Forrest Gump (1994)

Visiting the filming locations of the classic 1994 film “Forrest Gump” is a staggering feat, as the story unfolds all across the United States and the production likewise followed that path.

The famous opening scene of the feather falling was filmed at Chippewa Square in Savannah, Georgia.  It descends past the steeple of The Independent Presbyterian Church Administration Building.

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LOCATION: The Independent Presbyterian Church Administration Building, Savannah, GA 31401

Here is a wider view of the full building.

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As the feather falls closer to the ground, we see the First Baptist Church in the distance.

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LOCATION: First Baptist Church, 223 Bull St, Savannah, GA 31401

The feather finally reaches the ground and settles on the shoe of Forrest Gump, played by Tom Hanks.  Forrest sits at a bus stop and recounts the story of his life to strangers sitting on a bench waiting for their bus rides.  The location where Forrest sits is at the intersection of Hull Street and Bull Street in Chippewa Square.  In reality, there is no bus stop or bench there.  They were added for the film.  Instead, there are just some plants.

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Here is a wider view of the area.

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LOCATION: Chippewa Square, Savannah, GA 31401 (at the intersection of Hull St / Bull St)

The actual bench from the film can be found at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, California.  It can be seen on their studio tours.

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LOCATION: 5555 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038

The exterior of the lounge where Forrest finds Jenny, played by Robin Wright, performing nude, can also be found in Savannah.  The name of the restaurant is Love’s, just as depicted in the film, but it is a seafood and steak joint and you won’t find any nude performers there.  The interior of the scene was actually filmed at the former Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, which has long since been demolished.

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LOCATION: 6817 Chief Of Love Rd, Savannah, GA 31419

Forrest celebrates New Year’s Eve with Lieutenant Dan, played by Gary Sinise, in what is supposed to be New York City.  This was actually filmed on 6th St in Downtown Los Angeles.  This area is right next to the locations used for the Nite Owl Coffee Shop from “L.A. Confidential” and Wild Bill’s Leather from “Seven,” both of which were fictional businesses.

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LOCATION: Near the intersection of E 6th St / S Los Angeles St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

On the same street, as Forrest exists a TV studio, Lieutenant Dan is waiting for him outside.  This was actually on a ramp built above this sandwich shop, which has since been removed.

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LOCATION: 118 E 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90014

Lieutenant Dan then loses control of his wheelchair and slides down the ramp into this wall at the same location.

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Later in the film, Forrest begins running, from coast to coast.  He is seen reaching the famous Santa Monica Pier.

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LOCATION: 200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA 90401

He reaches the end of the pier and turns around to begin running back across the country.  There is a Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. restaurant located on the pier itself as well, although of course it was not a filming location.

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As Forrest runs through Flagstaff, Arizona, he steps in a pile of manure and helps coin the phrase “Shit happens.”

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LOCATION: Near 106 N San Francisco St, Flagstaff, AZ 86001

Also in Flagstaff, Forrest runs past the former Twin Arrows Trading Post.  The building featured two large, wooden arrows piercing the ground.  Some mud splashes on Forrest and he uses a t-shit to clean off his face, creating the famous smiley face t-shirt.  The building now unfortunately sits abandoned.

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LOCATION: Twin Arrows Trading Post Ruins – Historic Route 66, Flagstaff, AZ 86004

Here’s a closer look at the arrows, which are slowly deteriorating.

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Forrest’s running attire from the film can be found on display at Planet Hollywood in Florida.

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LOCATION: 1506 E Buena Vista Dr, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Late in the film, Jenny is working as a waitress and sees Forrest on television.  This was filmed at Debi’s Restaurant in Savannah, located just a few blocks away from the opening scene of the film.

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LOCATION: 225 E Bay St, Savannah, GA 31401

The restaurant is quite proud of their connection to the film and the front is decorated with quotes from the film and a shot of the scene.

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We’ve only covered a portion of the vast filming locations here.  The production also shot scenes in South Carolina, Utah, Arizona, North Carolina, Vermont, Maine, Montana and Washington D.C.

Catch Me If You Can (2002)

In Steven Spielberg’s “Catch Me If You Can,” Carl, played by Tom Hanks, is on the hunt for Frank Abagnale, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, who stays at the Tropicana Motel in Hollywood.  While the Tropicana was a real motel at one time, it was demolished in 1988.  Instead, the Hollywood Roosevelt was used.  It’s actually the rear of the Roosevelt building that is seen in the film.

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LOCATION: 7000 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028 (rear of the building on Hawthorn Ave)

Carl eats at a diner, where a waitress tips him off that the alias Frank has been using is the name of “The Flash” in the comic books, cluing him in that his suspect may be younger than he originally thought.

