Ohio is no California when it comes to the film industry, but it still has attracted a number of blockbusters over the years. Usually, when choosing shooting locations, movie producers look to get what they need out of an area for the cheapest price.
Without a doubt, Cleveland’s tax incentives have played a part in bringing Hollywood out to the Midwest. Domestic talent has also influenced which movies come to the city. Marvel’s Russo Brothers were born and raised in The Land, which brought them back to the city for shooting Captain America: The Winter Soldier, among other films.
10 Spider-Man 3 — Spider-Man vs. Sandman First Fight Scene
Back when Spidey was played by Tobey Maguire, the third installment of Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy came to Cleveland to film some scenes. The city’s presence is most visible during the movie’s first fight.
The scene is fast-paced, so viewers will have to look closely to see locations along Euclid Avenue in Downtown Cleveland between the scene’s car chase and web-slinging action. But don’t go thinking that Spider-Man is a local. This scene might be filmed in Cleveland, but withing the context of the movie it takes place in New York City.
9 A Christmas Story — Leg Lamp Scene
Most Clevelanders are familiar with the classic Christmas movie that was filmed in town. One of the movie's most memorable moments was when the infamous leg lamp was towed into Ralphie’s house in the “FRAGILE” labeled box. It later sat in the window of the family’s house for the whole neighborhood to see.
That house is located at 3159 West 11th Street in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood. Today the house is a museum dedicated to the film. Its interior has been renovated to replicate the decor from the movie and is home to memorabilia from the film, even including the leg lamp.
8 Captain America: The Winter Soldier — Highway Fight Scene
Directors Anthony Russo and Joseph Russo might be the most famous people in the comic book industry to originate from Cleveland since Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel created Superman there in 1938.
The Russo brothers returned to their hometown to film some scenes for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, including the intense highway fight scene between the Winter Soldier and heroes Captain America, Black Widow, and Falcon. This chase takes place along the Cleveland Memorial Shoreway, but in the context of the film, the scene takes place in Washington D.C.
7 Air Force One — Opening Sequence
Harrison Ford’s 1997 action-thriller depicts a situation where a group of terrorists hijacks Air Force One. The president then has to reassume control of the plane and keep the passengers safe. The movie performed well and featured some big names like Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman, and Glenn Close.
Overall, very little of the production time was spent filming in Cleveland. The city can be spotted in the opening sequence, disguised as Moscow. In the scene, General Radek's palace is actually Severance Hall in University Circle and the Cuyahoga County Courthouse downtown.
6 Draft Day — Trading With the Jaguars Scene
A 2014 sports drama, Draft Day stars Kevin Costner and follows the fictional story of the Cleveland Browns football team getting the number one draft pick in the NFL. Cleveland Browns general manager Sonny Weaver Jr. faces complications that are more than just which players to draft.
Much of this movie was filmed in the Cleveland area. The Bertram Inn in Aurora, OH was used for Virginia exterior shots and as the location for the NFL Rookie Symposium. Dix Stadium at Kent State University and DiSanto Field at Case Western Reserve University were used to film gameplay scenes. Cuyahoga Community College plays home to the Browns war room during tense draft scenes as well.
5 Major League — Opening Sequence
Major League is a sports comedy about the Cleveland Indians. In the fictional film, the team’s owner intentionally tries to put together a bad team so they can be moved to another city. Although, this plan backfires when the players learn the truth and suddenly improve.
While taking place in Cleveland, very little of the movie was actually shot there. Most of it was recorded in Milwaukee, but features of the city are put on display for the opening scene. The song "Burn On" by Randy Newman even plays in the opening credits as a nod to the fires of the Cuyahoga River.
4 The Avengers — Iron Man & Captain America vs Loki
The Avengers might be the most popular movie to ever film in The Land. Disguised as Stuttgart, Germany, Public Square is where Loki, Captain America, Black Widow, and Iron Man engaged in battle after Loki demands humanity to kneel before him.
It’s hard to miss Terminal Tower as the backdrop in this scene. Outside of the movie, the tower is known for its classical style and for being lit up with colorful lights in the evenings. Keen eyes might also recognize this location as Higbee’s department store from A Christmas Story.
3 The Deer Hunter — Wedding Reception Scene
The 1978 film The Deer Hunter was critically acclaimed and earned nominations for nine Academy Awards, taking home five, including Best Picture. The Vietnam era drama starred the likes of Robert De Niro, John Cazale, John Savage, Christopher Walken, and Meryl Streep as the war disrupts the lives of ordinary, small-town people.
Before heading off to war, several scenes were shot in the Cleveland area. Local filming was done in the Tremont area, most notably Lemko Hall on West 11th Street for the wedding reception scene.
2 Captain America: The Winter Soldier — Mall Scene
When Captain America and Black Widow are on the run in the sequel to The First Avenger, they are being followed by members of the World Security Council. The duo makes their way into a mall in an attempt to lose them, keeping their heads low and even sharing a kiss on an escalator to put off onlookers.
Those who have been inside Downtown Cleveland’s Tower City Center might recognize the mall’s fountain and walkways. If you were to step right outside of the complex, you would be back on Public Square where Captain America fought Loki several years prior in the first Avengers movie.
1 The Avengers — Final Battle
Compared to earlier scenes in the film, Cleveland’s landmarks are a little bit harder to spot in the final battle of the original Avengers movie. CGI effects and rubble conceal the streets of Cleveland to make it appear like New York City.
Many of the scenes were filmed around East 9th Street and Euclid Avenue. People who know the area might recognize Captain America saving civilians inside the Cleveland Trust Company Building, or the Hulk getting bruised and battered on the roof of the Ohio Savings Plaza.