Ordinary People Movie Behind The Scenes

Ordinary People Locations


Locations Notes

Rewind the locations where they filmed the 1980 Drama movie starring Timothy Hutton, Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore More Cast

Locations Manager(s): Patrick Markey

Ordinary People Filming Locations:

Filmed in Lake Forest, Illinois. Opening scene begins in Choir with the traditional blue & gold colors of Lake Forest High School worn by cheerleaders in uniform. There must have been a game that day.... [Thanks to Betsey Clark]

Lake Forest amazingly still looks EXACTLY the same, even after nearly 25 years.

The gazebo shown in the opening scenes is actually in the park in Lake Bluff, one village over from Lake Forest. [Thanks to Ana]

The interior of Lake Forest High School has been completely re-done as of the mid-1990's. However, the outside of the school remains the same. [Thanks to Alisa Steady and Angeli]

The golf course scenes were filmed at the Apple Valley Country Club in Apple Valley CA. [Thanks to Joanna Rodriguez]

My guess is Jarett's house is by the lake because also I can hear the lake in the background during the movie. The grandparent's house is located on Lake Road. Also the Murray's house, the Jarett's friends' home is located on Greenbay at the T intersection of Greenbay and woodland road. [Thanks to libby]

1199 Lincoln Ave South was Conrad's House. [Thanks to Marc Cohn]

The Jarrett house exterior shots were filmed in front of a house in Highland Park, IL. [Thanks to ES]

The shopping scene was filmed at Neiman Marcus at Northbrook Court, Northbrook, IL. [Thanks to ES]

The primary family residence used in the film is located on Greenbay road. The architecture and the VERY noticeable gravel driveway is customary in the older parts of Lake Forest, in between downtown Market Square and the lake.

The first part of the movie shows the First Presbyterian Church on the corner of Deerpath and Sheridan. Also are shown some beach scenes. Since the time the movie was filmed there has been a very nice beach constructed where those plain docks are scene in the movie. Now there are wide brick paver pathways along the beach and a small yacht club where people can store and launch their sailboats. The large stately building shown several times throughout the movie is the Lake Forest High School. Many people who drive past it think it must be a private school, but it is indeed the public school. The swimming pool is located at Lake Forest College. IT still looks EXACTLY the same today. Same yellow paint and plain brick walls.

The scene where Conrad is skipping through town shows Triangle Park, with the famous copper deer that stands stately overlooking it, the Christian Science Church, and right down the street is the Lake Forest Library. All of are on Deerpath Road. This scene was funny though. At first Conrad is shown skipping east towards downtown and then they show him in front of the library skipping west... granted, the library is east of the Church and park... so the directors didn't exactly edit the film factually.

The part of the movie where Calvin and his friend are running is at Forest Park, which is a large park on Lake Drive overlooking Lake Michigan. There are also large limestone stairs going down to the beach that I was talking about before, however, I dont think the stairs were there when the movie was filmed. The park still looks the same today, with the same stone light posts and everything. Even the bench looking through the trees to Lake Michigan stands there still today.

Chris D adds: Those stairs at Forest Park that go down to the beach have been there for many years - Before the movie. We lived on Lake Road across from the park. I was at college but my mother was out at the park during the jogging scene - she was stung by a bee and yelled out - so they had to redo the jogging scene. [Thanks to Chris D]

The parts in the film where Conrad visits the shrink are in Highland Park. I don't know exactly where in Highland Park, but I'm sure it's around downtown, near Davis Street. The part of the movie when Conrad runs away after he finds out his friend killed herself are shot in Market Square. I could even recognize the shoe store that is on the corner. He calls the shrink at a pay phone at the Lake Forest Train Station.

The scene with Calvin and Beth in Houston is not Houston at all. It is the Deerpath Golf Club on Deerpath road. I drive past the golf club everyday, and I can tell by the layout of the fairways and the trees etc that it is Deerpath. I felt sorry for the actors though. In Houston it may have been 65 or 70 and they had to dress like it was, but Im sure in Lake Forest it was 30 and windy. The ladies didnt even have on jackets. BURRR!

