Forrest Gump (1994)

Visiting the filming locations of the classic 1994 film “Forrest Gump” is a staggering feat, as the story unfolds all across the United States and the production likewise followed that path.

The famous opening scene of the feather falling was filmed at Chippewa Square in Savannah, Georgia.  It descends past the steeple of The Independent Presbyterian Church Administration Building.

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LOCATION: The Independent Presbyterian Church Administration Building, Savannah, GA 31401

Here is a wider view of the full building.

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As the feather falls closer to the ground, we see the First Baptist Church in the distance.

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LOCATION: First Baptist Church, 223 Bull St, Savannah, GA 31401

The feather finally reaches the ground and settles on the shoe of Forrest Gump, played by Tom Hanks.  Forrest sits at a bus stop and recounts the story of his life to strangers sitting on a bench waiting for their bus rides.  The location where Forrest sits is at the intersection of Hull Street and Bull Street in Chippewa Square.  In reality, there is no bus stop or bench there.  They were added for the film.  Instead, there are just some plants.

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Here is a wider view of the area.

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LOCATION: Chippewa Square, Savannah, GA 31401 (at the intersection of Hull St / Bull St)

The actual bench from the film can be found at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, California.  It can be seen on their studio tours.

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LOCATION: 5555 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038

The exterior of the lounge where Forrest finds Jenny, played by Robin Wright, performing nude, can also be found in Savannah.  The name of the restaurant is Love’s, just as depicted in the film, but it is a seafood and steak joint and you won’t find any nude performers there.  The interior of the scene was actually filmed at the former Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, which has long since been demolished.

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LOCATION: 6817 Chief Of Love Rd, Savannah, GA 31419

Forrest celebrates New Year’s Eve with Lieutenant Dan, played by Gary Sinise, in what is supposed to be New York City.  This was actually filmed on 6th St in Downtown Los Angeles.  This area is right next to the locations used for the Nite Owl Coffee Shop from “L.A. Confidential” and Wild Bill’s Leather from “Seven,” both of which were fictional businesses.

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LOCATION: Near the intersection of E 6th St / S Los Angeles St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

On the same street, as Forrest exists a TV studio, Lieutenant Dan is waiting for him outside.  This was actually on a ramp built above this sandwich shop, which has since been removed. The same sandwich shop has appeared in the films “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “Rumor Has It” and “A Lot Like Love.”

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LOCATION: 118 E 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90014

Lieutenant Dan then loses control of his wheelchair and slides down the ramp into this wall at the same location.

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Later in the film, Forrest begins running, from coast to coast.  He is seen reaching the famous Santa Monica Pier.

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LOCATION: 200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA 90401

He reaches the end of the pier and turns around to begin running back across the country.  There is a Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. restaurant located on the pier itself as well, although of course it was not a filming location.

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As Forrest runs through Flagstaff, Arizona, he steps in a pile of manure and helps coin the phrase “Shit happens.”

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LOCATION: Near 106 N San Francisco St, Flagstaff, AZ 86001

Also in Flagstaff, Forrest runs past the former Twin Arrows Trading Post.  The building featured two large, wooden arrows piercing the ground.  Some mud splashes on Forrest and he uses a t-shit to clean off his face, creating the famous smiley face t-shirt.  The building now unfortunately sits abandoned.

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LOCATION: Twin Arrows Trading Post Ruins – Historic Route 66, Flagstaff, AZ 86004

Here’s a closer look at the arrows, which are slowly deteriorating.

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Forrest’s running attire from the film can be found on display at Planet Hollywood in Florida.

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LOCATION: 1506 E Buena Vista Dr, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Late in the film, Jenny is working as a waitress and sees Forrest on television.  This was filmed at Debi’s Restaurant in Savannah, located just a few blocks away from the opening scene of the film.

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LOCATION: 225 E Bay St, Savannah, GA 31401

The restaurant is quite proud of their connection to the film and the front is decorated with quotes from the film and a shot of the scene.

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We’ve only covered a portion of the vast filming locations here.  The production also shot scenes in South Carolina, Utah, Arizona, North Carolina, Vermont, Maine, Montana and Washington D.C.

(500) Days Of Summer (2009)

Marc Webb’s 2009 romantic comedy “(500) Days of Summer” was filmed all around Southern California.  Summer, played by Zooey Deschanel, lives at this apartment, known as The Barclay.  The same building was featured in another Zooey Deschanel film, “Yes Man,” co-starring Jim Carrey, who is seen talking a suicidal jumper off a ledge around the corner from this entrance.

