American History X (1998)

In the 1998 Tony Kaye film “American History X,” Derek, played by Edward Norton, lives at this house in Venice, California.  After a racially motivated assault in front of the house, Derek is sent to prison.

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LOCATION: 2206 Meade Pl, Venice, CA 90291

Derek and his skinhead crew vandalize the former Archie’s Ranch Market in North Hollywood, which has since closed and is now a gym.  This angle seen in the film is from the rear parking lot.

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LOCATION: 7500 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91605

Later in the film, Derek and his brother Danny, played by Edward Furlong, visit Johnie’s Coffee Shop Restaurant in midtown Los Angeles.  The restaurant closed many years ago, but still operates as a filming location.  It has appeared in “Reservoir Dogs,” “The Big Lebowski,” “Miracle Mile,” “Gone in Sixty Seconds” and many more.

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LOCATION: 6099 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048

My Girl (1991)

For those seeking out the filming locations of the 1991 film “My Girl,” prepare yourself for a lengthy journey.  While the film was set in Madison, Pennsylvania, it was shot mostly around Central Florida, with many of the locations scattered far apart from one another, tucked away in small towns.  To see the “My Girl” locations for yourself requires a lot of time and travel.

The Saltenfuss house, where Vada, played by Anna Chlumsky, lives with her father Harry, played by Dan Aykroyd, can be found in the town of Bartow, Florida.  For quite some time after the film, the property operated as a bed and breakfast.  Due to the property’s distance from major tourist destinations, however, it was unfortunately forced to shut down due to a lack of guest bookings.  It has since returned to being a private residence.  The house is very impressive and recognizable to how it appeared on screen, so if you have the time to venture to Bartow and are a fan of the film, it’s worth the journey.

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LOCATION: 555 E Stanford St, Bartow, FL 33830

Shelly, played by Jamie Lee Curtis, pulls her RV up from around this corner in front of the house.

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The main street where Veda and Thomas J., played by Macaulay Culkin, ride their bikes can be found in Sanford, Florida.  They can be seen crossing this road with the clock tower to the right, then riding down the sidewalk.

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LOCATION: Intersection of E 1st St and Magnolia Ave, Sanford, FL 32771

They then ride their bikes up a ramp that specifically says “no bicycles,” taking a short cut through a mechanic’s garage.  That building and ramp have since been demolished.  The alley they exit onto can still be found, however, where the garage owner yells at them as they ride away.

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LOCATION: Alley directly behind 228 E 1st St, Sanford, FL 32771

As they approach Dr. Welty’s office, they continue riding their bikes down another alley, which features a “Nixon / Agnew ’72” poster on the brick wall.  This alley really is just around the corner from the Dr. Welty’s office filming location.

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LOCATION: Alley between 107 and 111 Magnolia Ave, Sanford, FL 32771

Vada visits Dr, Welty’s office, where, in spite of her claims that she’s sick, the doctor insists she’s in perfect health.

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LOCATION: 113 Magnolia Ave, Sanford, FL 32771

The kids then come across their school teacher, Mr. Bixler, played by Griffin Dunne, who is painting his house.

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LOCATION: 605 Magnolia Ave, Sanford, FL 32771

The tree where Vada and Thomas J. become “blood brothers” and later kiss in the film was a bit of movie magic.  It was, in fact, an artificial tree, built in part using pieces of a real tree.  After extensive location hunting for a willow tree beside a lake, the filmmakers failed to find what they were looking for and instead opted to make their own tree.  A team was hired to cut down a large oak tree, tagging each branch for reassembly, then uprooting it and moving it to the lake location.  The lake in question is Mirror Lake in Clermont, Florida, which is located somewhat far away from the other filming locations.  The base of the tree was held in place by five tons of cement, with metal coupling sleeves to reinforce the branches.  They then covered the entire thing with $15,000 worth of silk willow leaves to give you the tree you saw in the film, which appeared quite authentic.  Today all that remains in the metallic base of the tree.  The dock was there until a few years ago, when it was removed due to deterioration.

This portion of the lake is not open to the public and is not visible from the road.  However, the much of the surrounding land is currently up for sale, in an effort to develop more housing around the area.  So while an eventual sale of the property could open it up for easier visibility, there is always the possibility that developing the land could in turn lead to the removal of the tree base.  The reason it hasn’t already been removed is most likely due to the five tons of concrete beneath.

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LOCATION: Mirror Lake, Old Hwy 50 W, Clermont, FL 34711 (closest known address is 15647 Old Hwy 50 W, Clermont, FL 34711, the GPS coordinates of the tree base itself are 28.565015, -81.700218)

A bit closer look at the tree base.