Well, I think I've got all of the scenes down in the movie. I guarantee that they are all very accurate. I still have yet to find the Jarrett's house. I know I've seen it before. From the shot of Jarrett running out of his grandparent's house, I can tell it's a house in east Lake Forest too. Probably not too far from Lake Drive. I'll find that one too. OH!! And I don't know which mall that was in the movie where Beth is shopping for Christmas, but I think it was Northbrook Court in Northbrook, about 10 minutes away.

Also, just as a side note. I was amazed to see the actors driving American cars. The only American cars you see in Lake Forest today are VERY few Suburbans and even fewer Cadillacs. Nearly everyone drives a Lexus SUV, there are many Range Rovers and Bentleys, and ofcourse many have a Ferrari tucked away in the garage for sunny days. The cocktail parties are still the same today as they were in the movie... except... noone has lime green carpet anymore. It has been replaced with marble!

[Our eternal thanks to Jesse Williams for all the above superb locations info]

Steve Head, who's from Lake Forest and followed the production, kindly wrote in to say that he was on the set as scenes were filmed at the following locations:

Jeannine Pratt Pratt's house is located on Scott Street in Lake Forest. I don't recall the exact address, but it's almost directly across the street from 305 Scott Street.

The scene in which Conrad runs down the sidewalk (it takes place at night, after he was informed of Karen's suicide) was also filmed on Scott Street. Timothy Hutton ran on the south side of Scott Street toward The Winter Club. It was filmed after completing an evening scene in front of Jennine's house in which Conrad drops her off.

The scene in which Calvin and Beth exit the play was filmed on October 15, 1979 on Northgate Street, across from the Lake Forest Post Office. The building they exit used to be the Lake Forest Community Center. It's a small gymnasium, or at least it was in 1979. And the scene continues as they walk down Northgate street, the right onto Bank Lane (the West side of Market Square), where they get into their car, which is parked in front of Marshal Fields.

The play itself was filmed at the Gorton Community Center, at 400 E Illinois Rd; where I believe they may still have an original call sheet from Ordinary People framed in the main office.

Some interior sets, such as the Jared home (bedrooms and upstairs hallways) were built in a warehouse at Fort Sheridan, the closed army base that borders Lake Forest to the south.

The McDonalds scene was filmed at the McDonalds across from Fort Sheridan, on Sheridan Road (technically Highwood, Illinois). It's still there.

The scene in which Corad attempts to commit suicide was filmed in a second floor bathroom in the house at 784(?) East Woodland Rd. in Lake Forest; it's the last house on the North side of East Woodland Rd, just before Lake Street. Kitchen scenes with Beth, her mother, and Calvin were also filmed here. I was in the house with my mother and the location manager Patrick Markey during the filming.

One of the static opening shots in the movie was filmed on East Westminster Road in Lake Forest. (Approximately 842 East Westminster Road, if you Google Map it.) Conincidentally, from the angle in the movie, the property at the top of the road belongs to director John Hughes.

The jogging scene where Calvin falls was filmed in Lake Forest at Forest Park, located on Lake Street. The park runs along the waterfront. The road they're running (northward) on is Spring Street. And Calvin falls into the grass past the north end of Spring Street. [Thanks to Steve Head for the excellent above info]

The scene in the restaurant with Conrad and the girl from the psychiatric hospital was filmed at "The Original House of Pancakes" on Green Bay Road in Wilmette. A photo of Robert Redford, taken at the time of the shooting for the film, hangs above the cash register at the front of the restaurant. [Thanks to S. Jordheim]

They used my cousins house in Highland Park at 1199 Lincoln ave South. The end scene when the son and father are talking was his backyard. Otherwise the garage scene when they were going to the funeral . But they made a fake inside. I took some pictures while they were taping. It was very exciting. They blocked the whole street off and fed everyone on the block. [Thanks to Marilyn Tarasievich]

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Each location will have it's own page with then/now pictures, maps, StreetView, discovery story and the most detailed explanations on how the location was used. Most importantly, the locations will have a status that shows whether they are verified correct and by whom. We are working with the actual locations managers or other crew where possible. The whole thing will be very interactive and you will, of course, be able to update everything.

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