Face/Off (1997)

John Travolta plays FBI Agent Sean Archer in John Woo’s 1997 action film “Face/Off.”  Archer lives with his family at this Pacific Palisades home, right near the ocean.  Later in the film, Nicolas Cage’s villainous character, Castor Troy, bearing the face of Sean Archer, comes to his home and begins role-playing as husband and father.

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LOCATION: 326 N Swarthmore Ave, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

The Osbournes

In 2002, MTV found themselves a hit television show when they decided to start following the personal lives of rock legend Ozzy Osbourne and his family.  The show ran four seasons until 2005, filming inside the family’s Beverly Hills home.  Fans of the show are likely to be disappointed if they attempt to visit the actual house, however.  It is obscured by walls, gates and trees, making very little of the house visible to the public.  Here we offer what little can be seen.  The Osbournes have long since moved out.  The house later belonged to singer Christina Aguilera as well, who likewise has long since moved.

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LOCATION: 513 Doheny Rd, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

The front entrance.  Visitors should avoid walking up the front steps, as it is a private, residence.

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The Fighter (2010)

David O. Russell’s gritty boxing drama “The Fighter” shot mostly in the town of Lowell, Massachusetts, where the real life characters the film is based upon actually lived.  The film opens with Micky Ward, played by Mark Wahlberg, working on the streets, accompanied by this brother, Dicky Eklund, played by Christian Bale.

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LOCATION: In front of 318 Westford St, Lowell, MA 01851

The two are being filmed by an HBO film crew, which Dicky erroneously believes are documenting his boxing comeback.  Micky and Dicky do a playful spar in front of the cameras at this intersection.

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LOCATION: Intersection of Westford St / Hastings St, Lowell, MA 01851

The camera then speeds away down Hastings Street.

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LOCATION: Hastings St, Lowell, MA 01851 (looking towards Westford St)

Dicky is seen many times throughout the film staying at this drug house, where he smokes crack.  He repeatedly tries to escape when his family comes looking for him, jumping into a pile of trash in the back.

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LOCATION: 38 Smith St, Lowell, MA 01851

Later in the film, Dicky realizes he’s late for a training session and steps outside of the front door.  He then begins running down the street to the gym.

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Micky meets Charlene, played by Amy Adams, at this bar.  The bar is only shown from interior views in the film.

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LOCATION: Buck’s Bar & Grill, 165 Chelmsford St, Lowell, MA 01851

Micky lives at this home, where Charlene confronts him for standing her up on a date.

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LOCATION: 11 Marshall St, Lowell, MA 01851

Charlene lives at this house, where later in the film, Dicky comes to the porch.  Charlene looks out the window on the right of the second floor and argues with Dicky from the porch, before eventually coming out to the front porch herself.

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LOCATION: 105 11th St, Lowell, MA 01850

Magnolia (1999)

Paul Thomas Anderson’s 1999 film, “Magnolia,” named after a street that spans the San Fernando Valley, was shot mostly, as you might expect, around the Valley.  However, in the opening “coincidences” sequence, there is a memorable scene in which an attempted suicide becomes an accidental homicide.  That scene was shot at the Bryson Apartments on Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles.

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LOCATION: 2701 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90057

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True Romance (1993)

In the 1993 Tony Scott directed, Quentin Tarantino penned film, “True Romance,” the outlaw couple of Clarence, played by Christian Slater and Alabama, played by Patricia Arquette, supposedly meet in Detroit.  In reality, most of the film was shot in Southern California.  Early in the film, they see a Sonny Chiba “Street Fighter” triple feature together.  This was filmed at the Vista Theater, one of L.A.’s greatest vintage theaters.

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LOCATION: 4473 Sunset Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027

After the movies, the couple goes for coffee and pie at Rae’s Restaurant in Santa Monica.

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LOCATION: 2901 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405

The billboard location where the two sit outside and talk could be found in downtown Los Angeles at the Dewey Hotel Apartments.  Unfortunately, there is no longer an actual billboard on the side of the building.

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LOCATION: 721 S Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90014

The comic book store, “Heroes For Sale,” where Clarence works, was actually “Fantastic Store,” a former comic book, music and vintage store located near the famous intersection of Hollywood Blvd and Highland Ave in Hollywood.  The store has unfortunately long since closed and bears little resemblance to how it appeared in the film.

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LOCATION: 1718 N Highland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028

Later in the film, the couple stays at this motel, supposedly located on the Sunset Strip.  The real motel, the Safari Inn, is actually located just north of L.A., in Burbank, California.

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LOCATION: 1911 W Olive Ave, Burbank, CA 91506

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J.S.A.: Joint Security Area (2000)

If you’ve never seen the 2000 South Korean film “Joint Security Area,” from “Oldboy” director Chan-Wook Park, you certainly owe it to yourself to seek it out.  Amongst it’s many accolades, the film was hailed by Quentin Tarantino as one of the 20 greatest films since 1992.

Part of the film is, of course, set in the Joint Security Area, inside the D.M.Z., where the North and South Korean borders meet and where the two governments meet to discuss matters on occasion.  In reality, South Korean citizens are not permitted inside the D.M.Z. or J.S.A., so the production had to create a full-scale replica for the film.  That replica was built at the Namyangju Film Studio in Gyeonggi-do, South Korea, about an hour outside of Seoul.  You can take a more in-depth look at the studio here.

