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Best of Chicago 2009

Best Film Made in Chicago, Ever

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The Reader's Choice: North by Northwest

It's hardly celebrated as a "Chicago film"—most people remember it for the crop-duster sequence, shot in northern Indiana, and the climax on Mount Rushmore. But nothing else shot in Chicago really approaches the classic status of Alfred Hitchcock's 1959 thriller, which includes scenes at the Ambassador East and Midway Airport. It's the big CTA bus blocking the lane, but behind it sits an impressive line of steamed motorists: Arthur Penn's Mickey One (1964), Haskell Wexler's Medium Cool (1969), George Roy Hill's The Sting (1973), Paul Brickman's Risky Business (1983), John McNaughton's Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986), Brian De Palma's The Untouchables (1987), Harold Ramis's Groundhog Day (1993), Steve James's Hoop Dreams (1994), and Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight (2008). The last film, with its spectacular use of the city's steel and glass, may be the most dramatic rendering of Chicago architecture in movies—though as an authentic Chicago story nothing touches Hoop Dreams, which enlarged people's sense of who lives in Chicago and what their lives mean. —J.R. Jones

& Our readers' choice: The Dark Knight

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