Judas And The Black Messiah (2021)

The 2021 Shaka King film “Judas and the Black Messiah” is set in the Chicago area, but was actually shot in Cleveland, Ohio. In an early scene, Bill O’Neal, played by LaKeith Stanfield, impersonates an FBI agent and steals a car at Leon’s Bar. The real building is the Croatian Tavern.

LOCATION: 3244 St Clair Ave NE, Cleveland, OH 44114

Here is a full view of the building.

Daniel Kaluuya plays Fred Hampton, the leader of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party. Fred and the Panthers meet The Crowns at this church.

LOCATION: 4015 Superior Ave, Cleveland, OH 44103

Here is a full view of the church building.

Jimmy, played by Ashton Sanders, gets into a shootout with the police at this market.

LOCATION: 6501 St Clair Ave, Cleveland, OH 44103

This building served as the headquarters of the Black Panther Party, where a major shootout scene takes place.

LOCATION: 5450 Broadway Ave, Cleveland, OH 44127

The back of the building is also seen as Bill escapes. There is an alley that runs behind the building, offering a clear view of this area.

The Menard prison where Fred gets released is none other than the Ohio State Reformatory, which is of course most famous for being the prison from “The Shawshank Redemption.” It has been featured in other films as well, however, such as “Air Force One” and “Tango & Cash.” No longer an operating prison, the facility is now run by The Mansfield Reformatory Preservation Society, which offers seasonal tours in and around the property. We highly recommend it if you’re in the area.

LOCATION: 100 Reformatory Rd, Mansfield, OH 44905

Fred gives his “I am a revolutionary” speech inside this church, which is only seen from interior views in the film.

LOCATION: 2131 E 46th St, Cleveland, OH 44103

Late in the film, Fred’s apartment is featured in a climactic scene.

LOCATION: 1953 W 65th St, Cleveland, OH 44102

Air Force One (1997)

The 1997 Harrison Ford action movie “Air Force One” was filmed in several different locations, including Ohio, California, Washington D.C. and Russia.

When Vice President Kathryn Bennett, played by Glenn Close calls Russian President Petrov, he speaks to her from his bedroom.  This was filmed at Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills.  The same room was used in “The Big Lebowski,” “There Will Be Blood” and “Flowers In The Attic.”

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LOCATION: Greystone Mansion, 905 Loma Vista Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

The scenes of General Alexander Radek being released from prison were filmed at the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, Ohio.  The former prison is of course most well known for being featured in “The Shawshank Redemption,” but it was also featured in the 1980s action film “Tango & Cash.”  This gate is seen in the establishing shot of the prison.  It’s not a real gate and was built by the production specifically for the film.  There was also a longer wall built on each side of the gate.  After filming completed, the property had the wall taken back down but left the gate.  Seeing it in person, it looks a bit strange, as it’s a gate to nothing on the side of the building.

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LOCATION: 100 Reformatory Rd, Mansfield, OH 44905

The camera then moves above the gate and we see these stairs leading into the prison.

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The Ohio State Reformatory does offer tours and inside they have a couple photos from the production.  On the right, you can see the full wall.

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Here is an autographed poster from the film.

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If you find yourself in Ohio, it’s well worth it to make a stop at the Ohio State Reformatory.  It’s one of the most memorable filming locations we’ve visited.

My Cousin Vinny (1992)

The 1992 Joe Pesci comedy “My Cousin Vinny,” while set in rural Alabama, was mostly filmed in small towns around Georgia.  Even with the current tax incentives creating a filming boom in the state of Georgia, “My Cousin Vinny” stands apart for having chosen towns not heavily seen on film.

At the beginning of the film, Bill, played by Ralph Macchio and his friend Stan visit the Sac-O-Suds convenient store, where a crime transpires and sets the story into motion.  The store remains in operation all these years later.

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LOCATION: 54 GA-16, Monticello, GA 31064

Vinny, played by Joe Pesci, and his fiancee Lisa, played by Marisa Tomei, first arrive in town and park in the town square of Monticello, where they debate who blends in best with the locals.

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LOCATION: 214 Forsyth St, Monticello, GA 31064

The courthouse featured throughout the film is the Jasper County Courthouse in Monticello.

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LOCATION: 126 W Greene St, Monticello, GA 31064

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Later in the film, Vinny and Lisa are seen walking past this statue in the middle of the town square in Monticello, near the courthouse.

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The General Putnam Motel and Restaurant where Vinny tries grits was partially destroyed in a fire in 2018.  The property had remained closed for years, but was in the process of being renovated when the fire occurred, with the cause believed to be electrical.  It is unknown if the building will be restored in the wake of the damages.  However, we were able to visit prior to the fire.

