The Lost Boys (1987)

The 1987 film “The Lost Boys,” directed by Joel Schumacher, is set in the fictional beach town of Santa Carla, California. In reality, the film was famously shot in Santa Cruz, with some additional scenes filmed in Southern California. The Santa Cruz Boardwalk plays a prominent role in the film. In the opening scenes, David, played by Kiefer Sutherland, can be seen riding the carousel with his crew.

LOCATION: 400 Beach St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

As the boardwalk closes down for the night, a security guard is attacked as he exits to a parking lot.

Later in the film, Michael, played by Jason Patric, meets Star, played by Jami Gertz, in this area of the boardwalk. The 2019 Jordan Peele film “Us” also shot scenes at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. The film’s opening scene is set in 1986, at the same time “The Lost Boys” was filming. The characters in “Us” even reference this film when they walk past this area, mentioning a movie is being filmed nearby. The film “Sudden Impact” also shot on the boardwalk.

Michael meets David and his crew at this area of the boardwalk.

David invites Michael to come along on a bike ride and the boys all ride their bikes down these stairs.

Sam, played by Corey Haim, moves with his family from Phoenix to Santa Carla to live at his grandpa’s house. The building seen in the film is known as the Pogonip Clubhouse. Built in 1911, the building operated as everything from a golf club, to hosting women’s polo matches, to briefly serving as a rehab facility for servicemen during WWII. The building opened and closed again many times throughout the years, before being condemned in 1986, right around the time of filming. Only the exteriors of the building were used in the film, interiors were filmed at Warner Bros. Studios.

LOCATION: Near 333 Golf Club Dr, Santa Cruz, CA 95060 (GPS coordinates: 36.995416, -122.038388)

Today, the building is part of Pogonip, a scenic hiking and biking trail. The building is open to the public and there’s a few ways to reach it. From the nearest trailhead on Golf Club Dr, you can take a paved path straight up to it, or the Lower Meadow Trail. Unfortunately, the Lower Meadow Trail, while offering scenic views, is overrun by homeless people, to such a degree that we found ourselves inadvertently walking right into their campsites more than once. While no one was confrontational, as the paths do receive a lot of pedestrian traffic, we recommend sticking to the paved path if you wish to see the building from the film. Either route is about a half mile walk, with some uphill portions, but not terribly difficult. Remember to bring water if you do hike there.

The comic book shop where Sam meets Edgar and Alan Frog, played by Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander, still exists, but no longer at it’s original location. While made to appear on the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, the actual shop seen in the film was formerly located on Pacific Ave. The building suffered severe damages in a 1989 earthquake, resulting in the comic book shop changing locations.

LOCATION: 705 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95060 (now demolished)

The store, Atlantis Fantasyworld, is now located on Cedar St in Santa Cruz. While not an actual filming location, they do still have a prop from the film inside; the original “Vampires Everywhere!” comic book. It sits on display behind the front counter.

LOCATION: 1020 Cedar St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

The cave where David’s crew is based, known as Hudson’s Bluff Sea Cave, is located far from Santa Cruz in Rancho Palos Verdes. The cave sits next to Terranea Beach, which is easily accessible on foot along the Terranea Trail, a public trail which runs behind the Terranea Resort. Seeing the cave up close requires a bit of climbing up some rocks, however, so use caution if you wish to proceed beyond Terranea Beach. The same area has been seen in such films as “Charlie’s Angels,” “Lethal Weapon 2” and “Batman: The Movie,” as well as such TV shows as “The Beverly Hillbillies,” “Wonder Woman,” “The Munsters” and more.

LOCATION: Hudson’s Bluff Sea Cave, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275 (GPS coordinates: 33.738747, -118.393196)

Another Southern California location is the bridge where David and Michael hang underneath as a train passes. It can be found at the Iron Horse Trailhead near Valencia. The actual bridge is a pedestrian crossing with no train tracks.

LOCATION: 25311 Magic Mountain Pkwy, Santa Clarita, CA 91355

Unlike what is depicted in the film, the bridge is nowhere near the height above ground suggested in the scene. Here is a view of the actual elevation, with Six Flags Magic Mountain seen in the distance.

The church where Sam and Edgar collect holy water can be found at Warner Bros. Studios.  The same church has been seen in many productions, such as “Gremlins” and “The Monster Squad.”

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LOCATION: 4000 Warner Blvd, Burbank, CA 91505

8MM (1999)

The 1999 Joel Schumacher film “8MM,” starring Nicolas Cage and Joaquin Phoenix, was filmed all over the U.S., including New York, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida and California.  The porn shop where Tom Welles, played by Nicolas Cage, follows his investigation can be found in Los Angeles.  The building really is an adult store.

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LOCATION: 1117 N Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038

The back of the store is also seen in the film.

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Tom stops in front of this famous mural in Hollywood, known as “You Are A Star,” which can also be seen in “La La Land.”

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LOCATION: 1648 Wilcox Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028

Falling Down (1993)

In Joel Schumacher’s 1993 film “Falling Down,” Michael Douglas plays the central character, referred to only as “D-Fens,” which is his license plate number.  The film follows D-Fens as he makes his was from Los Angeles to Venice Beach.  For the most part, the locations actually do follow this path, with a few exceptions.

The opening traffic jam is set at the 101 interchange of the 110 freeway.  The traffic pileup is in the southbound lane to the left, while D-Fens abandons his car and takes the northbound lane to the right on foot.

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LOCATION: Interchange of I-110 / I-101, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Beth, the estranged wife of D-Fens, played by Barbara Hershey, lives just off the Venice boardwalk.  This view next to her house, facing towards the beach, is seen multiple times in the film.

