The 1993 film “Free Willy” was largely filmed in Oregon, with additional scenes filmed in Washington and Mexico City. Jesse, played by Jason James Richter, is a troubled boy who stays with his foster parents, played by Michael Madsen and Jayne Atkinson, at this home, located in Astoria, Oregon. Astoria is well known for many iconic filming locations, such as “The Goonies,” “Kindergarten Cop,” “Short Circuit” and more.
LOCATION: 3392 Harrison Ave, Astoria, OR 97103
Jesse is assigned to work at a park and clean up graffiti as part of his probation. He goes to Northwest Adventure Park, which is actually Oaks Amusement Park in Portland. There he meets Willy the whale. This building was used as the exterior to where Willy is kept. In the film, on the other side is a water tank and sloped seating arena. At the real location, it’s just a parking lot on the other side. This building is the Oaks Park Roller Skating Rink. The water tank scenes were filmed at the former Reino Aventura Park in Mexico City, which is now a Six Flags (Six Flags México, Blvd. Picacho-Ajusco Km 1.5, Jardines del Ajusco, Tlalpan, 14200 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico).
LOCATION: 7805 SE Oaks Park Way, Portland, OR 97202
Just across from the Oaks Park Roller Skating Rink is the house of Randolph, who becomes a mentor and friend to Jesse. While the house is private, it is easily visible from the park, which is completely open to the public and does not require any admission fee. While it’s on the same park grounds, we’ve provided the exact GPS coordinates below.
LOCATION: GPS coordinates: 45.473363, -122.663271 (on the grounds of Oaks Amusement Park)
Near the end of the film, the park owners hatch a plan to kill Willy and collect the insurance money. Jesse organizes a rescue for Willy and takes him to Dawsons Marina, which is actually Hammond Marina in Hammond, Oregon. Hammond is located just a short distance from Astoria. There’s a sign there identifying it as the filming location. We always love when places honor their film history in this way.
LOCATION: 1080 Iredale St, Hammond, OR 97121
Here’s a closer look at the sign.
Here is where Glen smashes through the gate with his truck.
Here is the boat ramp where they release Willy into the water.
Here is where Dial and Wade approach and try to stop Jesse, with a fight ensuing.
Willy is finally released and has an opening to freedom, but some boats approach and block the opening.
Jesse then runs out onto the jetty and signals Willy to jump over it. In the film, it is made to appear Jesse runs directly along the jetty, but this would be impossible. The crew added a wooden pathway just behind the foremost rocks, to allow a smooth running platform.
Willy jumps over Jesse to freedom, reuniting with his family on the other side.
In the James Bond film, “Die Another Day,” starring Pierce Brosnan, this 2002 Jaguar XKR was driven by the henchman Tang Lin Zao, played by Rick Yune. The vehicle was equipped with grille-mounted missiles, rocket launchers on the door and a Gatling gun. The car was featured in a chase seen with Bond over a frozen lagoon, as he escapes an ice palace. It could be found on display at the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, California, which ran an exhibit entitled “Hollywood Dream Machines: Vehicles Of Science Fiction and Fantasy” from May 2019 through May 2020.
LOCATION: Peterson Automotive Museum, 6060 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036
The 1995 sci-fi film “Species” was filmed in Utah, Southern California and Puerto Rico. Early in the film, after escaping from a science lab, the half-human, half-alien Sil, played by Natasha Henstridge, arrives by train into Los Angeles at Union Station.
Xavier Fitch, played by Ben Kingsley, assembles a team to find Sil. They set up operations at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel. They first arrive at this alley entrance facing S Olive St. The same alley can be seen in the film “Chinatown.” There is a gate here blocking entrance into the alley, so it’s a bit tricky getting a photo.
LOCATION: Alley between 523 / 525 S Olive St, Los Angeles, CA, 90013
They are seen entering the lobby of the Millennium Biltmore, which has been featured in dozens of films, such as “Beverly Hills Cop,” “Independence Day” and many more.
LOCATION: 506 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90071
The team is later seen leaving from this side of the hotel facing S Grand Ave. The same area can be seen in the films “Seven,” “A Star Is Born” and more.
LOCATION: 530 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90071
Sil gets a hotel room at this hotel in West Hollywood.
LOCATION: 7212 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90046
The club Sil heads to in search of a man is actually the lobby of the famous Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, which was heavily dressed to appear like a club. The “entrance” seen in the film is the back of the building. The theater has likewise appeared in such films as “Ed Wood,” “Once Upon A Time In… Hollywood,” “The Aviator,” “The Bodyguard,” “Batman Forever” and many more.
LOCATION: 6233 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028
Looking to mate with a human partner as soon as possible, Sil aggressively picks up a man at the club and heads back to his place. After detecting he is a diabetic, she determines he’s not a suitable partner.
LOCATION: 1500 Blue Jay Way, Los Angeles, CA 90069
After getting into an accident, Sil meets another man she quickly tries to seduce. Just as she is about to have sex with him at his house, Preston and Laura, played by Michael Madsen and Marg Helgenberger respectively, catch up to her at the home, located in Pacific Palisades.
LOCATION: 14458 Rustic Creek Ln, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
After Sil escapes, she returns back to the home in a car to observe Xavier Fitch’s team investigating the scene. This is a bit of movie magic as the road actually dead ends just a couple houses down into a cul-de-sac, so Sil would not have been able to approach the home from this direction. The team is seen driving past her vehicle, which in reality, they’d likewise be driving straight into the dead end.
