Seeing Stars: Where the Movies Were Shot (on Location)



1984



"Beverly Hills Cop" helped launch the genre of action-comedy, and is chock full of local L.A. locations, from the real Rodeo Drive to Koreatown and Pasadena - and from art galleries to strip clubs.

It's hard to imagine anyone in the lead role of 'Axel Foley' except Eddie Murphy, but originally, they planned to cast with Sly Stallone in mind, as a straight action flick with little comedy involved.

Sly turned it down - something he no doubt regrets today, since Beverly Hills Cop still ranks as one of the top 40 highest-grossing movies of all time (when you adjust the dollars for inflation).

Tracking down filming locations for a 30-year-old movie isn't the easiest thing in the world, since over the years, some of the original locations have vanished, and most of them have changed significantly.

But fortunately, I had a lot of help on this one from the Production Designer's commentary on the DVD, and from Chas Demster, a fan who tracked down many of these locations.

So, if you're in the mood to do a Beverly Hills Cop tour of L.A., here's your road map:




    This movie is about a Detroit cop who comes to Beverly Hills to investigate his friend's murder.

    So the beginning of the film is supposed to take place in Motown. And some of it does - most notably the lengthy police pursuit / chase scene that sees 'Axel Foley' (Eddie Murphy) hanging onto the back of a truck while it careens wildly through the streets of Detroit.

    But the producers don't even wait until he's out of Detroit before switching to L.A. locations.

  • Remember Eddie's Detroit apartment, where he meets with his old buddy (who has just been released from prison), and where that friend is mercilessly gunned down by the movie's villain? Well, that wasn't in Detroit.
  • The apartment building is actually located near downtown L.A., in a seedy part of town about three blocks west the Harbor (110) Freeway and about seven blocks east of MacArthur Park, at the southwest corner of Whitmer Street & Ingraham Ave. - just a block south of Wilshire Blvd.

    When we first see Eddie's car arrive (see the top photo), he is heading south/SW on Witmer Street (away from Wilshire). . He drives between two tall, run-down apartment buildings that look somewhat alike. The camera is looking north. Just after he passes Ingraham Ave, he hangs a U-turn (so he's going back north/NE) and he pulls over and parks at the curb on the east/SE side of Witmer Street. (As he gets out of the car, it starts to roll backward, and he has to jump back in and stop it.)

    The building he parks in front of is the one on the southeast corner of Witmer & Ingraham Ave. But as he gets out of the car, he appears to be heading to the building across the street, to the building at the southwest corner of Whitmer & Ingraham, where his apartment is supposed to be located.

    That same building is seen again later (see the photo above), after the cops swarm in to investigate Mikey's murder, in a scene where Eddie's Detroit boss warns him to stay away from the case, and Eddie asks for vacation time.

    (In the photo above, the camera is looking west/southwest, down on Witmer Street.) *





    Next, we see Eddie in Beverly Hills, driving down his crappy blue Chevy Nova down its palm tree-lined streets and taking in the sights.

    For much of this drive, he's heading west on
    Sunset Boulevard.

  • One of the buildings he looks at (seen above) is the Beverly Hills Hotel. Also known as "the Pink Palace", the hotel is a landmark, built back in 1912, the city of Beverly Hills literally grew up around the hotel - a magnet for celebrities and heads of state. You'll find the hotel at 9641 Sunset Blvd, in Beverly Hills, where the north end of Rodeo Drive meets Sunset. (Click here to read more about the hotel.)

  • One of the Beverly Hills mansions that Eddie looks at (seen above) can be found on the north side of Sunset Blvd, between E. Elm Drive (on the west) and N. Palm Drive (on the east) - and between both ends of the U-shaped Mountain Drive. It's about two miles east of the Beverly Hills Hotel.

[ Warning: this is a private home.  Do not trespass on their property, knock on their door,
or do anything else that might disturb the residents. ]






  • Next, we see Eddie driving down Rodeo Drive., in Beverly Hills. The camera focuses on the street sign at the corner of Rodeo & Brighton Way.
  • [ To read more about Rodeo, click here. ]

    The camera focuses on the bronze signs of several well-known shops that are located on Rodeo Drive , including
    Louis Vuitton and Fendi. These bronze plaques were located on the west side of Rodeo Drive, on the walls of the Rodeo Collection center, at 421 Rodeo Drive.



  • When Eddie sees a Beverly Hills woman walking her dog (her hairstyle matches the dog), she's walking past the Nina Ricci boutique, which was at 273 N. Rodeo Drive.(on the west side of Rodeo).

