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Nov 05 2015
by Emily Perry

Where These College Movies Were Actually Filmed

By Emily Perry - Nov 05 2015

1. University of Oregon - Animal House (1978) dir. John Landis

Dealing with the lives of two fraternity pledges, this movie takes place at an unnamed university, but was filmed at the University of Oregon. The office pictured in the film as the office of Dean Wormer was actually the office of the President of the university! Today, there is a stone marker where the "Delta House" stood in honor of the film.

2. University of Arizona - Revenge of the Nerds (1984) dir. Jeff Kanew

This film follows the life of several "nerds" who are bullied and harassed by members of a jock fraternity and the corresponding sorority. It's a great comedy if you're looking for something a little more light-hearted. 

3. Notre Dame & College of the Holy Cross - Rudy (1993) dir. David Anspaugh

This famous film about Notre Dame football was actually filmed at Notre Dame and Holy Cross (the college where Rudy attends before going to Notre Dame). In fact, the infamous football scene at end of the film was shot during halftime at a Notre Dame game versus Boston College!

4. University of Toronto & Harvard - Good Will Hunting (1997) dir. Gus Van Sant

Matt Damon and Robin Williams star in this beloved film about a genius who struggles with relationships, college, and life in general. Tugging at the heart strings, this film garnered much critical acclaim and two Academy Awards. All classroom scenes were filmed at the University of Toronto, but Harvard allowed film crews to film the exteriors of buildings and around the general campus areas. You can find this film on Netflix! 

5. Carnegie Mellon University & Chatham UniversityWonder Boys (2000) dir. Curtis Hanson

Professor Grady Tripp is a novelist who teaches creative writing at an unnamed Pittsburgh university. He has been unable to finish his second novel, his young wife has left him, and he is having an affair with the Chancellor of the university,  who is the wife of the chairman of his department. Grady's editor is in town to see his new book and becomes interested in a book that one of Grady's students has just completed.

6. Princeton University - A Beautiful Mind (2001) dir. Ron Howard

This film is based on the life of Nobel Prize Winning Economist, John Nash. The film begins with Nash as a graduate student at Princeton University and subsequently follows his life through the development of his paranoid schizophrenia and other mental health problems. The mere fact that the film was allowed to shoot on the Princeton campus brings so much more life to the story than had it been filmed elsewhere.

7. UCLA - American Pie 2 (2001) dir. James B. Rogers

American Pie 2 is the second film in the American Pie franchise and follows the beloved characters the summer after their first year of college.  Although the film was set in Michigan, college scenes that required a campus setting were filmed at UCLA.

8. UCLA, USC, & Cal Tech - Legally Blonde (2001) dir. Robert Luketic

Our main character, Elle Woods, is determined to prove herself by following a boy to Law School at Harvard. Elle's sorority sisters help her study for the LSAT and prove that Elle isn't just another "dumb blonde." The movie went on to become a franchise that supports multiple theatrical features as well as a stage musical. Although the film is set at Harvard, it was filmed at three institutions due to Harvard not allowing much filming on campus. 

9. Clark Atlanta University & Morris Brown College -  Drumline (2002) dir. Charles Stone III

This film follows a group of students at a fictitious institution: Atlanta A&T. Our main character struggles through the rigorous requirements of the band, before he ultimately triumphs in band and with his romantic interest. The film garnered a television sequel that was shown on VH1.

10. Agnes Scott College - Van Wilder: Freshman Year (2002) dir. Walt Becker

National Lampoon's Van Wilder: Freshman Year is a raunchy comedy that follows our main character, Van Wilder, through his freshman year at college, where he is presented many foils. His college is the picture of overly conservative and he attempts to change people's outlooks on life. This is a great movie to watch if you're needing a good laugh. The film is part of a Van Wilder franchise. 

11. Wellesley College -  Mona Lisa Smile (2003) dir. Mike Newell

Set in the 1950s, this film follows Katherine Ann Watson, an art history professor at Wellesley College. Watson is a very modern woman and has a passion not only for art but for her students. Watson gets along with her students quite well, but her philosophies about life are not compatible with the institution. Many alumnae of the college have expressed that the film is not accurate to the college at the proposed time. 

12. USC & UCLA - Old School (2003) dir. Todd Phillips

This comedy has an all star cast - Will Ferrell, Luke Wilson, and Vince Vaughn. It follows the group of college students as they attempt to start a fraternity and garner some resistance in doing so from the college and other students. 

13. Chapman University - Accepted (2006) dir. Steve Pink

Rejected from every institution he applied to, our main character attempts to start his own college in his home town. This comedy will get a laugh out of anybody!

14. Marshall University & Morris Brown CollegeWe Are Marshall (2006) dir. McG

This film is more emotionally charged than most college films, but is wonderful none the less. After a plane crash claims the lives of the Marshall football team and many fans, the new coach attempts to keep the program alive and the student body supportive of the new team and new campus atmosphere. 

15. Carnegie Mellon UniversitySmart People (2008) dir. Noam Murro

This independent film premiered at Sundance Film Festival in 2008 and follows the life of a widowed professor at Carnegie Melon University as he finds new love and new challenges in life. 

16. Boston University - 21 (2008) dir. Robert Luketic

A film based in fact, 21 follows the story of several MIT students as they make millions counting cards at casinos in Las Vegas, NV.

17. Johns Hopkins University - The Social Network (2010) dir. David Fincher

Detailing the life of well known Facebook creator, Mark Zuckerberg, this film garnered much media and critical attention. The film had much difficulty finding a filming location, as Harvard has disallowed filming on campus since a 1970 film that caused much damage to the campus. This film is a must watch, as it it expertly filmed and executed and has a wonderful performance by actor Jesse Eisenberg.

18. Kenyon College - Liberal Arts (2012) dir. Josh Radnor

This film centers around a 30-something graduate of college who returns to attend the retirement party of a professor. While visiting his college, the 30-something falls for a current student. The film is well done, as it addresses questions of age, love, and long distance. 

19. Louisiana State University - Pitch Perfect (2012) dir. Jason Moore

This film follows the journey of two a cappella groups on a college campus. These two groups battle it out for superiority and bragging rights. The film did well in the box office and has been made into a franchise. 

20. University of Minnesota - Dear White People (2014) dir. Justin Simien

This film follows the life of several African American students at a university who are struggling to find their place in life and the college social scene. The film dives into questions of race and social stereotypes. It is a favorite of mine!

Lead Image Credit:

All movie theatrical posters courtesy of Wikipedia

Filming Locations according to IMDB

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Emily Perry - Rhodes College

Emily is a Russian Studies major at Rhodes College in Memphis, TN. She loves film, literature, and the US National Park Service. Emily has been writing for Fresh U since June of 2014 and has served as both a web editor and a social media editor. Outside of Fresh U, she volunteers with the YMCA Center for Civic Engagement and is involved with her sorority, Alpha Omicron Pi.

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