Filmed in Ohio: 5 memorable movie sites you can visit IRL today
You can find a little touch of Hollywood in Ohio.
In recent years, movie productions have been coming to the Buckeye State for a combination of factors – the architecture, the locations, but mostly the Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit created in 2009 to encourage the film industry to film here.
There have been film crews coming to Ohio since the opening shots of John Huston’s classic film noir “The Asphalt Jungle” were filmed at Cincinnati’s Public Landing in late 1949. Alas, that version of the landing is now underneath Great American Ball Park.
But there are other highly recognizable filming locations throughout the state that you can still see for yourself. Some are even tourist attractions.
Here are some famous movie sites in Ohio that you can visit to relive your favorite scenes in real life.
Have you ever wanted to experience an old-timey Christmas like in “A Christmas Story”? Well, you can.
The house where the 1983 holiday classic was filmed is now a museum, replicating the 1940s era just as it appeared in the movie, down to the Red Ryder BB gun and “major award” leg lamp. It’s like stepping into the film.
In making the movie based on humorist Jean Shepherd’s childhood, director Bob Clark used Cleveland as a surrogate for 1940s Indiana – particularly 11th Street in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood.
“A Christmas Story” superfan Brian Jones bought the house on eBay, restored it to screen-accurate detail, then opened it to the public in 2006. Admission is $18 for adults, $16 for seniors and $13 for children.
You can even book an overnight stay, spending the night in Ralphie and Randy’s room in the exclusive third-floor guest suite. The stay accommodates up to six guests. Prices start at $595 per night, depending on the season.
Also, if you’re looking for the old Higbee’s, where Ralphie first spots the BB gun in the window display, the department store at Cleveland’s Public Square closed in 2002, but is now Jack Cleveland Casino.
Russian wedding scene in ‘The Deer Hunter’ – Cleveland
Just blocks away from the “Christmas Story” house are two distinctive buildings used for the wedding scenes in the 1978 Oscar-winning film “The Deer Hunter,” starring Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken and Meryl Streep.
The Russian wedding ceremony at the beginning of the movie was filmed inside the St. Theodosius Russian Orthodox Cathedral, with its memorable Russian architecture and copper onion domes (appearing verdigris green). The cathedral was built in 1912 to serve Russian immigrants in the Tremont area of Cleveland. The church still holds regular services.
After you check out the gorgeous Russian cathedral, head over to Lemko Hall, a red-brick building with a bullet-shaped turret, where the wedding reception in the film took place. Built in 1911 as Koreny Hall, the building served the city’s Lemko community, a Slavic ethnic group from Central Europe that had immigrated to Cleveland in the late 19th century. The hall has been converted into condos, so you can’t go inside, but you can still admire Lemko Hall from outside.
The prison from ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ – Mansfield
Ohio State Reformatory, 100 Reformatory Road, Mansfield; www.mrps.org.
Frank Darabont’s 1994 film “The Shawshank Redemption” is regarded as one of the most beloved films of all time – quite a feat for a prison picture. Audiences find the story of wrongfully convicted Andy Dufresne (played by Tim Robbins) keeping hope alive in a harsh prison to be inspiring.
It was filmed almost entirely on location at the former Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield. The Gothic-style prison opened in 1896 as an intermediate penitentiary for minor crimes, but in the 1960s, it was converted into a maximum-security prison. It closed in 1990 due to inhumane conditions. The Mansfield Reformatory Preservation Society preserved the site as a museum.
Most visitors, though, are there for “Shawshank.” It is open for tours where you can stroll the halls that Andy and Red walked, sit in their cells and match the spots where the memorable scenes were filmed.
Cost is $25 per person for self-guided tours, $35 per person for guided tours.
Sites from ‘Rain Man’ – Cincinnati
Dixie Terminal, 49 E. Fourth St., Cincinnati.
Pompilio’s Restaurant, 600 Washington Ave., Newport, Kentucky; pompilios.com.
Several Cincinnati landmarks can be spotted in the 1988 Best Picture winner “Rain Man,” directed by Barry Levinson. Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman drive over the iconic John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge, completed in 1866, as they cross the Ohio River into Cincinnati. They stay at the Vernon Manor (400 Oak St.), the hotel where the Beatles spent the night in 1966 (it’s now office space for Cincinnati Children’s hospital).
The Dixie Terminal arcade – with its marble floors and decorative barrel-vaulted ceiling – served as the fictional Cincinnati Trust bank in the film. The building is no longer used as a bus terminal, so it doesn’t get much foot traffic these days, but this hidden gem is worth seeing in person.
Just across the river in Newport, Kentucky, is Pompilio’s Italian restaurant, where Raymond (Hoffman in an Oscar-winning performance) counted all the toothpicks that fell on the floor. The restaurant embraces its “Rain Man” connection, with photos of the cast and crew on location framed on the walls.
1950s New York City from ‘Carol’ – Cincinnati
The Lofts at Shillito Place, Seventh and Race streets, Cincinnati.
Cincinnati has often stood in as New York from long ago. Downtown and the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood still have the 1950s-era architecture that is long gone from Manhattan.
The acclaimed 2015 film “Carol,” starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, was largely filmed at various Queen City locations, including Eden Park and the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza.
But the locations of two of the most memorable scenes are very much associated with the love story.
The fictional Frankenberg’s department store where Carol and Therese meet is actually two different former department stores. The art deco entrance to the old Shillito’s was used for exterior shots (it’s now loft apartments). The scene in the toy department was filmed inside what used to be the Oskamp Nolting department store at 26 W. Seventh St. (now a self-storage business).
The couple’s first lunch date was filmed in a booth at Maury’s Tiny Cove, a steakhouse in Cheviot that still retains that Rat Pack vibe.
Bonus: “Rain Man” director Barry Levinson returned to Cincinnati in 2023 to film “Alto Knights” (under the working title, “The Wise Guys”), a period gangster drama starring Robert De Niro. Cincinnati once again served as 1950s New York, with filming centered around the historic Arnold’s Bar and Grill at 210 E. Eighth St. The film is due out in November 2024.