Jackie Robinson's '42' the latest feature film to spotlight KC and its citizens
Kansas City, Mo. - Whether based on actual events or pure make believe, several feature films have focused on Kansas City and the lives of people who have lived here. And much to the delight of moviegoers, there's plenty to see after the credits roll. Go behind the scenes of these seven films by retracing the people and places in Kansas City that inspired them.
- "42"- Opening nationwide on April 12, this feature film tells the story of baseball legend Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier in 1947 and was the first African American to play Major League Baseball. Before he wore jersey no. 42 for the Dodgers, he was no. 5 for the Kansas City Monarchs. Learn more about Jackie and other legends at KC's Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. The day before the national release, film star Harrison Ford will present a special advance screening of "42" in Kansas City to benefit the museum and the Kansas City Sports Commission. (Tickets are sold out. For more information, visit 42KansasCity.com.)
- "Amelia" (2009)- This biopic stars Oscar winner Hilary Swank in the role of Atchison, Kan., native Amelia Earhart. Known as one of the world's most celebrated aviators, Earhart was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. The Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum in Atchison provides an insightful look at the pilot's early life, from childhood mementos to family photos, plus information about her 1937 disappearance. The city's Amelia Earhart Festival each July celebrates her legacy with aviation displays, aerobatic performances and live concerts.
- "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" (2007)-Brad Pitt plays the part of the infamous James in this Western, which is one of more than 20 movies to feature the American outlaw. Visitors can follow in his footsteps at the Jesse James Farm & Museum in Kearney, Mo., and his home in St. Joseph, Mo., which features the bullet hole from his assassination. Another noteworthy site is the Jesse James Bank Museum in Liberty, Mo., where the James gang executed the first U.S. daylight bank robbery during peacetime.
- "Kansas City" (1996)-Set in Kansas City during the Jazz Age of the 1930s, this film explores the themes of organized crime and political corruption. Starring Jennifer Jason Leigh and Miranda Richardson, "Kansas City" was written and directed by the late Robert Altman, a KC native. The film was shot in KC's 18th & Vine Historic Jazz District, where painted streetscapes that served as backdrops for some scenes are still visible today. Also in the district is the American Jazz Museum, which celebrates the artistic, historical, and cultural contributions of the genre.
- "Truman" (1995)-Gary Sinise earned a Golden Globe and an Emmy nomination for his portrayal of Harry S. Truman in this HBO film, which chronicled the politician's rise to the presidency from his small-town beginnings in Independence, Mo. To experience his life, visit the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum, the Truman Home and the Truman Office & Courtroom, which are all located in nearby Independence. Tours are also available of the Truman Farm Home in Grandview, Mo.
- "The Day After" (1983)-This chilling fictional drama starring Jason Robards, Steve Guttenberg and John Lithgow explores the effects of a devastating nuclear holocaust on residents of a small town in eastern Kansas. Featuring thousands of local citizens as extras, the made-for-television movie was shot in Lawrence, Kan., Kansas City and Harrisonville, Mo. Broadcast by ABC on Nov. 20, 1983, the film drew 100 million viewers and sparked a national debate on nuclear war.
- "Ride with the Devil" (1999)- Filmed in and around Kansas City, Tobey Maguire and Skeet Ulrich star in this drama about the Civil War in the Midwest and Quantrill's Raid on nearby Lawrence, Kan. As the movie's plot suggests, the Kansas City area was a hotbed of activity during the Civil War, and history buffs will still find plenty to keep themselves busy. The U.S. Government recently designated 41 counties in Kansas and Missouri as the Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area in recognition of the Border War between the Kansas Jayhawkers and the Missouri Bushwhackers.