The city of Angels has been immortalized so many times in movies and television, either playing itself or doubling for other locales, that Los Angeles is easily one of the world's most recognized cities.
One of our favorite film fanatics is German photographer Andrea David, who documents still-standing locations of her favorite movies and TV shows around the world by juxtaposing them with film stills.
Based on real life events, Argo is a thriller directed by Ben Affleck that chronicles the “Canadian Caper,” a joint covert rescue by the Canadian government and the CIA of six American diplomats during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. The critically-acclaimed Argo was named Best Picture at the 85th Academy Awards.
After CIA asset Tony Mendez comes up with a daring plan to rescue the six Americans, he flies out to Los Angeles to meet with famed Hollywood makeup artist John Chambers, played by John Goodman. At the Smoke House Restaurant in Burbank, Chambers advises Mendez on how to produce the fake movie that serves as cover for the rescue operation.
Thanks to its proximity to world famous Warner Bros. Studios, the Smoke House Restaurant has been a favorite hangout for the entertainment industry since it was established in 1946.
More Argo locations in Discover Los Angeles' "Go On Location" feature about the film.
Back to the Future (1985)
When you're in Los Angeles, you don't have to go far to go Back to the Future. You can time travel back to "Hill Valley" in 1985 and 1955, just by exploring some of L.A.'s neighborhoods.
The famous Hill Valley Courthouse, a central location in the movie, is actually located at Courthouse Square in the backlot at Universal Studios Hollywood. The parking lot of the Twin Pines Mall (aka Lone Pine Mall) in the movie, where Marty McFly accelerated his DeLorean to 88 miles per hour on the early morning of Oct. 26, 1985 and went back to 1955, is actually the Puente Hills Mall, located 20 miles east of Downtown Los Angeles in the community of La Puente.
More Back to the Future locations in Discover Los Angeles' "Go On Location" feature about the film.
Blade Runner (1982) and The Artist (2011)
The 1982 sci-fi film Blade Runner is among the most defining works of art ever created about our city - no other modern film uses the backdrop of our city with as much as imagination and flair.
The home stretch of Blade Runner goes down at South Broadway at Third Street. That’s where you’ll find the iconic Bradbury Building, a local treasure and national historic landmark. This one-of-a-kind office tower served as genetic designer J.F. Sebastian’s dilapidated apartment, where Deckard battles replicants Roy Batty and Pris.
Decades later, the skylit atrium of the Bradbury served as a location for the one-of-a-kind Academy Award winner The Artist, a whimsical black and white fantasy about early Hollywood set in the 1920s.
More of the original Blade Runner locations in Discover Los Angeles' "Go On Location" feature about the film.
Die Hard (1988)
Perhaps the most-recognizable action movie location of all time, Nakatomi Plaza from the 1988 blockbuster Die Hard is known in real life as Fox Plaza, the headquarters of 20th Century Fox. It was on the 30th floor of the 492-foot building that John McClane (Bruce Willis) was supposed to attend his estranged wife’s company Christmas party (“Come out to the coast, we’ll get together, have a few laughs!”), but instead wound up fighting German terrorists.
The landmark 1987 building stands like a beacon above the Avenue of the Stars and, though not open to the public, is easily visible from Century City and its environs. Fox Plaza has appeared in several action movies over the years, including Speed, No Man’s Land and Lethal Weapon 2.
More of the best action movie locations in Los Angeles in Discover Los Angeles' "Go On Location" feature about the adrenaline-junkie's favorite genre.
Surprise cult hit Drive was shot in several Los Angeles locations that are off the beaten path for most filmmakers who depict the city. Ryan Gosling's character Driver's apartment building is set in the Los Angeles Park Plaza, across from MacArthur Park, so it makes geographical sense that he meets some unsavory characters in the fabled Westlake-are park made world-famous by Jimmy Webb's epic ballad about the cake in the rain.
Though Drive's signature 1973 Chevy Malibu is not part of a collection open to the public (the car is reportedly owned by Gosling, who lovingly restored it after the film wrapped), you can learn more about the many options to visit legendary cars (including many, many vehicles used in film and television) in Discover Los Angeles' "All Roads Lead to LA's Car Collections."
