Once Upon A Time In… Hollywood (2019)

When word began to spread that Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon A Time In… Hollywood” would be using practical set dressing to convert Los Angeles back to 1969 block by block, we knew this rare occurrence was something we should capture as much as possible for the fleeting moments it took place.

We typically avoid visiting filming locations while a project is in active production.  There are so many moving pieces, restricted areas and things in the way, it almost always proves best to wait until a production has left.  However, this film proved to be an exception.  Documenting the locations in real time made for a much different, more challenging process.  Some areas, such as Hollywood Blvd, were lined with large crowds actively watching for nights on end.  Other places, such as the Spahn Ranch set, were quite low profile and known to very few.  The locations were so impressive, we’ve deviated a bit from our usual format to show some set dressing and behind the scenes photos.  Not everything made it to camera, so we thought it was worthwhile to showcase the level of detail that went into the project.  While there are some minor spoilers in this article, we did our best to avoid any major ones.

The early scenes of Rick Dalton, played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Cliff Booth, played by Brad Pitt, on the set of “Bounty Law” were filmed at Melody Ranch in Newhall, California.  This is not Tarantino’s first time filming at Melody Ranch.  Some scenes from”Django Unchained” were also filmed there.  Melody Ranch does offer tours to the public, which is a rarity among movie ranches in Southern California.  However, the challenge is that it’s a very popular filming location, often booked for months at a time.  There are only a few opportunities a year you can successfully book a tour and it is typically on very short notice.  Here’s a look at several buildings seen in the film during the “Bounty Law” advertisement.

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LOCATION: 24715 Oakcreek Ave, Newhall, CA 91321

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Rick and Cliff sit down for an interview along the boardwalk in front of this building.  The interior was used extensively as the brothel where Thandie Newton’s character works in “Westworld.”  The interior of this building was also featured in Tarantino’s “Django Unchained,” where Dr. King Schulz has a confrontation with the sheriff.

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Rick and Cliff head to Musso & Frank Grill to meet Marvin Schwarzs, played by Al Pacino.  Musso & Frank Grill is the oldest restaurant in Hollywood, founded over 100 years ago.  The restaurant has popped up in numerous films, including “Ocean’s Eleven,” “Ed Wood,” “Blonde” and “Swingers,” as well as the TV shows “Mad Men” and “Bosch.”

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LOCATION: 6667 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

Rick and Cliff sit at the bar when Marvin first arrives.

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After the meeting, Rick and Cliff head to the parking lot in back and have a quick chat in front of this sign.

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The flashback of Rick crashing his car is in front of the Frolic Room on Hollywood Blvd.  The same bar was used in such films as “L.A. Confidential” and “The Little Things.”

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LOCATION: 6245 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

Rick Dalton lives on Cielo Drive next door to Sharon Tate, played by Margot Robbie.  The real entrance to Cielo Dr is seen multiple times in the film.  The houses seen in the film are not actually located on the real Cielo, but the Tate house is a pretty close representation of what was there in 1969.  Most of Cielo is actually public, but the path up to the former Tate residence is private.  The entrance area seen in the film is visible from the public portion of the road.

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LOCATION: Cielo Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

The actual home used as the exterior for Rick Dalton’s house can be found in a cul-de-sac in Studio City.  It’s actually one of three locations used in the film to composite Rick’s home, as each of the individual locations lacked specific features needed for the story.  The Studio City home was used extensively, however, with many scenes recognizable to it.  Unlike Cielo Dr, Alto View Dr is a public road.

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LOCATION: 10969 Alta View Dr, Studio City, CA 91604

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The driveway is featured in many scenes in the film, with a large painting of Rick placed on the left side.

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Here is the front entrance of the home.  The door was painted green in the film.

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Rick’s pool overlooking the city is a real pool at the home.

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Here is an alternate view of the pool, along with the area where Rick stores his flamethrower.

As Rick is memorizing his lines for an upcoming role at his pool, the camera shifts over to the Tate/Polanski house, which is a geographically accurate shot.

The house next door serves as the home of Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski.  The home is a departure from how the real house on Cielo appeared, but it serves Tarantino’s story well. This is actually one of two locations used for the home. We cover the second location later in this article.

LOCATION: 10974 Alta View Dr, Studio City, CA 91604

Here is a view of Rick Dalton’s house on the right and the Tate/Polanski gate on the left.

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Here’s a closer look at the gate to the Tate residence.

