Southland Tales (2006)

The 2006 Richard Kelly film “Southland Tales” tells the story of an alternate timeline in the near future where the United States is descending into chaos and ultimately the end of the world. The film features an ensemble cast with interconnecting stories set against the backdrop of Southern California. The film is largely set along the beach fronts of Santa Monica, Venice, Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach. However, the film also shot brief scenes in Abilene, Texas and Primm, Nevada. This article contains some spoilers for the film.

In the opening scene of the movie, a nuclear attack is shown in the town of Abilene, Texas, through the perspective of home video footage at a children’s party. These scenes really were filmed in Abilene, with the house located at 2143 S 10th St, Abilene, TX 79605.

Throughout the film, Private Pilot Abilene, played by Justin Timeberlake, sits perched at the end of the Santa Monica Pier on the rooftop of Maria Sol restaurant, armed with a military grade gun, which is aimed inland at citizens.

LOCATION: 401 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Here’s closer view of the building, from the pier itself.

Boxer Santaros, played by Dwayne Johnson, awakens on the beach, unable to remember the events prior to the start of the film (those events are told in a graphic novel). He is seen walking up these stairs, which connect Palisades Park to the Santa Monica Beach parking area, as he is monitored by USIDent, which is something of an mock up and extreme version of the Department of Homeland Security.

LOCATION: 34°00’47.5″N 118°29’51.6″W

In Downtown Los Angeles, protesters demonstrate outside of the USIDent headquarters, which was filmed at the Caltrans building.

LOCATION: 100 S Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Boxer Santaros and Krysta Now, a porn star with psychic abilities played by Sarah Michelle Gellar, hide out with Fortunio Balducci, played by Will Sasso, at this home in Manhattan Beach. It is also under surveillance from USIDent.

LOCATION: 132 3rd St, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

Later in the film, Officer Ronald Taverner, played by Seann William Scott, stands in front of the home and looks out toward the beach.

The Sidewalk Cafe in Venice is featured multiple times throughout the film, as several characters meet and discuss various matters. It is connected to Small World Books, which is another location seen later in the film.

LOCATION: 1401 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA 90291

The entrance is seen briefly in the film.

USIDent surveillance shows that Boxer was first found at the California / Nevada state line, with images showing Buffalo Bill’s Resort & Casino in Primm, Nevada (31700 S Las Vegas Blvd, Primm, NV 89019).

Neo-Marxist Cyndi Pinziki, played by Nora Dunn, lives at this apartment above a storefront in Venice Beach, which has been slightly remodeled since filming.

LOCATION: 1307 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA 90291

The Neo-Marxist compound, where Roland Taverner, also played by Seann William Scott, awakens can also be found on Venice Beach.

LOCATION: 909 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA 90291

Later in the film, Roland escapes the Neo-Marxist compound by jumping off the rooftop of the same building. The dumpster jump was a visual effect, but the location is otherwise geographically accurate. In fact, most of the film is geographically accurate in the ways the characters move from one location to the next. This side of the building faces Speedway / Breeze Ave.

Ronald and Boxer go on a drive together as Ronald makes a racist remark, which is captured on camera by Boxer, who is recording for research for an upcoming movie role. The two drive along Culver Blvd, past Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve in Playa Del Rey.

A political ad plays on the USIDent screens, with a little girl standing in front of a church. This was filmed back in Abilene, Texas (518 N 6th St, Abilene, TX 79601).

Boxer follows the mysterious Serpentine, played by Bai Ling, into a book store. This was filmed at the aforementioned Small World Books, which is connected to the beach front restaurant featured multiple times throughout the film. Both the interior and exterior of the store were featured in the film.

LOCATION: 1407 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA 90291

Dr. Soberin Exx, played by Curtis Armstrong, picks up Boxer Santaros in front of this restaurant in Marina Del Rey.

LOCATION: 311 Washington Blvd, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

Bing Zinneman, played by Todd Berger, gets hit by car at this intersection in Venice.

LOCATION: Market St / Speedway, Los Angeles, CA 90291

The actual close-up stunt of the impact, however, was filmed in an alley near Grand Central Market in Downtown Los Angeles, around 337 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013.

On the same street where Bing Zinneman is hit, Ronald Taverner is injected with Fluid Karma, a drug with a variety of effects, depending on which color is taken. Ronald passes out in the street in this area.

LOCATION: 74 Market St, Venice, CA 90291

After Roland awakens from the dumpster he jumped into, he arrives at this area, where he finds Walter Mung, played by Christopher Lambert, parked in an ice cream truck.

LOCATION: 1313 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA 90291

Dozens of caskets draped in American flags are unloaded onto the Santa Monica Pier.

