Duel (1971)

Steven Speilberg’s dazzling debut, the 1971 thriller “Duel,” was mostly filmed around the Santa Clarita and Acton areas of California.  David, played by Dennis Weaver, lives at this house in Toluca Lake, which has unfortunately since been heavily remodeled from how it appeared in the film.

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LOCATION: 10414 Bloomfield St, Toluca Lake, CA 91602

As the film unravels, David unwillingly embarks on a terrifying cat and mouse game with a sadistic truck driver.  The film does a great job of making most of the locations look quite desolate, but in reality the majority are located pretty close to civilization.

David stops off at this distinct looking restaurant with a stone facade in Santa Clarita after an encounter with the mysterious truck driver.

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LOCATION: 12625 Sierra Hwy, Santa Clarita, CA 91390

The tunnel where the kids on the school bus are stranded can be found on Soledad Canyon Rd in Santa Clarita, just past Capra Rd.  From there you would pass through to the shoulder on the other side of the tunnel, as the view seen in the film is looking back westbound.

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LOCATION: 34°25’55.1″N, 118°20’59.9″W (nearest address is 11540 Soledad Canyon Rd, Santa Clarita, CA 91390)

David hides and tries to get some sleep further down Soledad Canoyn Rd, near the entrance of Middleton Ranch.

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LOCATION: 6201 Soledad Canyon Rd, Acton, CA 93510

The truck follows David up this mesa next to Vasquez Canyon Rd in Santa Clarita.  In fact, the name of the road is Mesa Dr, though it is now fenced off.

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LOCATION: Mesa Dr / Vasquez Canyon Rd, Santa Clarita, CA 91390

If you’ve never seen the film, we encourage you to seek it out.  While the plot is pretty minimal, the execution stands the test of time and is so well done, it’s easy to see why Spielberg quickly made a name for himself.

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.”

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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 RdLa 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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Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead (1991)

The house from the 1991 Christina Applegate comedy “Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead” can be found in Santa Clarita, California.  Some of the angles seen in the film were from the left side of the home by the driveway, but trees obscure the view from the street.  Many scenes were also filmed inside the actual home, as well as at the pool in the back yard.  The same house was used in the 1980s sitcom “Just The Ten Of Us.”

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LOCATION: 15548 Iron Canyon Rd, Santa Clarita, CA 91387

Drive (2011)

Set upon the streets of Los Angeles, Nicolas Winding Refn’s “Drive” utilized locations both in the city and spread out across the Valley.

The opening robbery was filmed at Maestro DJ and Electronics warehouse in L.A.

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LOCATION: 1710 Naomi Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90021

The Driver, played by Ryan Gosling, meets Carey Mulligan’s character at the Big “6” Market.

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LOCATION: 550 S Rampart Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90057

The Driver makes a deal with the criminals pressuring Oscar Isaac’s character Standard at MacArthur Park in front of the water.  The same park was seen in the 1993 film “Falling Down.”  For those unfamiliar with Los Angeles and planning a visit, MacArthur Park used to be considered a popular drug hangout. While there has been an effort to improve safety conditions at the park, it is still frequented by some addicts and homeless people.  Visitors are advised to use some caution.

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LOCATION: 2230 W 6th St., Los Angeles, CA 90057

Nino’s Pizzeria is a real pizza place, however the name of the restaurant is actually Vincenzo’s Pizza, located in Granada Hills.  The sign was swapped out by the production, which also added the checkerboard paneling over the front windows.

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LOCATION: 11045 Balboa Blvd., Granada Hills, CA 91344

The pawn shop’s robbery gone wrong was filmed at the Santa Clarita Elk’s Lodge, which is a bit of a distance from the other locations.

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LOCATION: 17766 Sierra Hwy, Santa Clarita, CA 91351

The motel where a violent gunfight ensues is the Pink Motel in Sun Valley.  It is not an operational motel, rather a set used for filming or special events.  While we encountered no issues when visiting, according to many online comments, the property is not receptive to public visitation these days, preferring only professional clients.  So be sure not to trespass.  The motel property has been featured in countless productions, such as “The House Bunny,” as well as the TV shows “GLOW” and “Dexter”  Due to the frequent use in productions, the director deliberately chose to film only the interiors of the motel, as to avoid immediate recognition.

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LOCATION: 9457 San Fernando Rd, Sun Valley, CA 91352

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