Actual Southern California locations
where 1994's "Speed"
As the great bus adventure
begins, we see an aerial shot of Sandra's bus
on what is supposed to be the Santa Monica (10) Freeway (the freeway
from Santa Monica to downtown L.A.)
But this shot actually shows the bus on the Century
(105) Freeway, the freeway
which leads from the airport (LAX) to the Watts/Willowbrook area.
Why? Because back
in 1994, when this movie was filmed, the 105 Freeway was still
being finished, and hadn't opened yet to regular traffic. So the producers
had an entire
empty freeway to play with. That was too much to resist. So, whenever you
freeway in "Speed", chances are you're looking at the 105.
To be a little more specific
about the location, notice what appears to be two streets
crisscrossing just north of the 105 freeway. The street on the left
(west) is Wilmington Avenue.
The street on the right (east) is Willowbrook
Avenue. However, what you mainly see on the
right are railroad tracks, which run parallel to Willbrook. (Willbrook
itself ends at Wilmington Ave.)
(Even if the bus had been taking the 105 to downtown, it would have
its Harbor Freeway exit at this point by a good two or three miles...)
Meanwhile, Keanu has received
a phone call from the bad guy, who tells him that there is a
bomb on Sandra's bus, and that once the bus goes over 50 MPH, the bomb
Once it activates, the bomb will explode if the bus's speed drops
below 50 MPH.
So Keanu jumps in his land
rover and races to catch up with the bus, to warn them.
The scene below, where
Keanu first pulls onto the freeway, was shot at the west
end of the Century (105) Freeway, just
a block west of Sepulveda Blvd.
In the photo above, we see
Keanu chasing Sandra's bus on the freeway.
Keanu (like the bus), is supposed
to be on the Santa Monica (10) freeway, but if you
look at the freeway signs visible behind him, you'll see that he's actually
under the Prairie Avenue overpass of
the Century (105) Freeway.
(Although he's supposed to be right behind Sandra's bus, this location
is a good seven miles west of where we last saw Sandra's bus...)
Notice that the embankments
(sides) of this freeway are still just bare dirt.
All L.A. freeways (including today's 105) are landscaped with bushes and
groundcover. These sides were bare because the freeway was brand new.
As Sandra's bus continues east,
it encounters a traffic jam on the
freeway. She jokes
with the bus driver, asking him to just drive right over the other cars.
This scene above
was shot between the Prairie and Crenshaw
exits on the
Century (105) Freeway, just east of Doty Avenue, north of the
Hawthorne Municipal Airport.
(Notice what appears to be train tracks in the center of the freeway. Those
are the tracks for
the Metro Green Line light rail system, which runs along the center of
the 105 freeway.)
The scene below
was shot a bit closer (farther east) to the Crenshaw exit, near
Keanu catches up with the bus
(which is stuck in traffic), leaves his car and chases after the
bus on foot, but the driver thinks he's crazy and won't let him on the
bus. After it pulls
away, the bus speeds up to 50 MPH, and the bomb activates...
This scene was shot on the
eastbound Century (105) Freeway, just west of the Crenshaw Blvd exit.
Anxious to catch the bus, Keanu
pulls a gun on a passing driver and commandeers
his Jaguar XJS, driving like a speed demon down the freeway,
upsetting the owner.
If you take a close look at
the scene where Keanu pulls the gun, you will see (in the photo above)
that there is a tower visible in the background. That, it turns out, is
tower at the Hawthorne Municipal Airport. Which
means that the kidnap scene was filmed on the eastbound Century (105) Freeway,
near Yukon, west of the Crenshaw Blvd
Planning to board the bus,
Keanu rips the driver's side door off the Jaguar, by slamming
it into the speeding bus (much to the chagrin of the Jaguar's owner).
The scene where Keanu rips
the door off the Jaguar (by slamming it into the bus) was
actually filmed when both Keanu and the bus were heading west
on the 105, not east.
Yes, they have actually turned around and are going the opposite direction!
They were passing Prairie Avenue overpass
at the time.
Also an identifying block-box
on the shoulder of the freeway (seen below),
the unusual double-overpass allows
us to know the locations. The westward direction
is also indicated by the shadows, which are pointing to the north in this
(In fact, if you check the
shadows, you'll see that they changed directions back when
Keanu has the Jag-owner hold up a sign, telling the bus driver that there's
a bomb on his bus.)
Knowing that now the bus can't
slow down (without exploding) Keanu drives next to the bus,
then jumps onto the bus (causing the poor Jag-owner to crash his car into
a water-filled barrier).
For this scene, they are back
heading east again, on the 105
Freeway. (Check the shadows.)
it's hard to tell for sure in this instance, it appears that this scene
may have been
shot just west of the where Van Ness Avenue passes over the 105. )
With Keanu aboard the bus,
the police scramble into action.
In the photo above, a police
team boards a helicopter on a rooftop.
That is the roof of the City
of Los Angeles Piper Technical Center, at 555
on the east side of downtown L.A. It's
at the north dead-end of Heller Street.
(The camera is looking northeast.)
The LAPD uses the roof of the building for helicopter operations.
(Scenes from the 1983 helicopter movie, "Blue
Thunder" were also filmed here.)
seen in the background is where E.
Caesar Chavez Avenue crosses the L.A.
In the photo below, the police helicopter
flies towards downtown L.A. The tall white spire in the center is, of course, Los
Angeles City Hall.
The brown tower to the left is Roybal Federal
Building, at Temple & Alameda.
The white building to the right is the U.S. District
Courthouse, at Spring & Temple.
Locations marked by an asterisk (*) may
be located in high-crime areas.
Exercise reasonable caution.