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.”
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.
LOCATION: Terminal 5, 1 World Way, Los Angeles, CA 90045 (departures level)
Another section of Terminal 5 Jackie is seen walking through.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ordell explains the situation as they talk at the front entrance of the building.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here is the approximate area where Louis and Melanie observe what’s happening and argue.
Max Cherry arrives outside of the store on the upper level. A prop Billingsley sign was mounted on the wall.
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.
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.
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)