St. Louis has a lot to offer to both national and international filmmakers. The city has both modern cityscapes, along with frontier town roots. It has coined the moniker of the “Gateway to the West” and is well known for its eclectic nature and blues music scene. So it will come as no surprise that there are so many wonderful movies set in St. Louis.
St. Louis is a city located in the state of Missouri, known for its rich history, culture, and vibrant arts scene. Founded in 1764, St. Louis was once a major hub for trade and transportation, and it played a significant role in the expansion of the United States westward.
Today, St. Louis is home to a variety of attractions and landmarks that draw visitors from all over the world.
The city has been featured in many films over the years. Some of the most notable movies set in St. Louis include “Meet Me in St. Louis,” “Gone with the Wind,” and “The Rose.” Many big-name movie stars and directors have ties to St. Louis, including actors John Goodman and Vincent Price, and directors Tim Burton and Bill Persky.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best films set in St. Louis. From classic Hollywood musicals to modern indie dramas, these movies showcase the city’s diverse neighborhoods, landmarks, and culture. Whether you’re a fan of the film or just looking for some inspiration for your next visit to St. Louis, this list is sure to have something for everyone.
Watching movies can be a great way to gain inspiration for future travels and learn about a destination before actually going there. By immersing yourself in films that are set in a specific location, such as St. Louis, you can gain a glimpse of the city through the eyes of the director.
These films often rely on the setting as much as the main characters, giving viewers an authentic and unique perspective of the location. This concept of cinematic travel can be applied to other destinations as well. For example, by watching movies that were shot in South Korea, the Philippines, Barcelona, Central America, or even the USA, you can gain insight into the culture, history, and landscapes of these places, and get ideas for your future travel plans.
Wondering where to watch? It depends on where you live in the world and which streaming services you have. We link to the streaming service we watch on in each case - be it Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple TV+, or elsewhere.
You can get one month free of Amazon Prime (or a 6-month trial for students) of Amazon Prime and also get immediate access to FREE Two Day shipping, Amazon Video, and Music. While you won't be charged for your free trial, you'll be upgraded to a paid membership plan automatically at the end of the trial period - though if you have already binged all these, you could just cancel before the trial ends.
Apple TV+ also has a one-week trial, and Hulu has a one-month trial (which can be bundled with Disney!). Another option might be using a VPN to access Netflix titles locked to other regions. Netflix is now available in more than 190 countries worldwide and each country has a different library and availability. US Netflix is (understandably) one of the best.
While we wish everything could just be in one place - for now, it seems these are the best streaming platforms to watch on.
- Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
- The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery (1959)
- National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)
- Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)
- Parenthood (1989)
- White Palace (1990)
- King of the Hill (1993)
- The Big Brass Ring (1999)
- The Game of Their Lives (2005)
- Meet Bill (2007)
- Up in the Air (2009)
- The Pruitt-Igoe Myth (2011)
Meet Me in St. Louis is a classic musical film directed by Vincente Minnelli and starring Judy Garland as Esther Smith. The film tells the story of the Smith family, who live in St. Louis, Missouri, at the turn of the 20th century. As the family prepares for the 1904 World’s Fair, they experience the joys and challenges of life in a close-knit community.
The best part of Meet Me in St. Louis is its portrayal of the city of St. Louis itself. The film showcases the city’s iconic landmarks, including the Gateway Arch and the 1904 World’s Fair, which was held in Forest Park. The film also captures the sense of community and pride that characterizes St. Louis, as the Smith family and their neighbors come together to celebrate Christmas and other special occasions.
In addition to its charming depiction of St. Louis, this film is also notable for its memorable musical numbers, including “The Trolley Song” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” Garland’s performance as Esther is particularly noteworthy, and the film is widely considered one of her best.
Meet Me in St. Louis is a heartwarming and nostalgic film that offers a glimpse into the past and celebrates the joys of family and community. Anyone interested in this lovely city should see this film before any other.
The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery is a classic heist film that tells the story of a group of thieves attempting to rob a bank in St. Louis. The film is directed by Charles Guggenheim and stars Steve McQueen, David Clarke, and Crahan Denton.
The film does an excellent job of capturing the atmosphere and culture of the city, from the bustling streets to the iconic landmarks. The bank itself is a well-known St. Louis institution, and its central role in the film adds an extra layer of authenticity to the story.
The plot of The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery is fast-paced and full of twists and turns. As the thieves plan and execute their heist, they must also deal with the consequences of their actions and the pressure from the police. Steve McQueen gives a standout performance as the leader of the group, bringing a sense of charisma and charm to the role.
