The 1994 James Cameron film “True Lies,” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis, was filmed in numerous cities and states, including Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Baltimore, Rhode Island and the Florida Keys. In the film, Harry Tasker, a secret agent for U.S. counterterrorism played by Schwarzenegger, pursues a terrorist named Aziz, played by Art Malk. Aziz flees through hotels on a motorcycle, while Harry pursues on horseback.
The chase first passes through the former Ambassador Hotel, which has since been demolished. The hotel was a staple of film and television, appearing in such films as “The Graduate,” “Forrest Gump,” “Seven,” “Bobby,” “True Romance,” “L.A. Story,” “Catch Me If You Can,” “The Mask” and dozens more. Only this post and statue from the original building remain at the location.
LOCATION: 3400 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90010 (now demolished)
The chase continues at the Westin Bonaventure hotel in Downtown Los Angeles. Harry rides a horse through the water as Aziz takes a hostage inside the elevator.
LOCATION: 404 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90071
Harry in turn takes his horse up the opposite facing elevator.
Here is the elevator entrance Aziz takes. Both elevators used in the film are marked with plaques noting their appearance in the film.
Here’s a closer look at one of the plaques. There are several more around the hotel, noting some of the other films shot there, including “In the Line of Fire” and “Forget Paris.” We appreciate when locations celebrate their film history in this manor.
Here is the elevator entrance Harry takes up to the roof.
Taking things a step further, the hotel dedicated the entire hallway leading from the parking garage to the lobby to all of it’s cinematic history. The Westin Bonaventure is one of the most frequently filmed locations in all of Los Angeles. In addition to the previously mentioned films, movies such as “Interstellar,” “Rain Man,” “Lethal Weapon 2,” “Strange Days,” “Nick of Time,” “Hard to Kill,” ‘Playing God” and many more have all filmed at the hotel and posters for many of them line their walls. Here is the “True Lies” poster on display at the hotel.
Harry threatens Simon, played by Bill Paxton, as he holds him on a ledge at the Sepulveda Dam in Van Nuys. The dam has likewise been featured in many films, such as “Escape From New York,” “Gattaca,” “The Italian Job,” “Iron Man 2” and many more. It has also appeared in such TV shows as “American Horror Story,” “Alias,” “Knight Rider” and more.
LOCATION: Sepulveda Dam, 15758 Burbank Blvd, Van Nuys, CA 91406
The base of the dam is open to the public and there is a large recreation area surrounding it, with trails leading directly to the dam. There are several options for areas to park and the length of the hike to reach the dam depends on where you choose to start. It can be a short walk or a long one, depending on your preference, but all of it is on level ground and what we consider fairly easy to traverse on foot.
Helen, played by Jamie Lee Curtis, is sent on a staged spy mission to the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles. Gib, played by Tom Arnold, informs her she is undercover as a prostitute and her mission is to plant a bug in one of the rooms, leading to her famous striptease scene for Harry. The hotel is another staple of film, having appeared in such movies as “Ghostbusters,” “Beverly Hills Cop,” “Independence Day,” “Fight Club” and dozens more.
LOCATION: 506 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90071
The Crystal Ballroom of the same hotel also appeared in the film for the tango scene between Harry and Helen. This particular ballroom has also appears in such films as “Pretty In Pink,” “Rocky III,” “The Bodyguard,” “Romy And Michele’s High School Reunion,” “The Fabulous Baker Boys” and more. It has also appeared in such TV shows as “True Blood,” “Bridgerton” and more.
Aziz’s men kidnap Harry and Helen, loading them in a van and driving up this ramp of the Millennium Biltmore, which is located just past the hotel on S Grand Ave. The same area can be seen in the 2018 version of “A Star Is Born,” “Chinatown” (on the upper ramp to the right) and from the reverse angle in the film “Seven.”
Late in the film, a major action sequence takes place at the Seven Mile Bridge in the Florida Keys. Harry peruses terrorists at the bridge, as they attempt to transport some nuclear warheads across it. The location is featured in another action sequence in the James Bond film “License To Kill” and also appears in the films “Key Largo,” “2 Fast 2 Furious,” “Up Close & Personal,” “CrissCross” and “The Triangle,” as well as the TV series “Burn Notice.”
LOCATION: Seven Mile Bridge, Marathon, FL, 33050 (GPS coordinates of the start of the bridge: 24.706964, -81.124353)
There are two bridges there, built to connect Knight’s Key to Little Duck Key. The one on the right, originally known as the Knights Key-Pigeon Key-Moser Channel-Pacet Channel Bridge, is now commonly referred to as the Old Seven Mile Bridge. It was constructed from 1909 to 1912 and eventually decommissioned in favor of a new bridge, seen on the left, which was completed in 1982 for vehicular traffic. A portion of the Old Seven Mile Bridge is still open to pedestrian traffic and cyclists. However, it has been under reconstruction since 2017 and is expected to reopen by the end of 2021. Sections of the Old Seven Mile Bridge were missing altogether and the production rebuilt portions for the film, as well as using miniatures for some of the explosions.