  • When Eddie flirts with a blonde in a convertible (see the photo above) , he is heading north on Rodeo Drive, looking towards west side of the street, between Cartier boutique (at 370 N. Rodeo Drive) and the David Orgell store (one of the oldest shops on Rodeo, at 320 N. Rodeo)

    The movie was filmed before Two Rodeo was built, the posh Old World "street" that anchors the southeast end of Rodeo Drive. Many of Rodeo's best shops moved into Two Rodeo shortly after it was built in 1990, so a lot of addresses changed. And other shops seen in the movie, such as Nina Ricci and Andrea Carrano simply aren't there at all any more.






  • We then see Eddie arrive at his hotel (called "The Beverly Palm Hotel" in the movie).
  • At first glance, knowing we're supposed to be in Beverly Hills, and having just come from Rodeo Drive, you might mistake this for the Beverly Wilshire Hotel (where "Pretty Woman" was filmed), at the north end of Rodeo Drive . It does look a bit like it. But you'd be wrong.

    This is actually the
    Biltmore Hotel, located 11 miles to the east, at 506 South Grand Ave, in downtown Los Angeles.

    At the Biltmore, Eddie's car pulls up to the southeast side of the hotel (heading southwest on
    Olive Street), where the bellhop takes his bag. (Eddie couldn't do that today - Olive Street is now a one-way street, heading the opposite direction - northeast). In the photo above, the camera is looking north/northwest.

    The hotel interiors were shot were shot inside the same hotel, the Biltmore. Even Eddie's room interior was actually shot in a room upstairs at the hotel (although the producers redecorated it for the scene).

    Later, when the cops (Judge Reinhold & John Ashton) have staked out his hotel in their car, Eddie has a meal delivered to their car, and while they're busy eating it, he sneaks up and stuffs bananas up their car's tailpipe. In this scene, the unmarked police car is parked on the southeast side of Olive Street (across from the southeast side of the hotel, next to Pershing Square park). The car is facing northeast.





  • Looking for a lead on his friend's murder, Eddie goes to an eccentric art gallery to see an old friend, 'Jenny' (Lisa Eilbacher), who works there. Mikey told him that Jenny helped him get a job, and she tells Eddie that she got Mikey a job with the owner of the gallery, Victor Maitland - and that Mikey was working in the gallery's warehouse.
  • Eddie also meets 'Serge' (played by Bronson Pinchot), the gallery's unusual receptionist.

    I'm still not sure of the exact address of this "art gallery". The area has just changed too much in 30 years.

    First, it wasn't really an art gallery. It was actually a shoe store.

    According to the DVD, it was located on Wilshire Blvd, an eighth of a mile east of Rodeo Drive. Now that should have made it easy, right? Wrong.

    Although that description would seem to put the "gallery" in the vicinity of the corner of Wilshire Blvd & Canon Drive, thirty years later, there is no sign of a shoe store in that area.

    So I studied the background (when Eddie comes into the store) to see what was across the street (for instance, there was a Jaeger store, a Thai restaurant, and a City National Bank). But when I tried to match what I saw to what is now on that stretch of Wilshire, there was nothing that even came close. Alas, there have been several new developments in the area, and there are a couple of vacant lots where things might have been torn down - so I suspect that the area has simply changed too much to ever match up exactly to what is seen in the film.

    So, the best I can do is to tell you that the gallery was on Wilshire Blvd, apparently somewhere around Canon Drive.

    If I had to guess, I'd say that it was probably where the empty lot is now on the southeast corner of Wilshire & Canon. Cancel that... I just found out that lot used to hold a Chevron station. My second guess would be the current Ferrari of Beverly Hills dealership next door (to the east), at 9372 Wilshire Blvd.






  • Eddie goes down to Maitland's office to talk with him, and Maitland has his goons throw Eddie through the plate glass window in the front of the office building. When the cops arrive, they arrest Eddie!

    That
    office building is located at the NE corner of Wilshire Blvd & Serrano Avenue (just east of Western Ave), at 3699 Wilshire Blvd, in the Mid-Wilshire District of Los Angeles.






  • The cops take him down to the police headquarters.

    That impressive building is actually the
    Beverly Hills City Hall, located at on N. Crescent Drive, just south of Santa Monica Blvd. The formal address is 455 N. Rexford Drive, but the entrance you see above faces Crescent Drive. (In the photo above, the camera is pointed northeast.)







  • Eddie and 'Jenny' go to Maitland's art warehouse to check things out. While there, they see two guys unpacking a crate, which is full of illegal bonds (hidden in with the artwork).
  • That "warehouse" building is located at 3550 W. 6th Street, in Koreatown. It's at the southeast corner of 6th & Normandie. *

    But it's not a warehouse. In real life, it's a low-rent office building, known as the Abbey Building, and contains such diverse businesses as PIP Printing, Abbey Properties Self-Storage, a Korean dance studio, a Taekwondo school, and a liberal lobby group called Peace Action West.

