Shot, Set or About Detroit: Movies You Can Stream Now

By: Michael Fossbakk | May 1, 2020

With everyone staying indoors as much as possible during the outbreak of COVID-19, you might be looking for something new to watch on the many streaming platforms available today. Instead of binging your favorite sitcom or film series from beginning to end again, why not something that ties back to Detroit? Below, you’ll find seven (technically nine) movies that were shot or set in Detroit and are available to stream right now.

Detroit: Comeback City (Amazon, Tubi)

This 40-minute special from the History Channel tells the story of Detroit’s economic rise, fall, and comeback beginning in the 20th century and going all the way to the present day. It covers the boom of the auto industry, the migration of black people from the South, the rise of Motown, the 1967 riots, and much more. It ends on a hopeful note, detailing the changes Detroit has seen in the last 10 years.

Coffee & Kareem (Netflix)

Coffee & Kareem is a new comedy on Netflix with a bit of a twist on the “buddy cop” genre. The movie centers around Officer James Coffee (Ed Helms) and his girlfriend’s 12-year-old son, Kareem (Terrence Little Gardenhigh). Coffee works for the Detroit Police and when Kareem tries to end Coffee’s relationship with his mom, Vanessa (Taraji P. Henson), by hiring criminals to get rid of him, Kareem accidentally exposes a network of criminal activity. To protect his mom, Kareem reluctantly agrees to work with Coffee as they are chased across Detroit.

8 Mile (Starz)

The Oscar Award-winning film from 2002 tells the semi-autobiographical tale of a young rapper from Detroit trying to make a name for himself. 8 Mile echoes the life of its star, Marshall Mathers, A.K.A. Eminem. It won the Academy Award for Best Original Song for the single “Lose Yourself” in addition to 10 other awards from various awards shows. Despite being the first hip hop song to win an Oscar, Eminem was not present to accept the award. However, Eminem returned to perform the hit single at the 92nd Academy Awards in 2020.

Detroit (Hulu)

Depicting the civil unrest and resulting riots in 1967 Detroit, 2017’s Detroit stars John Boyega, Anthony Mackie and Will Poulter. The film centers on the Algiers Motel as police break procedure and forcefully interrogate the people staying there. The Algiers Motel incident happened over the course of one night in July, 1967 and is part of the larger 12th Street/Detroit Riot.

The Irishman (Netflix)

Based on the nonfiction book I Heard You Paint Houses, which tells the story of alleged mafia hitman Frank Sheeran, The Irishman is the latest directorial venture by Martin Scorsese. It premiered on Netflix and had a limited theater run in 2019. It stars Robert De Niro as Sheeran, Joe Pesci as mobster Russell Bufalino, and Al Pacino as Jimmy Hoffa. In the film, Sheeran is a truck driver turned hitman when he crosses paths with Bufalino and later Hoffa. The runtime is three hours and 30 minutes, making this a perfect movie to watch while you’re stuck at home.

Robocop 1, 2, 3 (HBO)

If you’re a glutton for late ‘80s/early ‘90s sci-fi action flicks, the first three RoboCop movies can be found on HBO. Set in a dystopian future Detroit, RoboCop is about police officer Alex Murphy (Peter Weller), who is killed in the line of duty. However, Murphy is brought back to life and given cybernetic enhancements with the help of Omni Consumer Products, a giant corporation, thus earning himself the nickname RoboCop.

The Crow (Cinemax)

Set in Detroit, the cult classic film The Crow tells the story of Eric Draven (Brandon Lee), a dead man that has come back to life on Devil’s Night to avenge his own death and the rape and murder of his fiancée, Shelly Webster. The Crow is infamous for the accidental death of its star, Lee, on set during a firearm malfunction. The film is based on a comic book of the same name and also spawned three sequels and a television series.