In the town of Oceanside, California, about 40 miles north of San Diego, you’ll find the iconic house from the 1986 hit “Top Gun.” Charlie, played by Kelly McGillis, lives at this beachfront cottage, where she is visited by Maverick, played by Tom Cruise. The two make love while Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away” plays, in one of the most famous love scenes of the 1980s.
The house sat vacant and boarded up for years, having fallen into a state of disrepair, with fencing erected around it in an effort to minimize vandalism. At the time of filming, several other houses existed along the block, but all were demolished except for this one. Hotel development has since taken place in 2020 on this block, but the “Top Gun” house drives tourism to Oceanside, so rather than demolition, the house was relocated about a block away and restored (much like what happened with the Michael Myers house from the original “Halloween“). While the restoration is much needed, we were able to capture it at it’s original site while it still remained there. The house now sits in it’s permanent location across from the Oceanside Fishing Pier, on N Pacific St, between Pier View Way and Mission Ave.
LOCATION: Originally located at 102 N Pacific St, Oceanside, CA 92054, permanently relocated to N Pacific St, between Pier View Way and Mission Ave
Here is a front facing view of the house before the 2020 restoration, where you can see a poster for the film over one of the boarded up windows.
For scenes set at the back of the house, a completely different location stood in, behind the medical building of Paramount Studios.
LOCATION: 5555 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038
In San Diego, you’ll find the bar where Maverick and Goose sing “Great Balls of Fire.” Kansas City Barbeque, located not far from the city’s convention center where their famous Comic Con takes place, makes no secret of their connection to the film. In fact, it’s one of the main themes of the restaurant. Here is the room where Goose played the piano, which was on the wall to the left.
LOCATION: 600 W Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101
The piano itself has been relocated to a different room in the restaurant.
The walls are adorned with tons of imagery and promotional items from the film.
In a later scene, Maverick sits at this bar.
They even have a neon sign for the film in the front windows.
It’s always nice to see places embrace their film history so much. Be sure to check it out if you’re in the San Diego area.
As time has passed, appreciation for Michael Mann’s crime saga masterpiece “Heat” has continued to grow. Few films have ever captured Los Angeles so magnificently as Mann did here. Even after all of these years, a few locations remain secret, but most have surfaced.
The opening shots of the film show Neil McCauley, played by Robert DeNiro on the Metro Green Line, arriving at the Redondo Beach Station. Director Michael Mann would return to this same station for the closing scenes of “Collateral.” If you plan to visit this station, the only way to access the platform is by purchasing a fare.
LOCATION: 2406 Marine Ave, Redondo Beach, CA 90278
Neil steals an ambulance from the St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach. The same hospital shows up again later in the film, when Vincent Hanna, played by Al Pacino, rushes his step-daughter Lauren, played by Natalie Portman, to the emergency room.
LOCATION: 1050 Linden Ave, Long Beach, CA 90813
Chris, played by Val Kilmer, purchases explosives from a company in Whittier (10006 Rose Hills Rd, Whittier, CA 90601). However, the building seen in the film was unfortunately demolished.
The Mexican food stand where Waingro gets picked up was likewise demolished. It was formerly located at 1233 S Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90006.
The opening robbery of the armored truck takes place on Venice Blvd, exactly as Hanna states in the film. It’s near the Los Angeles Convention Center, just underneath the interchange of the 10 and 110 freeways. The detention center scenes from “Scarface” were filmed nearby as well.
LOCATION: Venice Blvd / Convention Center Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90015
The robbers emerge from underneath this split overpass for the collision.
This is where Vincent arrives to investigate the aftermath.
McCauley’s crew torches the ambulance here.
LOCATION: W 22nd St / Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90007
McCauley’s crew takes Waingro to the former Johnie’s Broiler in Downey, where they attempt to kill him in the parking lot, but he ultimately escapes. The restaurant has a unique history, having appeared in many other films, such as “Short Cuts,” “License To Drive,” “The Game,” “My Stepmother Is An Alien,” “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.
LOCATION: 7447 Firestone Blvd, Downey, CA 90241
The bookstore (1254 3rd Street Promenade, Santa Monica, CA 90401) where Eady, played by Amy Brenneman works, as well as the cafe (1457 3rd Street Promenade, Santa Monica, CA 90401) where she gets to know Neil are part of the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica. The whole area, an outdoor pedestrian mall, was heavily renovated and both businesses are long since gone.
Vincent and his wife Justine live in what is known as the “Sixth Street House” in Santa Monica. A famous architectural piece, the house has the designation of historical landmark. Unfortunately, much of the front of the home is obscured by a wall and shrubs, making it a bit inconspicuous. The side of the home offers better visibility. In the film itself, only the interiors of the house are seen.
LOCATION: 2634 6th St, Santa Monica, CA 90405
The location of Neil’s oceanfront home, where Chris sleeps off a domestic spat, has long been subject to debate. The house most commonly believed to be the correct location can be found on Malibu Cove Colony Drive, a private road just off the Pacific Coast Highway. Old real estate listings showing the interior of the home match closely with what was seen in the film, down to fixtures and appliances. The same house was also featured in the film “Less Than Zero,” where Jami Gertz tells Andrew McCarthy she’s not going to college. However, since then portions of the home have been remodeled, making it a difficult task to match up in person.
