Death Becomes Her (1992)

In Robert Zemeckis’ underrated 1992 black comedy “Death Becomes Her,” Madeline, played by Meryl Streep and Ernest, played by Bruce Willis, live at this estate in San Marino, California.  Later in the film, Helen, played by Goldie Hawn, pays the couple a visit with sinister plans.

deathbecomesher1

LOCATION: 1125 Oak Grove Ave, San Marino, CA 91108

Bruce Willis, who plays a mortician in the film, does reconstructive work on bodies in what is actually the kitchen of the Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills.  The mansion is owned by the City of Beverly Hills and frequently hosts productions.  The building has been used in countless films.  This room alone has also been seen in “Spider-Man 3,” “The Bodyguard” and “The Witches Of Eastwick.”  While the exterior grounds of the mansion are open the the public, the interior usually is not.  However, once or twice a year, the city does allow the public access inside.  It is one of our most highly recommended places if you’re a movie fan and can manage to get on one of these self-guided tours.  Short of a film studio, you’ll be hard pressed to find another place with so many film locations.

deathbecomesher2

LOCATION: 905 Loma Vista Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90210

deathbecomesher3

Benson

“Benson,” a spin-off of the television series “Soap,” about a butler becoming the Governor’s “Director of Household Affairs,” ran from 1979 until 1986.  The Governor’s house from the show can be found perched atop a hill in Pasadena, California.  The house is much larger than you might expect.

benson1

LOCATION: 1365 S Oakland Ave, Pasadena, CA 91106

War Of The Worlds (2005)

One of the most interesting things to see on the Universal Studios Tour at Universal Studios Hollywood is the plane crash set from the 2005 Steven Spielberg film “War Of The Worlds.”  It is a very intricate set, with lots of full-scale, realistic wreckage.  Cars, ambulances and even an actual, out of use, Boeing 747 were all used for film.  Universal made it an interactive exhibition, with fires and smoke as you pass through.

waroftheworlds1

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

waroftheworlds2

waroftheworlds3

waroftheworlds4

waroftheworlds5

waroftheworlds6

waroftheworlds7

One tip for those perhaps not interested in paying the full price for admission into Universal Studios Hollywood, this set can actually be seen free of charge from a hilltop behind the studio.  Just head up to the 3400 block of Blair Dr in Los Angeles for a view of the crash set.  It’s obviously not as good as viewing it up close from ground level, but if you’ve got some time to spare, it’s still an interesting sight.

waroftheworlds8.jpg

LOCATION: 3400 block of Blair Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90068

Pawn Stars

Just a few miles from the Las Vegas Strip, you’ll find the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, also known as the “Pawn Stars” shop from the hit TV series.  The shop is open 24 hours, with security always posted at the front entrance.  Depending on the level of business at a given time, the staff will sometimes form a line outside for visitors to enter if it becomes too crowded inside.

pawnstars1

LOCATION: 713 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89101

pawnstars3

pawnstars2

Video inside the store is strictly forbidden.  However, photography is permitted.  Here is the famous sales counter from the show.

pawnstars4

pawnstars5

Melrose Place

In the early 1990s, in an effort to capitalize on the popularity of “Beverly Hills, 90210,” Aaron Spelling’s production company introduced a second series into the 90210 universe, known as “Melrose Place.”  The show inhabited the same universe, with characters overlapping for special guest appearances.  The original series ran from 1992 to 1999.

The famous apartment building from the show was supposedly located at 4616 Melrose Place in Los Angeles.  It turned out the producers made just a minor change to the real apartment’s address, which is located at 4616 Greenwood Place, in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles.  The building is known as the El Pueblo Apartments.  There is also a real Melrose Place in West Hollywood, but you won’t find much there besides some commercial businesses on a short street.

As for the courtyard and interiors seen in the show, those were filmed on a sound stage.  There is no pool at the actual El Pueblo location and if you head past the front gates, you’ll quickly realize the rest of the building bears little resemblance to the show.

melroseplace1

LOCATION: 4616 Greenwood Pl, Los Angeles, CA 90027

Related articles: Beverly Hills, 90210

No Doubt House

While Anaheim is primarily known as the home of Disneyland, another big piece of the city’s pop culture legacy is the rock band No Doubt.  The former Stefani house on Beacon Avenue in Anaheim plays a major role in the band’s history.  After their formation, No Doubt regularly practiced in the garage of this house.  When they finally found their breakthrough hit, “Just A Girl,” the house was seen in the music video (the neighbor’s house to the left could be seen as well), as Gwen Stefani sings in the driveway.  The band even named their record label Beacon Street Records, as well as naming one of their albums “The Beacon Street Collection,” all in reference to their beginnings at this home.  A shot of the band in the driveway can be seen on the back cover of the album.

nodoubt1

LOCATION: 1173 W Beacon Ave, Anaheim, CA 92802

Good Will Hunting (1997)

Despite being famously set in Boston, Massachusetts, much of the 1997 film “Good Will Hunting” actually filmed in Toronto, Canada.  The film brought home Oscar gold for screenwriters Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, as well as Robin Williams.  Despite heavily filming in Toronto, some scenes were indeed filmed in Boston, including several of the film’s most well-known locations.

