Iron Man (2008)

The 2008 film “Iron Man” famously launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is regarded not only as one of the finest Marvel films, but one of the best superhero films ever made.  Early in the film, Tony Stark, played by Robert Downey, Jr., demonstrates his latest weapon, the “Jericho” missile.  Supposedly set in the Kunar Province of Afghanistan, these scenes were actually filmed at Alabama Hills in Lone Pine, California.  Many classic western films have also filmed there over the years, along with more recent films, such as Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” and “Gladiator.”

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LOCATION: Alabama Hills, Lone Pine, CA 93545

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Tony’s iconic Malibu house doesn’t actually exist, it is rather a CGI creation.  However, the land where it’s located is very much real.  Point Dume in Malibu is a public park that is thankfully devoid of any homes.  Instead there is a foot trail and biking path which leads to a beautiful ocean view.  The closest actual home, located directly across the street, is the “Circles on the Point” mansion, another property frequently featured in film and television productions, such as “Color Of Night,” “Glow” and more.  The CGI design of the Stark home is rumored to have been inspired by another mansion; the The Razor House in La Jolla (9826 La Jolla Farms RdLa Jolla, CA 92037), near San Diego.  The gated access and high cliff walls do not make for convenient photography of the Razor House, however.

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LOCATION: Point Dume, Cliffside Dr / Birdview Ave, Malibu, CA 90265

More CGI trickery was used with the Stark Industries building.  The main building is the Masimo headquarters, formerly known as the Nikken Building, in Irvine.  However, the wider shot is a composite of other streets and buildings, including portions of Shoreline Drive in Long Beach.  The Masimo building has been used in many other productions, including “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story” and “You, Me and Dupree.”

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LOCATION: 52 Discovery, Irvine, CA 92618

Tony attends a charity ball at the Walt Disney Concert Hall near downtown Los Angeles.  The unmistakable design is the work of legendary architect Frank Gehry.

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LOCATION: 111 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Tony first conceives the Iron Man suit after he is captured by terrorists.  Once he escapes and builds the suit, he returns to do battle with the Gulmira terrorists.  The bombed out ruins where he makes short work of his enemies was actually a set located on the Blue Cloud Movie Ranch in Santa Clarita.  As is always the case with movie ranches, the sets are often changed around to meet the needs of the latest productions, but several portions of the Iron Man set still remain recognizable.

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LOCATION: 20019 Blue Cloud Rd, Santa Clarita, CA 91390

Some additional views of the area where Iron Man battles the terrorists.

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Here is the spot where Iron Man blows up the tank and walks away, as famously featured in the film’s trailer.  It was dressed heavily by the production to look more war-torn.

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In 2019, the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles held a limited exhibition called “Hollywood Dream Machines: Vehicles of Science Fiction and Fantasy,” which featured Tony’s 1932 Ford Flathead Roadster from the film.

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LOCATION: Peterson Automotive Museum, 6060 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Not far from Alabama Hills in Lone Pine is the excellent Lone Pine Film History Museum.  Props and memorabilia from the many films shot in Lone Pine can be found there, with their primary focus on classic westerns.  They even have a small section of the museum dedicated to Iron Man.  Here are some of the items on display.

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LOCATION: 701 S Main St, Lone Pine, CA 93545

Some merchandise promoting the film.

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Some posters and prop recreations.

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This is the suit worn by Robert Downey, Jr. during his “Jericho” missile scenes, filmed in Lone Pine.

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Seven (1995)

David Fincher’s 1995 thriller “Seven” filmed primarily in downtown Los Angeles, against muted color tones and an onslaught of rain towers.  Detective Mills, played by Brad Pitt, first meets Detective Somerset, played by Morgan Freeman, at a murder scene in the Flower District of downtown.  As they exit the building, Somerset invites Mills for a drink, but is promptly declined.  The two walk along the building as they continue talking.

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LOCATION: 746 1/2 San Pedro St, Los Angeles, CA 90014

The pair are introduced to the seven deadly sin killings with the “Gluttony” murder scene, filmed in the Westlake neighborhood of Los Angeles.

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LOCATION: 720 Beacon Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90017

They make their way across a then-vacant lot, along the side of the property to a rear entrance.

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Somerset researches the seven deadly sins at the city library.  This was filmed at the A.G. Bartlett Building in downtown Los Angeles.  The building is currently used for a variety of businesses and lofts.  The property has been seen in countless other films, including “The Mask,” “The Prestige,” “Ghost,” “Bridesmaids” and many more.  This area cannot normally be accessed by pedestrians.  However, it is still visible from the street in a couple areas through the windows.

