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)

The Big Lebowski (1998)

“The Big Lebowski,” one of the great comedies of the Coen Brothers, shot all around the greater Los Angeles area.  Several of the movie locations are surprisingly difficult to gain access to however, so if you’re a fan of the film and want to check out the places where it was shot, just be aware it may be a more difficult process than you’d expect.

First, we start with the apartment of The Dude, played famously by Jeff Bridges.  The exterior apartment complex can be found in Venice, while the interiors were shot on a sound stage.  The complex has since been renovated, but still bears some resemblance to how it appeared in the film.

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LOCATION: 606 Venezia Ave, Venice, CA 90291

The apartment complex across the street can also be seen in the film.  This complex is frequently mistaken as being The Dude’s.

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LOCATION: 609 Venezia Ave, Venice, CA 90291

Just outside of the apartments on Venezia Ave, looking down toward Zeno Pl, you’ll see where The Dude confronts Da Fino, the brother shamus.

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LOCATION: Venezia Ave, Venice, CA 90291 (in front of The Dude’s apartment)

The famous bowling alley in the film no longer exists.  It was the Hollywood Star Lanes, formerly located at 5227 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90029.  The building was torn down in 2002 to make way for a children’s elementary school.

The Big Lebowski’s mansion consisted of two locations.  The exterior was shot at 10231 Charing Cross Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90024.  It is a private, gated property, closed to the public.  The interior of the mansion is the Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills.  The City of Beverly Hills actually owns the property, which is routinely used for filming.  The outside grounds are open to the public, but getting inside is more difficult.  Due to hosting productions and private events on a regular basis, only a few times a year does the city open the inside up for public viewing.  It can be done if you are patient and keep an eye out for these select dates, however.

Inside the Greystone Mansion, this wall is where The Dude talks with Brandt, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, and looks at all of The Big Lebowski’s awards and achievements, including his “Little Lebowski Urban Achievers.”  It’s known as the “Breakfast Room” inside the mansion.

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LOCATION: Greystone Mansion, 905 Loma Vista Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Brandt is seen walking these hallways of Greystone Mansion several times in the film, as are The Dude and Walter, played by John Goodman.

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Another famous location inside of Greystone Mansion; The Dude talks to the distraught Big Lebowski in front of this fireplace, where The Dude is hired to find the kidnapped Bunny Lebowski.

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The very same room was used in Paul Thomas Anderson’s “There Will Be Blood,” as Daniel Plainview’s office, where his son visits him late in the film.  It was also seen in “Air Force One.” A little tip for Lebowski fans, this room can usually be seen without access inside the Greystone Mansion.  If you go to the front of the building and look through the windows, usually there are no curtains and this room, which is on the ground level, left of the main windows, can be seen.  The hallway Brandt walks down can also be seen through a doorway window, just around the corner to the left of this room, near the fish pond.  Only the Urban Achievers room truly requires access inside the mansion to be seen.

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The coffee shop where Walter tells dude he can “get you a toe by 3 o’clock… with nail polish” is Johnie’s Coffee Shop Restaurant in midtown Los Angeles.  The restaurant actually closed many years ago, but still operates as a filming location.  It has appeared in “Reservoir Dogs,” “American History X,” “Miracle Mile,” “Gone in Sixty Seconds” and many more.

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LOCATION: 6099 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048

The Dude, Walter and Donny pay a visit to Larry Sellers’ house, “near the In-N-Out Burger.”  It’s in front of this home that Walter destroys the red corvette.  Today, the home is partially obscured by trees.

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LOCATION: 1824 Stearns Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90035

Late in the film, The Dude pays a visit to Jackie Treehorn’s house.  In the film, the property is shown as being right on the beach.  Those beach scenes were filmed at Point Dume in Malibu.  In reality, however, the house is located in the hills of Benedict Canyon, nowhere near the beach.  It’s the Sheats-Goldstein House, one of the most unique and famous houses in Los Angeles.  It’s actually located just above Cielo Dr, where the Manson Family’s infamous murder of Sharon Tate and four others took place.  The house regularly hosts photo shoots for models and at one time even allowed porn shoots.  In 2016, the property was donated to LACMA, which hosts occasional events there.  The house is tucked away at the end of a cul-de-sac, down a long, private drive and is not visible from the street.  Unless you are a professional photographer or model, the only way to get onto the property is most likely, similar to Greystone Mansion, to keep your eyes peeled for a rare, public invitation.

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LOCATION: 10104 Angelo View Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

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