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

One of the bodies is transported on a tram to Treer Plaza in Downtown Los Angeles. The tram was a CGI creation, but the surrounding buildings are once again geographically accurate, placing the location at W 7th St / Francisco St. As you can see in the photo, however, new buildings are going up as the skyline continues to change.

LOCATION: W 7th St / Francisco St, Los Angeles, CA 90017 (partial CGI used for the location)

One of the most memorable scenes in the film is Pilot Abilene’s Fluid Karma hallucination, where an impromptu musical sequence ensues to “All These Things That I’ve Done” by The Killers. This was filmed at the Playland Arcade on the Santa Monica Pier, which was renamed the “Fire Arcade” in the film, as a nod to the band Arcade Fire. Both the interior and exterior of the arcade are seen and it still looks largely similar to how it appeared in the film

LOCATION: 350 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Late into the film, the MegaZeppelin prepares to launch in Downtown Los Angeles. This was another CGI creation. However, it is depicted as being located beside the Staples Center, placing it where L.A. Live stands now.

LOCATION: 777 Chick Hearn Ct, Los Angeles, CA 90015 (partial CGI used for the location)

Zora Charmichaels, played by Cheri Oteri and Bart Bookman, played by Jon Lovitz, track down Krysta Now in Hermosa Beach. They exit the Municipal Parking Structure, where armed military are present. This same building appears later in the film, as gunfire erupts.

LOCATION: Municipal Parking Structure, 13th St, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254

Krysta Now enters the former Poop Deck, which was a real bar and restaurant in Hermosa Beach. It is now known simply as The Deck. Both the exterior and interiors of the restaurant were featured in the film. However, the bathroom scene where Krysta delivers a tape was filmed on a set.

LOCATION: 1272 The Strand, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254

Back at the Municipal Parking Structure, which is just around the corner, a military gunman opens fire on Zora and Bart from the top deck.

Krysta Now escapes the scene.

The interior of the MegaZeppelin was a composite of two different locations. It starts inside a restaurant at the Pacific Design Center (8687 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood, CA 90069), before seamlessly transitioning (via a hidden edit in an unbroken shot) into the ballroom, which was filmed at Skirball Cultural Center (2701 N Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049).

A Los Angeles freeway is seen, with more CGI elements added. This was filmed at W 7th St, overlooking the CA-110 freeway, facing Southbound. Again, the surrounding buildings are geographically accurate.

LOCATION: 34°03’01.0″N 118°15’45.3″W (partial CGI used for the location)

Walter Mung drives his ice cream truck, with Roland inside, towards the erupting riots in the city. A car is burning next to the “Uptown Rocker” public art piece in Downtown Los Angeles.

LOCATION: W 4th St, Los Angeles, CA 90071 (GPS coordinates: 34°03’06.3″N 118°15’10.2″W)

The ice cream truck crashes at S Hill St / W 4th St, where there are riots in the streets.

LOCATION: S Hill St / W 4th St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

As Roland and Ronald Taverner meet one another, the ice cream truck ascends into the sky in front of the US Bank Tower in Downtown Los Angeles.

LOCATION: 633 W 5th St, Los Angeles, CA 90071

Related articles: Donnie Darko (2001)

Point Break (1991)

The 1991 action film “Point Break,” directed by Kathryn Bigelow, was filmed mostly around Southern California, with a few late scenes filmed in Oregon and Hawaii.

Early in the film, the FBI agent Pappas, played by Gary Busey encourages his new partner Johnny Utah, played by Keanu Reeves, to learn to surf.  Believing the bank robbers they are pursuing to be surfers, they discuss the need to infiltrate the tight-knit surfer community in order to gain leads as to the thieves’ identities.  These scenes were filmed at the Manhattan Beach Pier.

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LOCATION: 2 Manhattan Beach Blvd, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

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While surfing, Johnny meets Tyler, played by Lori Petty and the two strike up a romance.  Johnny visits her at her work, which was filmed at Neptune’s Net in Malibu.  A famous biker and surfer restaurant, the same place was also seen in “The Fast And The Furious.”

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LOCATION: 42505 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265

Utah begins frequenting a variety of beaches, in hopes of identifying the robbers, who call themselves the Ex-Presidents.  One of the beaches he checks out is Dockweiler Beach in Playa Del Rey.  Utah can be seen near the El Segundo Power Plant, just past W Grand Ave.

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LOCATION: 12001 Vista Del Mar, Playa Del Rey, CA 90293

Johnny is washing off after surfing, when another crew approaches and attacks him.  Bodhi, played by Patrick Swayze, intervenes as the two fight off the rival crew.  These scenes were filmed at Leo Carrillo State Beach in Malibu.

