clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
The set of Transformers: Age of Extinction in downtown Detroit.
Getty Images

18 famous films shot in Detroit, mapped

View as Map
The set of Transformers: Age of Extinction in downtown Detroit.
| Getty Images

While Detroit is not the most filmed location in the world, it does make an appearance in a myriad of movies. Largely thanks to a film incentive program that provided tax credits to movies shot here, there was a brief window when several blockbusters did much of their principal photography here.

Below are some of the biggest films shot in Detroit. A couple of things to note: This map is not comprehensive—a more complete list can be found here. We also left out television completely, so no Freaks and Geeks or Detroiters.

Which films or sets did we miss? Let us know in the comments section.

Note: Locations are ordered from west to east.

Read More
If you buy something or book a reservation from an Eater link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.

It Follows

Copy Link

There’s lots of Detroit locations featured in the 2014 horror movie It Follows, directed by Clawson native David Robert Mitchell. The historic Redford Theatre in Old Redford is the site of a date early in the film. Other locations include the Motown Museum, Packard Plant, and Pegasus Tavern.

Blue Collar

Copy Link

This crime drama with comedic elements featuring Richard Pryor and Harvey Keitel is set in and around Detroit. It was also largely filmed here, including the factory where the disgruntled autoworkers were employed, the Ford River Rouge Complex.

Wikimedia Commons

Out of Sight

Copy Link

Based on a book by Detroit novelist Elmore Leonard, this 1998 crime comedy from director Steven Soderbergh mostly takes place and was shot in Detroit. Among the many locations, it featured the legendary Kronk Gym, as well as the Fillmore Theatre (at the time, the State Theatre), the Renaissance Center, and others.

Rosary Murders

Copy Link

Much of this mystery film starring Donald Sutherland was shot at the gorgeous Most Holy Redeemer Church in Southwest Detroit, designed by local firm Donaldson and Meier in 1921.

Batman v Superman

Copy Link

This unassuming, classic deli in Southwest Detroit was one of many Detroit locations featured in $250-million blockbuster Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Others include Michigan Central Station, the Masonic Temple, and the Russell Industrial Center.

Gran Torino

Copy Link

This celebrated film about Walt Kowalski, a bitter Korean War veteran hanging on in Highland Park, was set and filmed in the Detroit area. This is the site of the Kowalski’s home. St. Ambrose Catholic Church in Grosse Pointe was also featured.

The Island

Copy Link

Michael Bay sure does love Detroit’s “ruins.” This sci-fi movie released in 2005 features several famous Detroit locations, including Michigan Central Station.

Though it was about New York Yankee Roger Maris’s attempt to set baseball’s single-season home run record, the film was largely shot at recently vacant Tiger Stadium (the Detroit Tigers played their last game at the ballpark in 1999).

Wikimedia Commons

Beverly Hills Cop

Copy Link

The classic film about a Detroit cop who goes to Beverly Hills, California to solve a crime. Very little of the film is actually shot in Detroit, except for the movie’s opening chase scene which takes place near the Viking Motel on Grand River Avenue.

Lost River

Copy Link

The directorial debut for Ryan Gosling, this surreal movie was almost exclusively shot in Detroit. A number of locations, including the Masonic Temple, were featured in the film.

Only Lovers Left Alive

Copy Link

This comedy-drama about vampires from celebrated indie director Jim Jarmusch largely takes place and was filmed in Detroit. The house for one of the main characters is this Queen Anne in Brush Park built in 1879.

Ides of March

Copy Link

While it didn’t take place in Detroit, this political drama directed by George Clooney was filmed mostly in Metro Detroit and Ann Arbor. It featured a number of locations, including the downtown music venue and bar Cliff Bell’s.

The exterior of Cliff Bell’s in Detroit. Photo by Michelle & Chris Gerard

Detroit Rock City

Copy Link

Though mostly filmed in Toronto, the Fox Theatre makes an appearance in this movie about teenagers trying to catch a Kiss concert in Detroit.

Whip It

Copy Link

Lots of locations in this 2009 film about a roller derby team were shot in Metro Detroit, including Lafayette Coney Island.

Real Steel

Copy Link

This high-grossing sci-fi sports film starring Hugh Jackman had a number of shooting locations in Detroit, including the former Detroit Fire Department Headquarters (now, the Detroit Foundation Hotel). Other sites include the Renaissance Center, TCF Center, and Russell Industrial Center.

Wikimedia Commons

True Romance

Copy Link

Much of the Quentin Tarantino-written dark comedy was set in Detroit. And some if it, like the Old Wayne County Building, was filmed here as well.

The exterior of the Old Wayne County Building in Detroit. There is a tower in the middle and the entrance has columns over it. Photo by Michelle Gerard

Transformers

Copy Link

Made at the height of Michigan’s film incentive program, all five of the Transformers films from 2007 through 2017 were partly or mostly shot in Detroit at a myriad of locations, including the Packard Automotive Plant. Other locations include Cadillac Place, the Fisher Theater, Old Wayne County Building, and Michigan Central Station.

