Welcome to part 2 of my quest for finding movie locations around the world! Left images are from the actual films and to the right are my visits to the spots.
Featured: Blade Runner, Star Wars Episode 4, Easy Rider, Star Trek: First Contact, The Third Man, Rebel Without a Cause, Star Trek: Voyager, The Terminator, Yes Man, The Living Daylights, Californication, Skyfall, Before Sunrise.
Blade Runner (1982)
The epic finale of Ridley Scott’s masterpiece was partially filmed at this 1893 building in downtown LA. The elevators, stairways and iron railings are easily recognized even though the building was completely renovated in the 1990s, and the entrance used by Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) has today become a Subway restaurant. But the interior of Sebastian’s apartment was a set built in Sound Stage 25 at Warner Bros.
The Union Station was used as a police station, where the office of Bryant (M. Emmet Walsh) was temporarily built inside the waiting hall.
Star Wars Episode 4 (1977)
Before Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness) and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) enter Mos Eisley, they have a look at the city from a high viewpoint. But that is actually Death Valley in California, as seen from the peak called Dante’s view.
Several scenes from Star Wars Episode 4 were shot in Death Valley. This is the place where the Java had parked their Sand crawler, although in reality the hill is only a few meters high.
Easy Rider (1969)
Wyatt (Peter Fonda) and Billy (Dennis Hopper) traveled by chopper bikes from Los Angeles to New Orleans in one of the first road movies. In this scene they went through Monument Valley in Arizona on US Route 163. I drove on the same road 43 years later.
Star Trek: First Contact (1996)
In the movie, Zefram Cochrane (James Cromwell) uses an old rocket from a missile complex in Montana to build the first warp drive ship. But it’s actually the Titan Missile Museum, a former ICBM missile site in Arizona. I even found a signature from actor LeVar Burton (Geordi) in the museum, as well as a copy of the script used for the scene.
Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) and Data (Brent Spiner) having a closer look at the ship/missile. The silo became operational in 1963 and was deactivated in 1982. Today the underground complex can be visited by civilians.
The Third Man (1949)
The most famous location from the 1949 noir classic is the house of Harry Lime (Orson Welles), with the statues flanking the doorway. They are still there at Josefsplatz 5, more than 50 years later.
The Ferris Wheel at Prater is where Harry Lime (Orson Welles) delivered his famous cuckoo clock speech. The wheel was also featured in Living Daylights and Before Sunrise, half a decade after Orson went for a spin.
The vast cobbled square Am Hof is where Harry Lime (Orson Welles) makes his mysterious disappearance, but the central kiosk was only a prop placed there for the film.
Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
Griffith Observatory is probably best known for the two scenes in Rebel Without a Cause featuring James Dean. A large bust of Dean has been placed on the west side.
Star Trek: Voyager (1996)
The observatory was also seen in an episode of Star Trek Voyager season 3, where the crew time-travel to present day Los Angeles. Tom Paris (Robert Duncan McNeill) and Tuvok (Tim Russ) enter the observatory grounds…
… only to end up in a ray gun fight. Just a normal day in Los Angeles. The shooting takes place around the central column with statues of famous astronomers. An amusing detail for trekkies is that the showroom hall inside the observatory is named “Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater”.
The Terminator (1984)
Once you start to look for it, Griffith Observatory is found everywhere! Even Arnold Schwarzenegger walked around here naked in the eighties as The Terminator.
Yes Man (2008)
Even Jim Carrey couldn’t stay away from the scenery.
The Living Daylights (1987)
The featured Bratislava opera house is actually the Volksoper opera house in Vienna. The name sign was obviously changed, but an even more distinctive difference is how much the tree to the right has grown in the past 20 years!
James Bond (Timothy Dalton) and Saunders (Thomas Wheatley) walk across the street from the opera house into the “sniper bookshop”, which looks quite different today.
The window where Georgi Koskov (Jeroen Krabbé) makes his escape as seen through Bond’s night-vision goggles is still there.
The gasometers where Georgi Koskov (Jeroen Krabbé) boards a Harrier plane were built in 1896. They were once the largest in Europe to produce gas from distillation of coal, but after the restoration in 2001 they now feature apartments and shops.
Bond always enjoys spending MI6’s money on luxury hotels, and this time even the Schönbrunn Palace is featured as a place to stay. It was once the residence of Maria Theresia, mother of Marie Antoinette, and Napoleon stayed here during the occupation 1805. Even Mozart performed here as a 6-year-old in 1762.
The TV series Californication is filled with great shots (no pun intended) from all over Los Angeles. One of my favorites is the opening scene from the pilot episode, where Hank Moody (David Duchovny) drives east on Pacific Coast Hwy through Malibu. The exact location was a bit tricky to find, but make sure to look for the white mailbox next to the white fence.
James Bond (Daniel Craig) and M (Judi Dench) travel through the Highlands of Scotland efter the escape from London.
Before Sunrise (1995)
Jesse Wallace (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) wander around in Vienna all night, ending up at the statue of Hapsburg Emperor Joseph II.
- Movie locations around the world part 1
- Movie locations around the world part 3
- Movie locations around the world part 4
- Movie locations around the world part 5
- Movie locations around the world part 6
- Movie locations around the world part 7
- Movie locations around the world part 8
- Welcome to King’s Landing
- In the footsteps of the Blade Runner
- Marseille 40 years later
- The magic of green screen
- Driving through Death Valley
- Visual misconceptions in movies