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Here is the area where Charles Manson, played by Damon Herriman, parks a Twinkies delivery truck.  Cliff observes him from the roof as he goes looking for Terry Melcher.

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Here is the road leading into the cul-de-sac of the Dalton and Tate/Polanski residences, which is seen a few times in the film.

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After dropping Rick off at his home, Cliff drives at high speeds down Hollywood Blvd as he heads home.

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LOCATION: Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

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Here is Brad Pitt waiving to the crowd on the street.

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Tarantino acknowledging the crowd of onlookers as well.

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Here’s a deeper look at the set dressing around Hollywood Blvd, which was completely transformed back to 1969 for the film.

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Cliff’s trailer, supposedly located on the grounds of the Van Nuys Drive-In Theatre (a real drive-in theater long since closed), was a combination of two locations.  The drive-in sign was built by the production at the Saugus Speedway in Santa Clarita, which now serves as the site of the Santa Clarita Swap Meet.  Cliff drives past the white fencing and enters here.

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LOCATION: 22500 Soledad Canyon Rd, Santa Clarita, CA 91350

The camera cranes up over the sign, which was a creation of the production and we’re seamlessly transported to a second location.  The drive-in itself is the Paramount Drive-In Theaters.

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LOCATION: 7770 Rosecrans Ave, Paramount, CA 90723

Sharon Tate and husband Roman Polanski attend a party at the Playboy Mansion.  This was filmed at the real former Playboy Mansion.  The property sits in a residential neighborhood and if you didn’t know what you were looking for, it would be very easy to drive past without any idea.  It should be noted from the street you can mostly just see the front gate. Since the passing of Hugh Hefner, the property has transitioned over to new owners, into a place for corporate functions, private events and film and television production, as well as undergoing substantial renovations.

LOCATION: 10236 Charing Cross Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90024

Sharon dances in the back area on the left, near the grotto. The mansion has appeared in countless films, such as “The House Bunny,” “Beverly Hills Cop II,” “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle,” the 2014 version of “The Gambler,” “The Phantom” and many more.

After the party at the Playboy Mansion, the film cuts to morning at the home of Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate. This is not the same home in Studio City seen earlier in the film. Roman is seen sitting in the back yard with his dog. This home can be found in Tarzana and was painted red for the film. It sits right next to another filming location; the winding road seen to the left of the frame was featured prominently in “Licorice Pizza.”

LOCATION: 19471 Rosita St, Tarzana, CA 91356

The scene where Cliff fights Bruce Lee supposedly takes place on a studio backlot. In reality, it was filmed at a high school, with heavy set dressing added to make it appear like a backlot. The school is Excelsior High School in Norwalk, which was also featured in the film “Grease 2.” Cliff sits outside of Rick’s trailer, which is parked in this lot. Randy, played by Kurt Russell, speaks with Rick in his trailer and reluctantly agrees to hire Cliff onto the stunt team.

LOCATION: 15711 Pioneer Blvd, Norwalk, CA 90650

Here is the area where the fight between Cliff and Bruce Lee takes place.

Janet, played by Zoë Bell, comes across the two men sparring and insists Cliff be fired on the spot.

The Manson Family girls are introduced digging through the dumpsters at the Super A Foods market.  The same market was seen in the films “A Star Is Born” and “Crossroads.”

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LOCATION: 2924 Division St, Los Angeles, CA 90065

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It’s difficult to see, but the actresses playing the Manson girls, including Harley Quinn Smith, are gathered by the dumpster in the center of this shot.

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The Manson girls then walk away with their haul, making their way past this mural of James Dean from the film “Giant.”  This was located at a pharmacy just across the street from the Super A Foods market. It was added by the production and is unfortunately no longer painted on the actual location.

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LOCATION: 2922 Division St, Los Angeles, CA 90065

Here’s a look at some more of the shoot from Super A Foods.

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Cliff and Rick stop at this intersection, where Cliff first sees Pussycat, played by Margaret Qualley, crossing the street with the Manson Family girls.

LOCATION: Corbin Ave / Greenbriar Dr, Los Angeles, CA 91356

While driving, Cliff again spots Pussycat sitting in front of the Pandora’s Box nightclub looking for a ride.  Pandora’s Box was a real nightclub in West Hollywood, which was at the center of protests over a curfew in 1966.  The building was eventually demolished in 1967.  For the film, the production recreated the former nightclub at Jospeh’s Cafe on Ivar Ave.  Here’s a view of when the production was setting up for the scene.

