With its blend of urban sophistication, Americana charm, historic architecture, and proximity to midwestern open spaces, Kansas City is a natural on film. Movies filmed in Kansas City earn from a variety of settings and backdrops. Because of this, these often offer a rich range of choices for video productions in Kansas City.
From big television shows, too highly acclaimed films, Kansas City has given a lot to the entertainment industry. Below are some examples of some of the most popular films and tv shows to be filmed in Kansas City.
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In Cold Blood
Although it’s more than 1500 miles (2400 km) from Los Angeles, the distance hasn’t stopped Hollywood from filming on location in Kansas City. One notable moment in KC film history arose out of a local true crime story.
The story of the Clutter family murders was made famous in Truman Capote’s 1966 book In Cold Blood. Furthermore, it didn’t take long for a movie version to follow, filmed on location in Kansas City and surrounding areas in 1967.
The gruesome true crime story has been retold in a 1996 two-part TV miniseries of the same name. In addition to this, the story is also featured in two tellings of author Capote’s work and career (Capote, 2005, and Infamous, 2006).
Both films highlight the author’s epic efforts in creating the book. Shortly after the notorious crimes occurred, before the killers were even captured, he traveled to Kansas City to investigate and write about the events. The work of writing and researching the book went on for six years as Capote followed the trials, interviewed the murderers, and worked on the book.
Kansas City Bomber
One of the next big movie productions to come to Kansas City featured Hollywood bombshell Raquel Welch in Kansas City Bomber (1972). The plot has been called “non-existent” by one harsh critic, with a story centered on Welch’s character, Diane “KC” Carr, who chases success in the roller derby circuit.
Despite the criticism, it should be admired that she trained five hours a day for three months on an oval track in LA before coming to Kansas City for filming. Secondly she did some of her own stunts and earned a broken wrist for her efforts.
Next, legendary filmmaker Robert Altman is just one of a number of Hollywood luminaries to hail from Kansas City. He got his start in film by writing and directing 65 corporate videos and documentaries for the Calvin Company, a local production company famous for training films and educational films.
Secondly, after directing some TV episodes in the mid-50s, Altman was hired by a local businessman to create a juvenile delinquency drama called The Delinquents. Because of this, its success allowed him to launch his Hollywood career.
Next, he made his name and reputation with films like M*A*S*H and McCabe & Mrs. Miller. In 1996, Altman returned to put his hometown in the spotlight in Kansas City, filmed on location in the city.
Lastly, it was partly Altman’s use of local landmark Union Station in filming Kansas City that led to the multimillion dollar renovation of the historic building in 1997. Since then, the classic brickwork has featured in numerous TV shows, movies, social video, and music videos.
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The Day After
Next is arguably the most famous movie filmed about Kansas City, The Day After first aired on November 20, 1983, on the ABC television network. Nearly 100 million people tuned in to watch the film which focuses on a nuclear conflict between the USSR and NATO.
It focuses on families in Lawerence Kansas and Kansas City Missouri during high-tension conflict between apposing war forces. Eventually, it leads to nuclear fallout and families reacting and adjusting to life after the bombs fell.
While filmed mostly in Lawerence, KS, The creators of the film took several trips to Kansas City to scout locations. In fact, to this day, it is still rated as the highest television film of all time.
Love Fraud is a new 4 part documentary series on Showtime based out of the Kansas City Metro. The show centers around a con man named Richard Scott Smith who has been scamming women for years.
The true story follows the women who were conned by Richard as they try and track him down for revenge. Despite their efforts, the police won’t help them in their search. Because of this, they team up with a bounty hunter to help track down a man that has multiple social security numbers.
The series unravels in real time and hooks you from beginning to end. Because of this, the documentary has received high reviews from critics.
In addition to Love Fraud is another tv series Queer Eye. Season 3 was the first time the series went to the midwest and appeared on Netflix. The 8 episode season is the most watched full length reality show to take place entirely within Kansas City. In fact, many lists have episode seven of season 3 “Sloth to Slay” as being the best episode of the series.
In fact, the Netflix season was such a hit, that most of season 4 also takes place in Kansas City.
Tamara Day is a Kansas City native and her show Bargain Mansions on HGTV is filmed almost entirely in Kansas City. Tamara buys and flips homes in the area and the show mostly focuses on the manual aspect of flipping homes. There are currently 3 seasons.
Kansas City has Several Film Influences
Not only has Kansas City been featured in movies produced in town, it boasts a direct connection to the film business going back decades. Because of this, Kansas City has a lot of unique and interesting locations to shoot video.
Four square blocks between 17th and 19th Streets were once known as Film Row, where Hollywood’s leading studios had distribution centers, starting in the 1920s and continuing until the 1960s.
Additionally, the film history of Kansas City natives is honored with a Walk of Fame, featuring sidewalk stars paying tribute to locals who made it big in tinsel town, like Jean Harlow, Walt Disney, Joan Crawford, and Bette Davis. Local and national filmmakers choose the area for marketing videos, music videos, TV shows and feature films.
Power and Light
The Power and Light District is an entertainment area featuring renovated classics like the Midland Theater and newer venues such as the Alamo Drafthouse Mainstreet Cinema.
Furthermore, films and videos shot in the area make use of classic art deco style architecture of the namesake Kansas City Power & Light Building and the Kansas City Live! Venue that covers a one-block and has hosted live performances and watch parties for TV events.
Set at the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri Rivers, Kansas City’s founding neighborhood now hosts the River Market District. The area features a legendary public farmers’ market along with popular shops and restaurants.
A great location for filming product videos, the area also is a regular feature on social media posts, videos, and selfies along the Riverfront Heritage Trail, accessible by the Town of Kansas Bridge and the route to the Berkley Riverfront Park.
