Roar (1981)

The 1981 film “Roar” has been called “the most dangerous film ever made” and may well be exactly that.  The film was created by director Noel Marshall and his then wife Tippi Hedren, who both star, after they drew inspiration to raise awareness against animal poaching while visiting Africa.  Marshall and Hedren began raising a variety of big cats at their home, eventually purchasing a ranch in Acton, California.

Using large, untrained animals, the film is scripted, but with the unpredictable behavior of the animals, it often feels like a documentary.  Initially shooting scenes in Santa Clarita, filming shifted to Acton and the troubled shoot, which involved 70 injuries to the cast and crew, continued on for 5 years.  Actress Melanie Griffith, daughter to Tippi Hedren, was among the injured, requiring facial reconstructive surgery after being attacked by a lion.

The film eventually saw release in 1981, but only hit theaters outside of the U.S. upon initial release.  However, 34 years later, it was finally re-released into theaters in 2015, including the United States, and has since gained a cult following.

Today the ranch in Acton, known as the Shambala Preserve, is still operated by The Roar Foundation, founded by Tippi Hedren.  The ranch offer tours, but reservations fill up quickly.

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LOCATION: 6867 Soledad Canyon Rd, Acton, CA 93510

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Duel (1971)

Steven Speilberg’s dazzling debut, the 1971 thriller “Duel,” was mostly filmed around the Santa Clarita and Acton areas of California.  David, played by Dennis Weaver, lives at this house in Toluca Lake, which has unfortunately since been heavily remodeled from how it appeared in the film.

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LOCATION: 10414 Bloomfield St, Toluca Lake, CA 91602

As the film unravels, David unwillingly embarks on a terrifying cat and mouse game with a sadistic truck driver.  The film does a great job of making most of the locations look quite desolate, but in reality the majority are located pretty close to civilization.

David stops off at this distinct looking restaurant with a stone facade in Santa Clarita after an encounter with the mysterious truck driver.  Just a few buildings up the road is the motel from “Too Old To Die Young.”

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LOCATION: 12625 Sierra Hwy, Santa Clarita, CA 91390

The tunnel where the kids on the school bus are stranded can be found on Soledad Canyon Rd in Santa Clarita, just past Capra Rd.  From there you would pass through to the shoulder on the other side of the tunnel, as the view seen in the film is looking back westbound.

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LOCATION: 34°25’55.1″N, 118°20’59.9″W (nearest address is 11540 Soledad Canyon Rd, Santa Clarita, CA 91390)

David hides and tries to get some sleep further down Soledad Canoyn Rd, near the entrance of Middleton Ranch.

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LOCATION: 6201 Soledad Canyon Rd, Acton, CA 93510

The truck follows David up this mesa next to Vasquez Canyon Rd in Santa Clarita.  In fact, the name of the road is Mesa Dr, though it is now fenced off.

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LOCATION: Mesa Dr / Vasquez Canyon Rd, Santa Clarita, CA 91390

If you’ve never seen the film, we encourage you to seek it out.  While the plot is pretty minimal, the execution stands the test of time and is so well done, it’s easy to see why Spielberg quickly made a name for himself.