Iowa History Daily: On June 2, 1995, audiences packed into theaters to take in “The Bridges of Madison County.” The film set in Iowa’s Madison County during 1965 featured Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep went on to gross $182 million worldwide.
An adaptation of Robert James’s 1992 bestselling novel of the same name, Eastwood produced, directed, and starred in the screenplay by Richard LaGravenese. Filmed on location in Madison County’s Winterset and Dallas County’s Adel over 42 days ending on November 1, 1994, Eastwood directed the film shot chronologically from the character Francesca Johnson’s (Streep) point of view.
Featuring locations throughout the area including the famed Roseman and Holliwell covered bridges, many other local landmarks including Pammel State Park, the Pheasant Run Bar & Grill, the Northside Cafe, and Winterset Park also appear in the film.
The farm utilized for scenes at Francesca’s house stands roughly sixteen miles from Winterset. The farm house stood empty for 35 years before crews completely restored the residence before filming began. In 2003, arson damaged the popular tourist attraction leading to a discontinuation of tours.
The film grossed over $10 million on an opening weekend release in 1,805 venues across the country. Streep shined in her portrayal of Francesca, earning a nomination for Best Actress at the 1996 Academy Awards. #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryCalendar