Everyone is probably familiar with the fact that Pittsburgh is a film-friendly town. Over the years, there have actually been quite a few classic movies filmed partially or even entirely in Pittsburgh. Adventure, crime, kids, fantasy… you name it. Whatever the genre… you can be sure to find a worthy movie to watch from Pittsburgh on those cozy nights you plan to spend with friend or loved ones. Here are a few of the best movies filmed in Pittsburgh to put on your list:
Your parents will love reminiscing about the movie shot in the ‘burgh starring Jennifer Beals who works in a steel mill and dances in bars at night. The iconic water dance scene is enough to watch this movie if you haven’t seen it, or watch it again to reminisce about Pittsburgh “back in the day.”
Billy “The Great” Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal), the reigning junior middleweight boxing champion, has an impressive career, a loving wife and daughter, and a lavish lifestyle. However, when tragedy strikes, Billy hits rock bottom, losing his family, his house and his manager. He soon finds an unlikely savior in Tick Willis (Forest Whitaker), a former fighter who trains the city’s toughest amateur boxers. With his future on the line, Hope fights to reclaim the trust of those he loves the most.
The film tells the story of how Inspector Gadget and Dr. Claw came to be. It was filmed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and Los Angeles, California with the ice castle-like main tower of Pittsburgh’s PPG Place playing a central role.
As you can see, 2012 was a big year for Pittsburgh in terms of movies. Curl up and enjoy this one with Tom Cruise about an investigator with a vague past who takes on the case of a rogue military operative.
Dawn of the Dead
Following an ever-growing epidemic of zombies that have risen from the dead, two Philadelphia S.W.A.T. team members, a traffic reporter, and his television executive girlfriend seek refuge in a secluded shopping mall.
The Deer Hunter
In 1968, Michael (Robert De Niro), Nick (Christopher Walken) and Steven (John Savage), lifelong friends from a working-class Pennsylvania steel town, prepare to ship out overseas following Steven’s elaborate wedding and one final group hunting trip. In Vietnam, their dreams of military honor are quickly shattered by the inhumanities of war; even those who survive are haunted by the experience, as is Nick’s hometown sweetheart, Linda (Meryl Streep).
The Silence of the Lambs
Still one of the creepiest horror movies of all time, this one filmed scenes in Crafton, at Soldiers and Sailors and the Carnegie Museum. Enjoy this one but don’t get too scared after the credits roll and the lights go out!
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Lloyd Vogel is an investigative journalist who receives an assignment to profile Fred Rogers, aka Mr. Rogers. He approaches the interview with skepticism, as he finds it hard to believe that anyone can have such a good nature. But Roger’s empathy, kindness and decency soon chips away at Vogel’s jaded outlook on life, forcing the reporter to reconcile with his own painful past. You can read our review of A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood right here.
The Dark Knight Rises
Everyone in Pittsburgh knows a lot of Gotham was our lovely city. Stars like Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy and Marion Cotillard starred in this summer 2012 blockbuster that used Heinz Field in a big way.
This 1977 film directed by George Roy Hill, written by Nancy Dowd and starring Paul Newman and Michael Ontkean depicts a minor league ice hockey team that resorts to questionable play to gain popularity in a declining factory town. Dowd based much of her script, as well as several of the characters, on her brother Ned Dowd’s playing experiences on 1970s minor league professional hockey teams.
The Next Three Days
Life for John and Lara Brennan (Russell Crowe, Elizabeth Banks) is miserable after she is convicted of something she says she did not commit. Three years later while struggling with the demands of work and raising his son alone, John is still trying to establish her innocence. When her final appeal is rejected, Lara becomes desparate, forcing John to exercise the only option he has left: try to get her out himself.
Sgt. Tom Hardy (Bruce Willis) denounces his partner, Jimmy Detillo (Robert Pastorelli), for not treating a supect correctly. After Jimmy falls to from a bridge, Tom is transferred to the river rescue team. Two years later, women begin turning up in the water — all of whom were previously romantically linked to Tom. With the help of his new partner, Jo Christman (Sarah Jessica Parker), Tom sets out to find the culprit.
All the Right Moves
Stefan Djordjevic (Tom Cruise), the star player of his high school football team, is desperately hoping that his football talents will earn him a scholarship — his only chance to get out of his dying hometown of Ampipe, Pennsylvania. When a heated argument with his coach (Craig T. Nelson) gets him kicked off the team and blacklisted from college recruiters, Stefan must fight for a chance to live out his dream and escape the dead-end future he faces.
Ex-fireman Darren McCord (Jean-Claude Van Damme) has a new job working security at the Pittsburgh Civic Arena. Hoping to impress his kids, he’s scored tickets to the Stanley Cup Finals, unaware that the place has been taken over. Ex-CIA agent Joshua Foss (Powers Boothe) is holding the vice president hostage in a press box and plans to destroy the building if he doesn’t pay the ransom. But, when Darren learns of his scheme, he jumps into action to save the day.
The Perks of Being a Wall Flower
The writer of this movie (and Pittsburgh native!) Stephen Chbosky went on to write 2017’s massive hit, the Beauty and the Beast remake. Watch this movie based on the book of the same name starring the Harry Potter franchise’s Emma Watson.
Troy Maxson (Denzel Washington) makes his living as a sanitation worker in 1950s Pittsburgh. Maxson once dreamed of becoming a professional baseball player, but was deemed too old when the major leagues began admitting black athletes. Bitter over his missed opportunity, Troy creates further tension in his family when he squashes his son’s (Jovan Adepo) chance to meet a college football recruiter.