This was filmed at the former Quality Cafe in downtown Los Angeles.  The diner was a one-time staple of films, appearing in “Seven” “Training Day,” “Ghost World,” “Million Dollar Baby” and dozens more.  However, it was not an actual restaurant open to the public.  Instead it was used solely for filming.  Sadly, it ceased to function as a filming location and was completely renovated in 2014.  The property no longer bears any resemblance to how it appeared in so many films.

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LOCATION: 1238 W 7th St, Los Angeles, CA 90017 (now closed and heavily remodeled)

The Miami Airport where Frank slips past the FBI by surrounding himself with attractive flight attendants was actually filmed at the Ontario Airport in Ontario, California.  This particular terminal is not in active use and has popped up in countless other films, including “Saving Mr. Banks,” “Zodiac,” “Blow,” “Argo” and many more.

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LOCATION: 1940 Moore Way, Ontario, CA 91761

Another view of the same airport, depicted as the baggage claim terminal in the film.

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Later in the film, Frank takes his father, played by Christopher Walken, to an upscale restaurant, where he tells him he bought him a Cadillac.  The actual location is not a restaurant at all.  It’s the famous “Pompeian Room” of the Doheny Mansion, located on the campus of Mount Saint Mary’s University in Los Angeles.  While the mansion does offer occasional tours to the public, some of the guides can be strict about allowing photos inside.  Many films have shot at the mansion, including “The Princess Diaries,” “Drag Me To Hell” “The Three Amigos” and more.

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LOCATION: 10 Chester Pl, Los Angeles, CA 90007

Frank strikes up a romance with Brenda, played by Amy Adams, who brings him to the house of her father, played by Martin Sheen.  Frank has to make an abrupt departure with the FBI hot on his heels.  The house used in the film can be found in Pasadena.  The address is on E Crary St, but the back of the house faces that direction and the perimeter is surrounded by a wall, so you won’t see much from there.  The front side of the house is actually around the block on Layton St, which dead-ends into the driveway of the home.  The same house has also been seen in the films “Matilda,” “Hocus Pocus” and “Scream 2.”  Unfortunately, the property owners have since posted no trespassing signs near the end of Ladyton St, making it much more difficult for pedestrians to see the house anymore.

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LOCATION: 2186 E Crary St, Pasadena, CA 91104 (front of the home faces Ladyton St)

Near the end of the film, Frank is arrested in front of his mother’s house, which can be found in Pasadena.

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LOCATION: 3077 E California Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91107

The ‘Burbs (1989)

The 1989 Joe Dante film “The ‘Burbs” is set in the fictional town of Hinkley Hills, which, judging by the opening zoom, would place it somewhere in Iowa.  The story unfolds on Mayfield Place, a cul-de-sac road in Hinkley Hills.  In reality, the entire neighborhood was a facade, filmed on a studio backlot.

Known as Colonial Street at Universal Studios, the houses and streets have changed significantly over the years.  Once used for television classics such as “The Munsters” and “Leave It To Beaver,” the neighborhood was significantly remodeled in 1988 for the production of “The ‘Burbs.”

LOCATION: 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608

In the years that followed, as new productions came along, the neighborhood and the homes began to resemble the film less and less.  Some houses were relocated, others heavily redesigned, while others still were demolished altogether.  Eventually the neighborhood became known as Wisteria Lane on the TV drama “Desperate Housewives.”

To complicate matters further, several of the houses in “The ‘Burbs” were deliberately shot in close-ups, rarely seen in wide shots.  Combined with all of the changes over the years, it makes piecing the neighborhood back together a difficult endeavor.

The centerpiece of the film is of course the Klopek house, which is owned by a creepy family that rarely shows themselves, much to the intrigue of all of the surrounding neighbors.  Sadly, the home no longer exists.  Portions, however, were said to have been reused and incorporated in the design of this house, which later became Bree Van de Kamp’s house on “Desperate Housewives.”

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The Peterson house, where Tom Hanks and Carrie Fisher live, was also unfortunately demolished and replaced with a different facade.

The house that most closely resembles how it appeared in the film is that of Walter, the old man with the small, white dog.  Aside from a paint job and some stairs being added, the house looks pretty much the same.

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Ricky Butler, played by Corey Feldman, lives at this house, which was once the home used for “The Munsters,” though it has since been heavily remodeled from how it appeared on the TV series.  Likely looking to avoid comparisons to the show, this house was only ever seen in close-up shots of the porch in “The ‘Burbs.”

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Colonial Street can be seen as part of the Universal Studios Hollywood Tour and even though the neighborhood has significantly changed and continues to change, movie and television lovers are still sure to appreciate a look around the historic, fictional neighborhood.

Related articles: Matinee (1993), Small Soldiers (1998)