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Hollywood’s Infatuation With Gritty Pittsburgh – From Flashdance to Striking Distance

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Overlooked during its initial release, Striking Distance is notable for three reasons: It’s a “boat cop” movie with some solid chase scenes; it’s another “macho-tastic” entry in the filmography of director Rowdy “Roadhouse” Herrington; and finally, it’s set in Pittsburgh, a vital, but underrated film locale. The cat-and-mouse game between Det. Tom Hardy (Bruce Willis) and the Polish Hill serial murderer is set on the city’s “Three Rivers,” which was, in fact, the film’s original, Pittsburgh-specific title. And though it isn’t anywhere near New York City or Los Angeles in terms of
film production, Pittsburgh has been the backdrop for a number of
distinctive movies.

Films as widely diverse as Dawn of the Dead  have used
the city’s industrial nature as both a metaphor for the scourge of
consumerist culture and the perils of mid-life crisis. Pittsburgh’s
working class milieu inspired not only Striking Distance‘s police officers but also Flashdance ‘s steel mill welder/aspiring dancer, Jennifer Beals, and set the stage for Jack Nicholson as the Teamster leader in Hoffa .

Hollywood’s appreciation for the city’s grittiness continues. It’s
currently playing host to Julianne Moore, in town to film the
horror-thriller, Shelter
, and Viggo Mortensen, who stars in the
adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize winning post-apocalyptic novel, The
Road
.

For a full schedule of Striking Distance on AMC, click here.

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