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LOCATION: 1775 Ivar Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028

From the reverse view at the same location, Cliff can be seen in his car with the Capitol Records building in the background.

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Here’s a couple more shots from when the Pandora’s Box shoot was prepping.

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On her way to the theater, Sharon picks up a hitchhiker on Wilshire Blvd.

LOCATION: Near the intersection of Wilshire Blvd / S Beverly Glen Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024

Sharon parks in this lot and parts ways with the hitchhiker.

LOCATION: Near 972 Gayley Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90024

Sharon stops by the Bruin Theater to watch herself in the film “The Wrecking Crew” with Dean Martin.  The Bruin is still in operation, though the marquee is now digital.  Fatboy Slim’s music video for “Praise You” shot in front of the same theater.

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LOCATION: 948 Broxton Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90024

The Fox Theater right across the street is also seen in several shots.

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LOCATION: 961 Broxton Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90024

Here’s a closer look at the Fox Theater, with the finished marquee for the film.

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Here is the view across the street from the Bruin Theater, when it was dressed for filming.

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Here is the exterior of the book store Sharon Tate visits.  It’s not a book store in realty, but this is what it looked like when it was fully dressed.

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LOCATION: 10909 Weyburn Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90024

This travel agency was also seen in the film.  It was another creation of the production and not an actual travel agency.

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Here are some more views of the area when production was in progress.

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Cliff takes Rick down Hollywood Blvd and they pass the famous Pantages Theater.

LOCATION: 6233 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

Cliff runs into Pussycat once again in front of Jackalope Pottery in North Hollywood.

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LOCATION: 10726 Burbank Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91601

Here is the area when filming was taking place.  It was overflowing with crew at the corner.

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Just across the street, Quentin Tarantino stood on the right, along with Rick Dalton’s car on the street.

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Cliff heads onto the freeway with Pussycat, turning from Hollywood Blvd onto the 101 northbound ramp.

LOCATION: US-101 northbound ramp, near Hollywood Blvd / N Van Ness Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028

Pussycat takes Cliff to Spahn Ranch, which was a very accurate recreation built at Corriganville Park in Simi Valley.  Originally the production hoped to film at the real Spahn Ranch, but due to the fact that the entrances were bulldozed over, it made the land difficult for building sets.  Much like Spahn Ranch, the nearby Corriganville is also a former movie ranch which hosted many westerns in during the 1950s and 1960s, before being destroyed by widlfires.  The land now operates as a public park, but there are many signs explaining the land’s film history and the frames of the old buildings are still in the ground.

The Spahn Ranch set took a couple months to build, but when it was finished, it shot very quickly and was demolished just a few weeks later.  Having done plenty of research on the real Spahn Ranch and The Manson Family long before this film was ever announced, we were quite well versed in the subject matter.  Standing in person at what was a near exact, full scale replica of Spahn Ranch remains one of the most memorable location experiences we’ve ever had.  The production design and attention to detail was incredible.  If you go there now, it’s empty land again, but here we’ll take a look at when the set existed.

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LOCATION: 7001 Smith Rd, Simi Valley, CA 93063 (Spahn Ranch sets now demolished)

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George Spahn’s house plays a key role in the scene, as Cliff insists on speaking with the old man, played by Bruce Dern.

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Some more views of the Spahn house.

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Here is a view of the front of the Spahn set, including the famous truck.  The signs for the Longhorn Saloon and Rock City Cafe are spot on to the original ranch.

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Here is the horse stable area where Clem sits on the fence.

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Here are some more views around the ranch.

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After leaving Spahn Ranch, Cliff picks up Rick in front of the Columbia Pictures building. This is actually in front of Paramount Pictures Studio Tour building.

LOCATION: 5515 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038

Rick is photographed with a new love interest in tow at a restaurant, supposedly located in Rome, Italy.  This is actually the Cicada Restaurant in Downtown Los Angeles. The interior is also seen in another scene of Marvin Schwarz calling Rick as he sits at the bar.  The restaurant has been featured in numerous films, such as “Mank” “Pretty Woman,” “Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” “Indecent Proposal,” “Suicide Squad” and “Bruce Almighty,” as well as such TV shows as “Mad Men, “The Morning Show” and “American Horror Story.”

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LOCATION: 617 S Olive St, Los Angeles, CA 90014

Rick returns from Italy with his costar.  The couple is seen walking past the wall tiles of Terminal 6 at LAX Airport.  These tiles can be found along the pedestrian tunnel in the lower level and are only accessible to airline passengers and staff, as they make their way to baggage claim or the exits.  Tarantino also filmed Pam Grier in this area in the opening of “Jackie Brown.”