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LOCATION: 35000 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265

Later in the film, Utah is ordering sandwiches when the Ex-Presidents pull up right behind him and proceed to rob a a bank.  This was filmed in Culver City, with the Culver Hotel seen in the distance (where the opening of “Last Action Hero” was filmed).

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LOCATION: Main St, Culver City, CA 90232 (facing toward Culver Blvd)

The building where the bank was located has been remodeled and is now separated into several business spaces.

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LOCATION: 3849 Main St, Culver City, CA 90232

After the robbery, Utah and Pappas pursue the Ex-Presidents in a car chase.  The chase continues into the Westfield Shopping Plaza in Culver City, as the cars enter from Slauson Ave towards what is now a Macy’s department store.

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LOCATION: 6200 Slauson Ave, Culver City, CA 90230

They hook a left in the parking lot and drive past what is now a Trader Joe’s.

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LOCATION: 6150 Slauson Ave, Culver City, CA 90230

The cars race up and down the aisles of the parking lot, which is located beneath the Marina Fwy (CA-90).

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LOCATION: 6000 S Hannum Ave, Culver City, CA 90230

The cars then drive down Westfield Dr and head towards S Hannum Ave, where Pappas crashes into a security gate, stalling out the car.  Utah exits the car and continues on foot.

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LOCATION: Westfield Dr / S Hannum Ave, Culver City, CA 90230

The thieves blow out a tire as they turn right onto S Hannum Ave.

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While made to look only a short distance away, the Ex-Presidents pull off into a gas station, which was actually located in Redondo Beach.  Bodhi torches the car by lighting a gas pump and using it as a flame thrower.  Now on foot, Utah catches up and tackles him.   The gas station is no longer there, replaced by a surf shop on N Catalina Ave.  This can be slightly confusing, as the same surf shop uses a multiple buildings along the block, including across the street on N Broadway.  The correct location of the former gas station is at the intersection of Beryl St and N Catalina Ave.

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LOCATION: 600 N Catalina Ave, Redondo Beach, CA 90277

Most of the buildings seen in the background of the gas station, such as the Crowne Plaza, are still there and match up with the film.

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LOCATION: Beryl St / N Catalina Ave, Redondo Beach, CA 90277

Bodhi runs from Utah and the foot chase begins as the two race across N Broadway, located behind the former gas station.  This triangular rooftop building can be seen in the background, which is another property of the surf shop.  The other side of the street, where the two begin running down the narrow, residential corridors, has been remodeled.

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LOCATION: N Broadway / N Catalina Ave, Redondo Beach, CA 90277

The ending of the foot chase, with a conflicted Utah reluctantly passing on the opportunity to shoot at Bodhi, was filmed over at Ballona Creek, a concrete water channel and bike path, which runs through Culver City.

Jackie Brown (1997)

Quentin Tarantino’s 1997 Elmore Leonard adaptation was shot primarily in the South Bay region of Los Angeles County, where the director also lived for much of his youth.  In the 20 years since the film was released, many of the locations have long since been remodeled or demolished, but many still stand as well.

In the opening scenes, Jackie Brown, played by Pam Grier, is seen hurrying through LAX Airport.  The opening titles play over the wall tiles of Terminal 3.  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 returned to this area for a scene in “Once Upon A Time In… Hollywood.”

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LOCATION: Terminal 3, 1 World Way, Los Angeles, CA 90045 (lower level, arrivals area)

Jackie is seen passing this area, which is at Terminal 5 in the departure level.  This area too is only accessible to airline passengers and staff.  It’s since been remodeled a bit from how it appeared in the film.

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LOCATION: Terminal 5, 1 World Way, Los Angeles, CA 90045 (departures level)

Another section of Terminal 5 Jackie is seen walking through.

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As we’re introduced to the rest of the cast, we meet a beach bunny named Melanie, played by Bridget Fonda.  Several scenes were filmed at Melanie’s apartment, which was actually a composite of two different locations.  The interior, where most of the scenes take place, can be found at this beachfront property in Hermosa Beach.  The second level balcony can also been seen in the film, when Jackie has an argument with Ordell, played by Samuel L. Jackson.

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LOCATION: 6403 Ocean Front Walk, Playa Del Rey, CA 90293

Aside from the patio, the outside of Melanie’s apartment, where Jackie and Ordell walk down a long corridor talking, was actually filmed at the building right across the street, which was much larger.  Together the two buildings create what you see in the film.

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LOCATION: 6309 Ocean Front Walk, Playa Del Rey, CA 90293

Ordell finds himself in need of a bail bondsman and meets Max Cherry, played by Robert Forster.  Cherry Bail Bonds was filmed at Carson Bail Bonds in Carson, California.  Unfortunately it was demolished around 2009 and replaced by some apartment buildings. It formerly stood at 724 E Carson St, Carson, CA 90745.

