Forrest Gump (1994)

Visiting the filming locations of the classic 1994 film “Forrest Gump” is a staggering feat, as the story unfolds all across the United States and the production likewise followed that path.

The famous opening scene of the feather falling was filmed at Chippewa Square in Savannah, Georgia.  It descends past the steeple of The Independent Presbyterian Church Administration Building.

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LOCATION: The Independent Presbyterian Church Administration Building, Savannah, GA 31401

Here is a wider view of the full building.

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As the feather falls closer to the ground, we see the First Baptist Church in the distance.

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LOCATION: First Baptist Church, 223 Bull St, Savannah, GA 31401

The feather finally reaches the ground and settles on the shoe of Forrest Gump, played by Tom Hanks.  Forrest sits at a bus stop and recounts the story of his life to strangers sitting on a bench waiting for their bus rides.  The location where Forrest sits is at the intersection of Hull Street and Bull Street in Chippewa Square.  In reality, there is no bus stop or bench there.  They were added for the film.  Instead, there are just some plants.

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Here is a wider view of the area.

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LOCATION: Chippewa Square, Savannah, GA 31401 (at the intersection of Hull St / Bull St)

The actual bench from the film can be found at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, California.  It can be seen on their studio tours.

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LOCATION: 5555 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038

The exterior of the lounge where Forrest finds Jenny, played by Robin Wright, performing nude, can also be found in Savannah.  The name of the restaurant is Love’s, just as depicted in the film, but it is a seafood and steak joint and you won’t find any nude performers there.  The interior of the scene was actually filmed at the former Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, which has long since been demolished.

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LOCATION: 6817 Chief Of Love Rd, Savannah, GA 31419

Forrest celebrates New Year’s Eve with Lieutenant Dan, played by Gary Sinise, in what is supposed to be New York City.  This was actually filmed on 6th St in Downtown Los Angeles.  This area is right next to the locations used for the Nite Owl Coffee Shop from “L.A. Confidential” and Wild Bill’s Leather from “Seven,” both of which were fictional businesses.

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LOCATION: Near the intersection of E 6th St / S Los Angeles St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

On the same street, as Forrest exists a TV studio, Lieutenant Dan is waiting for him outside.  This was actually on a ramp built above this sandwich shop, which has since been removed.

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LOCATION: 118 E 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90014

Lieutenant Dan then loses control of his wheelchair and slides down the ramp into this wall at the same location.

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Later in the film, Forrest begins running, from coast to coast.  He is seen reaching the famous Santa Monica Pier.

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LOCATION: 200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA 90401

He reaches the end of the pier and turns around to begin running back across the country.  There is a Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. restaurant located on the pier itself as well, although of course it was not a filming location.

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As Forrest runs through Flagstaff, Arizona, he steps in a pile of manure and helps coin the phrase “Shit happens.”

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LOCATION: Near 106 N San Francisco St, Flagstaff, AZ 86001

Also in Flagstaff, Forrest runs past the former Twin Arrows Trading Post.  The building featured two large, wooden arrows piercing the ground.  Some mud splashes on Forrest and he uses a t-shit to clean off his face, creating the famous smiley face t-shirt.  The building now unfortunately sits abandoned.

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LOCATION: Twin Arrows Trading Post Ruins – Historic Route 66, Flagstaff, AZ 86004

Here’s a closer look at the arrows, which are slowly deteriorating.

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Forrest’s running attire from the film can be found on display at Planet Hollywood in Florida.

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

Late in the film, Jenny is working as a waitress and sees Forrest on television.  This was filmed at Debi’s Restaurant in Savannah, located just a few blocks away from the opening scene of the film.

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LOCATION: 225 E Bay St, Savannah, GA 31401

The restaurant is quite proud of their connection to the film and the front is decorated with quotes from the film and a shot of the scene.

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We’ve only covered a portion of the vast filming locations here.  The production also shot scenes in South Carolina, Utah, Arizona, North Carolina, Vermont, Maine, Montana and Washington D.C.

Top Gun (1986)

In the town of Oceanside, California, about 40 miles north of San Diego, you’ll find the iconic house from the 1986 hit “Top Gun.”  Charlie, played by Kelly McGillis, lives at this beachfront cottage, where she is visited by Maverick, played by Tom Cruise.  The two make love while Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away” plays, in one of the most famous love scenes of the 1980s.

The house sat vacant and boarded up for years, having fallen into a state of disrepair, with fencing erected around it in an effort to minimize vandalism.  At the time of filming, several other houses existed along the block, but all were demolished except for this one.  Hotel development is now underway for the block, but the “Top Gun” house drives tourism to Oceanside, so rather than demolition, the house was relocated about a block away and a restoration is now planned (much like what happened with the Michael Myers house from the original “Halloween“).  While the restoration is much needed, we were able to capture it at it’s original site while it still remained there.

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LOCATION: 102 N Pacific St, Oceanside, CA 92054

Here is a front facing view of the house, where you can see a poster for the film over one of the boarded up windows.

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For scenes set at the back of the house, a completely different location stood in, behind the medical building of Paramount Studios.

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LOCATION: 5555 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038

In San Diego, you’ll find the bar where Maverick and Goose sing “Great Balls of Fire.”  Kansas City Barbeque, located not far from the city’s convention center where their famous Comic Con takes place, makes no secret of their connection to the film.  In fact, it’s one of the main themes of the restaurant.  Here is the room where Goose played the piano, which was on the wall to the left.

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LOCATION: 600 W Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101

The piano itself has been relocated to a different room in the restaurant.

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The walls are adorned with tons of imagery and promotional items from the film.

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In a later scene, Maverick sits at this bar.

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They even have a neon sign for the film in the front windows.

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It’s always nice to see places embrace their film history so much.  Be sure to check it out if you’re in the San Diego area.

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Laverne & Shirley

The apartment from the 1970s sitcom “Laverne & Shirley,” where the two women dance and say “Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!” in the opening credits, is actually a set on the Paramount Studios backlot.  Even all these years later, the set still strongly resembles how it appeared on the show.

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LOCATION: 5555 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038

Over at Planet Hollywood in Florida, you can find one of the dresses worn by Penny Marshall as Laverne on display.

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