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9 movies and TV shows that reference Columbus

Take a look at the numerous times Columbus, Ohio has been the backdrop for popular movies and televsion series.

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Check out all the times Columbus has been in the spotlight. | Photo via Canva

Table of Contents

Lights, camera, CBUS.

If you’re anything like us, you get a little more invested in a TV show when it references Columbus. So, we decided to look back through the footage. Here are a few of our favorite times Columbus made its big screen debut.


  • Teachers” | Released: 1984 | Comedy + drama | Nick Nolte stars in this film that was shot and based in Columbus.
  • The Breakfast Club” | Released: 1985 | Comedy + coming-of-age | This is a small Easter egg, but shout out to this Redditor for noticing the “OHIOST” license plate near the end of the film.
  • Zombieland” | Released: 2009 | Action, comedy + horror | Jesse Eisenberg portrays a character attempting to get to Columbus alongside a star-studded cast.
  • Ready Player One” | Released: 2018 | Action, adventure + sci-fi | Witness a cyberpunk-themed version of the city in this film about virtual reality.


  • Family Ties” | Released: 1982 | Sitcom | Michael J. Fox is “Alex Keaton” for seven seasons in this show set in suburban CBUS.
  • Unsolved Mysteries” | Released: 2008 | True crime | Dive into the details of Michael Swango, a criminal and former intern at a local hospital.
  • The Simpsons” | Released: 2017 | Cartoons + comedy | Principal Skinner visits The Ohio State University in Season 29, Episode 5.
  • Kidding” | Released: 2018 | Drama + tragic comedy | Jim Carrey starred in this heart-wrenching show based in Columbus.
  • Monsters Inside: The 24 Faces of Billy Milligan” | Released: 2021 | True crime | Listen to a twisted tale of this criminal that terrorized OSU’s campus in the 1970s (trigger warning: SA).

What movies and shows are a must-add to our list? Send us your suggestions, and we will continue to update this story.

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