Into The Wild (2007)

The 2007 Sean Penn film “Into The Wild,” which was based on true events, filmed across quite a few locations, including Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Nevada, Georgia, South Dakota, Mexico, California and Alaska.

Tracy, played by Kristen Stewart, invites Chris McCandless, living under the alias of Alexander Supertramp and played by Emile Hirsch, to take a walk over to Salvation Mountain. Salvation Mountain is a hillside sculpture created by Leonard Knight in Calipartia, Californa. It is located near Slab City and not far from the Salton Sea. Despite appearing quite remote in the film, Salvation Mountain is actually not far from nearby towns, such as Niland.

LOCATION: Salvation Mountain, Beal Rd, Calipatria, CA 92233

Leonard Knight appears as himself in the film, giving the characters a guided tour through his creation. Leonard unfortunately passed away in 2014.

Originally built in 1984, the initial attempt at the project collapsed in 1989. Knight, however, rebuilt the sculpture with more sturdy materials and it remains standing to this day.

After Leonard’s passing, a public charity was established to preserve and maintain the site.

The “magic bus” seen in the film is not the actual bus Chris McCandless stayed in. It was also not filmed at the real location in Alaska, both out of respect for the family, as well as the major logistical issues of filming at the real site. Instead, a set was built about 50 miles south of the real bus, in the town of Cantwell, Alaska, with all traces of the set since removed. However, the replica bus featured in the film can be found at the 49th State Brewing Company in Healy, Alaska (248 Parks Hwy 5 mile, Healy, AK 99743).

In spite of the film’s use of an alternate site, many hikers still made the trek out to the real “magic bus” location, located on the Stampede Trail. The real site presents many dangers, much like those that McCandless encountered. After numerous cases of visitors needing rescued, with some even losing their lives, the bus was extracted by helicopter on June 19, 2020, due to public safety concerns. Officials stated the real bus may be put on display at a safe location someday in the future.

U Turn (1997)

The 1997 Oliver Stone film “U Turn” is set in the small town of Superior, Arizona and that’s exactly where production mostly took place as well.  In the film, Superior is depicted as a strange, sometimes hostile town.  In reality, the town is quite welcoming to tourists, offering a variety of shops and antique stores.  “U Turn” is not the only production to film scenes in Superior.  “The Prophecy” and “Eight Legged Freaks” have as well.

Early in the film, Bobby, played by Sean Penn, is driving a desert road when his car breaks down.  He takes his car to Harlin’s Garage, where he meets Darrell, played by Billy Bob Thorton.  These scenes were filmed on E Magma Heights Dr, however the house and garage seen in the film are long gone.  In fact, a copper company now owns the land and it is completely inaccessible to the public.

When Bobby first reached the Main St of Superior, he looks over and sees the sheriff’s station, quickly turning the other direction.  The building seen in the film is the Superior Kearny Justice Court.

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LOCATION: 60 Main St, Superior, AZ 85173

Bobby encounters blind man, played by Jon Voight, at the train station.  Bobby tries to pet the man’s dog, only to be told it’s dead.

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LOCATION: 100 Main St, Superior, AZ 85173

Bobby first sees Grace, played by Jennifer Lopez, walking by the building.

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Later in the film, Bobby purchases a bus ticket at the same building.

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Grace takes Bobby to her home, where she lives with Jake McKenna, played by Nick Nolte.  Jake’s house is known as the Castle On The Rock.  The house is located on N Picket Post Rd, Superior, AZ 85173.  There are tours of the building on occasion, but most of the time the property and even the road are completely closed to the public.

Jake drops Bobby off back in town at this grocery store, where Bobby immediately finds himself in a robbery.

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LOCATION: 50 N Pinal Ave, Superior, AZ 85173

Bobby uses a payphone to try to get money at the corner of this building.

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LOCATION: 222 Main St, Superior, AZ 85173

Bobby calls the gangsters he owes money at the corner of this building. This same street was featured in the film “Eight Legged Freaks.”

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LOCATION: 160 Main St, Superior, AZ 85173

Bobby visits this diner, where he is approached by Jenny, played by Claire Danes.  Misreading the situation, Toby N. Tucker (“T.N.T.”), played by Joaquin Phoenix, has a confrontation with Bobby.

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LOCATION: 149 Main St, Superior, AZ 85173

This building served as the realty office of Jake McKenna.

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LOCATION: 271 Main St, Superior, AZ 85173

Bobby encounters the old, blind man once again in front of this building.  Later in the film, this is also where he fights T.N.T.

