Goodfellas (1990)

One of the most memorable scenes in Martin Scorsese’s classic 1990 film “Goodfellas” is when Henry Hill, played by Ray Liotta, takes Karen, played by Lorraine Bracco, on a date to the Copacabana in Manhattan.  The camera follows them as they take a side entrance, skipping the line and walking through the kitchen out onto the restaurant floor, where a table is immediately brought for them.

The Copacabana was a legendary restaurant located in the actual spot seen in the film.  Acts such as Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr. and The Supremes all performed there.  However, after fifty years, it was relocated in 1992, not long after the film was released.  Scorsese briefly used this location once again as the Copacabana in his 2019 film “The Irishman.”

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LOCATION: 10 E 60th St, New York, NY 10022

Related articles: The Departed (2006), Casino (1995)

Casino (1995)

Much of the 1995 Martin Scorsese film “Casino” was filmed in Las Vegas, Nevada, as you might imagine.  The house where Ace, played by Robert De Niro, lives can be found in the Paradise Palms neighborhood.  A real casino owner did at one time live in the home and once was even targeted for attack by a car bomb.  However, it is not the same man De Niro’s character is based on in the film.  Former rap mogul Suge Knight is also said to have owned the house at one time.

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LOCATION: 3515 Cochise Ln, Las Vegas, NV 89169

Related articles: The Departed (2006), Goodfellas (1990)

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.

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LOCATION: 724 E Carson St, Carson, CA 90745 (now demolished)

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 was actually a Macy’s store.  While Macy’s is still there, 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 over the Macy’s sign.

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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)

The Deer Hunter (1978)

Michael Cimino’s classic film “The Deer Hunter” is primarily remembered for it’s harrowing scenes set in the Vietnam War (which were actually shot in Thailand).  However, the first half of the film is set in a blue-collar town in Pennsylvania.  The town was comprised of quite a few different locations.  For example, the deer hunting scenes were shot at Mount Baker, Washington.

The wedding of Steven and Angela was shot at the Theodosius Russian Orthodox Cathedral, which is actually located in Cleveland, Ohio.  The building considered to be one of the finest examples of Russian architecture in the United States.

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LOCATION: 733 Starkweather Ave., Cleveland, OH 44113

Heat (1995)

As time has passed, appreciation for Michael Mann’s crime saga masterpiece “Heat” has continued to grow.  Few films have ever captured Los Angeles so magnificently as Mann did here.  Even after all of these years, a few locations remain secret, but most have surfaced.

The opening shots of the film show Neil McCauley, played by Robert DeNiro on the Metro Green Line, arriving at the Redondo Beach Station.  Director Michael Mann would return to this same station for the climactic scenes of “Collateral.”  If you plan to visit this station, the only way to access the platform is by purchasing a fare.

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LOCATION: 2406 Marine Ave, Redondo Beach, CA 90278

Neil steals an ambulance from the St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach.  The same hospital shows up again later in the film, when Vincent Hanna, played by Al Pacino, rushes his step-daughter Lauren, played by Natalie Portman, to the emergency room.

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LOCATION: 1050 Linden Ave, Long Beach, CA 90813

Chris, played by Val Kilmer, purchases explosives from a company in Whittier (10006 Rose Hills Rd, Whittier, CA 90601).  However, the building seen in the film was unfortunately demolished.

The Mexican food stand where Waingro gets picked up was likewise demolished.  It was formerly located at 1233 S Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90006.

The opening robbery of the armored truck takes place on Venice Blvd, exactly as Hanna states in the film.  It’s near the Los Angeles Convention Center, just underneath the interchange of the 10 and 110 freeways.

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LOCATION:  Venice Blvd / Convention Center Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90015

The robbers emerge from underneath this split overpass for the collision.

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This is where Vincent arrives to investigate the aftermath.

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McCauley’s crew takes Waingro to the former Johnie’s Broiler in Downey, where they attempt to kill him in the parking lot, but he ultimately escapes.  The restaurant has a unique history, having appeared in many other films, such as “Short Cuts,” “License To Drive,” “The Game,” “One Hour Photo” and many more.  In 2007, the building was unfortunately demolished.  However, Bob’s Big Boy purchased the property years later and rebuilt it based on the original blueprints and even some of the same materials.  So what stands now closely resembles what was seen in the film.

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LOCATION: 7447 Firestone Blvd, Downey, CA 90241

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The bookstore (1254 3rd Street Promenade, Santa Monica, CA 90401) where Eady, played by Amy Brenneman works, as well as the cafe (1457 3rd Street Promenade, Santa Monica, CA 90401) where she gets to know Neil are part of the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica.  The whole area, an outdoor pedestrian mall, was heavily renovated and both businesses are long since gone.

Vincent and his wife Justine live in what is known as the “Sixth Street House” in Santa Monica.  A famous architectural piece, the house has the designation of historical landmark.  Unfortunately, much of the front of the home is obscured by a wall and shrubs, making it a bit inconspicuous.  The side of the home offers better visibility.  In the film itself, only the interiors of the house are seen.

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LOCATION: 2634 6th St, Santa Monica, CA 90405

The location of Neil’s oceanfront home, where Chris sleeps off a domestic spat, has long been subject to debate.  The house most commonly believed to be the correct location can be found on Malibu Cove Colony Drive, a private road just off the Pacific Coast Highway.  Old real estate listings showing the interior of the home match closely with what was seen in the film, down to fixtures and appliances.  The same house was also featured in the film “Less Than Zero,” where Jami Gertz tells Andrew McCarthy she’s not going to college.  However, since then portions of the home have been remodeled, making it a difficult task to match up in person.

