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



1987



"Lethal Weapon" will be remembered as the original cop buddy movie, which spawned several sequels and a dozen copycat films.

In 1987, the on-screen pairing of a black actor and a white actor on equal terms was still novel, an element of the film that was also copied by its imitators.

However, where most of its imitators opted for the obvious clichéd roles (a traditional white cop trying to cope with a "street savvy" black cop), in Lethal Weapon, Danny Glover was the conservative family man, while Mel Gibson was the crazy new guy.

Lethal Weapon was filmed almost exclusively here in Southern California, with locations ranging from Palos Verdes to Hollywood Boulevard, and it contains quite a few memorable scenes.

So, if you're in the mood to do a Lethal Weapon tour of L.A., here's your road map: Click here for an interactive map of all the locations.

(Major thanks to Chas Demster, a fan who tracked down many of these Lethal Weapon locations.)



  • The movie opens with a girl, Amanda Hunsaker, waking up in bed, taking drugs, and then jumping out of the window to her death.

    The building she jumps out of is a distinct,
    round tower, somewhat reminiscent of the Capitol Records building. But it’s not in Hollywood. It’s actually in Long Beach, California.

    It’s a condominium called the
    International Tower; the actual address is 700 E. Ocean Blvd., in Long Beach (near the intersection of Shoreline Drive and Ocean Blvd.)

    When she lands, she smashes into a car parked in front of the tower, on the
    north (Ocean Avenue) side of the building.

    (The same tower was later seen in the 2004 Will Ferrell comedy, “Anchorman”.)
    • [ A bit of trivia: the topless girl who jumps out the window was Jackie Swanson, the same actress who played Woody Harrelson’s rich, naïve girlfriend on the sitcom “Cheers”. The IMDb claims that she performed her own stunt in “Lethal Weapon”, jumping 35 feet into an air bag. ]







  • Next, we see Sgt. Roger Murtaugh’s (Danny Glover) family home, on a nice residential street.

    Alas, that circular street and that nice residential home isn't real. It's hidden away inside
    Warner Ranch studio in Burbank. (That's not the regular Warner Bros Studio, which you can tour, but a separate, smaller parcel located a mile north of the larger studio.)

    The same "house" was seen as Sally Field's home in the TV sitcom "Gidget" and as the Baxter family home in the TV sitcom "Hazel". The house you see to the right (in the photo above) was the Stevens' home in "Bewitched".

    The home is part of a permanent residential set where they have filmed countless TV shows and movies, including “The Partridge Family”, "I Dream of Jeannie", "Father Knows Best" and "Dennis the Menace". The fountain in the park in the center of this traffic oval was seen in the opening credits of “Friends”.

    Unfortunately, the public can't get into Warner Ranch. But you'll find the gates in
    Burbank, on the west side of Hollywood Way, between Oak Street (on the south) and Verdugo Avenue (on the north).





  • After seeing Danny's proper family home, we next cut to Sgt. Martin Riggs’ (Mel Gibson) home: a somewhat dilapidated trailer on the beach where Mel lives alone with his dog. It’s here that Mel puts a gun in his mouth and considers pulling the trigger.

    That beach is part of
    Dockweiler State Beach, just north of where Grand Avenue ends at Vista del Mar, in El Segundo. (That's south of the airport (LAX) and north of Manhattan Beach.)




  • Next, we go back to the scene of the crime, outside the International Tower in Long Beach, where Danny Glover learns that the dead girl was actually the daughter of his good friend, Michael Hunsaker (Tom Atkins). He meets an eyewitness to the jump, 'Dixie', a hooker. He also learns that the drugs Amanda took were poisoned, and becomes determined to catch the men responsible.

    In the background of this scene, you can see (in the photo above ) the
    Villa Riviera, a familiar Long Beach landmark at 800 E. Ocean Blvd., in Long Beach. (Both buildings are about 1,000 yards northeast of Shoreline Village and the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific.)





  • After a scene in which Danny first meets Mel at the police station, we get to see crazy Mel in action, when he arrives to make a drug bust at a Christmas tree lot. Pretending to be a buyer, he offers the three stupid pushers $100 cash for $100,000 worth of drugs; then he does his infamous "Three Stooges" routine to get the drop on them.

    This scene was shot at what is now a
    used car lot (“Able Auto Pawn”) just west of the Hollywood (170) Freeway in the San Fernando Valley, at 12425 Victory Blvd., which is at the southeast corner of Victory Blvd & Whitsitt Ave, in North Hollywood.




  • In the next scene, we see Danny Glover talking to the father of the dead girl in the lobby of an office building, while Mel Gibson waits at a distance. The father tells Glover to find and kill the heroin pushers responsible for his daughter’s death.

    This scene was shot in the lobby at the base of a 22-floor building located at the
    SW corner of Wilshire Blvd & Western Ave (across the street from the well-known Wiltern Theatre). The address is 3800 Wilshire Blvd, in the mid-Wilshire district of Los Angeles. (That's about 3 
    1/2 miles east/SE of Farmers Market & The Grove.)

    Back in the 1987, it housed the offices of the Getty Oil Company. That building is now called “
    The Wilshire at Western" building, and has been converted into 260 expensive condo apartments (with some retail).

    In the photo above, we are looking northeast, out to the intersection of Wilshire & Western. (The Thrifty store you see across the street in the photo was torn down to make way for a subway station.)





  • Next, we see Mel & Danny talking outside at a hot dog cart. Danny tells Mel that the girl's father saved his life in the war, so he owes him.

    That hot dog cart was set up right outside (east of) the former Getty Oil Company building at
    3800 Wilshire (mentioned as a location above), on the sidewalk along west side of Western Avenue, at the southwest corner of Wilshire & Western.

    Right across the street (
    east), in the photo above, you can see the well-known Wiltern Theatre (the theatre's name is a combination of the words Wilshire & Western).

  • When they get in their car to leave (with Mel still munching his hot dog), the car is parked just a few steps around the corner, at the curb on the south side of Wilshire Blvd, just west of Western.




Click here for more Lethal Weapon Locations

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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