Will, played by Matt Damon, and Chuckie, played by Ben Affleck, hang out at the L Street Tavern in South Boston.

goodwillhunting1

LOCATION: 658 E 8th St, Boston, MA 02127

goodwillhunting2

They even keep a sign on the side of the building, calling it the “Home of Good Will Hunting.”

goodwillhunting3

Over at Harvard Square in Cambridge, north of Boston, you’ll find a couple memorable locations from the film, located right across the street from Harvard University.  The Bow and Arrow Pub is where Will meets Skylar.  It’s also where he has the confrontation with an arrogant, pony-tailed grad student.  The bar is now known as the Grafton Street Pub & Grill.

goodwillhunting5

LOCATION: 1230 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

Literally directly to the left of the Grafton Street Pub, you’ll find what used to be a Dunkin’ Donuts.  The building currently serves as a ramen restaurant.  After obtaining Skyler’s phone number and spotting the pony-tailed grad student once again, this is the window front Will walks up to and delivers his famous “How do you like them apples?” line.

goodwillhunting4

LOCATION: 1 Bow St, Cambridge, MA 02138

The famous bench where Will sits with Sean, played by Robin Williams, can be found at the Boston Public Garden.  Surprisingly, the bench is not marked in any way as being the spot from the film.  If you’re unfamiliar with the garden park, it may take you a bit to find it, but it’s a popular spot and sometimes you can spot it simply by watching for others taking photos there.  To get to the bench, follow the lakeside path north from the west end of the bridge.  If you’re at the bridge, you would go down the small set of stairs to reach it.  Behind the bench, you’ll see an intersection of paths and a tree with a branch forming a “v” shape.  In front of the bench, you’ll see the below view, with the curving edge along the water and the tree in the distance.  Referring to this map of the park, the bench is number 5.

goodwillhunting6

LOCATION: Boston Public Garden, Boston, MA 02116

A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)

One of the more well-known filming locations in Los Angeles is the house from Wes Craven’s 1984 horror classic, “A Nightmare On Elm Street.”  The house can be found, not on Elm Street, but a road just off of Hollywood Blvd, called Genesee Ave.

The house of Nancy Thompson, played by Heather Langenkamp, it a fairly popular spot and receives a regular stream of visitors and fans of the films.

nightmareonelmstreet1

LOCATION: 1428 N Genesee Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046

Just across the street, you’ll find the house of Glen Lantz, played by a young Johnny Depp.

nightmareonelmstreet2

LOCATION: 1419 N Genesee Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046

La La Land (2016)

Perhaps no movie has inspired more interest in it’s filming locations over the past several years than the love letter to the City of Los Angeles, “La La Land.”  The 2016 musical, starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, filmed at a wide variety of locations all over the greater Los Angeles and Orange County areas.  There are so many locations, in fact, one would be challenged to see them all in a single day.

Mia, played by Emma Stone, works in a coffee shop on the Warner Bros. Studio lot.  The real building is indeed located on the Warner lot, however, it is not actually a coffee shop.  Rather it is just a building facade, used for any number of settings for productions.  After the success of the film, however, Warner Bros. did decorate the building again to make it appear as it did in the film, for a few select weeks.  The building can be seen as part of their studio tour.

lalaland1

LOCATION: 4000 Warner Blvd., Burbank, CA 91505

Mia lives at this pink apartment building in Long Beach, known as El Cordova.

lalaland12

LOCATION: 1728 E 3rd St, Long Beach, CA 90802

The production filmed inside of unit 16.

lalaland14

Mia exits through the courtyard to join her roommates for a dance number.

lalaland13

She and her roommates then dance on E 3rd Street in front of her apartment.

lalaland15

Later in the film, Sebastian, played by Ryan Gosling, visits the apartment and picks up Mia at this back entrance to the building.

lalaland16

They then drive down this back alley.

lalaland17

Mia is walking alone past this famous mural in Hollywood, known as the “You Are A Star” mural, when she hears music inside.  She enters to find Sebastian playing piano.  The mural can be found at the corner of Hollywood Blvd and Wilcox Ave.

lalaland2

LOCATION: 1648 Wilcox Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028

After reconnecting at a party, Sebastian walks with Mia along Mt Hollywood Drive towards the viewpoint where the film’s most famous scene takes place; the dance sequence over the night skyline.

lalaland6

A lot of creative license was used by the filmmakers here, as to get to the dance spot, the characters would’ve had to hike nearly an hour.  The spot is known as “Cathy’s Corner” in Griffith Park and it requires a bit of commitment if you wish to see it in person.

lalaland3

LOCATION: Cathy’s Corner, Mt Hollywood Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027

There’s surprisingly little information online about how to accurately reach Cathy’s Corner.  Here we’ll attempt to detail that.  First and foremost, the spot is completely inaccessible by vehicle.  It is found along a fully paved road, but the road is gated off in all directions from motor vehicles.  Aside from park rangers, the road is primarily used by hikers and bicyclists.  Many GPS systems will offer different routes to drive to Cathy’s Corner, but rest assured, you’ll only get so far before you’ll encounter signs or gates preventing you from proceeding any further by car.