Because of its diverse and sprawling locations, Kansas City has been loved by musicians, filmmakers, and artists for generations. Furthermore, whether for the classic examples of architecture, including a church designed by Frank Lloyd Wright among its historic places, or for the midwestern charm of its two rivers and many arts and entertainment areas, Kansas City shines on film. Because of this, Kansas City makes a great place for any professional or amateur film maker.
Honorable Mention: SuperNatural
While running for a whopping 15 seasons and having several episodes take place around Kansas City and Lawerence KS, SuperNatural never actually filmed in the city. Instead, it was primarily shot in Vancouver British Columbia with the pilot episode being shot in Los Angeles, California. Furthermore, there is no evidence to say that filming in Kansas City or Lawerence was ever really considered.
Additional Films and TV Shows in Kansas City
Source : Visit KC
|Queer Eye||2018||Netflix – Kansas City|
|24 Hrs to Hell and Back||2018||TV Show on FOX – Kansas City|
|Bargain Mansions||2017, 2018||DIY Channel TV Show – Kansas City|
|American Ninja Warrior||2015, 2017||TV Show on NBC – Kansas City|
|The Tree||2017||Kansas City area|
|Different Flowers||2017||Kansas City|
|Red Bird||2017||TV Series – Kansas City|
|All Creatures Here Below||2017||Kansas City|
|The Association aka The Profit||2017||Lawrence, KS|
|School Spirits||2017||St. Joseph, MO|
|The Dreams of Rene Sendam||2017||Lawrence, KS|
|The House on Pine Street||2016||Leavenworth, Independence|
|American Honey||2016||Kansas City MO/KS|
|Trust Fund||2016||Kansas City area|
|The Matchbreaker||2016||Kansas City|
|What We’ve Become||2016||Lawrence, KS|
|Arbor Demon||2016||Kansas City unit|
|Desperate Cowboys||2016||Kansas City|
|New Girls on the Block||2015||TV Series – Kansas City|
|The Gnomist||2015||Acclaimed short – Overland Park|
|Rich Hill||2014||Rich Hill MO|
|The Sublime and Beautiful||2014||Lawrence, KS|
|Jayhawkers||2014||Lawrence, Topeka, Leavenworth KS|
|Awful Nice||2013||Columbia, Branson, Kansas City|
|Nailbiter||2013||Kansas City & Lawrence, KS|
|Raising the Bar||2013||TV series – Kansas City|
|Destination Planet Negro||2013||Lawrence, Kansas City|
|Last Ounce of Courage||2012||St. Joseph, Kansas City|
|Last Will||2011||Kansas City|
|The Soccer Nanny aka Au Pair, Kansas||2011||Lawrence, KS|
|Pawn’s Move||2011||Kansas City, Weston|
|Last Breath||2010||Kansas City|
|Air: The Musical||2010||Lawrence, Kansas City|
|Play On||2010||Kansas City, Scotland|
|The Only Good Indian||2009||Lawrence, KS|
|Works in Progress||2009||Kansas City|
|Saving Grace B. Jones||2008||Boonville|
|Matchmaker Mary||2008||Kansas City|
|The Battle for Bunker Hill||2008||Lawrence, KS|
|Suspension||2008||Kansas City, Lawrence, Topeka|
|Body of War||2007||Kansas City, St. Louis|
|Raising Jeffrey Dahmer||2006||Kansas City|
|Jesus Camp||2006||Lee’s Summit, St. Robert|
|All Roads Lead Home||2006||Kansas City|
|Lenexa, 1 Mile: aka Full Count||2006||Kansas City, Blue Springs, Lee’s Summit, Lenexa, OP|
|Ambrose Bierce: Civil war Stories||2005||TV movie – Kansas City|
|C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America||2004||Lawrence, KS|
|Threat of Exposure||2002||Kansas City|
|The Painting||2001||Kansas City|
|Ride With the Devil||1999||Pattonsburg, Kansas City, Lexington|
|Ninth Street||1999||Junction City/Lawrence, KS|
|Cross of Fire||1998||TV Movie – Lawrence, Topeka|
|Winding Roads||1998||TV movie – Springfield|
|A Deadly Vision||1997||TV movie – Kansas City|
|Mars Attacks||1996||Lawrence, KS|
|Kansas City||1996||Kansas City|
|Truman||1995||HBO Movie – Independence|
|The Witching||1993||Kansas City|
|Article 99||1992||Kansas City|
|The Burden of Proof||1992||TV Movie – Kansas City|
|Child’s Play 3||1991||Boonville|
|Sometimes They Come Back||1991||Kansas City|
|Mr. and Mrs. Bridge||1990||Kansas City|
|Midnight Movie Massacre||1988||Kansas City|
|Kansas||1987||Kansas City & Lawrence, KS|
|Nice Girls Don’t Explode||1987||Lawrence, KS|
|The Day After||1983||Harrisonville, Kansas City, Lawrence|
|Bucktown||1975||Kansas City downtown, Platte City|
|Shoot it Black /Shoot in Blue||1974||Kansas City|
|Supervan||1974||Kansas City, St. Joseph|
|Paper Moon||1973||St. Joseph and Kansas locations|
|Prime Cut||1972||Kansas City|
|Honky||1971||Kansas City -The Plaza|
|Adam at 6 a.m.||1970||Excelsior Springs|
|In Cold Blood||1967||Kansas City|
|Carnival of Souls||1962||Lawrence, KS area|
|The Cool and the Crazy||1958||Kansas City|
|The Delinquents||1957||Kansas City|
|Rodeo Rhythm||1942||Kansas City|
|Alice’s Wonderland||1923||Kansas City|
|Tommy Tucker’s Tooth||1922||Kansas City|