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Vada sneaks over to Thomas J.’s house and asks him to go to the church with her to spy on her father’s date with Shelly.

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LOCATION: 603 Myrtle Ave, Sanford, FL 32771

They church they head to is Ocoee Christian Church in Ocoee, Florida.  The kids can be seen walking down the sidewalk on the left and passing the front steps as they make their way over to the bingo tent.  Once again, Ocoee is not a short drive to get to and it’s somewhat puzzling why the filmmakers chose such a far-removed location, as surely there must have been other churches available that were closer to the other filming locations.

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LOCATION: 15 S Bluford Ave, Ocoee, FL 34761

Here is the yard to the church, where the bingo tent was set up.

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The school where Mr. Bixler teaches his creative writing class can be found at the 1914 Plant City High School Community Building, not to be confused with the present day Plant City High School.  The 1914 building is an old landmark and serves as a community center.

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LOCATION: 605 N Collins St, Plant City, FL 33563

Back in Sanford, near the end of the film, Thomas J.’s mother runs into Harry at The Breezeway Restaurant & Bar, which is located right by the clock tower on main street, where the kids are seen riding their bikes early in the film.  Harry is eating inside, when he comes out and speaks to her on this sidewalk at the corner.

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LOCATION: 112 E 1st St, Sanford, FL 32771

If you’re a fan of the film, the good news is most of the filming locations are still preserved.  The biggest challenge, aside from the handful of locations found around the town of Sanford, is simply traveling around to all of these distant towns from one another, which composite the small Pennsylvania town depicted in the film.

Ghostbusters (1984)

One of the most famous movie locations in the world, the fire station that served as the headquarters for the Ghostbusters in the original 1984 film can be found in the Tribeca neighborhood of New York City.  The building was chosen because the screenwriters imagined the Ghostbusters as a public service, much like firemen.  Cast member Dan Aykroyd knew the neighborhood well and suggested the building.  Still an active firehouse, the location draws countless visitors each year.

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LOCATION: 14 N Moore St, New York, NY 10013

Not quite as well known is the Los Angeles fire station location used in the film.  While the Hook & Ladder Company 8 building in Tribeca was used for exterior shots, interiors were filmed at Fire Station No. 23 in downtown L.A.  The fire station was closed in 1960 and has currently fallen into quite a state of disrepair.  The photo below is from several years ago, when it still looked presentable, but currently the building is boarded up, covered in graffiti and prohibited from entry.  Perhaps someday the interior will be restored to resemble the film, but it sits in a pretty bad area not far from skid row, so a restoration seems unlikely at this time.

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LOCATION: 225 E 5th St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

Over at the Sony lot in Culver City, California, there was even at attempt to build a replica of the Hook & Ladder 8 building.

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LOCATION: 10202 W Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

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Also on the lot is the Ecto 1 car, which can be seen on the Sony Pictures Studio Tour.

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Boy Meets World

While set in Philadelphia, the house from the TV series “Boy Meets World” can actually be found in Studio City, California.  The house is obscured by a lot of greens and overgrowth along fencing surrounding the property and it’s not easily visible from the street.  This is the view if you make your way up to the front gate.

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LOCATION: 4196 Colfax Ave, Studio City, CA 91604

The high school seen in the show is John Marshall High School.  A regular location in film and television, it has also appeared in such movies as “Rebel Without A Cause,” “A Nightmare On Elm Street,” “Pretty In Pink,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Bachelor Party,” “Grosse Pointe Blank,” “Grease” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” as well as such TV shows as “Boston Public” and many more.  It was even used in the Van Halen music video for “Hot For Teacher.”

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LOCATION: 3939 Tracy St, Los Angeles, CA 90027

The Mask (1994)

Much of the 1994 Jim Carrey comedy “The Mask” filmed around the Warner Bros. Studio Lot in Burbank, California.  After Carrey first tries on the mask, a startled neighbor pulls a gun on him and he leaps out of a window from this building on the Warner Lot, where he falls to the street and like a cartoon character, flattens like a pancake, before peeling himself back up.

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LOCATION: 4000 Warner Blvd., Burbank, CA 91505

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.

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LOCATION: 4616 Greenwood Pl, Los Angeles, CA 90027

Related articles: Beverly Hills, 90210

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

Related articles: Hard Eight (1996)Boogie Nights (1997)Punch-Drunk Love (2002)There Will Be Blood (2007)The Master (2012)Inherent Vice (2014)

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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My So-Called Life

The short-lived, but well remembered 90s TV drama “My So-Called Life,” where Claire Danes and Jared Leto got their starts, was set in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. However, as is the case with so many films and TV series, the house seen in the show was actually based in Southern California.  It can be found in South Pasadena.  The house was also used in Rob Zombie’s 2007 remake of “Halloween.”

