Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure (1985)

Tim Burton’s 1985 film “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure” introduced the world to Paul Rubens’ classic character, Pee-Wee Herman.  In the film, Pee-Wee lives at this South Pasadena home.

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LOCATION: 1848 Oxley St, South Pasadena, CA 91030

Later in the film, Pee Wee is chased around the Cabazon Dinosaurs.  The dinosaurs are a roadside attraction in Cabazon, California and can be seen from the 10 freeway.  Originally built by a sculptor and theme park artist as a way to attract customers to his nearby restaurant, the dinosaurs now operate as a small museum and gift shop.  The dinosaurs were also seen in the 1989 film “The Wizard.”  Today, visitors are able to go inside the dinosaurs, just like in both films.

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LOCATION: 50700 Seminole Dr., Cabazon, CA 92230

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The bike from the film can be seen at the Hollywood Museum in Hollywood, California.

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LOCATION: Hollywood Museum, 1660 Highland Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90028

They also have one of Pee Wee’s costumes, though it is said to be from the TV show, not the film.

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The Breakfast Club (1985)

John Hughes’ 80s classic, “The Breakfast Club,” was filmed at the former Maine North High School, in Des Plaines, Illinois.  The filmmakers converted the high school gymnasium into the famous library set.  Today, the building is no longer a high school at all.   It’s used as an Illinois State Police Station.

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LOCATION: 9511 Harrison St, Des Plaines, IL 60016

One of the most highly disputed film locations you’re ever likely to encounter is the football field, where Judd Nelson does his famous fist pump at the end.  Some insisted it was filmed at the same high school as the rest of the production; Maine North.  Others insisted it was filmed at Glenbrook North High School in Northbrook, Illinois, where John Hughes himself was an alumni.  The majority of the arguments centered between these two locations, with former students from each school disputing which field was used.  Others still have claimed it was filmed at Maine South High School in Park Ridge or Maine West in Des Plaines.  The argument persisted until 2015, when the cinematographer of the film, Thomas Del Ruth, confirmed to the Chicago Tribune it was indeed the now-defunct Main North High School football field; the same location where principle production took place.  The field has since been demolished, but the confusion remains so strong, many people to this day still recreate the fist pump photograph at Glenbrook North.

My So-Called Life

The short-lived, but well remembered 90s TV drama “My So-Called Life,” where Claire Danes and Jared Leto got their starts, was set in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. However, as is the case with so many films and TV series, the house seen in the show was actually based in Southern California.  It can be found in South Pasadena.  The house was also used in Rob Zombie’s 2007 remake of “Halloween.”

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LOCATION: 1110 Glendon Way, South Pasadena, CA 91030

The Big Lebowski (1998)

“The Big Lebowski,” one of the great comedies of the Coen Brothers, shot all around the greater Los Angeles area.  Several of the movie locations are surprisingly difficult to gain access to however, so if you’re a fan of the film and want to check out the places where it was shot, just be aware it may be a more difficult process than you’d expect.

First, we start with The Dude’s apartment, played famously by Jeff Bridges.  The apartment complex can be found in Venice and is easily visible from the street.  However, The Dude’s unit is further towards the back of the property.  Below is a shot of the overall complex, but it is not The Dude’s exact unit from the film.

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LOCATION: 609 Venezia Ave, Venice, CA 90291

Just outside of the apartments on Venezia Ave, looking down toward Zeno Pl, you’ll see where The Dude confronts Da Fino, the brother shamus.

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LOCATION: Venezia Ave, Venice, CA 90291 (in front of The Dude’s apartment)

The famous bowling alley in the film no longer exists.  It was the Hollywood Star Lanes, formerly located at 5227 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90029.  The building was torn down in 2002 to make way for a children’s elementary school.

The Big Lebowski’s mansion consisted of two locations.  The exterior was shot at 10231 Charing Cross Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90024.  It is a private, gated property, closed to the public.  The interior of the mansion is the Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills.  The City of Beverly Hills actually owns the property, which is routinely used for filming.  The outside grounds are open to the public, but getting inside is more difficult.  Due to hosting productions and private events on a regular basis, only a few times a year does the city open the inside up for public viewing.  It can be done if you are patient and keep an eye out for these select dates, however.

Inside the Greystone Mansion, this wall is where The Dude talks with Brandt, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, and looks at all of The Big Lebowski’s awards and achievements, including his “Little Lebowski Urban Achievers.”  It’s known as the “Breakfast Room” inside the mansion.

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LOCATION: Greystone Mansion, 905 Loma Vista Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Brandt is seen walking these hallways of Greystone Mansion several times in the film, as are The Dude and Walter, played by John Goodman.

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Another famous location inside of Greystone Mansion; The Dude talks to the distraught Big Lebowski in front of this fireplace, where The Dude is hired to find the kidnapped Bunny Lebowski.

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The very same room was used in Paul Thomas Anderson’s “There Will Be Blood,” as Daniel Plainview’s office, where his son visits him late in the film.

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The Dude, Walter and Donny pay a visit to Larry Sellers’ house, “near the In-N-Out Burger.”  It’s in front of this home that Walter destroys the red corvette.  Today, the home is partially obscured by trees.