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LOCATION: 774 Madison Rd, Eatonton, GA 31024

Vinny and Lisa visit a bar to confront a man who stiffed Lisa on a pool game bet.

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LOCATION: 1 W 1st Ave, Mansfield, GA 30055

The Parker Hotel where Vinny awakens to squealing pigs is the Susie Agnes Hotel in Bishop.

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LOCATION: 5941 Bostwick Rd, Bishop, GA 30621

Lisa runs up the stairs next to this building looking for a suit for Vinny after he falls in the mud.  The arrow painted on the side of the building is still there.  This property is located just a few doors down from the courthouse.

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LOCATION: 8 Towee St, Monticello, GA 31064

If you’re a fan of the film, it’s a nice way to spend an afternoon roaming the smaller towns of Georgia where the story unfolds.  Even decades later, many of the locations remain relatively unchanged.

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

One of our favorite movie locations is the prison from “The Shawshank Redemption.”  While the film is set in Maine, tucked away in the fields of Mansfield, Ohio, the Ohio State Reformatory hosted the production of the film in 1993, after it had permanently closed from active prison use three years prior.

Originally built between 1886 to 1910, the facility was built in three architectural styles; Victorian Gothic, Richardsonian Romanesque and Queen Anne.  In the wake of a class action suit by the prisoners, which cited overcrowding and inhumane conditions, the prison was shut down in 1990, with a replacement prison built directly behind it, which is still active today.

After the enduring success of “The Shawshank Redemption,” The Mansfield Reformatory Preservation Society began work to restore the facility to its original state, as well as recreate many of the film’s sets.  They offer daily tours from April to September and weekend-only tours during the remaining seasons.  The restorations are funded through donations and tour fees.  The building housed a great deal of horrors, which can be felt as you explore the facility.  Over 200 people are said to have died inside the prison walls.  During Halloween season, the Preservation Society offers haunted tours in lieu of the film tours and a number of ghost-themed television shows have filmed at the location.  Yet outside, the place feels quiet and serene.  Other films to have shot at the prison include “Judas and the Black Messiah,” “Air Force One” and “Tango & Cash.”

If you find yourself in the area, I highly encourage you to take the tour, as it remains one of our all-time favorite film locations.  We do not wish to overlook the unfortunate history of this facility, however, with all of the atrocities that took place here.

LOCATION: 100 Reformatory Rd, Mansfield, OH 44905

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The front of the prison.  During tour hours, music from the film score plays over loud speakers.

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“Get busy living, or get busy dying.”  The back of the prison is particularly difficult to photograph, as the tours do not cover this area, due to the facility directly facing an active prison.  You are not allowed to turn your camera towards the active prison at any time, under the warning of immediate expulsion from the property, if you are caught doing so.  There are guards from the active prison on constant lookout, to make sure no one is photographing the wrong prison.  However, we can provide a brief glimpse of the “yard” where Red and Andy would meet.

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The parole room, where Red keeps returning for his hearings.  The table and chair props are not the originals, however, if I recall correctly.

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This is where the inmates first line up to face the warden.

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This is the warden’s office, where Andy locks the door and plays the music.  The actor playing the captain really did break the window to the door in the scene, which is still missing today.

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The warden’s office, where his fate is met.

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This is where the production cut a hole in the wall, for the warden’s safe.

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The showers seen in the movie were the prison’s real showers.

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The hole Andy makes in the pipeline.  This is the actual prop from the film.

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This is a wide shot of the pipeline prop that Andy crawls through.  Might ruin a little movie magic for you.

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While similar looking, this is the prop used for the hole in the wall, behind the Rita Hayworth poster.

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Brooks’ apartment.  It was actually another room inside the prison.

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This is unfortunately a replica.  The real ceiling beam was, at one time, located in this room, but it was stolen.  The Preservation Society recreated it.

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Autographs from the film’s actors.

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Autographed poster.

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The cover from the crate prop, holding the library books that Andy had so frequently requested.

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There’s really so much more to see inside the prison tour, such as the world’s tallest prison cell block.  These were not the cell blocks seen in the film, however.  The production opted to rent out a nearby warehouse and build their own set for the cell block, likely due to the unsanitary conditions of the real cell block.  You are warned not to touch anything in this area, for risk of needing a tetanus shot.  Since the rest of the features of the tour do not directly relate to the film, we will leave you with just one image of the many other, highly interesting things the tour has to offer.

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Last, but not least, we leave you with one of Red’s prison shirts, which can be seen on display at Planet Hollywood in Florida.

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LOCATION: 1506 E Buena Vista Dr, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830