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LOCATION: 71 Main St, Superior, AZ 85173

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Bobby passes Jenny’s house and the two walk past this church talking.

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LOCATION: 94 N San Pedro St, Superior, AZ 85173

If you do make it to Superior, Arizona, most of these locations are quite a short distance from one another.  Most of them, you can walk on foot from one location to the next.

Related articles: Natural Born Killers (1994)

Fast Times At Ridgemont High (1982)

The 80s comedy “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” like so many other films of that era, shot in the San Fernando Valley, north of Los Angeles, California.

The mall scenes in the film were shot at the Sherman Oaks Galleria, which has since been completely remodeled and looks nothing like it did in the film, so we’ve opted to omit it here.  However, it can be found at 15301 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403.

The titular Ridgemont High was primarily filmed at Van Nuys High School in Van Nuys, California, with a few additional scenes shot at Canoga Park High School and James Monroe High School.  The same high school was used in the films “Christine,” “Sleepwalkers,” “Rock ‘N’ Roll High School” and many more.

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LOCATION: Van Nuys High School, 6535 Cedros Ave, Van Nuys, CA 91411

Brad, played by Judge Reinhold, and Stacy Hamilton, played by Jennifer Jason Leigh, live at this house in West Hills. Many scenes were filmed inside the house, including the infamous scene of Brad masturbating in the bathroom.

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LOCATION: 24124 Welby Way, West Hills, CA 91307

The house is of course mostly remembered for the topless pool scene with Phoebe Cates. That scene really was filmed at the pool in the back yard, which remains more or less the same as it appeared in the film, aside from the diving board being removed. The changing room was also not authentic to the home. It was a exterior facade built by the production, while the interiors shot on a studio set.

Here is an alternate view of the pool. There are also public real estate listings available online, offering many ground level views of the pool and back yard.

“The Point,” where Stacy loses her virginity later in the film, was shot at the Mid Valley Youth Baseball fields in Encino.  There are quite a number of fields here, which can be confusing, but each of them is numbered.  The field from the film is field 4 and the dugout from the film is the third base dugout.

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LOCATION: 17301 Oxnard St, Encino, CA 91316

The Game (1997)

David Fincher’s 1997 thriller “The Game” mostly shot around the San Francisco area.  However, the home of Nicholas van Orton, played by Michael Douglas, is tucked away in Woodside, California.  The house is known as the “Filoli Mansion.”  The house has also been seen in the films “Heaven Can Wait,” “George of the Jungle,” “The Joy Luck Club” and the 1980s TV drama “Dynasty.”

It is not a private residence and tours of the property are open to the public.  There are a couple things to keep in mind, however, if you do plan a visit.  First of all, the house can be tricky to locate if you’re using GPS.  The property is not visible at all from Cañada Road.  All you’ll see is land and trees.  Also, most GPS systems do not show the driveway to the property, which is off to the side a short drive, so it’ll appear on most maps as having no access.  This is not the case of course.  Simply head past the house until you see an opening to the north.  This driveway will lead you up to the guard house.  The second thing to keep in mind is the property is intermittently closed.  Anything from special events to seasonal closings may prevent you from visiting, so be sure to schedule in advance and verify the place is open when you plan on stopping.

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LOCATION: 86 Cañada Rd, Woodside, CA 94062

The office of Nicholas van Orton is seen through the alleyway of Leidesdorff Street in San Fransisco.

LOCATION: 465 California St, San Francisco, CA 94104 (view seen in the film is from Leidesdorff St)

Nick’s brother Conrad, played by Sean Penn, becomes paranoid and accuses Nick of conspiring with the creators of the game. He runs from Nicholas down these stairs.

LOCATION: Joice St Steps, Joice St, San Francisco, CA 94108 (located between 740 and 750 Joice St, San Francisco, CA 94108)

Later in the film, Nicholas visits the home of Christine, played by Deborah Kara Unger, where they soon finds themselves under attack.  This location can actually be found in Los Angeles, not far from Dodger Stadium.

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LOCATION: 439 Savoy St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

After escaping from Mexico, Nicholas visits the former Johnie’s Broiler in Downey, where he attempts to get a ride back to San Francisco.  The restaurant has a unique history, having appeared in many other films, such as “Heat,” “Short Cuts,” “License To Drive,” “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

Related articles: Seven (1995), Fight Club (1999), Panic Room (2002), Zodiac (2007), The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button (2008), The Social Network (2010), Mank (2020)