The replica J.S.A. still stands today and looks identical to how it appeared in the film.  The replica structure continues to be used by nearly any South Korean production looking to film scenes set within the J.S.A., but remains best known for being seen in the “Joint Security Area” film.

LOCATION: Namyangju Film Studio, 138, Bukhangang-ro 855beon-gil, Joan-myeon, Namyangju-si, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea

Upon approaching the replica J.S.A, you’ll see this sign in front.

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Here is the actual J.S.A. recreation, which strongly resembles the real buildings.

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This sign is posted next to one of the buildings, depicting the film’s famous final shot.

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A closer look at the “North Korean” side.  Visitors are of course welcome to freely cross the fictitious border, but the resemblance is so strong, it makes for a strange feeling walking across, as if you really are crossing the border.

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The view back of the J.S.A. from the “North Korean” side.

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This pavilion overlooking the J.S.A. was also seen in the film in one scene.  It still appears exactly as it did in the film.

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We leave you with a poster for the film, seen in another section of Namyangji Film Studio.  The film studio offers unguided, public tours for a fairly low price.  We recommend you pay a visit if you’re an international film fan and find yourself in South Korea.

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Coming To America (1988)

The fictional McDowell’s fast food restaurant, an obvious riff on McDonald’s, from the 1988 Eddie Murphy comedy “Coming To America,” came to life for a short stint as a pop-up exhibition in Los Angeles in 2017.  It’s not the first time this has been done.  Previously another McDowell’s pop up surfaced in Chicago in 2015.  The “Home of the Big Mick” could be found at Fat Sal’s Hollywood, which converted their establishment for just 48 hours.  The pop-up has long since closed, but you can find pictures below of the event.  For those wondering, Samuel L. Jackson did not make any surprise appearance to stage a robbery, as depicted in the film.

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The ‘Burbs (1989)

The 1989 Joe Dante film “The ‘Burbs” is set in the fictional town of Hinkley Hills, which, judging by the opening zoom, would place it somewhere in Iowa.  The story unfolds on Mayfield Place, a cul-de-sac road in Hinkley Hills.  In reality, the entire neighborhood was a facade, filmed on a studio backlot.

Known as Colonial Street at Universal Studios, the houses and streets have changed significantly over the years.  Once used for television classics such as “The Munsters” and “Leave It To Beaver,” the neighborhood was significantly remodeled in 1988 for the production of “The ‘Burbs.”

LOCATION: 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608

In the years that followed, as new productions came along, the neighborhood and the homes began to resemble the film less and less.  Some houses were relocated, others heavily redesigned, while others still were demolished altogether.  Eventually the neighborhood became known as Wisteria Lane on the TV drama “Desperate Housewives.”

To complicate matters further, several of the houses in “The ‘Burbs” were deliberately shot in close-ups, rarely seen in wide shots.  Combined with all of the changes over the years, it makes piecing the neighborhood back together a difficult endeavor.

The centerpiece of the film is of course the Klopek house, which is owned by a creepy family that rarely shows themselves, much to the intrigue of all of the surrounding neighbors.  Sadly, the home no longer exists.  Portions, however, were said to have been reused and incorporated in the design of this house, which later became Bree Van de Kamp’s house on “Desperate Housewives.”

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The Peterson house, where Tom Hanks and Carrie Fisher live, was also unfortunately demolished and replaced with a different facade.

The house that most closely resembles how it appeared in the film is that of Walter, the old man with the small, white dog.  Aside from a paint job and some stairs being added, the house looks pretty much the same.

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Ricky Butler, played by Corey Feldman, lives at this house, which was once the home used for “The Munsters,” though it has since been heavily remodeled from how it appeared on the TV series.  Likely looking to avoid comparisons to the show, this house was only ever seen in close-up shots of the porch in “The ‘Burbs.”

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Colonial Street can be seen as part of the Universal Studios Hollywood Tour and even though the neighborhood has significantly changed and continues to change, movie and television lovers are still sure to appreciate a look around the historic, fictional neighborhood.

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Thelma & Louise (1991)

Ridley Scott’s 1991 film about two women on the run from the law, “Thelma & Louise,” is set all across the country.  In reality, however, the film shot mostly in Southern California and Utah, with a few shots in Colorado.  The film features one of the most famous endings of the 1990s.

The girls set off on their adventure when Louise, played by Susan Sarandon, picks up Thelma, played by Geena Davis, at her house, supposedly located in Arkansas.  The actual house can be found in Tarzana, California.

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LOCATION: 18633 Palomino Dr, Tarzana, CA 91356

The girls make their way to the the Silver Bullet Saloon for a night of drinking and dancing, before things take a dark turn, as a man tries to rape Thelma in the parking lot.  Louise intervenes and things take a violent turn, as the women’s would-be getaway trip becomes a run from the law.  The Silver Bullet Saloon really is a country-western themed night club, located in Long Beach, California.  However, it is now known as the Cowboy Country Saloon.

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LOCATION: 3321 E South St, Long Beach, CA 90805

Louise’s vintage Thunderbird convertible is another central character in the film, as it carries them through their outlaw road adventure, into the film’s famous ending.  Several identical Thunderbirds were used throughout the production.  Located at the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, this particular one was featured extensively, primarily being used for close-up shots in the film.

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LOCATION: Peterson Automotive Museum, 6060 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036