The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery is a thrilling and entertaining film that will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. If you love heist films, you should totally give this one a try. It may be a little old, but it totally holds up.
National Lampoon’s Vacation is a classic comedy film that follows the Griswold family on their road trip from Illinois to California. The film stars Chevy Chase as Clark Griswold, the protagonist of the film and the father of the Griswold family.
Clark is a loving but slightly clueless husband and father who is determined to have the perfect family vacation. He is the driving force behind the family’s road trip to California and is constantly coming up with new ideas and activities for them to do along the way. Despite his best intentions, Clark’s plans often go awry, leading to a series of hilarious mishaps and misadventures.
The Griswolds make a stop in St. Louis on their way to California and visit several iconic locations, including the Gateway Arch and the City Museum. These scenes offer a unique and amusing look at the city and add to the film’s charm.
National Lampoon’s Vacation is a must-see for fans of comedy and road trip movies. The film’s clever writing, memorable characters, and hilarious situations make it a timeless classic that continues to entertain audiences to this day. If you’re looking for a light-hearted and enjoyable film to watch, National Lampoon’s Vacation is a great choice.
Planes, Trains and Automobiles is a classic comedy film that follows the misadventures of two men, played by Steve Martin and John Candy, as they try to make their way home for Thanksgiving. The film is a heartwarming and hilarious tale of friendship and determination in the face of unexpected obstacles.
One of the standout features of the film is its portrayal of the city of St. Louis. The film does an excellent job of capturing the vibrant energy and diverse culture of the city, as the two main characters journey through its streets and landmarks. From the iconic Gateway Arch to the lively Union Station, St. Louis serves as the perfect backdrop for the film’s zany antics.
In addition to its portrayal of St. Louis, Planes, Trains and Automobiles are filled with memorable performances from Steve Martin and John Candy. Martin’s uptight and frustrated character is the perfect foil for Candy’s lovable and boisterous one, and their dynamic is a joy to watch. The film also features a host of supporting characters, each of whom adds their own unique flair to the story.
Planes, Trains and Automobiles is a must-see film for anyone who enjoys a good laugh and a heartwarming tale of friendship. Its portrayal of St. Louis is just an added bonus, making it a great choice for those interested in exploring the city through film. So, if you’re in the mood for a lighthearted and enjoyable comedy, give Planes, Trains and Automobiles a watch – you won’t be disappointed.
Parenthood is a comedy-drama film directed by Ron Howard and starring Steve Martin, Mary Steenburgen, Dianne Wiest, and Jason Robards. The film follows the lives of the Buckman family, who are struggling to balance their careers and personal lives while raising children.
At the center of the film is Gil Buckman (Martin), a sales executive who is struggling to connect with his young children. His wife, Karen (Steenburgen), is a stay-at-home mom who is feeling overwhelmed by the demands of raising a family. Gil’s siblings, Helen (Wiest) and Larry (Robards), also have their own struggles as parents, as Helen tries to juggle her career and family life, and Larry grapples with his rebellious teenage daughter.
Throughout the film, the Buckman family navigates the challenges and joys of parenthood, learning to support and rely on each other as they navigate the ups and downs of family life. The film portrays the city of St. Louis as a bustling metropolis with a variety of cultural and historical landmarks. One notable location featured in the film is the Gateway Arch, which serves as a backdrop for several scenes and serves as a symbol of the city’s history and growth.
Parenthood is a heartwarming and relatable film that captures the joys and challenges of raising a family. The strong ensemble cast, led by Steve Martin and Mary Steenburgen, delivers compelling performances that make the film a must-see for anyone who has experienced the highs and lows of parenthood. So, if you’re in the mood for a feel-good family film that will have you laughing and crying, give Parenthood a watch.
White Palace is a romantic drama directed by Luis Mandoki and starring Susan Sarandon and James Spader. The film follows the unlikely love affair between Max Baron, a successful young advertising executive played by Spader, and Nora Baker, a working-class waitress played by Sarandon.
The film begins with the death of Max’s wife, which leaves him grief-stricken and searching for a way to move on. He finds solace in Nora, who is initially resistant to his advances due to their significant age and social class differences. Despite the odds, the two eventually fall in love and embark on a tumultuous relationship filled with misunderstandings, jealousy, and heartbreak.
One of the standout aspects of White Palace is the way it portrays the city of St. Louis. The film captures the city’s diverse neighborhoods and iconic landmarks, including the Gateway Arch, which serves as a backdrop for several key scenes.
Mandoki, the film’s director, does a great job of bringing the city to life and using it as a backdrop for the romance between Max and Nora. The film’s strong performances from Sarandon and Spader also help to elevate the material, with the two actors delivering emotional and nuanced performances that are sure to leave a lasting impression on viewers.
White Palace is a poignant and moving love story that will resonate with audiences of all ages. It’s a must-see for fans of Sarandon and Spader, as well as for anyone who loves a good romance flick.
King of the Hill is a poignant and powerful coming-of-age film directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Jesse Bradford as Aaron Kurlander, a young boy struggling to survive on his own during the Great Depression. Set in St. Louis, Missouri, the film follows Aaron as he navigates the harsh realities of life in a struggling city and tries to hold onto hope and determination in the face of overwhelming adversity.
One of the standout features of King of the Hill is its beautiful and evocative portrayal of St. Louis, with its iconic Gateway Arch prominently featured in the film. Soderbergh masterfully captures the spirit and energy of the city, highlighting both its beauty and its struggles as Aaron navigates the challenges of living on the streets.
In addition to its stunning visuals and poignant narrative, King of the Hill boasts a talented cast led by Bradford, who delivers a powerful and nuanced performance as Aaron. The film also features strong supporting turns from Jeroen Krabbé, Spalding Gray, and Elizabeth McGovern, all of whom bring depth and complexity to their respective roles. The film is a poignant and moving tale of resilience and determination, anchored by strong performances and breathtaking cinematography.
The Big Brass Ring is a political drama film directed by George Hickenlooper and starring William Hurt and Nigel Hawthorne. The film follows the story of a former presidential candidate, Blake Pellarin (Hurt), who is invited to participate in a prestigious political forum in St. Louis, Missouri. As Pellarin navigates the political landscape and reconnects with his past, he is faced with difficult choices that could potentially ruin his career.
The city of St. Louis plays a significant role in the film, with several iconic landmarks making appearances. The Gateway Arch, a famous stainless-steel arch that serves as the city’s symbol, can be seen in several scenes. The film also showcases the historic Old Courthouse, a National Historic Landmark that was used as a courthouse during the Dred Scott case.
The film’s director, George Hickenlooper, is well-known for his work in the film and television industry. He has directed several critically acclaimed films, including Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse and Mayor of the Sunset Strip.
William Hurt delivers a captivating performance as Blake Pellarin, bringing depth and complexity to the character. His portrayal of Pellarin’s internal struggles and ambition is both compelling and nuanced. Nigel Hawthorne also gives a strong performance as Pellarin’s mentor, adding an element of mystery and intrigue to the film.
The Big Brass Ring is a thought-provoking and engaging political drama that delves into the cutthroat world of politics. Its portrayal of the city of St. Louis and its iconic landmarks adds interesting layers to the film, making it a great watch for anyone interested in American politics.
The Game of Their Lives is a sports drama film directed by David Anspaugh, known for his work on iconic sports films such as Rudy and Hoosiers. The film tells the true story of the 1950 U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team and their historic upset victory against England in the World Cup. The team, consisting of a group of amateur and semi-professional players, faced formidable odds as they took on the reigning champions on their home turf.
The film stars Gerard Butler as the team captain and star player, Bill Jeffrey, and Wes Bentley as the team coach, Bill Stewart. The cast also includes former professional soccer players such as Jimmy Conrad and Clint Mathis, adding authenticity to the on-field action.
The Game of Their Lives portrays the city of St. Louis, Missouri, as a hub of soccer passion and talent. The film features shots of the city’s iconic Gateway Arch, as well as footage of the team practicing at the old Busch Stadium, home of the St. Louis Cardinals. It’s a stirring and inspiring portrayal of the human spirit and the power of teamwork: a must-see for soccer fans and sports movie enthusiasts alike.
Meet Bill is a comedy film directed by Bernie Goldmann and Melisa Wallack and starring Aaron Eckhart, Elizabeth Banks, and Jessica Alba. The plot follows the story of a man named Bill, who is struggling to find purpose in his mundane life as a bank teller in St. Louis. Desperate for a change, he teams up with a charismatic young man named Mike and his attractive girlfriend, Lucy, who offers to help him become a better version of himself.
As Bill embarks on his journey of self-discovery, he finds himself caught up in a series of hilarious and chaotic situations, including a run-in with a group of eccentric business mentors and a confrontation with his high-maintenance wife. Along the way, he learns valuable lessons about love, friendship, and following his dreams.
One of the standout performances in Meet Bill is Aaron Eckhart, who brings a great deal of charm and likability to the role of Bill. Elizabeth Banks and Jessica Alba also give strong performances as the love interests in the film, adding a touch of glamour and romance to the story.