The iconic movie about an up-and-coming rapper set in Detroit was also filmed entirely in Detroit. In one scene, Rabbit and his crew shoot a cow with a paint ball gun that sits atop the former Ira Wilson & Sons Dairy building on the east side.

Other filming locations include Downtown Louie’s Lounge, Chin Tiki, Penobscot Building, and many more. See our guide for the complete list.

Loading comments...

It Follows

There’s lots of Detroit locations featured in the 2014 horror movie It Follows, directed by Clawson native David Robert Mitchell. The historic Redford Theatre in Old Redford is the site of a date early in the film. Other locations include the Motown Museum, Packard Plant, and Pegasus Tavern.

Blue Collar

Wikimedia Commons

This crime drama with comedic elements featuring Richard Pryor and Harvey Keitel is set in and around Detroit. It was also largely filmed here, including the factory where the disgruntled autoworkers were employed, the Ford River Rouge Complex.

Wikimedia Commons

Out of Sight

Based on a book by Detroit novelist Elmore Leonard, this 1998 crime comedy from director Steven Soderbergh mostly takes place and was shot in Detroit. Among the many locations, it featured the legendary Kronk Gym, as well as the Fillmore Theatre (at the time, the State Theatre), the Renaissance Center, and others.

Rosary Murders

Much of this mystery film starring Donald Sutherland was shot at the gorgeous Most Holy Redeemer Church in Southwest Detroit, designed by local firm Donaldson and Meier in 1921.

Batman v Superman

This unassuming, classic deli in Southwest Detroit was one of many Detroit locations featured in $250-million blockbuster Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Others include Michigan Central Station, the Masonic Temple, and the Russell Industrial Center.

Gran Torino

This celebrated film about Walt Kowalski, a bitter Korean War veteran hanging on in Highland Park, was set and filmed in the Detroit area. This is the site of the Kowalski’s home. St. Ambrose Catholic Church in Grosse Pointe was also featured.

The Island

Michael Bay sure does love Detroit’s “ruins.” This sci-fi movie released in 2005 features several famous Detroit locations, including Michigan Central Station.

61*

Wikimedia Commons

Though it was about New York Yankee Roger Maris’s attempt to set baseball’s single-season home run record, the film was largely shot at recently vacant Tiger Stadium (the Detroit Tigers played their last game at the ballpark in 1999).

Wikimedia Commons

Beverly Hills Cop

The classic film about a Detroit cop who goes to Beverly Hills, California to solve a crime. Very little of the film is actually shot in Detroit, except for the movie’s opening chase scene which takes place near the Viking Motel on Grand River Avenue.

Lost River

The directorial debut for Ryan Gosling, this surreal movie was almost exclusively shot in Detroit. A number of locations, including the Masonic Temple, were featured in the film.

Only Lovers Left Alive

This comedy-drama about vampires from celebrated indie director Jim Jarmusch largely takes place and was filmed in Detroit. The house for one of the main characters is this Queen Anne in Brush Park built in 1879.

Ides of March

The exterior of Cliff Bell’s in Detroit. Photo by Michelle & Chris Gerard

While it didn’t take place in Detroit, this political drama directed by George Clooney was filmed mostly in Metro Detroit and Ann Arbor. It featured a number of locations, including the downtown music venue and bar Cliff Bell’s.

The exterior of Cliff Bell’s in Detroit. Photo by Michelle & Chris Gerard

Detroit Rock City

Though mostly filmed in Toronto, the Fox Theatre makes an appearance in this movie about teenagers trying to catch a Kiss concert in Detroit.

Whip It

Lots of locations in this 2009 film about a roller derby team were shot in Metro Detroit, including Lafayette Coney Island.

Real Steel

Wikimedia Commons

This high-grossing sci-fi sports film starring Hugh Jackman had a number of shooting locations in Detroit, including the former Detroit Fire Department Headquarters (now, the Detroit Foundation Hotel). Other sites include the Renaissance Center, TCF Center, and Russell Industrial Center.

Wikimedia Commons

True Romance

The exterior of the Old Wayne County Building in Detroit. There is a tower in the middle and the entrance has columns over it. Photo by Michelle Gerard

Much of the Quentin Tarantino-written dark comedy was set in Detroit. And some if it, like the Old Wayne County Building, was filmed here as well.

The exterior of the Old Wayne County Building in Detroit. There is a tower in the middle and the entrance has columns over it. Photo by Michelle Gerard

Transformers

Made at the height of Michigan’s film incentive program, all five of the Transformers films from 2007 through 2017 were partly or mostly shot in Detroit at a myriad of locations, including the Packard Automotive Plant. Other locations include Cadillac Place, the Fisher Theater, Old Wayne County Building, and Michigan Central Station.

8 Mile

The iconic movie about an up-and-coming rapper set in Detroit was also filmed entirely in Detroit. In one scene, Rabbit and his crew shoot a cow with a paint ball gun that sits atop the former Ira Wilson & Sons Dairy building on the east side.

Other filming locations include Downtown Louie’s Lounge, Chin Tiki, Penobscot Building, and many more. See our guide for the complete list.