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LOCATION: 1110 Glendon Way, South Pasadena, CA 91030

The Big Lebowski (1998)

“The Big Lebowski,” one of the great comedies of the Coen Brothers, shot all around the greater Los Angeles area.  Several of the movie locations are surprisingly difficult to gain access to however, so if you’re a fan of the film and want to check out the places where it was shot, just be aware it may be a more difficult process than you’d expect.

First, we start with the apartment of The Dude, played famously by Jeff Bridges.  The exterior apartment complex can be found in Venice, while the interiors were shot on a sound stage.  The complex has since been renovated, but still bears some resemblance to how it appeared in the film.

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LOCATION: 606 Venezia Ave, Venice, CA 90291

The apartment complex across the street can also be seen in the film.  This complex is frequently mistaken as being The Dude’s.

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LOCATION: 609 Venezia Ave, Venice, CA 90291

Just outside of the apartments on Venezia Ave, looking down toward Zeno Pl, you’ll see where The Dude confronts Da Fino, the brother shamus.

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LOCATION: Venezia Ave, Venice, CA 90291 (in front of The Dude’s apartment)

The famous bowling alley in the film no longer exists.  It was the Hollywood Star Lanes, formerly located at 5227 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90029.  The building was torn down in 2002 to make way for a children’s elementary school.

The Big Lebowski’s mansion consisted of two locations.  The exterior was shot at 10231 Charing Cross Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90024.  It is a private, gated property, closed to the public.  The interior of the mansion is the Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills.  The City of Beverly Hills actually owns the property, which is routinely used for filming.  The outside grounds are open to the public, but getting inside is more difficult.  Due to hosting productions and private events on a regular basis, only a few times a year does the city open the inside up for public viewing.  It can be done if you are patient and keep an eye out for these select dates, however.

Inside the Greystone Mansion, this wall is where The Dude talks with Brandt, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, and looks at all of The Big Lebowski’s awards and achievements, including his “Little Lebowski Urban Achievers.”  It’s known as the “Breakfast Room” inside the mansion.

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

Brandt is seen walking these hallways of Greystone Mansion several times in the film, as are The Dude and Walter, played by John Goodman.

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Another famous location inside of Greystone Mansion; The Dude talks to the distraught Big Lebowski in front of this fireplace, where The Dude is hired to find the kidnapped Bunny Lebowski.

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The very same room was used in Paul Thomas Anderson’s “There Will Be Blood,” as Daniel Plainview’s office, where his son visits him late in the film.  A little tip for Lebowski fans, this room can usually be seen without access inside the Greystone Mansion.  If you go to the front of the building and look through the windows, usually there are no curtains and this room, which is on the ground level, left of the main windows, can be seen.  The hallway Brandt walks down can also be seen through a doorway window, just around the corner to the left of this room, near the fish pond.  Only the Urban Achievers room truly requires access inside the mansion to be seen.

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The coffee shop where Walter tells dude he can “get you a toe by 3 o’clock… with nail polish” is Johnie’s Coffee Shop Restaurant in midtown Los Angeles.  The restaurant actually closed many years ago, but still operates as a filming location.  It has appeared in “Reservoir Dogs,” “American History X,” “Miracle Mile,” “Gone in Sixty Seconds” and many more.

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LOCATION: 6099 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048

The Dude, Walter and Donny pay a visit to Larry Sellers’ house, “near the In-N-Out Burger.”  It’s in front of this home that Walter destroys the red corvette.  Today, the home is partially obscured by trees.

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LOCATION: 1824 Stearns Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90035

Late in the film, The Dude pays a visit to Jackie Treehorn’s house.  In the film, the property is shown as being right on the beach.  Those beach scenes were filmed at Point Dume in Malibu.  In reality, however, the house is located in the hills of Benedict Canyon, nowhere near the beach.  It’s the Sheats-Goldstein House, one of the most unique and famous houses in Los Angeles.  It’s actually located just above Cielo Dr, where the Manson Family’s infamous murder of Sharon Tate and four others took place.  The house regularly hosts photo shoots for models and at one time even allowed porn shoots.  In 2016, the property was donated to LACMA, which hosts occasional events there.  The house is tucked away at the end of a cul-de-sac, down a long, private drive and is not visible from the street.  Unless you are a professional photographer or model, the only way to get onto the property is most likely, similar to Greystone Mansion, to keep your eyes peeled for a rare, public invitation.

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LOCATION: 10104 Angelo View Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

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