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LOCATION: Terminal 6, 1 World Way, Los Angeles, CA 90045 (lower level, arrivals area)

In the third act, a montage of businesses are shown turning on their neon lights as night falls, leading up to the conclusion of the film.

An old Taco Bell is also shown.  This was located much further south in Tunstin.  The building was abandoned and the production came and made it look like an operational Taco Bell from 1969.

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LOCATION: 14232 Newport Ave, Tustin, CA 92780

The famous Cinerama Dome in Hollywood is seen next.

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LOCATION: 6360 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

The Vine Theater on Hollywood Blvd is also seen.  This was part of the production design for when Cliff is seen driving home early in the film.

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LOCATION: 6321 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

The Supply Sergeant sign is also seen illuminating.  This remains an active business on Hollywood Blvd.

LOCATION: 6664 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

Chili John’s in Burbank is also briefly seen.

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LOCATION: 2018 W Burbank Blvd, Burbank, CA 91506

Der Wienerschnitzel is actually a taco stand today, which the production altered to make it appear like it did back in the 1960s.

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LOCATION: 1910 W Pacific Coast Hwy, Long Beach, CA 90810

Sharon Tate, Jay Sebring, Abigail Folger and Voytek Frykowski have dinner that evening at the El Coyote restaurant.  This is where the real people ate that night and the film shot at the actual location.

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LOCATION: 7312 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Here is a view of the front entrance of El Coyote, which remains in business to this day.

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Rick and Cliff have dinner at the same evening at Casa Vega in Sherman Oaks.

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LOCATION: 13301 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

The location actually appears twice in the film, with one of the booths inside also standing in as a restaurant supposedly in Spain.

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We leave you with Quentin Tarantino’s hand and foot prints in front of the Chinese Theater on Hollywood Blvd.  While in no way a filming location, we felt it was nevertheless fitting to include.

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LOCATION: 6925 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028

It was a unique experience walking through 1969 with the production and we hope these photos help you share in that experience.  There’s actually many locations we captured where the production shot, but were not featured in the final film.  Perhaps there will be a longer or alternate cut someday.  For now, we’ll keep to the places that made it into the film.

Related articles: Reservoir Dogs (1992), Pulp Fiction (1994), Jackie Brown (1997), Kill Bill (2003), Django Unchained (2012)

Lords Of Dogtown (2005)

The 2005 film “Lords of Dogtown” is set in the Dogtown area of Santa Monica during the 1970s. However, the film shot at a variety of different locations around Southern California. Early in the film, the boys are shown waking up early and making their way out to the beach to surf. Stacy Peralta, played by John Robinson, is seen climbing out his window with a surfboard in the early AM hours. Stacy’s house can be found in San Pedro.

LOCATION: 334 W 17th St, Los Angeles, CA 90731

Stacy’s house is mostly seen in close-ups or shots facing the opposite direction.

Jay Adams, played by Emile Hirsch, lives at this house in San Pedro. He is seen skating off the garage roof a couple times in the film. The property seen in the film sits along a back alley behind W 12th St. We’ve provided the GPS coordinates below.

LOCATION: Rear alley behind 565 W 12th St, San Pedro, CA 90731 (GPS coordinates: 33°43’58.4″N, 118°17’21.8″W)

Jay is then seen skateboarding along Speedway in Venice.

LOCATION: Dudley Ave / Speedway, Los Angeles, CA 90291

Tony Alva, played by Victor Rasuk, lives in this home, also located in San Pedro.

LOCATION: 538 W Santa Cruz St, San Pedro, CA 90731

Later in the film, the kids are seen skating in the alley directly behind Tony’s house as they prepare for their first skateboard competition.

LOCATION: Alley near 566 W Santa Cruz St, San Pedro, CA 90731 (GPS coordinates: 33°44’40.8″N, 118°17’22.0″W)

The filmmakers recreated the legendary Zephyr shop in San Pedro.  The original building where the real shop was located is in Santa Monica (2003 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90405), but it was not used in the film.

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LOCATION: 157 N Bandini St, San Pedro, CA 90731

Jay, Stacy and Tony catch a ride through town on their skateboards by hanging onto the back of a bus. They are seen riding past Bandini Street Elementary School, where they let go of the bus and continue through a line of cars.

