Iconic Movies Filmed in Michigan

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Vintage movie theater in Benton Harbor, Michigan
BetMGM Aug 30, 2023, 1:49 PM

Whether your idea of the perfect Saturday nights is a comfortable night in playing online slots, or a fun night out at one of the trendiest rooftop bars in Michigan, once in a while, everyone enjoys a good film. If you’re from the Mitten State, you might be surprised to learn that over 50 movies have been filmed in Michigan. From all-time classics to modern blockbusters, Michigan has been the backdrop for a number of cinematic masterpieces. Today, we’re reviewing 10 fan favorites.

The Karate Kid

Released in: 2010

Rating: 6.2/10 on IMBd

“The Karate Kid” is a beloved film that has captured the hearts of audiences for decades. In 2010, the film was remade with Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan in the lead roles. The story follows a young boy named Dre Parker who moves from Detroit to China with his mother and finds himself facing bullying and isolation. With the help of his martial arts mentor, Mr. Han, Dre learns the art of kung fu and gains the confidence to stand up for himself. This heartwarming film showcases the power of determination and friendship, with some great martial arts scenes to round it off.

Die Hard 2

Released in: 1990

Rating: 7.1/10 on IMBd

“Die Hard 2” is an action-packed thriller that follows John McClane, played by Bruce Willis, as he finds himself in yet another dangerous situation. This time, he’s at the Washington Dulles International Airport, awaiting the arrival of his wife, when a group of terrorists take over the airport control tower and hold the planes and passengers hostage. McClane, known for his quick thinking and unyielding determination, once again becomes the hero as he battles against the odds to save the day. Primarily shot in Detroit, the city’s iconic architecture and bustling streets provide the perfect backdrop for this adrenaline-fueled sequel.

8 Mile

Released in: 2002

Rating: 7.2/10 on IMBd

“8 Mile,” the critically acclaimed drama starring Eminem, is one of the most famous movies set and filmed in Detroit. This gritty film takes viewers on a journey through the struggles of a young rapper trying to make a name for himself in the city’s vibrant music scene. The film showcases various iconic locations in Detroit, including the infamous 8 Mile Road, where the movie gets its name from. 

As we follow Eminem’s character, Jimmy Smith Jr., on his quest for success, we get a glimpse into the unique energy and cultural richness that Michigan has to offer. From the dilapidated buildings to the vibrant street art, “8 Mile” captures the essence of Detroit and its indomitable spirit. With its engaging storyline and captivating performances, “8 Mile” has become an iconic representation of Detroit and its place in hip hop history.


Released in: 2007

Rating: 7/10 on IMBd

Another movie set in Detroit, but with an entirely different storyline and depiction of the city, is “Transformers.” Paying homage to Detroit’s contribution to technological advances in the automotive industry, “Transformers” is a blockbuster sci-fi film series that captures thrilling action sequences against the backdrop of the state’s unique charm. From the bustling streets of downtown Detroit to the scenic beauty of the Michigan countryside, the “Transformers” franchise took full advantage of the diverse locations Michigan has to offer, with Autobots and Decepticons to add to the action.

Need for Speed

Released in: 2014

Rating: 6.4/10 on IMBd

This adrenaline-pumping action film based on the popular video game series made its way to Michigan to capture many of its heart-pounding racing scenes. Directed by Scott Waugh, “Need for Speed” follows the story of Tobey Marshall, played by Aaron Paul, a street racer who seeks revenge for the death of his friend. Tobey and his crew embark on a cross-country race, pushing the limits of speed and skill while evading the law at every turn. Detroit, nicknamed ‘Motor City’ because of its high number of auto manufacturers, was a fitting location, adding an extra level of excitement to the high-speed chases and thrilling stunts.

Dream Girls

Released in: 2006

Rating: 6.6/10 on IMBd

“Dream Girls” is a critically acclaimed musical drama that tells the story of a female musical group and their rise to fame in the 1960s. Set in Detroit, the film explores the challenges and triumphs of the fictional group, The Dreams, as they navigate the music industry and their personal relationships. It showcases the city’s vibrant music scene and cultural history, highlighting the Motown sound that originated in Detroit. With its powerful performances and catchy music, “Dream Girls” is a celebration of Michigan’s rich musical legacy.

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice

Released in: 2016

Rating: 6.4/10 on IMBd

“Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice” is a superhero film that brings together two iconic characters from the DC Comics universe. Filming took place in various locations throughout Michigan, from the towering buildings of downtown Detroit to the captivating landscapes of the Upper Peninsula. The city’s unique architecture and gritty atmosphere provided the perfect backdrop for the epic battle between Batman and Superman.

The Evil Dead

Released in: 1981

Rating: 7.4/10 on IMBd

“The Evil Dead,” a cult classic directed by Sam Raimi, made its mark in horror-movie history with its chilling storyline and haunting backdrop. Filmed in Michigan, the scene is set in dense and secluded forests, creating an eerie atmosphere where supernatural horrors unfold. The film follows a group of friends who vacation in a remote cabin and unwittingly unleash evil spirits. With its innovative camerawork and practical effects, it has become a favorite among horror enthusiasts. We recommend unwinding with some online casino games after this one.

Gran Torino

Released in: 2008

Rating: 8.1/10 on IMBd

“Gran Torino” is a powerful and thought-provoking film that explores themes of redemption, racism and generational divide. Directed by Clint Eastwood, who also stars in the film, “Gran Torino” tells the story of a retired Korean War veteran, Walt Kowalski, who reluctantly becomes involved in the lives of his Hmong neighbors. Through his interactions with them, Walt learns valuable lessons about compassion, friendship and the true meaning of family. Set in the streets of Detroit, “Gran Torino” captures the city’s vibrant energy and diverse communities

The Island

Released in: 2005

Rating: 6.8/10 on IMBd

“The Island” is a gripping science fiction film that takes place in a dystopian future. Directed by Michael Bay, the story follows Lincoln Six Echo, played by Ewan McGregor, and Jordan Two Delta, played by Scarlett Johansson, who live in a highly controlled facility believing that they are survivors of a contaminated world. As they start to question their reality, they discover a dark secret and must escape to find the truth. The movie features intense action sequences and thought-provoking themes against the beautiful backdrop of various Michigan locations.

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.