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
The Tujunga Canyons north of Los Angeles have been the site of UFO abduction tales for decades. So it is more than fitting than the San Gabriel Mountains were the location of the sleepy Seven Hills neighborhood where the typical 1982 family housed the titular alien in Steven Spielberg's E.T. the Extraterrestrial.
The tract-home at the end of a cul-de-sac was reportedly chosen because of its nondescript middle-class qualities, which made it ideal as a counterpoint to the high weirdness of the extraterrestrial visitation.
More of the best sci-fi movie and TV locations in Los Angeles in Discover Los Angeles' "Go On Location" feature about the speculative fiction genre.
The 1978 film version of Grease, starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, celebrated its 40th anniversary last year. Based on the 1971 musical of the same name, Grease tells the story of a 1950s high school romance between a “greaser,” Danny Zuko (Travolta) and Sandy Olsson (Newton-John).
Grease was filmed on location throughout Los Angeles, including Venice High School, the Los Angeles River, and Leo Carrillo State Beach, the latter the site of Danny and Sandy's summer lovin' which opens the movie and drives the plot of their relationship.
More of the best romantic movie locations in Los Angeles in Discover Los Angeles' "Go On Location" feature about the ultimate genre for lovers.
The 1995 action movie "Heat" centered around the final heist – a $12-million bank robbery - of a group of career criminals led by Robert De Niro. The holdup does not go as planned and results in a massive shootout on the streets of Downtown L.A., with cameos by the Central Library, Millennium Biltmore Hotel and Westin Bonaventure.
Several important plot developments happened at the Burbank location of Bob's Big Boy, a legendary LA-area eatery built in 1949 and carefully kept in mid-century style by the current owners.
More of the best action movie locations in Los Angeles in Discover Los Angeles' "Go On Location" feature about this intense genre.
La La Land (2016)
Written and directed by Academy Award® winner Damien Chazelle, La La Land tells the story of Mia (played by Emma Stone), an aspiring actress, and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a dedicated jazz musician. Set in modern-day Los Angeles, this original musical about everyday life explores the joy and pain of pursuing your dreams.
Dozens of Los Angeles locations are featured in La La Land, including the famed Griffith Observatory, Angels Flight, and more mundane locations like Mia's apartment, shot in Long Beach.
More places to experience the locations of La La Land in Discover Los Angeles' "Go On Location" feature about the acclaimed romantic musical.
Planet of the Apes (1968)
One of the most famous scenes in sci-fi history was lensed in a rocky inlet located at the tip of Point Dume State Beach in Malibu. The beach’s haunting yet beautiful landscape consists of sprawling sands, a nature preserve and a tiny, jagged nook known as Pirates Cove. It was in that cove that a beleaguered Charlton Heston (SPOILER ALERT) discovered the Statue of Liberty half-buried on a sandy shoreline in the climatic ending of Planet of the Apes (1968).
Pirates Cove also popped up in the film’s 1971 sequel, Escape from the Planet of the Apes, in the opening scene in which a spaceship carrying Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter and Sal Mineo lands on Earth.
More of LA's best sci-fi movie and TV locations in Discover Los Angeles' "Go On Location" feature about this ever popular genre.
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Two of the collateral (and dubious) achievements of Quentin Tarantino's career defining post-modern LA noir, Pulp Fiction (1994) was the introduction into popular culture of the word "gimp" and his/her/its related locale, the pawn shop basement where Butch and Marcellus find a kind of twisted evil that goes beyond their gangland activities.
Near DeSoto Avenue, in Canoga Park, the Crown Pawn Shop still stands, a testament to the movie all film buffs a little warier of the secret world underneath strip-mall money loan operations.
The Gimp's Lair, of course, was merely one of the many iconic Los Angeles locations of Pulp Fiction, real and otherwise. Fanciful Fifties-themed diner Jack Rabbit Slim's, for example, never actually existed. Its 1950s-inspired interior was a set that was constructed inside a warehouse in Culver City and exteriors were shot at the now-closed Grand Central Bowl, which is now part of the Walt Disney Imagineering campus in Glendale.
For more famous Los Angeles restaurants on film and television, in Discover Los Angeles' "Go On Location" feature on screen eateries.