Two-Lane Blacktop (1971)

The 1971 road movie “Two-Lane Blacktop,” directed by Monte Hellman, was filmed across many states, including North Carolina, Tennessee, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arizona.  In the film, The Driver, played by James Taylor and The Mechanic, played by Dennis Wilson, stop off at this cafe located in Flagstaff, Arizona for a meal.  The classic ’55 Chevy from the film was parked out front in the scene.

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LOCATION: 7136 US-89, Flagstaff, AZ 86004

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Easy Rider (1969)

The 1969 counterculture road trip film, “Easy Rider,” directed by Dennis Hopper, was filmed across the American Southwest and South, including many sites tucked away along back roads.  If  inclined, one could take a unique road trip cross-country revisiting the filming locations.  Production took place across California, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Louisiana.

At the beginning of the film, after completing a drug deal that scores them cash for a cross-country trip, Wyatt and Billy, played by Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper respectively, begin their trip to New Orleans for Mardi Gras.  During the opening credits montage, they are seen driving past many locations on their bikes.  They drive along the California-Arizona Bridge at the border of the two states, passing over the Colorado River.  The Old Trails Bridge (15130 W Historic Rte 66, Topock, AZ 86436) can be seen behind them.

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LOCATION: California-Arizona Bridge, AZ-95, Needles, AZ 92363

During the same montage, they pass this hotel as they drive down Route 66 through Flagstaff, Arizona.  This building is located within walking distance of the “shit happens” jogging scene in “Forrest Gump.”

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LOCATION: 2 W Historic Rte 66, Flagstaff, AZ 86001

At the end of the day, Wyatt and Billy stop off at this motel, where the owner shuns them and changes the vacancy light to “no vacancy.”  Known as the Richfield building, it is located next to the Pine Breeze Inn RV Park.  The building itself has no known address.  The exact GPS coordinates are 35°13’27.1″N 111°48’02.3″W.  The owners are clearly aware of their connection to the film.  On the front door window, there is a small poster for the film.

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LOCATION: GPS coordinates: 35°13’27.1″N 111°48’02.3″W (nearest address is 10520 W Rte 66, Flagstaff, AZ 86015)

Here is the side of the building, where Wyatt and Billy have their encounter with the rude motel clerk.

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After picking up a hitchhiker, Wyatt and Billy stop at the Sacred Mountain service station in Flagstaff.  Billy pulls Wyatt aside and questions the safety of allowing the hitchhiker to fill his gas tank, as that is where their money stash is hidden.  The station has long since closed, but the building still remains.  If you’re driving on US-89, there is a small intersection at 150 Rd, which is where the building is located.

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LOCATION: GPS coordinates: 35°27’17.9″N 111°33’45.3″W (near intersection of US-89 / 150 Rd, Flagstaff, AZ 86004)

Billy, Wyatt and the hitchhiker end up camping overnight at Lomaki Pueblo in Cameron, Arizona.  There are several ruins along the trail at Lomaki Pueblo.  To find the exact spot used in the film, simply follow the trail to the furthest ruins and the location is just behind the wall.  In the photo below, the walking trail is just to the right of the frame.  It’s not a difficult task to reach the site, but there are many rocks protruding from the ground, so watch your steps as you traverse the uneven terrain.

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LOCATION: Lomaki Pueblo, Cameron, AZ 86020 (GPS coordinates: 35°34’46.3″N 111°28’04.8″W)

Even if you’re not a fan of the film, the Lomaki Pueblo is a unique place to visit and one we recommend if you’re in the area.

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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.

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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.

National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)

The comedy classic “National Lampoon’s Vacation” is set all across the United States, but a good portion of the filming was based in Southern California.

The Griswold house, set in Chicago, Illinois, is actually located in near Griffith Park in Los Angeles, California (you’ll likely drive right past if it you visit the Griffith Observatory).

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LOCATION: 2310 N Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90027

The hotel where Clark goes skinny dipping with “The Girl in the Ferarri,” played by Christie Brinkley, is the Guesthouse Hotel in Norwalk, California.  Despite some remodeling and changes in ownership, the pool area is still fairly recognizable to how it appeared in the film.  The scene where Clark runs into The Girl in the Ferrari at thehotel lounge was also filmed here, but that section, while still a lounge, has unfortunately been remodeled beyond recognition.

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LOCATION: 12500 Firestone Blvd, Norwalk, CA 90650

The gas station where Clark has trouble finding the gas tank can be found in Flagstaff, Arizona.

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LOCATION: 2515 E Butler Ave, Flagstaff, AZ 86004

When the Griswolds get lost in a bad neighborhood, the rough streets were actually filmed on the Warner Bros. Studio lot.  This is the spot where Clark is getting directions, while the guys on the street steal his hubcaps.

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LOCATION: 4000 Warner Blvd., Burbank, CA 91505

When Aunt Edna dies, the family drops her off at Cousin Normie’s house, which can be found in Flagstaff.

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LOCATION: 3025 W Wilson Dr, Flagstaff, AZ 86001

The production was clever when it came to filming the “Walley World” entrance at the end of the film.  While the amusement park used in the film was Six Flags Magic Mountain (26101 Magic Mountain Pkwy., Valencia, CA 91355), the memorable entrance was a totally different location; the Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California.  This overpass was used as the entrance, with a matte painting of the Walley World sign and the roller coasters in the background.  The overpass is actually on the outskirts of the park, right beside the Westfield Santa Anita mall.  In this case, the exact address is tricky, as the grounds are large and it only navigates you to the general vicinity.  A tip on how to find the exact spot is to drive down W Huntington Dr. towards S. Baldwin Ave.  As you near the mall’s parking lot, drive past the overpass entrance and proceed to the next entrance, into the mall parking lot.  As soon as you turn off of Huntington Dr. to the mall, you’ll immediately see this view of the Santa Anita Park parking lot on your right, with the Walley World overpass in the distance.

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LOCATION: 285 W Huntington Dr, Arcadia, CA 91007

Related articles: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)