Numerous films, some dating back to the dawn of the motion picture industry, have been shot in or around Detroit.
The place where Motown Records got its start. Eminem’s house. Auto industry’s heartland. One of the most well-known cities in the American Midwest, the Motor City is famous for its music and automobiles. For decades, Detroit has been portrayed in the media as a crime-ridden wasteland, yet in reality, it is one of America’s most vibrant cities.
Detroit is a vibrant cultural center thanks to its diverse population, beautiful architecture, and numerous entertainment options. As a result, films frequently depict Detroit’s turbulent past and industrial surroundings. As a matter of fact, Detroit has served as the backdrop for numerous films dating back to the early days of filmmaking. It’s no surprise, then, that the city of Detroit is well-known for the large number of classic movie theaters that dot its landscape.
1. Only Lovers Left Alive (2013) – 7.3
Jim Jarmusch’s vampire drama, starring Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton, was partially shot in the Brush Park neighborhood of Midtown Detroit. A magnificent Victorian home where Hiddleston’s Adam spends his time buying instruments and making music is where he resides.
She visits Adam in Detroit because she is concerned about his mental well-being.
2. Detroit (2017) – 7.3
During the 50th anniversary of the 12th Street Riots in Detroit, Kathryn Bigelow’s ensemble drama explores the widely misunderstood 1967 uprising. Summer-long civil disobedience by Detroit residents began after police stormed an unauthorized bar where black Vietnam vets were celebrating their homecoming home.
After decades of segregation, police violence and economic disparity, the Detroit revolt became part of a larger Civil Rights movement in the United States.” Detroit, starring John Boyega and Will Poulter, was shot on location in the city.
3. Grosse Pointe Blank (1997) – 7.3
Gros Pointe Blank, albeit set in a rich suburb west of Detroit, was primarily shot in California due to financial constraints and difficulties in obtaining permission to film on site. A hitman goes home for his high school reunion in this dark comedy starring John Cusack and Minnie Driver.
Authorities in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan, apparently declined to let the production team utilize the school as the setting for its feature film. A proposal to legalize alcohol on school grounds was met with disapproval by city officials.
4. The Spiral Staircase (1946) – 7.4
For gothic horror films, Detroit has hundreds of neo-Victorian houses. The Spiral Staircase is set in Vermont and tells the story of a woman who is being stalked by a serial killer in her old house. For her performance as bedridden Mrs. Warren, Ethel Barrymore was nominated for an Academy Award.
The Spiral Staircase was eclipsed by other horror films of the day, but critics have come to appreciate the film’s atmospheric blend of noir fear and haunted home feelings over the years.
5. Blue Collar (1978) – 7.5
Michigan native Paul Schrader, who has written screenplays for several Martin Scorsese films, has a dark comedy about Detroit autoworkers in his latest project. They resolve to steal money from their union, only to learn that their union has been ripping them off for years.
Richard Pryor, Yaphet Kotto, and Harvey Keitel portray the males.
Michigan-based Blue Collar investigates how people striving for rights are pitted against each other by those in power.
6. The Evil Dead (1981) – 7.5
As a matter of fact, nearly all of The Evil Dead was shot in Morristown, Tennessee. Sam Raimi, a budding director from Detroit, intended to shoot the picture in his hometown of Royal Oak. After failing to find a suitable location for filming, Raimi decided to use a forested cabin in Tennessee as a place to shoot.
Some of the filming for Raimi’s Evil Dead was done in his garage in Royal Oak. In a low-budget, supernatural gorefest about a group of college students who unleash an ancient evil, this franchise was born. Evil Dead II, which was out in 1987, was primarily filmed in Detroit and North Carolina.
7. RoboCop (1987) – 7.5
Much of Paul Verhoeven’s satirical science-fiction drama, which is set in a dystopian Detroit, was shot in Dallas, Texas; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. When Verhoeven chose to set his movie in Detroit, he tapped into the bad public opinions of the city, which are based on incompetent politicians and dishonest cops rather than an extremely violent populace.
Peter Weller portrays Alex Murphy, a police officer who is killed on the job and whose remains are used to build the RoboCop prototype. With greater knowledge of the Omni Corporation’s sinister aims, the cyborg eventually rebels against his creators. While RoboCop is lauded for its gripping action sequences and amazing set designs, the film is full with social critique.
8. True Romance (1993) – 7.9
The film’s script was written by Quentin Tarantino, and the action takes place in a frigid, snowy Detroit. Clarence, a lonely video shop clerk, is hired by his pals to be seduced on his birthday by a sex professional. The sex worker, Alabama, is played by Patricia Arquette, and the two fall in love.
Clarence accidently steals a bag full of cocaine while trying to cut Alabama’s ties with her boss (Gary Oldman). This sends a nasty drug dealer (Christopher Walken) on their way. Their gang of drug dealers follows them to Los Angeles as they flee for their lives. True Romance was directed by Tony Scott.
9. Deadpool (2016) – 8.0
This darkly hilarious superhero film’s metropolitan locale is never revealed. This film was made mostly with footage from Canada but also included some scenes from Detroit and Chicago. A tense action scene involving a taxi takes place in Detroit.
In Deadpool, Ryan Reynolds portrays Wade Wilson, a former special forces operator who has developed superhuman powers after being exposed to a mutagen. To the role of Wolverine, Reynolds contributes a sense of humor and a lot of swearing. As a side note, Deadpool even makes an unintentional reference to Detroit in the film “A life span of 102 years is what I desire. In a way, Detroit is a good comparison.”
10. Gran Torino (2008) – 8.1
Critics think that Clint Eastwood’s film about the tumultuous racial history of Detroit is the best film to be set in the city. Clint Eastwood stars and directs this thriller about a Korean War veteran who becomes friends with the Hmong teen who tries to steal his beloved Gran Torino.
As a means of rehabilitating Thao and safeguarding their community from gangs of young black males, Walt intends to work with Thao. Gran Torinoultimately portrays Walt as a white savior while perpetuating damaging stereotypes about people of color in Detroit’s Eastside neighborhood. The film’s popularity hasn’t prevented many critics from deeming Gran Torino’smessaging to be problematic.