The viewpoint is accessible a couple different ways on foot, but the best way to do it is by parking at the Griffith Observatory.  The lot at the Observatory itself is almost always full.  You’re unlikely to find a spot in the actual lot.  However, you can park along East or West Observatory Road.  Unfortunately, these are now paid parking spaces.  There are a few free auxiliary lots, but those fill up quickly as well, plus they get you pretty far away from where you need to be to get to Cathy’s Corner.  You shouldn’t have a difficult time finding a paid parking space on Observatory Road, unless you’re arriving at peak evening hours.  Your best bet is to arrive early.

The easiest way to spot the trail head to reach Cathy’s Corner is to look for the tunnel when approaching Griffith Observatory.  Most traffic to reach the Observatory passes through it.  The tunnel was famously seen in Back To The Future Part 2, when Biff and Marty McFly (riding a hoverboard) fight over a sports almanac.  The very first road on your right, once you pass through the tunnel, is where you will need to hike.  It will either be gated off, or if the gates are open, a guard will be parked there, making sure no motorists attempt to drive up it.  The road is freely accessible to pedestrians on foot or bike, however, and you’ll likely see a lot of both.  You simply take that road for 2.2 miles to reach Cathy’s Corner.

It is a moderate hike.  Much of it is uphill, but considering you can walk a paved road the entire way, as well as the fact that there are resting spots and a water fountain along the way, it’s certainly manageable for most.  A couple bottles of water should suffice, unless it’s an extremely hot day.

If you use GPS for walking, it should be accurate from Griffith Observatory to Cathy’s Corner.  The hike takes anywhere from 90 minutes to a couple hours round trip, depending on your foot speed.  Cathy’s Corner can be found along a winding corner of Mt Hollywood Drive and should be distinct from all other corners for it’s skyline view.  Contrary to some information online, you do not likely need to worry about traffic, snakes or mountain lions.  It’s a heavily used trail on a paved road.  Your biggest challenge will be to simply bring adequate hydration and know where you are headed.  You can visit there at sunset or night, but you’ll likely have a difficult time finding a parking space.

Taking a closer look at the viewpoint, Sebastian hangs from a lamppost here, which was added by the production.

lalaland4

Sebastian and Mia then sit at a bench, which was located here.  The bench was likewise added by the production.

lalaland5

After their famous dance routine, Sebastian walks Mia to her car, which is also located at Cathy’s Corner, simply looking the opposite direction as the scenic view.  The production added cars and lampposts all along the road.

lalaland7

Excited about their budding romance, Sebastian sneaks onto the Warner Bros lot to visit Mai at her workplace and the two take a stroll together down the studio backlot.

lalaland8

LOCATION: 4000 Warner Blvd., Burbank, CA 91505

The pair then go see a jazz show at the Lighthouse Cafe, near the Hermosa Pier in Hermosa Beach.  The Lighthouse Cafe really is a jazz bar.

lalaland9

LOCATION: 30 Pier Ave, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254

After watching “Rebel Without a Cause,” the couple makes an impromptu trip to the Griffith Observatory.

griffith10

LOCATION: 2800 E Observatory Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

Sebastian drives his convertible, with Mia in tow, down the sidewalk on the right.

griffith6

They then dance around this pendulum inside the Observatory.

griffith12

The two gaze up at this mural inside.

griffith13

They also pause to take a look at this Tesla Coil.

griffith14

During a romantic “summer” montage, the two can be seen walking along the Colorado Street Bridge in Pasadena.

lalaland29

LOCATION: 504 W Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91105

The pair can also be seen visiting the Watts Towers.

lalaland10

LOCATION: 1727 E 107th St, Los Angeles, CA 90002

Sebastian and Mia can also be seen riding up Angels Flight in downtown Los Angeles.  They dance together briefly at the top.

lalaland11.jpg

LOCATION: 50 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90013

Later in the film, Mia, now a successful actress, can be seen staying at the Chateau Marmont in Hollywood.

somewhere1

LOCATION: 8221 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90046

Near the end of the film, Mia accidentally stumbles upon Sebastian, who has opened his own jazz bar, called Seb’s.  In reality, Seb’s was a combination of two film locations.  The exterior is a Los Angeles bar known simply as Black.

lalaland21

LOCATION: 6202 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90038

Here is the angle from the sidewalk seen in the film.

lalaland18

The interior is a bar far from Los Angeles, located in Long Beach, known as The Blind Donkey.  After the success of the film, The Blind Donkey hosted an evening based around the film, where they once again dressed the space to appear as it did in the film.

Here is the stairway Mia walks down to enter the bar.

lalaland19

Here is the stage where Sebastian played his piano.  In the actual bar, it’s just an enclosed seating area.

lalaland20

LOCATION: 149 Linden Ave Ste. B100, Long Beach, CA 90802

As many locations as we’ve covered here, there are still countless more seen in the film.  We hope we have covered most of the highlights.