LOCATION: 425 N Bandini St, San Pedro, CA 90731

The boys test out their new skateboard wheels at Mar Vista Elementary School.

LOCATION: 3330 Granville Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90066

Jay is seen skateboarding down Bicknell Ave in Santa Monica, where he informs Stacy he didn’t make the team. This is very close to where the real Zephyr shop was formerly located.

LOCATION: Ocean Ave / Bicknell Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90405

The restaurant where Stacy officially joins the team and a fight breaks out with the manager is Rae’s Restaurant in Santa Monica.  A staple of film and television, Rae’s has been seen in such films as “True Romance,” “Bowfinger,” “Starsky & Hutch” and more.  The restaurant is only seen from interior views in this film.

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LOCATION: 2901 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405

Skip Engblom, played by Heath Ledger, scolds the boys for missing practice while they eat at Venice Beach.

LOCATION: 1425 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA 90291 (facing Market St)

The Ocean Front Skate Festival scenes were filmed at the Fisherman’s Village shopping mall in Marina Del Rey.

LOCATION: 13755 Fiji Way, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

The boys discuss offers from a competitor at a gas station in Seal Beach. The real building is actually a restaurant, located in San Pedro.

LOCATION: 3401 S Pacific Ave, San Pedro, CA 90731

After shifting business alliances to Topper Burks, played by Johnny Knoxville, Tony Alva chooses a new logo for himself at the Byrdview house in Chatsworth (also known as the Farralone Estate and Fox House). It has appeared in many films, including “Swordfish,” “Transformers,” “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,” “The Salton Sea,” “Bewitched,” “Tomcats” and “Dreamgirls.” It has also appeared in such TV series as “Six Feet Under,” “Mad Men,” “Californication,” “The Last Man on Earth,” “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “Aquarius,” “Moonlight” and “Good Girls Revolt.”

LOCATION: 9361 Farralone Ave, Chatsworth, CA 91311

The Seattle skyline is shown from Kerry Park during a skate tour montage. The park is a famous tourist spot, which attracts a lot of visitors. The park was also featured in the films “10 Things I Hate About You,” “Life or Something Like It,” “A Guy Thing” and “The Details,” with this same view also serving as the drawing of the Seattle skyline on the television show “Frasier.”

LOCATION: 211 W Highland Dr, Seattle, WA 98119

Stacy films a cameo for “Charlie’s Angels” on the Warner Bros. backlot.  It can be seen as part of their studio tour. This facade also served as the Gotham City Police Headquarters in the original “Batman” TV series. The scenes of Stacy in London were also filmed on the Warner backlot.

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LOCATION: 4000 Warner Blvd, Burbank, CA 91505

Stacy is shown posing for photos in front of the Golden Gate bridge. The bridge is one of the most often seen locations in film, having appeared in “Zodiac,” “Vertigo,” “The Rock,” “Pacific Rim,” “X-Men: The Last Stand,” “Terminator: Genisys,” “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” “Superman: The Movie,” “San Andreas,” “A View To A Kill,” “Dirty Harry,” “Hulk,” “The Bridge” and many more.

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LOCATION: Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, CA

Tony can be seen getting photographed in front of the Statue of Liberty in New York. Another of the most iconic locations seen on screen, it has appeared in endless films, such as “Splash,” “The Godfather Part II,” “Superman,” “Escape from New York,” “Home Alone 2: Lost In New York,” “Ghostbusters II,” “X-Men” and countless more.

LOCATION: Statue of Liberty, New York, NY 10004

The World Professional Skateboard Championship scenes were filmed inside the Long Beach Arena. It is only seen from interior views in the film.

LOCATION: 300 E Ocean Blvd, Long Beach, CA 90802

Late in the film, Tony Alva is living at this home.

LOCATION: 1027 S Centre St, San Pedro, CA 90731

Thanks to Rob on Location for first finding several of these locations.

Lethal Weapon (1987)

The tower where the woman falls to her death in the opening of the 1987’s “Lethal Weapon” was filmed at the International Tower Condos in Long Beach, California.

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LOCATION: 700 E Ocean Blvd, Long Beach, CA 90802

Roger Murtaugh, played by Danny Glover, shows up in front of the same tower to investigate.  The Villa Riviera condos can be seen in the distance.

