jack Dawson, hails from Chippewa Falls and recalls ice fishing back home on Lake Wissota. Lake Wissota, however, is a man-made lake that wasn’t filled until 1917…five years after the Titanic sank. We’re still thankful for the mention, though.
  2. Bridesmaids
    Much of this movie was filmed in downtown Milwaukee, where Kristen Wiig’s character resides, including Annie’s apartment on South Kinnickinnic Avenue, the jewelry store on W. Mitchell Street, and the bar on West Cameron Avenue.
  3. Amityville Horror
    While the actual Amityville Horror house can be found in New York, the home used in this 2005 remake is on Silver Lake Rd. in Salem, Wis. The Wohlford estate dates back four generations to 1910, and was fitted with a $60,000 fake façade for the movie. The home recently sold for $1 million.
  4. The Blues Brothers
    This 1980 classic was filmed mostly around Chicago, but one particular scene (you know, the one where the car hangs off the bridge?) was filmed on the Daniel Hoan Memorial Bridge in Milwaukee.
  5. Major League
    Though the film follows the Cleveland Indians, all of the stadium scenes were shot at County Stadium in Milwaukee, and with no Milwaukee baseball scene complete without him, Bob Uecker played the Indians’ Several outdoor scenes were shot in Milwaukee’s Third Ward, and some interior shots were filmed at a home on the corner of Kilbourn and Cass.
  6. Anchorman
    None of Anchorman was filmed in Wisconsin, but a pretty iconic line came from the movie. “Baxter, is that you? Baxter! Bark twice if you’re in Milwaukee.” Again, we’ll take any mention we can get.
  7. Love Actually
    Can’t you just hear “Wisconsin” in Colin’s excited British accent? While none of the filming takes place in the U.S, let alone in Wisconsin, we do make quite the cameo. In the film, Colin flies into “Milwaukee International Airport” and then heads to a “typical Wisconsin bar”. I guess we are just classic Americana.
  8. That Thing You Do!
    The musical film starring Tom Hanks follows a Pennsylvania rock band as their stardom grows. They’re in the midst of touring state fairs across the Midwest, and when in Wisconsin, the band is mobbed by fans. As girls climb onto their car, one of the band members states, “I like Wisconsin.” Us too, kid. Us too.
  9. Tommy Boy
    Chris Farley’s character must know Milwaukee pretty well, as he’s on the seven-year plan at Marquette University. His lack of leadership skills when taking over the family business is not indicative, however, of Marquette’s quality of education in real life. Disclaimer.
  10. Wayne’s World
    In the famous exchange between Wayne and Alice Cooper, we learn that Milwaukee is Algonquin for “the good land.” Who knew Wayne’s World was so…educational?
  11. The Prince and Me
    Fairly certain every girl in Wisconsin dreamed of marrying a prince after seeing this movie. Julia Styles’ character is a student at UW-Madison and unknowingly winds up dating a Danish prince who also attends UW (but under a different name). She even takes him back to her hometown of Manitowoc for Thanksgiving. Though, the green grass and leafy trees tells me it wasn’t actually filmed in Wisconsin in November.
  12. Public Enemies
    Did you know that real-life gangsters often fled to Wisconsin during the prohibition era? John Dillinger had a shootout with the FBI in Manitowish Waters (where, at Little Bohemia Lodge, you can still find bullet holes and items left behind). Scenes were filmed in Milwaukee, Madison, Manitowish Waters, Oshkosh, Beaver Dam, Columbus and Darlington.
  13. The American President
    Though no presidents have yet hailed from Wisconsin, one of the more famous movie-Presidents has. Michael Douglas’ character is a former Wisconsin Governor who previously taught history at the University of Wisconsin and is a big Green Bay Packers fan.
  14. Up in the Air
    In a film that focuses on travel and, well, constantly being up in the air, we learn that George Clooney’s character grew up in a town near Waupaca. He returns for his sister’s wedding and, like many Wisconsinites who leave their small town, realizes the value of growing up in such a place.
  15. Cheaper by the Dozen II
    Okay, this movie might not be the talk of the town, and it hasn’t won tons of awards, but it’s Wisconsin in a nutshell. Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt’s characters have 12 children and, in an effort to bring their family together for a memorable vacation, they bring them to Lake Winnetka, Wisconsin. And I think a fun-filled, memorable weekend on a Wisconsin lake is something we can all relate to.

Wisconsin may not be known for film sets, movie stars and all things glamorous, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make the occasional appearance on the big screen. Have any movies to add to this list? Let us know on social media using #discoverwisconsin!

Kristen Finstad is a member of the Discover Wisconsin crew. Having grown up in River Falls, attending UW-Stevens Point and now living in Madison, she’s a Wisconsin girl through and through. Watch Discover Wisconsin TV Saturday mornings at 10 on Fox Sports Wisconsin. (Twitter: @DiscoverWI)

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