Rebel Without A Cause (1955)

The memorable knife fight in the 1955 James Dean film, “Rebel Without a Cause,” was famously filmed at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, California.  The location is so synonymous with the film, there have been many other subsequent productions, directly inspired by “Rebel Without a Cause” to also shoot at the Observatory, including “La La Land” and Paula Abdul’s “Rush Rush” music video (featuring Keanu Reeves in the Dean role).

griffith1

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

There is even a statue of James Dean at the observatory, honoring his iconic performance.

griffith8

Some of the interiors of “Dawson High” were filmed at John Marshall High School.  A regular location in film and television, it has also appeared in such movies as “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 “Boy Meets World,” “Boston Public” and many more.  It was even used in the Van Halen music video for “Hot For Teacher.”  The exteriors were filmed at Santa Monica High School (601 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405).

nightmareonelmstreet3

LOCATION: 3939 Tracy St, Los Angeles, CA 90027

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.

The opening dance scene in traffic was filmed on the Judge Harry Pregerson Interchange, which connects the 110 and 105 freeways in Los Angeles.  The scenes were shot on the express ramp, which requires a non-cash toll.  The bus jump from “Speed” was also filmed on the same interchange when it was still under construction.

lalaland33

LOCATION: I-110 / I-105, Los Angeles, CA 90061

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, such as the toy store in “Small Soldiers.”  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

Right next to The Lighthouse Cafe is the Hermosa Beach Pier, where Sebastian does a dance at sunset.  Lampposts were added along the pier by the production.  After the success of the film, the City of Hermosa Beach began hosting occasional special events at the pier celebrating the film, where they add temporary lampposts.

lalaland30

LOCATION: 1 Pier Ave, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254

lalaland31

The two watch “Rebel Without A Cause” at the Rialto Theater in South Pasadena.  The theater has appeared in numerous other films, including “Scream 2” and “The Player.”

lalaland30

LOCATION: 1023 Fair Oaks Ave, South Pasadena, CA 91030

After watching the movie, the couple makes an impromptu trip to the Griffith Observatory to check out the filming locations.

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

Directly across the street from Angels Flight is the Grand Central Market, where another scene in the montage takes place.

lalaland32

LOCATION: 317 S Broadway, 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.

Griffith Observatory

The Griffith Observatory is one of the most iconic locations in Hollywood, perched atop the Hollywood Hills.  It offers spectacular views of the surrounding mountains, Downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood and even the ocean.  The building opened in 1935 and has remained free and open to the public every since.  It has been seen in so many films, we felt it deserved an entire article unto itself.

The observatory is perhaps most famously know for it’s use in the 1955 James Dean film, “Rebel Without A Cause.”  However, the grounds have also been seen in such films as “The Terminator,” “La La Land,” “Back To The Future” and dozens more.  It has also appeared in countless television shows, such as “Beverly Hills, 90210,” “The Wonder Years,” “24” and even “The Simpsons” (as the “Springfield Observatory”).  The observatory has also appeared in music videos, such as Paula Abdul’s “Rush, Rush,” video games, such as “Grand Theft Auto V” and on album covers, for bands such as The Byrds.

Here we’ll take a look at some of the sights of Griffith Observatory.

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

Arnold Schwarzenegger could be seen walking nude in the original “The Terminator” film on the sidewalk to the right.  He is approached by some street thugs, including one played by Bill Paxton, before the Terminator makes short work of them.  The scene has also been recreated in some of the film’s sequels.

griffith1

griffith2

griffith3

griffith4

griffith5

Ryan Gosling drives his convertible, with Emma Stone in tow, down the sidewalk on the right in “La La Land.”

griffith6

griffith7

A bust of James Dean can be found at the observatory, in honor of Deen’s classic performance in “Rebel Without A Cause,” where the film shot a memorable knife fight scene.

griffith8

griffith9

The best views of the observatory are of course at night.

griffith10

griffith11

The inside of the observatory has several interesting sights as well.  Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone can be seen dancing around this pendulum in “La La Land.”

griffith12

In the same film, the two gaze up at this mural on the ceiling of the observatory.

griffith13

The two also pause and look at this Tesla Coil.

griffith14

Overall, whether you’re a movie lover, a tourist, a science fan, or someone who simply enjoys beautiful views, the Observatory has something to offer almost anyone.