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Murtaugh’s house, seen in much of the film, is not a real house.  It’s a set on the Warner Bros. Ranch in Burbank, California.  The ranch is offsite from the main Warner Studio lot and is unfortunately not available for public tours.  The house has been used in countless productions, including the home of the Griswold’s angry neighbors in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” the Colonel’s house in “American Beauty,” Dottie’s house in “WandaVision” and many, many more.  It has the most complete interiors of any set on the ranch, much of which was seen in the film.

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LOCATION: 411 N Hollywood Way, Burbank, CA 91505

The building where Martin Riggs, played by Mel Gibson, uses his unique methods to neutralize a potential suicide jumper was filmed at the Emser Tile building in West Hollywood.

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LOCATION: 8431 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069 (some GPS systems alternately list the location as 8431 CA-2, Los Angeles, CA 90069)

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Riggs and Murtaugh grab hotdogs at the corner of Western Ave and Wilshire Blvd, with The Wiltern music venue in the background.

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LOCATION: Western Ave / Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90010

Donnie Darko (2001)

In the 2001 film “Donnie Darko,” a jet engine crashes into the bedroom of the Darko residence.  While set in the town of Middlesex, Virginia, the house can actually be found in Long Beach, California.

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LOCATION: 4225 Country Club Dr, Long Beach, CA 90807

Just up the same road, the house of Jim Cunningham, played by Patrick Swayze, can also be found.

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LOCATION: 4252 Country Club Dr, Long Beach, CA 90807

The high school seen in the film is Layola High School in Los Angeles.

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LOCATION: 1901 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90006

Donnie goes to a movie at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica, one of the best revival houses in the Los Angeles area.  The theater regularly shows classic films, often featuring Q&A’s with the filmmakers and cast.  It has been featured in many films, including “Get Shorty” and “Sleepwalkers.”

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LOCATION: 1328 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403

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Related articles: Southland Tales (2006)

American Pie (1999)

The house from the 1999 comedy “American Pie” can be found in Long Beach, California.  In the film, Jim, played by Jason Biggs, makes a pact with his friends to lose their virginity.  Jim lives with his family at this home, where many famous scenes take place, including a memorable encounter with a sexy foreign exchange student, played by Shannon Elizabeth, as well as the infamous pie scene.

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LOCATION: 4153 Cedar Ave, Long Beach, CA 90807

The house where Michelle, played by Alyson Hannigan, lives can also be found on the same road.

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LOCATION: 3925 Cedar Ave, Long Beach, CA 90807

Kevin’s home can be found in Pasadena.

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LOCATION: 3689 San Pasqual St, Pasadena, CA 91107

The high school used in the film is Millikan High School in Long Beach.

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LOCATION: 2800 Snowden Ave, Long Beach, CA 90815

The boys frequent this restaurant, located in Monrovia.

LOCATION: 402 S Myrtle Ave, Monrovia, CA 91016

The exterior of Stifler’s house can also be found in Pasadena.

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LOCATION: 3644 Lombardy Rd, Pasadena, CA 91107

The interiors of Stifler’s house, however, used this house in Altadena.  The house has been used in many productions, including “Can’t Hardly Wait,” “Bye Bye Love,” “How Stella Got Her Groove Back” and “I Know Who Killed Me,” as well as such TV shows as “The Mentalist” and “This Is Us.”

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LOCATION: 1090 Rubio St, Altadena, CA 91001

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.

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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.

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LOCATION: 4000 Warner Blvd, Burbank, CA 91505

Mia lives at this pink apartment building in Long Beach, known as El Cordova.

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LOCATION: 1728 E 3rd St, Long Beach, CA 90802

The production filmed inside of unit 16.

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Mia exits through the courtyard to join her roommates for a dance number.

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She and her roommates then dance on E 3rd Street in front of her apartment.

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Later in the film, Sebastian, played by Ryan Gosling, visits the apartment and picks up Mia at this back entrance to the building.

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They then drive down this back alley.

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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.  It can also be seen in the 1999 film “8MM.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Sebastian and Mia then sit at a bench, which was located here.  The bench was likewise added by the production.

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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.

As a final tip to film location enthusiasts, a location from the David Lynch film “Lost Highway” can be found along the same trail, much closer to the Griffith Observatory.

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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.  This area was famously also seen on Pink Floyd’s album cover for “Wish You Were Here.”

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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.

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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.

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LOCATION: 1 Pier Ave, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254

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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.”

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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.

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

Sebastian drives his convertible, with Mia in tow, down the sidewalk on the right.

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They then dance around this pendulum inside the Observatory.

