Visiting St. Louis

Déjà vu in St. Lou

Experience cinematic standouts in STL

There’s a reason the place you’re standing in looks so familiar. You’ve probably seen it on the screen! St. Louis has been the backdrop for numerous films and TV shows, making memorable movie magic over the years. The city’s iconic landmarks make for some pretty great film locales. Follow along with our list and take a walk through some of St. Louis’ most notable cinematic settings.

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The Cheshire Inn
Up in the Air

Academy Award nominee Up in the Air is arguably the largest and most well-known movie ever filmed in St. Louis. More than 50 different locations were used in and around the city, even providing settings disguised as other cities, like Chicago and Detroit. The Cheshire Inn, located at 6300 Clayton Road within walking distance of Forest Park, served as the rural Wisconsin setting for the wedding rehearsal dinner of Bingham’s (George Clooney) sister. Its Tudor-style architecture and cozy interior made for a great background for this fictional family’s happy occasion.

Maplewood United Methodist Church
Up in the Air

The big wedding in Up in the Air takes place at Maplewood United Methodist Church. Located in the heart of the hip St. Louis suburb of Maplewood, the church is just south of bustling Manchester Road with its fashionable independent shops and wide range of restaurants and pubs. The basement of the church is the setting for the wedding reception, and you can get a peek at the nursery as Clooney gives his future brother-in-law a pep-talk when he gets cold feet.

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St. Louis Lambert International Airport
Up in the Air; Planes, Trains & Automobiles

St. Louis Lambert International Airport serves as a hub that Clooney’s Bingham flies out of in Up in the Air, but several years before that the comedy duo of Steve Martin and John Candy made a rather memorable appearance after arriving from Jefferson City in Planes, Trains & Automobiles. In the film, Martin lets loose a profanity-filled rant against a rental-car saleswoman that includes 18 different expletives. The scene lasts less than a minute, but the barrage of swear words is what gave the movie an “R” rating.

The Hill Neighborhood
The Game of Their Lives

The Game of Their Lives is based on the true St. Louis story about an unlikely U.S. soccer team being invited to the 1950 World Cup. Five of the players were from The Hill, St. Louis’ traditionally Italian neighborhood, and director David Anspaugh made a point to film in the areas where these men were from. (Spoiler alert: The U.S. team defeated #1-ranked England in what was one of the most dramatic upsets in World Cup history.)

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Pappy's Smokehouse
Man v. Food

Adam Richman from The Travel Channel’s Man v. Food visited St. Louis in Season 1—Episode 14. Pappy’s Smokehouse, located at 3106 Olive Street, rose to the top of his list when he went off in search of the best BBQ in town. In that episode, he tasted the legendary Big Ben—a six-pound meat medley that includes a full slab of ribs, a beef brisket, a pork sandwich, ¼ chicken and 4 sides. After a few bites, Adam said, “I now understand why there’s a line out the door.” In honor of Adam’s visit, Pappy’s named a dish after him. You can order the Adam Bomb, which is a Big Ben with a Hot Link Frito Pie—Frito chips topped with your choice of meat, baked beans, cheddar cheese and onion. Delish!

The Gateway Arch
National Lampoon’s Vacation and others

The iconic Gateway Arch has made an appearance in many films, like the earlier mentioned Planes, Trains & Automobiles and Up in the Air. The Arch also got a shout out in National Lampoon’s Vacation when Chevy Chase takes his family on a loony road trip. And the 2015 Ryan Reynolds film Mississippi Grind showcases the Arch and the riverfront in the background as Reynolds and Sienna Miller have a chat on a boat going down the Mississippi River.

The Fabulous Fox Theatre
Escape from New York

The 1981 dystopian thriller Escape from New York starred Kurt Russell and had St. Louis serving as the setting for a post-apocalyptic New York City. At the time the film was one of the largest productions the city had ever hosted and grossed more than $50 million worldwide. The movie’s bleak tone cast dark shadows over the scenery, but an eagle eye can spot famous St. Louis landmarks. When Russell’s character, Plissken, gets to the rundown “Broadway” theatre, the lettering on the front of the building actually reads Fox Theatre. The Fabulous Fox was dilapidated and severely run down when the movie was being filmed, which fit nicely with the theme. But it has since undergone major renovations and has been restored to its original and elegant Siamese-Byzantine grandeur, and patrons can take in their favorite Broadway shows, concerts and other live events.

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