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LOCATION: 1824 Stearns Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90035

Late in the film, The Dude pays a visit to Jackie Treehorn’s house.  In the film, the property is shown as being right on the beach.  Those beach scenes were filmed at Point Dume in Malibu.  In reality, however, the house is located in the hills of Benedict Canyon, nowhere near the beach.  It’s the Sheats-Goldstein House, one of the most unique houses in Los Angeles.  It’s actually located just above Cielo Dr, where the Manson Family’s infamous murder of Sharon Tate and four others took place.  In 2016, the property was acquired by LACMA, which hosts occasional events there.  So while it is open to the public on select occasions, it again requires great patience and diligence.  The house is tucked away at the end of a cul-de-sac, down a long, private drive and is not visible from the street.  So the only way to get onto the property is, similar to Greystone Mansion, to keep your eyes peeled for a rare, public invitation.

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LOCATION: 10104 Angelo View Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Stand By Me (1986)

Widely regarded as one of the finest Stephen King adaptations, “Stand By Me” was set in the fictional town of Castle Rock, Maine.  However, the film was actually shot around Oregon.  The boys set about their adventure at this bridge in the small community of Walden.  To find it, you will need to follow the Row River Trail up to Mosby Creek.

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LOCATION: Row River Trail at Mosby Creek, Cottage Grove, OR 97424

Fast Times At Ridgemont High (1982)

The 80s comedy “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” like so many other films of that era, shot in the San Fernando Valley, north of Los Angeles, California.

The mall scenes in the film were shot at the Sherman Oaks Galleria, which has since been completely remodeled and looks nothing like it did in the film, so we’ve opted to omit it here.  However, it can be found at 15301 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403.

The titular Ridgemont High was primarily filmed at Van Nuys High School in Van Nuys, California, with a few additional scenes shot at Canoga Park High School and James Monroe High School.

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LOCATION: Van Nuys High School, 6535 Cedros Ave, Van Nuys, CA 91411

Brad, played by Judge Reinhold, and Stacy Hamilton, played by Jennifer Jason Leigh, live at this house in West Hills, but it’s mostly remembered for the pool scene with Phoebe Cates.  That scene really was filmed at the pool in the back yard, which is unfortunately not visible from outside of the property.  Visitors can still see the front of the house, however, which is shown several times in the film.

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LOCATION: 24124 Welby Way, West Hills, CA 91307

“The Point,” where Stacy loses her virginity later in the film, was shot at the Mid Valley Youth Baseball fields in Encino.  There are quite a number of fields here, which can be confusing, but each of them is numbered.  The field from the film is field 4 and the dugout from the film is the third base dugout.

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LOCATION: 17301 Oxnard St, Encino, CA 91316

Step By Step

The 90s sitcom “Step By Step,” starring Patrick Duffy and Suzanne Somers, was a staple of the “TGIF” line-up, which also included “Full House,” “Perfect Strangers,” “Family Matters” and more.  While set in the town from Port Washington, Wisconsin, the house from the show can be found in South Pasadena, California.  It was of course only used as an exterior shot, with all interiors filmed on a studio stage.  Also, in case you’re wondering, the theme park from the opening credits is likewise in California, at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia.

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LOCATION: 2011 Fletcher Ave, South Pasadena, CA 91030

Psycho (1960)

The house from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 horror classic, “Psycho,” can be found on the Universal Studios lot, as part of their studio tour.  It is indeed the actual house from the film, although the back part of the house, not seen on camera in the film, was added later on by the studio, after the film had been released.  There is also a Bates Motel set on the tour, but that set is actually from the sequel film, not the original.

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LOCATION: 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608

Another view of the side of the house.

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This was Alfred Hitchcock’s office on the Universal lot, which is commemorated with a drawing of the director’s famous silhouette.

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Inherent Vice (2014)

Paul Thomas Anderson’s 2014 adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s novel, “Inherent Vice,” shot all over Southern California.  Much of it is set in the fictional town of Gordita Beach.  These scenes were actually shot in Manhattan Beach, which is worth checking out if you’re interested in beautiful ocean views, without the crowds of such places as Santa Monica or Venice Beach.

This shot, seen at both the beginning, as well the end of the film, is overlooking Manhattan Beach and a scenic walkway called The Strand.  However, the shot is actually taken from Ocean Drive, one block up, at the intersection of Seaview Street.

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LOCATION: 4210 The Strand, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266 (this exact shot is from behind the house, on Ocean Drive at Seaview Street, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266, looking out towards the water)

Doc, played by Joaquin Phoenix, lives in this house,  which is close to the above shot.  The house was mostly used for interiors in the film, but the exterior can also briefly be seen.

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LOCATION: 214 El Porto St, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

Later in the film, Doc pays a visit to Bigfoot, played by Josh Brolin, at the old Los Angeles Police Department in downtown Los Angeles.  As he’s approaching the building, an officer bumps into him, knocking him to the ground.

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LOCATION: 150 N Los Angeles St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Related articles: There Will Be Blood (2007), Punch-Drunk Love (2002), Boogie Nights (1997)

Somewhere (2010)

Sophia Coppola’s slow-paced, 2010 film “Somewhere” takes place almost entirely at Hollywood’s famed Chateau Marmont.  The hotel has been a beacon for celebrities over the years, at times hosting everyone from Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski, to Jim Morrison, to Hunter S. Thompson, to Keanu Reeves.  Comedian John Belushi passed away at the hotel in 1982.  The hotel is known for it’s privacy and discretion.  It made for a perfect location for Coppola’s story about an aimless actor reexamining his life.

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LOCATION: 8221 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90046