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The two gaze up at this mural inside.

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They also pause to take a look at this Tesla Coil.

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During a romantic “summer” montage, the two can be seen walking along the Colorado Street Bridge in Pasadena.

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LOCATION: 504 W Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91105

The pair can also be seen visiting the Watts Towers. The Watts Towers have appeared in many films, including “Colors,” “Menace II Society,” “Ricochet,” “CB4,” “Good Times,” “Melinda” and more, as well as the TV shows “Six Feet Under,” “Dragnet,” “Southland,” “Dark Skies” and more.

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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.

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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.  A popular eating spot, Grand Central Market has appeared in many films, including “Color Of Night,” “City Of Angels,” “I Am Sam” and many more.

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LOCATION: 317 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013

Mia walks past this motel as she tries to call Sebastion.

LOCATION: 995 N Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Later in the film, Mia, now a successful actress, can be seen staying at the Chateau Marmont in Hollywood.

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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.

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LOCATION: 6202 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90038

Here is the angle from the sidewalk seen in the film.

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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.

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Here is the stage where Sebastian played his piano.  In the actual bar, it’s just an enclosed seating area.

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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.

Thelma & Louise (1991)

Ridley Scott’s 1991 film about two women on the run from the law, “Thelma & Louise,” is set all across the country.  In reality, however, the film shot mostly in Southern California and Utah, with a few shots in Colorado.  The film features one of the most famous endings of the 1990s.

The girls set off on their adventure when Louise, played by Susan Sarandon, picks up Thelma, played by Geena Davis, at her house, supposedly located in Arkansas.  The actual house can be found in Tarzana, California.

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LOCATION: 18633 Palomino Dr, Tarzana, CA 91356

The girls make their way to the the Silver Bullet Saloon for a night of drinking and dancing, before things take a dark turn, as a man tries to rape Thelma in the parking lot.  Louise intervenes and things take a violent turn, as the women’s would-be getaway trip becomes a run from the law.  The Silver Bullet Saloon really is a country-western themed night club, located in Long Beach, California.  However, it is now known as the Cowboy Country Saloon.

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LOCATION: 3321 E South St, Long Beach, CA 90805

Louise’s vintage Thunderbird convertible is another central character in the film, as it carries them through their outlaw road adventure, into the film’s famous ending.  Several identical Thunderbirds were used throughout the production.  Located at the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, this particular one was featured extensively, primarily being used for close-up shots in the film.

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

Inherent Vice (2014)

Paul Thomas Anderson’s 2014 adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s novel, “Inherent Vice,” shot all over Southern California.  Much of it is set in the fictional town of Gordita Beach.  These scenes were actually shot in Manhattan Beach, which is worth checking out if you’re interested in beautiful ocean views, without the crowds of such places as Santa Monica or Venice Beach.

This shot, seen at both the beginning, as well the end of the film, is overlooking Manhattan Beach and a scenic walkway called The Strand.  However, the shot is actually taken from Ocean Drive, one block up, at the intersection of Seaview Street.

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LOCATION: 4210 The Strand, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266 (this exact shot is from behind the house, on Ocean Drive at Seaview Street, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266, looking out towards the water)

Doc, played by Joaquin Phoenix, lives in this house,  which is close to the above shot.  The house was mostly used for interiors in the film, but the exterior can also briefly be seen.

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LOCATION: 214 El Porto St, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

This cafe in San Pedro pops up a couple times in the film. First, Doc sits outside reading a newspaper about real estate developments. The interior is seen later in the film, albeit dressed heavily to appear as a Japanese restaurant, as Bigfoot, played by Josh Brolin, delivers the immortal lines, “Motto panukeiku, motto panukeiku.” The same cafe appeared in the films “Chinatown,” “Gods and Monsters” and “Lovesick,” as well as such TV shows as “T.J. Hooker” and the 2020 version of “Perry Mason.”

LOCATION: 700 W Paseo Del Mar, San Pedro, CA 90731

Doc follows leads on the mysterious Golden Fang boat, which is believed to bring in drugs, as well as having carried Shasta, played by Katherine Waterston, on board the last time it sailed.  The schooner is seen in darkness, off in the distance in the film.  The actual boat is the Tallship American Pride, which can be found at the Rainbow Harbor in Long Beach, California.  The boat is located at Dock 3, though it does sometimes set sail into the waters.  If you’re unfamiliar with this area of Long Beach, just search for Gladstone’s Restaurant (330 S Pine Ave, Long Beach, CA 90802) or Toyko Wako (310 Pine Ave, Long Beach, CA 90802) at the Long Beach Pike.  The pier and the boat are located directly behind them.

