Iron Man (2008)

The 2008 film “Iron Man” famously launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is regarded not only as one of the finest Marvel films, but one of the best superhero films ever made.  Early in the film, Tony Stark, played by Robert Downey, Jr., demonstrates his latest weapon, the “Jericho” missile.  Supposedly set in the Kunar Province of Afghanistan, these scenes were actually filmed at Alabama Hills in Lone Pine, California.  Many classic western films have also filmed there over the years, along with more recent films, such as Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” and “Gladiator.”

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LOCATION: Alabama Hills, Lone Pine, CA 93545

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Tony’s iconic Malibu house doesn’t actually exist, it is rather a CGI creation.  However, the land where it’s located is very much real.  Point Dume in Malibu is a public park that is thankfully devoid of any homes.  Instead there is a foot trail and biking path which leads to a beautiful ocean view.  The closest actual home, located directly across the street, is the “Circles on the Point” mansion, another property frequently featured in film and television productions, such as “Color Of Night,” “Glow” and more.  The CGI design of the Stark home is rumored to have been inspired by another mansion; the The Razor House in La Jolla (9826 La Jolla Farms Rd, La Jolla, CA 92037), near San Diego.  The gated access and high cliff walls do not make for convenient photography of the Razor House, however.

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LOCATION: Point Dume, Cliffside Dr / Birdview Ave, Malibu, CA 90265

More CGI trickery was used with the Stark Industries building.  The main building is the Masimo headquarters, formerly known as the Nikken Building, in Irvine.  However, the wider shot is a composite of other streets and buildings, including portions of Shoreline Drive in Long Beach.  The Masimo building has been used in many other productions, including “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story” and “You, Me and Dupree.”

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LOCATION: 52 Discovery, Irvine, CA 92618

Tony attends a charity ball at the Walt Disney Concert Hall near downtown Los Angeles.  The unmistakable design is the work of legendary architect Frank Gehry.

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LOCATION: 111 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Tony first conceives the Iron Man suit after he is captured by terrorists.  Once he escapes and builds the suit, he returns to do battle with the Gulmira terrorists.  The bombed out ruins where he makes short work of his enemies was actually a set located on the Blue Cloud Movie Ranch in Santa Clarita.  As is always the case with movie ranches, the sets are often changed around to meet the needs of the latest productions, but several portions of the Iron Man set still remain recognizable.

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LOCATION: 20019 Blue Cloud Rd, Santa Clarita, CA 91390

Some additional views of the area where Iron Man battles the terrorists.

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Here is the spot where Iron Man blows up the tank and walks away, as famously featured in the film’s trailer.  It was dressed heavily by the production to look more war-torn.

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In 2019, the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles held a limited exhibition called “Hollywood Dream Machines: Vehicles of Science Fiction and Fantasy,” which featured Tony’s 1932 Ford Flathead Roadster from the film.

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LOCATION: Peterson Automotive Museum, 6060 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Not far from Alabama Hills in Lone Pine is the excellent Lone Pine Film History Museum.  Props and memorabilia from the many films shot in Lone Pine can be found there, with their primary focus on classic westerns.  They even have a small section of the museum dedicated to Iron Man.  Here are some of the items on display.

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LOCATION: 701 S Main St, Lone Pine, CA 93545

Some merchandise promoting the film.

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Some posters and prop recreations.

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This is the suit worn by Robert Downey, Jr. during his “Jericho” missile scenes, filmed in Lone Pine.

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Natural Born Killers (1994)

Oliver Stone’s 1994 film “Natural Born Killers” was filmed in quite a few different locations, including Arizona, New Mexico, Illinois and Indiana, as the story depicts two killers on a cross-country mass murder spree.

In the opening scenes of the film, Micky and Mallory, played by Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis respectively, visit a restaurant on a desert road known as the “5 To 2 Cafe.”  After some unwanted advances and rude remarks from some locals, things quickly turn violent.