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LOCATION: 706 Normandie Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90005

Tom, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, is seen walking along Normandie Ave in front of Summer’s apartment.  The filmmakers actually composited a skyline view of downtown L.A. into the horizon, which is not actually visible from the street.

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Tom and Summer break up at the former Quality Cafe in Downtown Los Angeles.  The diner was a one-time staple of films, appearing in “Seven,” “Training Day,” “Ghost World,” “Catch Me If You Can,” “Million Dollar Baby” and dozens more.  However, it was not an actual restaurant open to the public.  Instead it was used solely for filming.  Sadly, it ceased to function as a filming location and was completely renovated in 2014.  The property no longer bears any resemblance to how it appeared in so many films.

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LOCATION: 1238 W 7th St, Los Angeles, CA 90017 (now closed and heavily remodeled)

Tom and Summer rent an adult movie from this building in Downtown Los Angeles.  The same building was used as the bank in “Killing Zoe.”

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LOCATION: 401 S Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

The fountain where Tom begins to dance is the Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain in Grand Park in Downtown L.A.  The same fountain was seen in “Pretty Woman.”

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LOCATION: Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain, Los Angeles, CA 90012

The bench where the couple sits and looks over the city is another sad story of a film location soon to be lost.  The bench was located in a small park area once known as Angels Knoll in Los Angeles, California, now called Angels Landing.  Located directly beside Angels Flight from “La La Land,” the bench attracted many visitors after the release of the film, who enjoyed recreating the famous shot.

Sadly in 2013, the City of Los Angeles permanently closed the park, blocking it off with fencing and no trespassing signs.  Many years passed while the area sat unused and inaccessible to the public.  During this time, the Angels Flight was thankfully restored at put back into operation, so film lovers can at least rejoice that fact.  The fate of the “500 Days” bench and the Angels Knoll park in general was less optimistic, however.  While the area can still be seen, either through the fencing, or from the restaurant area overlooking the park, it is no longer possible to get an up close shot like seen in the film.

Plans have since been announced for a high rise to be built in place of the park, but for now, the area still remains vacant and fenced off.  Here we take a look back to when the park and bench were still open and accessible.

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There was even a plaque on the bench commemorating the film, which read “Tom’s favorite place becomes one of Summer’s too.”  While the bench is still there (for now), the plaque has been removed.

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LOCATION: 356 S Olive St, Los Angeles, CA 90013 (permanently closed, soon to be demolished)

Tom’s apartment can be found in Downtown Los Angeles.

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LOCATION: 432 S Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

Rachel, played by Chloë Grace Moretz, lives at this house in the Eagle Rock neighborhood of Los Angeles, seen briefly in the film.  It sits directly next door to the house of Dave Chappelle’s character in “A Star Is Born.”

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LOCATION: 5231 Shearin Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90041

Tom attends Millie’s wedding at the Point Fermin Lighthouse in San Pedro.  This is located very near the Korean Bell of Friendship from “The Usual Suspects.”

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LOCATION: 807 W Paseo Del Mar, San Pedro, CA 90731

Near the end of the film, Tom has an interview at the Bradbury Building in Downtown L.A., famous of course for it’s use in “Blade Runner.”

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LOCATION: 304 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013

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.

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

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

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Over at Harvard Square in Cambridge, north of Boston, you’ll find where a couple memorable locations from the film formerly stood, right across the street from Harvard University.  However, it gets confusing due to some remodeling that took place after filming. The Bow and Arrow Pub is where, after obtaining Skyler’s phone number and spotting a rival grad student, Will walks up to the window and delivers his famous “How do you like them apples?” line.

In the film, the scene was at the storefront of a Dunkin Donuts. After the remodel, the Dunkin Donuts relocated over to the left side, down Bow St, before eventually closing it’s doors for good. However, the location on the left, which is currently a ramen restaurant, was not the original filming location. You can see the actors standing next to Massachusetts Ave in the scene, confirming the geography of the original site. Thanks to reader “Little P” for helping clarify this.

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LOCATION: 1230 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

In the same general area is where the former Bow and Arrow Pub stood, which is where Will first meets Skylar. It’s also where he has the confrontation with an arrogant, pony-tailed grad student later seen at the Dunkin Donuts. It was formerly located a bit further down Bow St, prior to the property being remodeled. It was likewise taken over as the back portion of the Grafton Pub, while the front portion changed into a separate storefront.

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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.

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LOCATION: Boston Public Garden, Boston, MA 02116