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LOCATION: Rainbow Harbor, Dock 3, Long Beach, CA 90802

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Later in the film, Doc pays a visit to Bigfoot at the old Los Angeles Police Department in downtown Los Angeles.  As he’s approaching the building, an officer bumps into him, knocking him to the ground. The building has since been demolished.

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LOCATION: 150 N Los Angeles St, Los Angeles, CA 90012 (now demolished)

One of the most memorable scenes in the film is a flashback sequence, when Doc and Shasta get caught in the rain, while Neil Young’s “Journey Through the Past” plays.  This song was a major inspiration for the film and Doc’s look was even modeled after a 1970s photograph of Neil Young.  The scene was shot in Pomona, Californa, about an hour east of Los Angeles.

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LOCATION: 406 W 2nd St, Pomona, CA 91766

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Related articles: Hard Eight (1996)Boogie Nights (1997)Magnolia (1999)Punch-Drunk Love (2002)There Will Be Blood (2007)The Master (2012), Licorice Pizza (2021)

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

Few filmmakers have ever captured adolescence as well as John Hughes did with a string of hit films in the 1980s.  Most of his films were set in the fictitous town of Shermer, Illinois and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” is no exception.

While much of the film did indeed film in the Greater Chicago area, Ferris’ house is actually located far from the neighborhoods of Chicago, in Long Beach, California. The same house appears in the films “Red Dragon” and “Not Another Teen Movie.”

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LOCATION: 4160 Country Club Dr, Long Beach, CA 90807

Ferris’ high school scenes were filmed at Glenbrook North High School, in Northbrook Illinois.  Hughes had previously used the hallways of the school in another of his 80s hits, “The Breakfast Club.”  Later in the film, Ferris poses as his girlfriend Sloane’s father, coming up with a scheme to get her out of school.  This scene was actually filmed at the Center for Performing Arts, a separate building on the grounds of the high school.  The stairs still look exactly the same as they did in the film.

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LOCATION: 2300 Shermer Rd, Northbrook, IL 60062

A reverse view at the parking lot from the stairs, where Ferris posed as Sloane’s father.

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The police station where Jeanie, played by Jennifer Grey, meets a mysterious man, played by Charlie Sheen, can be found in Downtown Los Angeles. It is only seen from interior views in the film. The building has been featured in countless films and television series, including “Beverly Hills Cop,” “Beverly Hills Cop II,” “Divergent,” “The Muppets,” “Wrath Of Man,” “License To Drive,” “Unlawful Entry,” “Inspector Gadget,” “Child’s Play 2” and dozens more.

LOCATION: 635 Mateo St, Los Angeles, CA 90021

Ferris’ best friend Cameron lives at this house in Highland Park, Illinois.  It has unfortunately since been remodeled, but we were able to capture it long before remodeling took place.

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LOCATION: 370 Beech St, Highland Park, IL 60035

Late in the film, disaster strikes when Ferris and Cameron accidentally reverse Cameron’s father’s car through the glass wall of this building, down a steep canyon.  The building really does exist behind the above house and there really is a steep canyon beneath it, exactly as depicted in the film. This building has not been remodeled.

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Some outfits worn by Ferris and Cameron in the film can be seen on display at Planet Hollywood in Florida.

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

Bad Santa (2003)

As snow falls on “O’Hara’s Pub” in the opening scenes of Terry Zwigoff’s “Bad Santa,” the sunny streets of Venice, California are probably the last thought in the minds of the viewers.  However, that’s exactly where the scenes were shot, at a store front along the famous Abbot Kinney Boulevard.  A wooden facade was partially built over the store front, along with a neon sign, with only the outer brick lining still visible.  It’s located just a couple doors down from the record label where Paul Rudd works in “This Is 40.”

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LOCATION: 1100 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

Willie, played by Billy Bob Thorton, lives at this apartment, located in Long Beach.

LOCATION: 1161 Magnolia Ave, Long Beach, CA 90813

Willie finds someone searching through his motel room. This scene was also filmed in Long Beach.

LOCATION: 446 W Pacific Coast Hwy, Long Beach, CA 90806

Willie hides out at Thurman Merman’s house, which can be found in West Hills, California.

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LOCATION: 7211 Whitehall Ln, West Hills, CA 91307