Ordell makes his way to the apartment of Beaumont, who he has just bailed out of jail.  In the film, the apartment is said to be located in “Hollywood, two blocks up from Hollywood Blvd and Western.”  In reality, it’s nowhere near there.  The real apartment can be found in Wilmington, California.  Beaumont’s apartment was unit #16, which is the same unit number seen in the film.  Today, the building is no longer accessible to the public.

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LOCATION: 1030 Lakme Ave, Wilmington, CA 90744

After Ordell convinces Beaumont to tag along as backup while he sells some guns, the two make their way down the stairs.

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Ordell explains the situation as they talk at the front entrance of the building.

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After Ordell convinces Beaumont to hide in his trunk and slams it shut, he drives a very short distance into a vacant lot and kills Beaumont.  The vacant lot was located exactly across the street from Beaumont’s apartment location in Wilmington.  This scene was done as a single take with a crane shot.  This vacant area has since been filled with numerous homes.  This is what the area looks like today from the street.

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In the shot, you can see a church with a long steeple in the distance.  That church is still there, known as the Calvary Light Christian Center.  Here’s a closer view of the church, seen as Ordell turns left down Denni Street.

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LOCATION: Lakme Ave and Denni St, Wilmington, CA 90744

Right across the street from the church is this small parking lot, which is about the closest remnant to what the area looked like in the film.

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Max Cherry picks up Jackie from jail at the Sybil Brand Institute, which at the time of filming, was a real, operational women’s prison in Los Angeles.  It was here that Manson Family member Susan Atkins confessed to a cell mate named Virginia Graham about the Tate Murders.  Graham in turn shared what Atkins had told her, which eventually helped lead to the capture of Charles Manson.  The prison shut down in 1997, but today the grounds are still owned by the Los Angeles sherrif’s office, where it’s used by warehouse companies and for filming purposes.  Walking the grounds in person, however, it still very much feels like you’re at a prison.

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LOCATION: 4500 City Terrace Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90063

Here’s a wider view of the premises, though it’s never seen from this angle in the film.

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Max and Jackie grab a drink at the Cockatoo Inn in Hawthorne.  Sadly the location closed down in 1996 and the building has since been so heavily remodeled, it no longer appears anything like it did in the film.  The property, now a Comfort Inn, can be found at 11500 Acacia Ave, Hawthorne, CA 90250.

Max drops Jackie off at her apartment, where Ordell soon pays her a visit.  The apartment can be found in Torrence.

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LOCATION: 17575 Yukon Ave, Torrance, CA 90504

Much of the film takes place at the Del Amo Mall in Torrence, which is correctly stated as such in the film.

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LOCATION: 3525 W Carson St, Torrance, CA 90503

A couple scenes take place in the food court, including when Max runs into Jackie and when Jackie does the trial run for the money exchange.  The mall has since been heavily remodeled and the food court not only looks nothing like how it appeared in the film, it’s actually now located in a completely different section of the mall.  However, we photographed the original food court years ago, back when it still appeared similar to how it did in the film.

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At the start of the second, “for real this time,” money exchange, Jackie is seen entering the mall in front of these distinctive blue bricks of what was formerly a Marshall’s store on W Carson St (the building had no separate address from the mall).  Marshall’s relocated to a new location at the mall in 2018 and these blue bricks were sadly removed in 2019, due to remodeling.

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Melanie and Louis, played by Robert De Niro, meet up with Jackie for the money exchange at the fictional Billingsley Department Store in the mall, which is currently a Macy’s store.  The store has changed quite a bit over the two decades since filming, so things don’t appear as they did back then.  This is the approximate area where Jackie goes into the dressing room, which is located on the third floor of Macy’s.

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Here is the approximate area where Louis and Melanie observe what’s happening and argue.

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Max Cherry arrives outside of the store on the upper level.  A prop Billingsley sign was mounted on the wall.

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While the exchange goes down, Ordell keeps himself far away from the eyes of the A.T.F. by going to a strip club.  The same bar, Sam’s Hofbrau, a real topless bar, would appear again in Tarantino’s “Kill Bill: Vol. 2,” where Budd works as a bouncer.

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LOCATION: 1751 E Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90021

Late in the film, Max meets up with the very angry and suspicious Ordell, over at Raynelle’s house.  This is right around the corner from Beaumont’s apartment location.

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LOCATION: 348 E Opp St, Wilmington, CA 90744

Related articles: Reservoir Dogs (1992), Pulp Fiction (1994), Kill Bill (2003), Django Unchained (2012), Once Upon A Time In… Hollywood (2019)