The building still stands all these years later, although it is long since boarded up and closed down.  The former diner can be found on AZ-99, along an isolated stretch on the outskirts of Winslow, Arizona.  To visit in person, it feels quite remote.  However, in reality, it’s only a few miles from Interstate 40, between the highway and the town of Leupp.  The exact location of the building is 35°06’54.8″N, 110°52’20.3″W.

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LOCATION: AZ-99, Winslow, AZ 86047 (between Interstate 40 and Indian Rte 15, Leupp) (GPS coordinates: 35°06’54.8″N, 110°52’20.3″W)

The property is fenced off from the sides and there is a residence next door, so be careful not to trespass or disturb the tenants.

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These distinct circular windows can still be seen on the sides of the building.  The windows are seen in the film behind Juliette Lewis, as she dances in front of the jukebox.

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The overheating truck pulls up in front.

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For those wondering, the “5 To 2 Cafe” sign out front near the road is long since gone.

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Later in the film, Micky and Mallory are finally captured at the “Drug Zone” after being bitten by rattlesnakes and in need of medicine.  The building is currently a crafts store and can be found in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Aside from the sign and some changes to the front entrance, the building otherwise still resembles how it appeared in the film.

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LOCATION: 9350 Eagle Ranch Rd NW, Albuquerque, NM 87114

A standoff between Micky and the cops ensues out front and after surrendering, Micky is then beaten by the police, as they try to prevent a film crew from capturing it.

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Here’s a look from inside the store, in the general area where Micky exits and surrenders.

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Related articles: U Turn (1997)

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Spider-Man finally took center stage as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2017’s “Spider-Man: Homecoming.”  While set in Queens, New York, most of the film was shot around Atlanta, Georgia.

Spider-Man, played by Tom Holland, returns a stolen bike in front of the Rainbow store in downtown Atlanta.

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LOCATION: 62 Peachtree St SW, Atlanta, GA 30303

Peter discovers Adrian Toomes, played by Michael Keaton, is selling weapons to Aaron Davis, played by Donald Glover, underneath the Park Drive Bridge in Piedmont Park.

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LOCATION: Underneath Park Drive Bridge, Park Dr NE, Atlanta, GA 30309

Liz lives with her family at this unique glass house in the Ansley Park Sherwood Forest neighborhood of Atlanta.  Alex’s house from “Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle” can be found in the same neighborhood.

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LOCATION: 229 Little John Trail NE, Atlanta, GA 30309

 

Randy’s Donuts

Arguably the most famous donut shop in movies, Randy’s Donuts has been featured in countless television shows and films.  Robert Downey Jr. famously sat inside the building’s giant donut hole in “Iron Man 2.”  Even “The Simpsons” famously depicted a donut shop in their fictional town of Springfield, which strongly resembled Randy’s Donuts.

There are actually several donut shops which use the giant donut atop a drive-thru, however Randy’s is by far the most well-known of the bunch.  The building was built in 1953 and has been going strong since.  It’s been seen in such films as “Get Shorty,” “2012,” Crocodile Dundee In Los Angeles,” “Dope” and “The Golden Child,” as well as television shows such as “Californication,” “Arrested Development,” “Entourage” and many more.  It’s worth mentioning as well that their donuts are quite good!

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LOCATION: 805 W Manchester Blvd, Inglewood, CA 90301

Wonder Boys (2000)

Curtis Hanson’s excellent, overlooked 2000 film “Wonder Boys” takes place within the literary circles of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where the film was also shot.  The film ranks among Hanson’s finest works and features an impressive, ensemble cast.  We highly recommend it if you’ve never seen it.

This house is where Michael Douglas’ character lives in the film, disheveled and struggling to finish writing his second book.

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LOCATION: 359 S Atlantic Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15224

Later in the film, the confrontation with “Vernon Hardapple” takes place in the parking lot of this bowling alley.  The bowling alley is also seen in the Farrelly Brothers comedy “Kingpin,” where Woody Harrelson’s character loses his hand.

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LOCATION: 25 New York Ave, Rochester, PA 15074