To Live & Die In L.A. - Filming Locations - part 3



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


To Live and Die in L.A.  Filming Locations

To Live & Die in L.A."
Filming Locations
.(part 2).

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

1:06:55: We see Chance chase a fleeing counterfeiting suspect across an old wooden footbridge. He catches him and threatens to throw him off if he doesn't talk.

This old bridge used to span a large Los Angeles railroad yard, called the Southern Pacific's "River Station" (because it was next to the L.A. River).

This area has changed tremendously over the years. While that old footbridge was still around in 1985, when this movie was made, it is long gone now.

And not only does the footbridge no longer exist, but the sprawling train yard itself is gone as well, replaced by a large new urban park.

Fortunately, I was able to find an old 1934 aerial photograph (below) showing exactly where that footbridge used to be, before it was torn down.

(I highlighted the bridge in red, to make it easier to spot.)

1934 historical aerial photo

That wooden bridge ran east/west (or more accurately, northeast/southwest) between the 1300 block of N. Broadway (at the foot of the Elysian Hills) and the 1500 block of N. Spring Street, above the old River Station / train yard
(otherwise known as Taylor Yard.)

That is near Chinatown, above (north of) downtown Los Angeles.

The area where the train station used to be has been developed into the new
 Los Angeles State Historic Park.(although a few train tracks remain).

Here's a matching modern Google Earth view of the same area, now a park.
( I have drawn a red line to show approximately where the bridge used to be. )

matching 2016 aerial photo

The official address of the park is 1245 N. Spring Street, Los Angeles.

But that address is at the lower, south end of the park.
The old footbridge spanned what is now the middle section of the new park, with the bridge's east end closer to 1500 N. Spring St., near Sotello Street.

In the chase scene, they are running southeast, from Broadway to Spring.

They first meet Rick Masters (Willem DaFoe) up on the roof of the gym where he conducts his business transactions (seen in the photo above).

They filmed that scene up on the roof of a building at 8051 Beverly Blvd., in West Los Angeles. That's at the northwest corner of Beverly Blvd & Laurel Ave. They're standing atop an elevated portion of the roof, near the northwest corner of the building.

The building houses, appropriately, The Eaton Gym (which is the door we see them enter).

It's about a third of a mile northwest of Farmers Market and The Grove.

Later (at 1:40:47), they go back to the same gym to pick up the counterfeit money that Masters has printed for them (they are seen entering its door in the photo below, just before they confront the bodyguard inside, at the foot of the stairs). When they attempt to arrest Masters, a gunfight ensues.

That doorway they enter is on the east side of the building.  (But like many locations in this film, that storefront has changed its appearance over the years.)

[ Special thanks to Debus Pascal, a fan from France who tracked down this location,
and gave assistance on the Watts mural location. Merci beaucoup, Pascal.]

Here is a matching StreetView of the building

1:13:10: Chance goes to a seedy topless bar, where he gets information from Ruth (about a smuggler coming into town on a train).

It was an actual nude bar, called "Shipwreck Joey's", and was located at the northeast corner of Figueroa Street & Harry Bridges Blvd., in Wilmington, CA, across from the docks of the port of Los Angeles harbor. The official address was 1331 W. B Street.

That bar is the same one that was seen in the movie " Fight Club" as the main fight club location.

But it no longer exists.  For that matter, neither does B Street.

Not long after the "Fight Club" filming ended, in 1999, the entire building was razed to the ground (along with most of the buildings on that harbor strip - due to expansion of the harbor). The address is now nothing more than a vacant patch of bare land, where they are building a new freeway offramp (from the northbound Harbor (110) Freeway to Harry Bridges Blvd).  But you can still see the oil refinery in the background).

1:16:48: We see them kidnap the Chinese diamond smuggler (coming in on Amtrack from San Francisco) at a train station.

This scene was shot at the venerable
Union Station, located at 800 N. Alameda Street
, in downtown L.A.

Chance pulls a gun on him inside the old train station, then the action shifts to the outside of the station, where he forces the captive into a car.

Here is a 360o panorama of the interior of the station.

And here is a Google StreetView of the outside of Union Station.

1:18:05: While driving away with the captive, they are heading east on the surface level of 6th Street, heading towards Mesquit Street. It's there that he reaches the 6th Street bridge (which passes over the L.A. River and train tracks).

In the screencap above, the camera is looking east, towards Mesquit Street.

Here is a matching Google StreetView from 2015.

It's under that bridge (where 6th Street meets Mesquit Street) that Chance loses his temper, roughs up his captive, and smashes the briefcase.

( The 6th Street Bridge, which spanned the L.A. River and the railyards, used to be one of the most-used filming locations in L.A.  But due to age and earthquake concerns, the classic bridge was torn down in 2016, and will be rebuilt with a more modern design. )


Here is a StreetView of the location from 2015.

