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

Part 1

  • Orson Welles' last Hollywood film "TOUCH OF EVIL" (1958) was supposed to be set in a Mexican border town. But when you see star Charlton Heston running across the bridge, he's really crossing one of the canals of Venice, California. Orson Welles also drowns in one of the canals at the end of the movie.

  • The 1957 film"SAYONARA" (starring Marlon Brando) was shot at the famous Yamashiro Sky Room restaurant, which resembles an oriental palace. It is located in the hills right above Grauman's Chinese Theatre (at 1999 N. Sycamore Avenue) in Hollywood.

  • Do you remember "THEM!," a 1954 science fiction/horror epic about giant ants threatening to take over the world? Well, the scenes of the final battle were actually shot just east of downtown L.A., at the viaduct which spans the Los Angeles River at Sixth Street. *

  • The Los Angeles City Hall (200 N. Spring Street) in downtown Los Angeles was destroyed by hostile flying saucers, who blew it away in the original movie version of 1953's"WAR OF THE WORLDS" starring Gene Barry.

  • Speaking of "WAR OF THE WORLDS," remember the final scene, where the desperate people of Los Angeles gathered to pray inside a large church, while just outside the Martian ships blasted their way through the streets of L.A.? Well, those scenes were shot inside an actual church, St. Brendans Catholic Church (310 S. Van Ness Avenue), located near the Hancock Park district, at the southwest corner of Van Ness and 3rd Street (just about two and a half miles east of Farmers Market).

  • The Hollywood United Methodist Church (at 6817 Franklin Avenue, just above Hollywood Boulevard), is often misidentified as the "WAR OF THE WORLDS" church. In fact, this large church is often used for Hollywood auditions, and it served as the location of several hit movies, including "BACK TO THE FUTURE," "SISTER ACT" and "THAT THING YOU DO."

  • The Griffith Park Observatory is situated atop a hill in Griffith Park (2800 Observatory Road), with a great view of the city below. It was here that a naked Arnold Schwarzenegger stood and looked out over the city in the original "THE TERMINATOR" (1984). And almost 30 years earlier, James Dean shot the knife fight scene of the classic 1955 film "REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE" in the observatory's parking lot. (In recognition, there's a large bust of James Dean on the west side of the Observatory.) The park itself has been used as a backdrop for hundreds of films, including "JURASSIC PARK" and 1991's "THE ROCKETEER."

  • And speaking of "REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE," the rebellious teenagers from that 1955 film attended "Dawson High," which was supposed to be located at "University & 10th." In fact, the campus was really Santa Monica High School, located at Pico Boulevard & 4th Street in Santa Monica.

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- 2008

2009 - 2010 - 2011 - 2012 - 2013


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

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