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.

seven1

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.

seven2

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.

seven12

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 “They Live” “The Mask,” “The Wedding Singer,” “L.A. Story,” “The Prestige,” “Ghost,” “Bridesmaids,” “13 Going On 30” and many more.  This area cannot normally be accessed by pedestrians.  However, portions are visible from the street in a couple areas through the windows.

seven10

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 from the opposite view on S Olive St in the film “Chinatown.”

seven3

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

After the “greed” crime, Mills and Somerset speak with Mrs. Gould at the at the former Ambassador Hotel, where she notices a painting is upside down in one of the crime scene photos. The hotel was a staple of film and television, appearing in such films as “The Graduate,” “Forrest Gump,” “True Romance,” “Bobby,” “True Lies,” “L.A. Story,” “Catch Me If You Can,” “The Mask” and dozens more. The hotel has since been demolished, with only this post and statue from the original building remaining.

LOCATION: 3400 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90010 (now demolished)

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.

seven4

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,” “Another Day In Paradise,” “(500) Days Of Summer” “Million Dollar Baby,” “The Heartbreak Kid” and many 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. Sadly, it ceased to function as a filming location and was completely renovated in 2014. The interior of the property no longer bears any resemblance inside to how it appeared in so many films.

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

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

seven7

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.”

seven8

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.

seven9

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.

seven11

LOCATION: 10482 W Ave I, Lancaster, CA 93536

Related articles: The Game (1997), Fight Club (1999), Panic Room (2002), Zodiac (2007)The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button (2008), The Social Network (2010), Mindhunter, Mank (2020)

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

While the film is set in Maine, tucked away in the fields of Mansfield, Ohio, the Ohio State Reformatory hosted the production of the “The Shawshank Redemption” in 1993, after it had permanently closed from active prison use three years prior. Originally built between 1886 to 1910, the facility was built in three architectural styles; Victorian Gothic, Richardsonian Romanesque and Queen Anne.  In the wake of a class action suit by the prisoners, which cited overcrowding and inhumane conditions, the prison was shut down in 1990, with a replacement prison built directly behind it, which is still active today.

After the enduring success of “The Shawshank Redemption,” The Mansfield Reformatory Preservation Society began work to restore the facility to its original state, as well as recreate many of the film’s sets.  They offer daily tours from April to September and weekend-only tours during the remaining seasons.  The restorations are funded through donations and tour fees.  The building housed a great deal of horrors, which can be felt as you explore the facility.  Over 200 people are said to have died inside the prison walls.  During Halloween season, the Preservation Society offers haunted tours in lieu of the film tours and a number of ghost-themed television shows have filmed at the location.  Yet outside, the place feels quiet and serene.  Other films to have shot at the prison include “Judas and the Black Messiah,” “Air Force One” and “Tango & Cash.”

LOCATION: 100 Reformatory Rd, Mansfield, OH 44905

shawshank

The front of the prison.  During tour hours, music from the film score plays over loud speakers.

shawshank2
shawshank3
shawshank4
shawshank5
shawshank6

“Get busy living, or get busy dying.”  The back of the prison is particularly difficult to photograph, as the tours do not cover this area, due to the facility directly facing an active prison.  You are not allowed to turn your camera towards the active prison at any time, under the warning of immediate expulsion from the property, if you are caught doing so.  There are guards from the active prison on constant lookout, to make sure no one is photographing the wrong prison.  However, we can provide a brief glimpse of the “yard” where Red and Andy would meet.

shawshank7

The parole room, where Red keeps returning for his hearings.  The table and chair props are not the originals, however, if I recall correctly.

shawshank8

This is where the inmates first line up to face the warden.

shawshank9

This is the warden’s office, where Andy locks the door and plays the music.  The actor playing the captain really did break the window to the door in the scene, which is still missing today.

shawshank10

The warden’s office, where his fate is met.

shawshank11

This is where the production cut a hole in the wall, for the warden’s safe.

shawshank12

The showers seen in the movie were the prison’s real showers.

shawshank13

The hole Andy makes in the pipeline.  This is the actual prop from the film.

shawshank14

This is a wide shot of the pipeline prop that Andy crawls through.  Might ruin a little movie magic for you.

shawshank15

While similar looking, this is the prop used for the hole in the wall, behind the Rita Hayworth poster.

shawshank16

Brooks’ apartment.  It was actually another room inside the prison.

shawshank17

This is unfortunately a replica.  The real ceiling beam was, at one time, located in this room, but it was stolen.  The Preservation Society recreated it.

shawshank18

Autographs from the film’s actors.

shawshank19

Autographed poster.

shawshank20

The cover from the crate prop, holding the library books that Andy had so frequently requested.

shawshank21
shawshank22

There’s really so much more to see inside the prison tour, such as the world’s tallest prison cell block.  These were not the cell blocks seen in the film, however.  The production opted to rent out a nearby warehouse and build their own set for the cell block, likely due to the unsanitary conditions of the real cell block.  You are warned not to touch anything in this area, for risk of needing a tetanus shot.  Since the rest of the features of the tour do not directly relate to the film, we will leave you with just one image of the many other, highly interesting things the tour has to offer.

shawshank23

Late in the film, Red has been released from prison and travels to Buxton to keep a promise he made to Andy. The spot where he’s dropped off was actually filmed in Worthington Township.

LOCATION: Snyder Rd / Hagerman Rd, Worthington Township, OH 44813

Pretty much all of the filming locations are conveniently marked with these signs, noting their film history.

Red takes a bus to leave town to Zihuatanejo, passing this barn on his way out.

LOCATION: Near the intersection of OH-95 / Butler Newville Rd, Worthington Township, OH 44813

Last, but not least, we leave you with one of Red’s prison shirts, which can be seen on display at Planet Hollywood in Florida.

shawshankredemption24

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

If you find yourself in Ohio, we highly encourage you to take the prison tour, as it remains one of our all-time favorite film locations. We do not wish to overlook the unfortunate history of this facility, however, with all of the atrocities that took place there.