Seven (1995)

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

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

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

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LOCATION: 720 Beacon Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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LOCATION: 253 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Tracy asks Somerset to meet her at a diner, which was the former Quality Cafe in downtown.  The diner was a one-time staple of films, appearing in “Training Day,” “Ghost World,” “Catch Me If You Can,” “Million Dollar Baby” and dozens more.  However, it was not an actual restaurant open to the public.  Instead it was used solely for filming (much like Johnie’s Coffee Shop in mid-town L.A.).  Unless the building was being set up for a production, most of the time it was closed up and locked by a large metal door covering the front windows.  So catching a glimpse of it was rare.

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

Sadly, it ceased to function as a filming location and was completely renovated in 2014.  The property no longer bears any resemblance to how it appeared in so many films.

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

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

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

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

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

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LOCATION: 673 Mateo St, Los Angeles, CA 90021

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

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LOCATION: 10482 W Ave I, Lancaster, CA 93536

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

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

One of our favorite movie locations is the prison from “The Shawshank Redemption.”  While the film is set in Maine, tucked away in the fields of Mansfield, Ohio, the Ohio State Reformatory hosted the production of the film 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 “Air Force One” and “Tango & Cash.”

If you find yourself in the area, I highly encourage you to take the 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 here.

LOCATION: 100 Reformatory Rd, Mansfield, OH 44905

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

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“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.

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

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

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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

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Autographs from the film’s actors.

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Autographed poster.

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

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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.

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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.

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