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Chicago and Movies in Old Joliet Prison



2 hrs

1.25 mi.

25 guests


Explore a former suburban Chicago prison that has been featured in movies and TV series for well over a century

Step into an cinematic expedition like no other. Chicago and Movies in Old Joliet Prison is a riveting 2-hour guided walking tour led by a Ph.D. in film and the knowledgable staff of the Joliet Area Historical Museum

Venture just 30 miles outside Chicago to the historic Old Joliet Prison, where the echoes of Illinois' penitentiary past and Hollywood intertwine. 

You'll start your 1.25-mile (mostly outdoor) exploration by passing through the barbed-wire gates of this former correctional center. Inside the prison's walls, you'll encounter the raw reality of its sally ports, imposing cellblocks, solemn chapel, once-bustling cafeteria, expansive yard, and haunting solitary confinement cells. 

Exclusive to Chicago and Movies in Old Joliet Prison, you'll also gain access to areas typically off-limits to the public, offering a rare glimpse into the hidden corners of this historic landmark.

As the tour reaches its climax, you'll settle into our makeshift movie theater inside the dimly lit gymnasium, where the story of Hollywood's century-long fascination with Old Joliet Prison unfolds. Delve into tales of cinematic history, from iconic sets to the profound impact of film on Illinois prison reform.

This guided tour from Chicago Movie Tours promises to be a memorable exploration of suburban Chicago's rich movie history. So get ready for an unforgettable and educational adventure with Chicago and Movies in Old Joliet Prison!

NOTE: This speciality tour, offered only a few times per year, needs at least 20 guests to run. In the event we must cancel because of low ticket sales, we will notify you via email and then refund you in full.

Movies/TV Highlighted

  • Ghost Adventures (2019)

  • Empire (2015-20)

  • Public Enemies (2009)

  • Let's Go to Prison (2006)

  • Prison Break (2005-09)

  • The Blues Brothers (1980)

  • White Heat (1949)

Public Tour Dates


Jun 8, 2024

3:00 PM


Sep 28, 2024

3:00 PM

Tour Specifics

Start/End Points

1125 Collins St, Joliet, IL 60432. Tours meet in the Welcome Center. View aerial map.

Low Attendance Policy

This tour needs 20 guests to run. In the event we must cancel because of low ticket sales, we will notify you via email and then refund you in full.


Guests must initial a digital general waiver of liability with Chicago Movie Tours when they book. Guests must also sign a waiver with Joliet Area Historical Museum when they arrive at the Welcome Center. Guardians must sign waivers for children under the age of 18. 


Plenty of free parking is available.


This tour is not ADA-approved, but 70% of it is accessible for all guests.

What to Bring

Please wear closed-toe shoes and weather-appropriate clothing. Tours run rain or shine. You might also wish to bring sunscreen and a bottle of water. Note: the property has little shade, which can make summer tours rather warm.


Flushable toilets are available in the Welcome Center. Portable toilets are available throughout the tour.


Guests ages 10 and up can attend.


No video or audio recording of the tour, but take as many pictures as you'd like!

Cancellations and Refunds

You may cancel or amend your reservation 48 hours or more before the tour departs. Read more Tour Terms and Conditions.

Private Tours

Yes, you may book this tour as a private or group tour, provided the property is available! 

This tour can accommodate 25+ guests. Please contact us for more.

What's Included

  • Expert tour guide commentary led by a Ph.D. in film and knowledgeable staff from the Joliet Area Historical Museum

  • Special access to buildings and areas used by Hollywood crews and casts

  • 30-minute interactive movie/program to bring the prison's history and stories to life

  • Plenty of Instagram opportunities

  • Free parking

  • Mini (Blues Brothers-themed) goodie bag! 💙



Chicago and Movies in Old Joliet Prison

average rating is 5 out of 5
On this tour we gain access to areas of the prison not open to the public including the cafeteria, chapel, death row and the west building prison cells. We were accompanied by an experienced prison tour guide who provided historical details and anecdotal information in addition to Kelli’s movie related details. Kelli’s presentation at the end was extremely well researched and added a richness to the tour that made the entire experience educational as well as entertaining! Would recommend highly!!

September 2, 2023


Chicago and Movies in Old Joliet Prison

average rating is 5 out of 5
This was another excellent tour experience with Kelli from Chicago Movie Tours! We learned about a prison that is over 150 years old AND how it has appeared in movies and TV shows over the decades. Lots of great information, plus access to spaces not usually open to the public. The ad hoc "movie theater" and presentation was especially interesting for this history and movie buff. Highly recommend!

October 11, 2022

Jeff Linton

Chicago and Movies in Old Joliet Prison

average rating is 5 out of 5
I was [on] the Joliet Prison tour this past Sunday. I really enjoyed your videos on the history of the movies associated with the prison. They were very informative, easy to understand and excellent graphics and charts! You have a warm, bubbly personality that nicely presents your content. Keep up the great work! Jeff

October 11, 2022


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