Generations of filmmakers have featured Beverly Hills landmarks, restaurants and hotels in movies that range from iconic romantic comedies like Pretty Woman to hit action flicks such as Beverly Hills Cop. Beverly Hills has also played itself in many a starring role. Read on for some of the best movies that take place in Beverly Hills.
Beverly Hills Cop
The biggest box office hit of 1984 was Beverly Hills Cop, the movie that introduced Detroit police detective Axel Foley to the world and catapulted Eddie Murphy to international stardom. When Foley (played by Murphy) first arrives in Beverly Hills, he takes in familiar sights like the Beverly Hills Hotel and flirts with a blonde in a Mercedes on Rodeo Drive. Later, after questioning a wealthy suspect about the murder of his childhood friend, Foley is arrested and taken to headquarters by the Beverly Hills police. Of course, the police station is no run-of-the-mill HQ: in reality it’s Beverly Hills City Hall, located at 455 N. Rexford Drive. Designed in the Spanish Colonial Revival style, the building has an entrance facing Crescent Drive that’s featured prominently in the film.
Filmed on location at the Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows, California Suite is a 1978 comedy based on Neil Simon’s play of the same name. The all-star cast includes Alan Alda, Michael Caine, Bill Cosby, Jane Fonda, Walter Matthau and Richard Pryor. The movie follows four different groups of guests staying at the hotel, in stories titled "Visitors from New York," Visitors from London," "Visitors from Philadelphia" and "Visitors from Chicago." The London segment features Dame Maggie Smith as Diana Barrie, a nominee for the Academy Award for Best Actress. In a case of art imitating life, Smith won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. The original play took place in four acts, all set in Suite No. 203-04 of the Beverly Hills Hotel. In the film version, the characters are staying in four different hotel suites, as the action jumps between the four storylines. The California-themed paintings featured during the opening titles are by pop artist David Hockney.
Loosely based on Jane Austen's 1815 novel, Emma, Clueless was written and directed by Amy Heckerling and stars Alicia Silverstone, Stacey Dash and Brittany Murphy. Clueless became one of the sleeper hits of 1995, giving the then-unknown Silverstone a breakthrough role, and spinning off a television show and a series of books. Silverstone and Dash play Cher and Dionne, two super-rich Beverly Hills high school students and best pals who “adopt” newcomer Tai (Murphy). Cher tries to play matchmaker, while her own romantic efforts come up short. Is Cher doomed to go through high school single and alone? “As if!”
When Cher walks around feeling “totally clueless” while contemplating Tai’s crush on Cher’s ex-stepbrother Josh (Paul Rudd), she walks past the remarkable Spadena House, aka "The Witch’s House." Built in 1921, the house is considered the finest example of the Storybook style of architecture. It was designed by Harry Oliver, an Oscar-nominated art director and key figure in Storybook architecture. The private residence is located at 516 Walden Drive, at the corner of Walden and Carmelita.
Down and Out in Beverly Hills
Down and Out in Beverly Hills is a 1986 remake of Jean Renoir’s 1932 classic, Boudu Saved from Drowning, directed by Paul Mazursky and starring Nick Nolte, Bette Midler and Richard Dreyfuss. After a homeless man named Jerry Baskin (played by Nolte) tries to drown himself in the swimming pool of a nouveau riche Beverly Hills couple (Midler and Dreyfuss), he’s taken in by the dysfunctional Whiteman household. It’s not long before Jerry’s presence starts to influence and change every member of the family, even the scene-stealing dog, Matisse. Legendary musician Little Richard makes a memorable appearance as the Whiteman’s neighbor. Early in the film, Jerry searches in vain for his dog at the posh Rodeo Collection on Rodeo Drive. The real-life Whiteman house can be found at 802 N. Bedford Drive, just south of Sunset Boulevard.
This modern-day Cinderella story, directed by Garry Marshall and starring Richard Gere and Julia Roberts, is one of the biggest romantic comedy hits of all time. Roberts (in an Oscar-nominated performance) plays a Hollywood prostitute who is hired by a wealthy New York businessman (Gere) to be his escort at various social functions while he is in Los Angeles for a week. Numerous scenes take place and were filmed in Beverly Hills, including a shopping spree on Rodeo Drive and the historic luxury hotel where Roberts stays, the famed Beverly Wilshire. Built in 1928, the Beverly Wilshire has welcomed legendary long-term guests such as Elvis Presley, John Lennon and Warren Beatty, as well as President Barack Obama, the Dalai Lama and the Emperor of Japan.