    On their first (night time) visit to the warehouse (seen in the photo above), he and 'Jenny' are in their car, heading south on Normandie Ave (just south of 6th St) when they pull up outside the warehouse. They park on the west side of Normandie and walk towards the east side of the building. When they exit, they leave through a stairway on the south side of the building. (Jenny hangs a U-turn that sends her back north on Normandie, towards 6th St.)

    On their second visit (in the daytime, with cop Judge Reinhold in tow ), they park in a narrow alley on the west side across the street (west of Normandie). The enter the warehouse by climbing the stairs on the south side of the building.

    Reinhold, waiting in the car in the alley, observes Jenny being taken away, and goes to check. He sprints east, across Normandie Avenue, to the building. After the rescue, they run back down the stairs (on the south side), back to the car in the alley, then their leaving car turns right (south) on Normandie.




  • Eddie takes conservative cops Judge Reinhold & John Ashton to a strip joint.
  • (While there, he spots two guys about to rob the place, and foils the robbery.)

    On the DVD, the production designer says: "It's a bar on Sunset, just east of Western Ave, that was actually a "go-go dancer" type bar. The exterior architecture was Moorish."

    So I went looking for the spot on Sunset. But after 20 years, things change. As best I can figure, the strip club may well have been a "gentleman's club" known as "Aladdin". It was on Sunset, just east of Western Ave, and that Arabian name would suggest that a Moorish architecture would seem appropriate. The place went through a number of name changes, but remained a strip joint until its most recent incarnation.

    That building is now a bar/concert venue known as "Safari Sams", at 5214 W. Sunset Blvd.

    I emailed them and asked if a major motion picture had been filmed there back in the '80s (without revealing the title), and they emailed me back to say that they had heard that "Beverly Hills Cop" was filmed there, but hadn't been able to verify it.

    So there you are, that's my best guess.  There's probably about a 70% chance that it was Safari Sam's... *






  • Eddie follows the guys with the crate full of bonds and ends up at another warehouse. Jenny tells him its a "bonded warehouse" where "they hold up foreign shipments until they clear customs". Inside, he discovers that Maitland is smuggling drugs, as well as the bonds.
  • This customs warehouse is actually the Korean Air cargo terminal on the south side of LAX. It's located just north of the 105 freeway, between Sepulveda and Imperial Highway. The address is 6101 W. Imperial Highway.







  • Eddie follows Maitland to the exclusive Harrow club, where he confronts him in front of his friends.

    The Harrow club was actually the
    Faculty Club building (known as The Athenaeum) on the campus of CalTech (the California Institute of Technology), at the SE corner of California Blvd & Hill Ave, in Pasadena.





  • The movie reaches its climax at the Maitland mansion, which is supposed to be in Beverly Hills.
  • It's not. Which might have made it hard to find.

    But fortunately, the producers not only showed us the house number (609, clearly visible on the gate), they also showed us the street signs at the corner of Channel Road & Dryad Road, which is where you'll find the front gate to the estate. The exact address is 609 E. Channel Road, in the canyon between Santa Monica & Pacific Palisades.

    Most of the action at Maitland's mansion (including the photos above & below) takes place in the gardens and pool area near the smaller house on the northeast side of the estate, not in the larger, main house.

    [ Warning: this is a private home.  Do not trespass on their property, knock on their door,
    or do anything else that might disturb the residents. ]



    But the owners of the house wouldn't let them film inside the mansion.

  • So, for the interior scenes of the Maitland mansion, they found another mansion with similar Mediterranean arches.
  • But this one has a unique history all its own. A fortress-like home, rising above the Lake Hollywood reservoir, it was known as Castillo del Lago (Castle of the Lake), it was originally owned by mobster Bugsy Segal. Later, Madonna lived there for several years.

    You'll find it at 6342 Mulholland Highway (at Canyon Lake Drive), next to Lake Hollywood.

    [ Warning: this is a private home.  Do not trespass on their property, knock on their door,
    or do anything else that might disturb the residents. ]




1920's - 1930's - 1940's - 1950's - 1960's - 1970's - 1980's - 1990 - 1991 - 1992 - 1993 - 1994
1995 - 1996 - 1997 - 1998 - 1999 - 2000 - 2001 - 2002 - 2003 - 2004 - 2005 - 2006 - 2007

             

* Locations marked by an asterisk (*) may be located in areas with high crime rates.
Exercise reasonable caution.



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