The entrance to Malibu Cove Colony Drive has a gate and guard on duty, preventing any public access (most beachfront roads in this area are likewise private). On the opposite side, however, are the outskirts of Escondido Beach, which is open to the public, but also presents its own challenges. First and foremost, the houses sit very close to the water. All of them are perched on stilts, as the tides can reach all the way up to the base of the properties. Visitors should use caution if they walk these narrow shores, as the high tides can leave you little room to cross. It also makes photography a challenge, unless you plan to take a swim. The next challenge is simply identifying the correct home. Many of these beachfront homes have been heavily remodeled. If you attempt to match them to satellite views, many details won’t align in person, due to remodeling. Some of the homes also resemble one another, particularly their patios, making it even more confusing. It’s easy to see why, after decades, the location has remained subject to debate. To be certain we found the correct home we were seeking, we used a combination satellite imagery and GPS. A drone (or jet ski) is likely a better method to view the house, but if you do attempt it on foot, use caution and do your research.
LOCATION: 26940 Malibu Cove Colony Dr, Malibu, CA 90265
The restaurant where Donald, played by Dennis Haysbert, begins working under the abuse of a crooked manager is Bob’s Big Boy in Burbank (not to be confused with the Downey location covered earlier in this article).
LOCATION: 4211 W Riverside Dr, Burbank, CA 91505
Later in the film, Neil happens to be dining inside with his crew and spots Donald cooking and immediately recognizes him as a former prison buddy.
Neil speaks to his driver, Trejo, from a phone at the restaurant, where he is informed Trejo is being tailed by cops and cannot join their heist. In need of a last-minute, replacement driver, Neil offers Donald a job on the spot.
Plans for the bank heist are first offered to Neil and Nate, played by Jon Voight, when they visit Kelso, played by Tom Noonan. The house was filmed on Dodds Circle in Los Angeles, which is also where Trejo’s house is located in the film. Neil and Nate first park here, overlooking the 10 freeway.
LOCATION: Dodds Cir, Los Angeles, CA 90063 (just off Dickson Ave)
McCauley then discusses the plan with Kelso at his house, which is fenced off around the entire perimeter.
LOCATION: 1235 Dodds Cir, Los Angeles, CA 90063
Vincent and Drucker visit Albert’s chop shop in Wilmington. At the time of filming, the area was rumored to host an actual chop shop, though now it’s just a train maintenance area. The distinct, yellow sulpher pile still remains and there is a very strong smell in person.
LOCATION: 1017 Foote Ave, Wilmington, CA 90744 (near the railroad tracks)
Vincent later meets up with Albert at a club to speak with another informant.
LOCATION: 3548 W 8th St, Los Angeles, CA 90005
The drive-in theater where a deal goes wrong was formerly located at 5700 W Centinela Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90045. It was demolished not long after filming took place.
The restaurant where Neil’s crew dines can be found in Santa Monica, near the pier.
LOCATION: 1535 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401
McCauley’s crew proceed to take down a metals repository, only to abandon the job midway, after McCauley hears a noise and correctly surmises the police are watching.
LOCATION: Near 1309 Factory Pl, Los Angeles, CA 90013
Vincent stands in this general area after the failed operation.
Eady’s house sits perched on stilts in the hills of West Hollywood, offering a magnificent view over the city. There’s not much to see from the front of the house itself on Blue Heights Dr. Signs declare the cul-de-sac where it sits to be private property, but you can still see it well from the public section of the road. The floor to ceiling windows and patio area are much better seen from lower streets, such as Viewmont Dr (near the 1600 block, just before it reaches a dead end). The house found renewed interest in 2014 with the TV series “Bosch,” where it serves as the home of the titular detective.
LOCATION: 1870 Blue Heights Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90069 (best seen from around the 1600 block of Viewmont Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90069, just before the road hits a dead end)
Here is a view of the city, as seen from Blue Heights Dr, just before you reach Eady’s house, closely resembling what you’d see from the home.
One of the film’s classic scenes is of course the face to face meeting between Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. The conversation took place at the excellent Kate Mantilini, an institution of Beverly Hills which sadly closed in 2014 after the restaurant could not afford a rental increase by the building owners. We managed to capture some photos from when the place was still open.
LOCATION: 9101 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90212 (now closed)
Above the entrance to the restaurant, this image from the iconic scene was hung.
After meeting Neil, Vincent returns to a hotel where he’s staying, only to discover his step-daughter Lauren has attempted suicide in his bathroom. This was filmed at the Hotel Angeleno, just off the 405 freeway. The hotel was mostly seen from interior views in the film, aside from a shot of Vincent looking down at the freeway from his balcony.
LOCATION: 170 N Church Ln, Los Angeles, CA 90049
The exterior of the famous bank robbery scene is set in downtown Los Angeles at the Citigroup Center. This same location was also briefly seen in David Fincher’s “Fight Club.”
LOCATION: 444 S Flower St. Los Angeles, CA 90071
The robbery then spills out onto the streets, in what many consider one of the greatest shootouts ever filmed.
LOCATION: Intersection of W 5th St / S Flower St, Los Angeles, CA 90071
After the robbery, the police try to bait in Chris by setting up a meeting with his wife Charlene, played by Ashley Judd. After she tips him off with a subtle gesture, he leaves the scene. He’s stopped next to Venice Beach by the police, where he presents false identification and escapes.
LOCATION: Navy St / Speedway, Los Angeles, CA 90405
Trejo’s house, much like Eady’s, sits on stilts over a hillside of L.A., where he is discovered by McCauley near the end of the film. It sits on the same small road as Kelso’s house from earlier in the film, which was discovered as a result of finding this home for the film.
LOCATION: 1219 Dodds Cir, Los Angeles, CA 90063
Neil talks with Eady as the two look out over the ocean next to this tree. It’s located next to a popular park in Pacific Palisades known as The Point at the Bluffs, which has a beautiful view over the water.
The hotel where Neil tracks down Waingo can be found right next to LAX airport, just as depicted in the film. Neil parks in this alley next to the hotel.
LOCATION: 5711 W Century Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045