The entrance to Malibu Cove Colony Drive has a gate and guard on duty, preventing any public access (most beachfront roads in this area are likewise private).  On the opposite side, however, are the outskirts of Escondido Beach, which is open to the public, but also presents it’s own challenges.  First and foremost, the houses sit very close to the water.  All of them are perched on stilts, as the tides can reach all the way up to the base of the properties.  Visitors should use caution if they walk these narrow shores, as the high tides can leave you little room to cross.  It also makes photography a challenge, unless you plan to take a swim.  The next challenge is simply identifying the correct home.  Many of these beachfront homes have been heavily remodeled.  If you attempt to match them to satellite views, many details won’t align in person, due to remodeling.  Some of the homes also resemble one another, particularly their patios, making it even more confusing.  It’s easy to see why, after decades, the location has remained subject to debate.  To be certain we found the correct home we were seeking, we used a combination satellite imagery and GPS.  A drone (or jet ski) is likely a better method to view the house, but if you do attempt it on foot, use caution and do your research.

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LOCATION: 26940 Malibu Cove Colony Dr, Malibu, CA 90265

The restaurant where Donald, played by Dennis Haysbert, begins working under the abuse of a crooked manager is Bob’s Big Boy in Burbank (not to be confused with the Downey location covered earlier in this article).

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LOCATION: 4211 W Riverside Dr, Burbank, CA 91505

Later in the film, Neil happens to be dining inside with his crew and spots Donald cooking and immediately recognizes him as a former prison buddy.

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Neil speaks to his driver, Trejo, from a phone at the restaurant, where his is informed Trejo is being tailed by cops and cannot join their heist.  In need of a last-minute, replacement driver, Neil offers Donald a job on the spot.

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Plans for the bank heist are first offered to Neil and Nate, played by Jon Voight, when they visit Kelso, played by Tom Noonan.  The house was filmed on Dodds Circle in Los Angeles, which is also where Trejo’s house is located in the film.  Neil and Nate first park here, overlooking the 10 freeway.

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LOCATION:  Dodds Cir, Los Angeles, CA 90063 (just off Dickson Ave)

McCauley then discusses the plan with Kelso at his house, which is fenced off around the entire perimeter.

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LOCATION:  1235 Dodds Cir, Los Angeles, CA 90063

Vincent and Drucker visit Albert’s chop shop in Wilmington.  At the time of filming, the area was rumored to host an actual chop shop, though now it’s just a train maintenance area.  The distinct, yellow sulpher pile still remains and there is a very strong smell in person.

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LOCATION: 1017 Foote Ave, Wilmington, CA 90744 (near the railroad tracks)

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The drive-in theater where a deal goes wrong was formerly located at 5700 W Centinela Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90045.  It was demolished not long after filming took place.

The restaurant where Neil’s crew dines can be found in Santa Monica, near the pier.

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LOCATION: 1535 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Eady’s house sits perched on stilts in the hills of West Hollywood, offering a magnificent view over the city.  There’s not much to see from the front of the house itself on Blue Heights Dr.  Signs declare the cul-de-sac where it sits to be private property, but you can still see it well from the public section of the road.  The floor to ceiling windows and patio area are much better seen from lower streets, such as Viewmont Dr (near the 1600 block, just before it reaches a dead end).  The house found renewed interest in 2014 with the TV series “Bosch,” where it serves as the home of the titular detective.

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LOCATION: 1870 Blue Heights Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90069 (best seen from around the 1600 block of Viewmont Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90069, just before the road hits a dead end)

Here is a view of the city, as seen from Blue Heights Dr, just before you reach Eady’s house, closely resembling what you’d see from the home.

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One of the film’s classic scenes is of course the face to face meeting between Al Pacino and Robert De Niro.  The conversation took place at the excellent Kate Mantilini, an institution of Beverly Hills which sadly closed in 2014 after the restaurant could not afford a rental increase by the building owners.  We managed to capture some photos from when the place was still open.

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LOCATION: 9101 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90212 (now closed)

Above the entrance to the restaurant, this image from the iconic scene was hung.

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After meeting Neil, Vincent returns to a hotel where he’s staying, only to discover his step-daughter Lauren has attempted suicide in his bathroom.  This was filmed at the Hotel Angeleno, just off the 405 freeway.  The hotel was mostly seen from interior views in the film, aside from a shot of Vincent looking down at the freeway from his balcony.

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LOCATION: 170 N Church Ln, Los Angeles, CA 90049

The exterior of the famous bank robbery scene is set in downtown Los Angeles at the Citigroup Center.  This same location was also briefly seen in David Fincher’s “Fight Club.”

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LOCATION: 444 S Flower St. Los Angeles, CA 90071

The robbery then spills out onto the streets, in what many consider one of the greatest shootouts ever filmed.

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LOCATION: Intersection of W 5th St / S Flower St, Los Angeles, CA 90071

After the robbery, the police try to bait in Chris by setting up a meeting with his wife Charlene, played by Ashley Judd.  After she tips him off with a subtle gesture, he leaves the scene.  He’s stopped next to Venice Beach by the police, where he presents false identification and escapes.

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LOCATION: Navy St / Speedway, Los Angeles, CA 90405

Trejo’s house, much like Eady’s, sits on stilts over a hillside of L.A., where he is discovered by McCauley near the end of the film.  It sits on the same small road as Kelso’s house from earlier in the film, which was discovered as a result of finding this home for the film.

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LOCATION: 1219 Dodds Cir, Los Angeles, CA 90063

The hotel where Neil tracks down Waingo can be found right next to LAX airport, just as depicted in the film.  Neil parks in this alley next to the hotel.

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LOCATION: 5711 W Century Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045