1:21:32: During the Big Car Chase Scene, heading west on 6th Street, Chance passes Southwestern Bag Co, which is located at 1380 East 6th Street, in downtown L.A.

At this point (in the screencap above), he turns left (south) off 6th Street and onto Mateo Street.

The camera, in the shot above, is looking south down Mateo, from 6th Street.


Here is a matching StreetView.

1:23:58: Followed by gunmen trying to kill them, they race a speeding train and pull in front of it, to elude their pursuers.

They then crash down into the L.A. Riverbed (also just south of the 6th Street Bridge), and race back north along the semi-dry riverbed. Things don't get any better for them there, as even more cars & gunmen come out of nowhere to shoot at them.

The arched bridge seen above is the 6th Street Bridge.

( The other bridge, see below, is the 4th Street bridge.)

The spot where they pull in front of the train was on the train tracks on the west side of the L.A. riverbed, just south of the 6th Street Bridge, in downtown. They (and the train) were heading north.

Here's a matching StreetView as seen from the 6th Street Bridge.

1:26:37: The final part of the lengthy car chase scene, where they go the wrong way up a freeway onramp, jumps abruptly from downtown L.A. to the Long Beach area. More specifically, it shot was on and around the Terminal Island Freeway, near Henry Ford Avenue (the green Henry Ford draw bridge can be seen in the photo above).

Here is a StreetView of the Henry Ford Bridge.

1:28:17: Just after they shake their pursuers, we see them driving away on the freeway, past an oil refinery, as Chase raises his arm out the car window, in triumph.

This is the Valero Wilmington Refinery, at 2402 E Anaheim Street, Wilmington, CA,
as seen from a bend in the Terminal Island Freeway, between Anaheim Street
and Henry Ford Ave.

The traffic (in the screenshot) is heading south/southwest,
while the camera is looking north/northeast.

Here is a matching StreetView.

1:28:28: The final spot in the chase sequence, where they stop and get out of the car (after getting away), was obviously shot in an area near a bridge, and filled with junk yards,

This area has undergone significant changes over the years, making this obscure location very hard to find.

The old bridge, seen in the screencap above, was widened and modernized, so it no longer looks the same.

And the bridge wasn't the only thing that changed. Improbably enough, the small street they are driving on in that scene (below) no longer exists (or at least, not the part of the street where they parked).

But enough of the area has remained recognizable that I was eventually able to pinpoint the spot. 

The best clue was the
long building, seen in the background (in the screencap above), with a hard-to-read sign on it.  That building is still there, and it turns out to be the Coordinated Equipment Co., at 1707 E. Anaheim Street, in Wilmington, CA.

From there, it was just a  matter of using Google Earth to determine where the car was parked, in relation to that building.

This scene was shot in east Wilmington, CA (near the Long Beach border), just north of the Anaheim Street bridge (which passes over the Dominguez channel), and just south of I Street, about 1,000 feet east of Henry Ford Ave. It was shot on a portion of a street that no longer exists.

The name of that street was Vreeland Avenue, and they were parked on the part of the street which ran just south of I Street, and just north of the Anaheim bridge.

But Vreeland no longer runs south of I Street. It now ends at I Street, and the area to the south, where that street used to be, is now buried in a tangle of junkyards and wrecked cars.

The nearest street now is to the east of where Vreeland used to be, and it is named Sutherland Avenue.

I spent a long time trying to pinpoint the place where it was shot on Southerland, only to eventually realize that it wasn’t shot on Sutherland at all, but on that now-gone southern portion of Vreeland Avenue.  I realized that the the south end of Vreeland must have vanished.

To confirm that, I tracked down an old street map of Wilmington & Long Beach, and sure enough, the map showed Vreeland continuing south of I Street,with Southerland slanting westward to possibly meet near Anaheim Street. 
On that map it appears that the south end of Vreeland curves to the east to run into Southerland. (See a close-up here.)   A second old map gave an even closer view, but doesn't show the same bend in the street.

In the scene, it appears they were first driving along the southeast section that joined those two streets, and then they definitely came to a stop on Vreeland (heading north, parking on the east side od that former street, near what was 805 Vreeland).  When we see them parked (in the screencap above), the camera is looking west across those junkyards to the Coordinated Equipment Co.

To the far left, in that same screencap, we can also see a billboard and a traffic light in the distance.  Those were at the intersection of Anaheim Street and Henry Ford Ave.

Here is an aerial Earth view of the area.

The movie's final credits show the viewpoint of a passenger in a car, heading south down the Harbor (110) Freeway, first past the Wilmington refinery area where you'll find Steve Jones's house, and then east over the Vincent Thomas Bridge onto Terminal Island, and across to Long Beach.

Here is a matching StreetView of the screencap above,
as seen from the southbound Harbor (110) Freeway.

( Follow it south, and over the Vincent Thomas Bridge to recreate the drive seen in the credits. )

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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