In terms of its portrayal of the city of St. Louis, Meet Bill does a great job of capturing the unique character and culture of the area. The film prominently features several iconic landmarks and neighborhoods, including the Gateway Arch, the historic Union Station, and the charming neighborhoods of Soulard and Lafayette Square.
Meet Bill is a fun and enjoyable comedy that is sure to leave audiences laughing and feeling uplifted. If you’re in the mood for a heartwarming tale of personal growth and redemption, this film is definitely worth checking out.
Up in the Air is a comedy-drama film directed by Jason Reitman and starring George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, and Anna Kendrick. The film follows Ryan Bingham (Clooney), a corporate downsizer who travels all over the country firing people on behalf of their companies. As he approaches the one-million-mile mark and meets a potential love interest (Farmiga), he begins to question his nomadic lifestyle.
One of the standout aspects of Up in the Air is the city of St. Louis, which is prominently featured in the film. The Gateway Arch, a famous 630-foot-tall arch located in downtown St. Louis, is shown several times throughout the film, serving as a symbol of the city and a backdrop for some of the film’s key scenes. Additionally, the film does a great job of capturing the unique atmosphere of St. Louis, making it feel like a fully realized and important part of the story.
George Clooney gives a fantastic performance in Up in the Air, perfectly capturing the charm and charisma of Ryan Bingham. His chemistry with Farmiga is electric, and their scenes together are some of the highlights of the film. Anna Kendrick also shines in her role as Natalie Keener, a young woman who is brought on to Bingham’s company to modernize the downsizing process and bring it entirely online.
Up in the Air is a smart, poignant, and emotionally satisfying film that tackles important themes such as career, relationships, and the search for meaning in life. It’s a required watch for fans of Clooney and Reitman, as well as for anyone looking for a thought-provoking and well-acted drama.
The Pruitt-Igoe Myth is a documentary film directed by Chad Friedrichs. The film explores the history and legacy of the Pruitt-Igoe housing project in St. Louis, Missouri, which was designed to be a model of urban renewal but ultimately became a symbol of failure and decay.
The film delves into the social, economic, and political factors that contributed to the rise and fall of Pruitt-Igoe, and examines how the complex came to represent larger issues of race, poverty, and urban planning. Through interviews with former residents, architects, urban planners, and historians, The Pruitt-Igoe Myth offers a nuanced and thought-provoking look at the complexities of urban renewal and the challenges of creating successful public housing.
One of the highlights of The Pruitt-Igoe Myth is its portrayal of the city of St. Louis itself. The film features beautiful, atmospheric shots of the city’s skyline and iconic landmarks, including the Gateway Arch and the Old Courthouse. The film also paints a vivid picture of the vibrant, diverse neighborhoods that surrounded Pruitt-Igoe, and the sense of community and resilience that existed within them.
The Pruitt-Igoe Myth is a compelling and thought-provoking documentary that offers a nuanced and multifaceted look at one of the most iconic and controversial housing projects in American history. Whether you’re a fan of documentary films or simply interested in urban planning and social issues, The Pruitt-Igoe Myth is definitely worth checking out.
Staying Connected While Travelling
In today's increasingly connected world, staying online while traveling has become essential for a seamless experience. That's where eSIMs come into play, revolutionizing the way we access mobile networks during our global adventures. Say goodbye to hunting down local SIM cards at the airport; eSIMs provide instant activation the moment you land, sparing you the fortune usually spent on international roaming and allowing you to genuinely travel like a local (without getting hopelessly lost!).
With eSIMs, tasks like restaurant recommendations and reservations, up-to-the-minute public transport instructions, checking opening hours, and accessing further information become a breeze. And, of course, sharing your journey on social media is easier than ever. To stay connected wherever you roam, consider using either Airalo or Holafly. Airalo boasts the most extensive range of destinations worldwide, offering smaller data bundles tailored to your needs, while Holafly provides unlimited data packages and fantastic EU data deals.
So why wait? Embrace the future of travel connectivity with eSIMs and make your next journey effortlessly smooth.
Further Things To Consider Before Any Adventure
Now you're all set and prepared to explore our big wide world, why not sort out everything else out all in one go? If necessary for your travel plans make sure you have brought proper travel insurance, protected your privacy by getting a secure VPN, compared all the top hotel booking sites to find just what you're after, reserved an unbeatable rental car price and - of course - booked the best flight deals!
Many budget travelers (including me) indulge in worldwide airport lounge access, so we can experience luxury while still slumming it in economy. Naturally, we would never leave home without a more general travel guide since we couldn’t possibly cover everything here!
Just add an adventurous attitude and plenty of smiles - they go a long way - and that about covers it all! Now go out, find your own path and don't forget to share your best inspiration stories with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram...I'd love to hear from you!