Before there was Hollywood, there was Chicago. Since the early days of moving pictures, Chicago has played an important role in the film industry. Moviemaking began in Chicago in 1896. Two of the world's first film studios were headquartered in Chicago, where innovators developed some of the earliest movie cameras and projectors, and the weekly serial was born.
Though those early studios are gone to sunnier locales, some of the original buildings remain. And Chicago still today enjoys a vibrant business as setting and location for a variety of films. Just as in years past one might spot Charlie Chaplin or Gloria Swanson in town while filming, in recent years you might have seen Johnny Depp, Julia Roberts, or hometown actors like John Cusak and Vince Vaughn. You may even be able to spot places from your everyday life in the scenes on the screen.
This guide highlights some of the movies in the library's collection that are important to Chicago because they were either filmed in Chicago or are stories/histories about Chicago. You will find some movies on this homepage that fall into a wide range of categories in works of fiction. Additonal tabs will lead you to other categories that are based on more non-fiction topics.