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Top Los Angeles Film Sites

Places to See the Sites of Los Angeles Films

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So many films are made in Los Angeles that it's easy to get a feeling of deja vu after you've been there a while. In fact, you could hardly go more than a few miles without passing the spot there something-or-other was filmed. This list focuses on places that have been used in many films that you may have seen.

Biltmore Hotel

506 South Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA

This grand old downtown hotel stood in for It shows up in Ghostbusters as the fictional Sedgewick Hotel as well as in Vertigo, The Sting, Chinatown, Beverly Hills Cop (I and III), Bugsy, Rocky III and Wedding Crashers.

See It: It's in downtown Los Angeles and close the Metro line.

Chinatown

© 2003 by Betsy Malloy
Near Downtown Los Angeles

Of course, there's the classic Chinatown starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway. Others made here include Lethal Weapon 4, Rush Hour starring Jackie Chan and Made of Honor.

See It: Visitor Guide

Griffith Observatory

© 2007 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by permission.

2800 East Observatory Road
Los Angeles, CA

One of its most famous film appearances was climactic shoot-out scene in the James Dean film Rebel Without a Cause, but it's far from the only one. In fact, imdb.com lists more than forty films and television episodes made here. Among others, the classic observatory has appeared in The Rocketeer, Steve Martin's Hollywood satire Bowfinger, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, the 1987 film spoof of television show Dragnet, The Terminator and Jurassic Park.

See It: Visitor Guide

Los Angeles River

You know the scenes where the cars get down in the cement-banked, nearly dry riverbed? The Los Angeles River was the victim of some pretty undignified straightening, deepening and concrete paving in an effort to keep it periodic floods from wreaking havoc on the city. In the process, they created a good place to film chase scenes.

Among the ones we can documented as having been filmed here include The Italian Job, To Live and Die in L. A., Grease and Terminator 2: Judgment Day

See It: There are campaigns in the works to restore the river to a more natural condition, but don't expect things to change any time soon. The Grease chase scene was filmed downtown, between 1st and 4th St., which might be as good a place as any to take a look.

Queen Mary

© Betsy Malloy 2001
1126 Queens Hwy
Long Beach, CA

Built in 1936 and docked in Long Beach since 1967, the Queen Mary isn't just a ship. It's also a hotel and has a wedding chapel, restaurants and 18 art deco reception salons.

It stood in for the ill-fated cruise ship in the original Poseidon Adventure and shows up in Pearl Harbor, L.A. Confidential, Someone to Watch Over Me, Chaplin, Batman Forever and The Aviator.

See It: Visitor Guide

Rodeo Drive

© 2007 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.
Beverly Hills, near the intersection of Santa Monica and Wilshire Boulevards

Who can forget those great scenes from Pretty Woman, where Julia Roberts' character Vivian Ward spent Edward Lewis' money shopping on Rodeo Drive? Other films made along this famous shopping street include Gere's breakout film American Gigolo, Beverly Hills Cop, Down and Out in Beverly Hills and Shampoo.

See It: Visitor Guide

Santa Monica Pier

© Betsy Malloy 2005
I-10 and CA Hwy 1

Perhaps the most famous film made at the Santa Monica Pier was the 1973 classic The Sting. The carousel scenes were filmed here. Other film appearances for the pier include Forrest Gump, Fletch, Thank You for Smoking, Beverly Hills Cop III, The Net and They Shoot Horses Don't They?.

See It: Visitor Guide

Union Station

© 2007 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by permission.
800 N. Alameda St.
Los Angeles

If it was set in a train station, it may have been filmed in the structure some call the "last great railway station." The 1950 William Holden-Nancy Olson film Union Station carries its name, but it also shows up in Pearl Harbor, The Way We Were, Blade Runner, Speed, Star Trek: First Contact, Silver Streak and The Italian Job.

The old ticket windows stood in for Miami National Bank in the Leonardo DiCaprio- Tom Hanks caper Catch Me if You Can.

See It: Visitor Guide

Vasquez Rocks

© 2009 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.
10700 W. Escondido Canyon Rd.
Agua Dulce, CA

The odd rock formations in this county park have stood in for locations both terrestrial and extraterrestrial over the years. You've seen them in more than fifty television programs as well a feature films such as Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, The Flintstones movie, Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles, Short Circuit and The Scorpion King.

See It: The rocks are located in the park, but the film sets that surround them in the movies are taken down once filming is complete. If you want to go, take I-5 north out of the Los Angeles Basin, then take CA Hwy 14 northeast.

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