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.
LOCATION: 24715 Oakcreek Ave, Newhall, CA 91321
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.
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” and “Swingers,” as well as the TV shows “Mad Men” and “Bosch.”
LOCATION: 6667 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028
Rick and Cliff sit at the bar when Marvin first arrives.
After the meeting, Rick and Cliff head to the parking lot in back and have a quick chat in front of this sign.
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.”
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.
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.
LOCATION: 10969 Alta View Dr, Studio City, CA 91604
The driveway is featured in many scenes in the film, with a large painting of Rick placed on the left side.
Here is the front entrance of the home. The door was painted green in the film.
Rick’s pool overlooking the city is a real pool at the home.
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.
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.
Here’s a closer look at the gate to the Tate residence.
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.
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.
After dropping Rick off at his home, Cliff drives at high speeds down Hollywood Blvd as he heads home.
LOCATION: Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028
Here is Brad Pitt waiving to the crowd on the street.
Tarantino acknowledging the crowd of onlookers as well.
Here’s a deeper look at the set dressing around Hollywood Blvd, which was completely transformed back to 1969 for the film.
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.
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.
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 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 this is a private residence and from the street you can mostly just see the front gate.
LOCATION: 10236 Charing Cross Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90024
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.”
LOCATION: 2924 Division St, Los Angeles, CA 90065
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.
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.
LOCATION: 2922 Division St, Los Angeles, CA 90065
Here’s a look at some more of the shoot from Super A Foods.
While driving, Cliff spots Pussycat, played by Margaret Qualley, 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.
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.
Here’s a couple more shots from when the Pandora’s Box shoot was prepping.
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.
LOCATION: 948 Broxton Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90024
The Fox Theater right across the street is also seen in several shots.
LOCATION: 961 Broxton Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90024
Here’s a closer look at the Fox Theater, with the finished marquee for the film.
Here is the view across the street from the Bruin Theater, when it was dressed for filming.
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.
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.
Here are some more views of the area when production was in progress.
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.
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.
Just across the street, Quentin Tarantino stood on the right, along with Rick Dalton’s car on the street.
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.
LOCATION: 7001 Smith Rd, Simi Valley, CA 93063 (Spahn Ranch sets now demolished)
George Spahn’s house plays a key role in the scene, as Cliff insists on speaking with the old man, played by Bruce Dern.
Some more views of the Spahn house.
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.
Here is the horse stable area where Clem sits on the fence.
Here are some more views around the ranch.
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” and “Bruce Almighty,” as well as such TV shows as “Mad Men, “The Morning Show” and “American Horror Story.”
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.”
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.
LOCATION: 14232 Newport Ave, Tustin, CA 92780
The famous Cinerama Dome in Hollywood is seen next.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Rick and Cliff have dinner at the same evening at Casa Vega in Sherman Oaks.
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.
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.
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.
The most famous location from Quentin Tarantino’s 1992 film “Reservoir Dogs” is of course the warehouse, where the majority of the film takes place. Sadly, it no longer exists. Once located on 59th Avenue near Figueroa Street in the Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, the building was originally a mortuary. It was later demolished, with a parking lot built it it’s place. Mr. Orange’s apartment was also located above the warehouse in the same building, so that too is gone.
The opening “Like a Virgin” scene, which establishes all of the characters, was filmed at Pat And Lorraine’s in Eagle Rock. The restaurant is still alive and well, serving up food daily to locals and film fans alike.
LOCATION: 4720 Eagle Rock Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90041
The parking lot where the gang walks along in the opening credits does still exist. However, the brick wall is no more. The parking lot belongs to a bowling alley. This is what the wall of the building looks like now, approximately where the cast walked.
What can be matched up better is the ending shot of the opening credits sequence. In the shot from behind of the group, the buildings across the street look identical. However, a fence and gate has since been added along the street.
LOCATION: 4459 Eagle Rock Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90041
The jewelry store where the robbery is set can be found in Burbank.
LOCATION: 2612 W Burbank Blvd, Burbank, CA 91505
After the robbery goes wrong, Mr. Pink makes a run from the cops, stealing a car from a driver he encounters far from Burbank, at the corner of N Avenue 50 and York Blvd in Highland Park, Los Angeles.
LOCATION: Intersection of N Avenue 50 and York Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90042 (nearest address is 5000 York Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90042)
The police catch up and Mr. Pink opens fire on them at this same corner. Mr. Pink is standing on N Avenue 50, firing towards York Blvd.
The restaurant where Mr. Orange tells another officer all of the intel he’s collected is Johnie’s Coffee Shop Restaurant in midtown Los Angeles. The restaurant closed many years ago, but still operates as a filming location. It has appeared in “The Big Lebowski,” “American History X,” “Miracle Mile,” “Gone in Sixty Seconds” and many more.
LOCATION:6099 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048
Mr. Orange tells “the commode story,” about being stuck in side a bathroom while carrying drugs with a group of police officers and a dog. This was filmed in the men’s bathroom on the ground floor of the MacArthur. No longer a functioning hotel, the MacArthur today serves primarily as a property for hosting filming and special events. David Lynch’s “Wild at Heart” and the Coen Brothers’ “Barton Fink” also filmed in this exact restroom, which as since been remodeled a bit, but remains largely recognizable.
LOCATION: 607 S Park View St, Los Angeles, CA 90057