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LOCATION: 201 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA 90291

Beth’s house was unfortunately completely remodeled and looks nothing like it did in the film.

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LOCATION: 18 Ozone Ave, Venice, CA 90291

The police station where Detective Prendergast, played by Robert Duvall, works was a set built at Warner Bros. Studios (4000 Warner Blvd, Burbank, CA 91522).

D-Fens makes his was to the market of Mr. Lee, where the first outburst of violence occurs over an overpriced can of soda.  This location is right next to the 101 freeway, making it a logical stop along the path of D-Fens.  The market has since been demolished and a park (Madison West Park) now exists in it’s place.

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LOCATION: 458 N Madison Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90004

Later in the film, Prendergast makes his way to the market and climbs this embankment.  After spotting a billboard, he correctly places the proximity to the abandoned car and identifies D-Fens as his suspect.  A note to those interested in visiting, this dead end next to the park is not a very safe area, serving as a makeshift homeless community.

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As D-Fens makes his way through East L.A., he sits to rest and is approached by two gang members demanding his briefcase.  D-Fens refuses and things quickly turn violent.  The hilltop where the scene was shot has been converted in to a park, Vista Hermosa Natural Park, but the skyline of downtown Los Angeles still matches up.

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LOCATION: 100 N Toluca St, Los Angeles, CA 90026

Looking for retribution, the gang members spot D-Fens in front of a theater, where they attempt to ambush him with a drive-by shooting.  The theater has since been demolished, but the surrounding buildings where the car rolls up still match.

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LOCATION: 2524 East Cesar E Chavez Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90033 (looking down from N Fickett St)

After hitting everyone in sight except D-Fens, their car turns off East Ceasar E Chavez Ave onto N Ficket St and crashes in front of this building.  D-Fens walks up and takes their bag of weapons.

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LOCATION: 2600 East Cesar E Chavez Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90033 (at N Fickett St)

D-Fens is standing next to a children’s playground in MacArthur Park, when a beggar starts asking him for a handout.  The playground has since been moved to another section of the park, but the structure to the left, seen in the film, still stands at the original spot.

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LOCATION: 2230 W 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90057

The beggar follows D-Fens through this tunnel, making up a sob story, which is quickly exposed as a lie.  MacArthur Park is not the safest of areas in general.  We wouldn’t recommend tourism here. This pedestrian walkway is one of several locations rumored to be the bridge that served as the inspiration for the Red Hot Chili Peppers song “Under the Bridge,” but singer Anthony Kiedis has never confirmed the true location.

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On the other side of the tunnel, the D-Fens gives the beggar his briefcase.  The lake in the background is also seen in the movie “Drive,” where Ryan Gosling’s character makes a deal with some criminals.

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After discovering the briefcase only contains some lunch food, the disappointed beggar throws the apple at D-Fens, who kicks the apple and continues up the stairs to the left.

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The “Whammyburger” in the film is the biggest departure from the true path of Los Angeles to Venice Beach.  The restaurant, Angelo’s Burgers, is located much further south in Lynwood, California.  It still bears a strong resemblance to how it appeared in the film, aside from the fictitious Whammyburger set dressing.  Angelo’s was in fact the same restaurant at the time of filming.  It has not changed ownership.  The burgers there are quite good as well.

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LOCATION: 10990 Atlantic Ave, Lynwood, CA 90262

A view inside the Whammyburger.

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A poster for the film can be found inside, noting that filming took place on May 12, 1992.

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Celebrating his last day, Prendergast eats lunch at a Mexican restaurant.

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LOCATION: 4067 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90004

In one of the more poignant scenes in the film, D-Fens sees a man protesting, because he has been denied a loan and was determined to be “not economically viable.”  The building is now a post office.

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LOCATION: 5350 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

The scene where D-Fens shoots up a phone booth was shot over on Sunset Blvd in West Hollywood, right along the iconic Sunset Strip.  The El Pollo Loco restaurant to the left was seen in the film, although most of the other businesses in the plaza have since changed.

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LOCATION: 8148 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046

The army surplus store where D-Fens meets a Nazi store owner can be found back towards East L.A.  The building really is a surplus store and still operates today.  The real owners are nothing like the eccentric man in the film and are very welcoming to visitors.

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LOCATION: 3828 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026

A view of the front counter, which is brimming with quite a bit more merchandise than seen in the film.

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Some of the rocket mortar props seen in the film are still found in the store, albeit a bit tucked away.

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The back of the surplus store, where more violence occurs, was actually a set construced at Warner Bros. Studios (4000 Warner Blvd, Burbank, CA 91522).

The construction scene, where D-Fens fires a bazooka, faces towards the 110 and 105 freeway interchange.  The same interchange can be seen in the films “Speed” and “La La Land,” the latter of which also opens with a traffic jam, albeit to much different results.

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LOCATION: Intersection of S Broadway / W 112th St, Los Angeles, CA 90061

This church can be seen in the background of a few shots during the construction scene.

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Near the end of the film, D-Fens finally finds his family at the Venice Fishing Pier.  The pier had long been closed at the time of filming and was once set for demolition, but after community backlash, was ultimately saved and restored.  The building at the end of the pier is no longer there, but otherwise the area looks the same for the most part.

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LOCATION: Venice Fishing Pier, Los Angeles, CA 90292

Prendergast approaches and finally meets D-Fens.

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Prendergast and D-Fens have a standoff in the film’s climactic scene.

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There are quite a few locations to this film, some demolished or remodeled, others still standing.  Other than a few slightly unsafe areas, if you’re a fan of visiting filming locations, most of them are worth a visit.  “Falling Down” has grown in stature in the years since the film’s release and it has rightly taken it’s place among the the most iconic Los Angeles-based films.