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LOCATION: 650 S Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90014

Mills runs across the street in the rain to his car, parked across from this ramp to the Millennium Biltmore Hotel on S Grand Ave.  Lady Gaga walks up the same ramp in the opening of “A Star Is Born” and it can also be seen in “Chinatown.”

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LOCATION: 530 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90071

Thinking they’ve located the killer, the police raid leads instead to the discovery of the “Sloth” victim at the former Pan American Building, now known as the Pan American Lofts.  The building had a distinctive “Giant Penny Store” sign along the bottom, which is now gone.  However, much of the architecture otherwise remains the same.  The shots seen in the film are actually from the side of the building on W 3rd St.

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LOCATION: 253 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Tracy asks Somerset to meet her at a diner, which was the former Quality Cafe in downtown.  The diner was a one-time staple of films, appearing in “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 (much like Johnie’s Coffee Shop in mid-town L.A.).  Unless the building was being set up for a production, most of the time it was closed up and locked by a large metal door covering the front windows.  So catching a glimpse of it was rare.

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

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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Later in the film, Somerset emerges from this doorway of Chester Williams Building.

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LOCATION: 215 W 5th St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

The fictitious Wild Bill’s Leather could be found on E 6th St in downtown Los Angeles, next to the Nite Owl from “L.A. Confidential” and across the street from where Forrest and Lieutenant Dan celebrate New Year’s in “Forrest Gump.”

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LOCATION: 123 E 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

The police station was a composite of a few different buildings, but the exterior can be found on Mateo St.

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LOCATION: 673 Mateo St, Los Angeles, CA 90021

The film’s infamous ending was shot in Lancaster.  While there are quite a few electrical towers out there, it’s not as dense as what’s seen in the film, indicating some use of visual effects.

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LOCATION: 10482 W Ave I, Lancaster, CA 93536

Related articles: The Game (1997), Fight Club (1999), Panic Room (2002), The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button (2008), The Social Network (2010)

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Spider-Man finally took center stage as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2017’s “Spider-Man: Homecoming.”  While set in Queens, New York, most of the film was shot around Atlanta, Georgia.

Spider-Man, played by Tom Holland, returns a stolen bike in front of the Rainbow store in downtown Atlanta.

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LOCATION: 62 Peachtree St SW, Atlanta, GA 30303

Peter discovers Adrian Toomes, played by Michael Keaton, is selling weapons to Aaron Davis, played by Donald Glover, underneath the Park Drive Bridge in Piedmont Park.

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LOCATION: Underneath Park Drive Bridge, Park Dr NE, Atlanta, GA 30309

Liz lives with her family at this unique glass house in the Ansley Park Sherwood Forest neighborhood of Atlanta.  Alex’s house from “Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle” can be found in the same neighborhood.

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LOCATION: 229 Little John Trail NE, Atlanta, GA 30309

 

Hard Eight (1996)

Paul Thomas Anderson’s underappreciated 1996 debut film, “Hard Eight” (a.k.a. “Sydney”) filmed primarily in Reno, Nevada.

The restaurant seen at the beginning and end of the film, where Sydney, played by Philip Baker Hall, meets John, played John C. Reilly, who is sitting outside the doorway, was filmed at Jack’s Cafe in Sparks, Nevada, located just outside of Reno.

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LOCATION: 2200 Victorian Ave, Sparks, NV 89431

The entrance where John C. Reilly is sitting is not the main entrance to the restaurant.  In fact, it’s a side door with an emergency exit sign.  There were several homeless people around this area.

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Things take a turn for the worse when John and Clementine, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, find themselves involved in a hostage situation at a motel.  The motel is the Ace Motor Lodge in Reno.  The motel has changed quite a bit from how it appeared in the film and is now more dilapidated.

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LOCATION: 222 N Sierra St, Reno, NV 89501

John can be seen exiting through the front entrance.  The surrounding area has also changed quite a bit from what was seen in the film, as the casinos are no longer beside the motel.

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Near the end of the film, Sydney awaits Jimmy, played by Samuel L. Jackson, at his house.

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LOCATION: 756 W 6th St, Reno, NV 89503

Related articles: Boogie Nights (1997)Magnolia (1999)Punch-Drunk Love (2002)There Will Be Blood (2007)The Master (2012)Inherent Vice (2014)