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‘Blues Brothers’ named top Illinois movie in project to choose state’s top people, places and things

Illinoisans have chosen “The Blues Brothers” as the top movie in state history, embracing a film that celebrates car crashes, classic songs, Chicago landmarks and two shady characters trying desperately to do the right thing.

“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “A League of Their Own” came next in the online voting, which was part of the Illinois Top 200 project.

The project lets Illinoisans vote every two weeks on the best movies, most inspiring leaders, greatest books, top businesses and much more. By the state’s 200th birthday on Dec. 3, voters will have chosen 10 favorites in 20 different categories – the Illinois Top 200.

Top 200 blue gold smallMore than 1,500 people voted on the top movies. Voting in the next category, top businesses, is underway at

“I’m a big fan of all three of the top movies, so I’m thrilled by the results. More importantly, I’m thrilled that people are taking part in a conversation about the best of Illinois history,” said Alan Lowe, executive director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. “I hope even more people will join the conversation as Illinois celebrates its bicentennial.”

The top 10 movies are:

  1. “The Blues Brothers” – Jake and Elwood Blues try to raise money to save an orphanage.
  2. “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” – Bueller, his best friend and girlfriend skip school to explore Chicago
  3. “A League of Their Own” – Women get a chance to play pro baseball during World War II
  4. “The Fugitive” – Dr. Richard Kimble tries to avoid capture while tracking down his wife’s killer in Chicago
  5. “The Untouchables” – Federal agents risk everything to bring down Al Capone
  6. “The Sting” – Two Chicago con men go after a gang boss who killed their friend; won an Oscar for Best picture
  7. “Chicago” – a musical exploration of hunger for wealth and fame in the Jazz Age; won the Oscar for best picture
  8. “Eight Men Out” – the story of the Chicago White Sox throwing the 1919 World Series
  9. “Hoop Dreams” – an unforgettable documentary about poor Chicago kids and their dreams of basketball stardom
  10. “Ordinary People” — The death of a child tears apart a Lake Forest family; won an Oscar for best picture

“For decades, Illinois films have amused, inspired and thrilled people across the world,” said Illinois Film Office Director Christine Dudley. “‘Blues Brothers,’ ‘Ferris Bueller’ and ‘A League of Their Own’ were all filmed within our great state and represent the legacy that Illinois has brought to the entertainment industry. Every one of these movies stands as a testament to the depth of talent we have to offer – in the film industry and beyond.”

Nominated movies that did not make the top 10 include “Young Mr. Lincoln,” “His Girl Friday” and a Charlie Chaplin short filmed in Chicago.

The Illinois Top 200 is a joint initiative of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, The (Springfield) State Journal-Register and the Illinois Bicentennial Commission.

Future categories include inventions, authors, musicians, actors, leaders, buildings and unforgettable moments. Everyone is invited to suggest possible nominees in each category by using the hashtag #ILtop200 on social media.


The presidential library and museum uses a combination of rigorous scholarship and high-tech showmanship to immerse visitors in Lincoln’s life and times. Visitors can see ghosts come to life on stage, watch TV coverage of the 1860 Presidential election, roam through the Lincoln White House, experience booming cannons in a Civil War battle and come face to face with priceless original Lincoln artifacts.

The library holds an unparalleled collection of Lincoln books, documents, photographs, artifacts and art, as well as some 12 million items pertaining to all aspects of Illinois history.

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