The Lasting Impact of Film Locations

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I admit to having a bit of an interest in film locations — especially when it comes to iconic films I’m a big fan of.

When my family and I traveled to California when I was a kid, and went on the Universal Studios tour, I was snapping off pictures left and right of the town square from Back to the Future. The same was true many years later when my wife, kids, and I were on a road trip that took us through Monument Valley in Arizona. Lots of movies over the years have been filmed there (many of them Westerns), but the backdrop that stood out to me was from a memorable scene in Forrest Gump.

When my son and I were planning a trip to Hollywood in 2021, I discovered that Rick Dalton’s 1960s-style home (along with his neighbor Roman Polanski’s) — where some crazy things went down in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood — wasn’t far from the Studio City hotel we’d be staying at. So, we checked out the famous cul-de-sac.

Ever since posting those photos online, Facebook’s algorithms have been suggesting “historic film location” pages and groups to me. I actually joined one a while back, mostly out of curiosity. What I discovered was an extraordinarily passionate interest among film buffs who not only track down memorable backdrops from iconic, award-winning films… but also easily forgettable locations from far less critically acclaimed flicks.

What brings a smile to my face are these people’s commitment to, and enthusiasm in, reenacting specific scenes in photos at those locations (some of which look a bit different these days).

Napoleon Dynamite

The Birds

Dr. No


The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Back to the Future

There’s Something About Mary

That last shot in particular cracked me up.

Like I said, I understand why these folks share this hobby. If a film leaves a lasting impression with you, why not relive a little bit of its imagery when you have the chance? It’s certainly far less awkward than approaching a celebrity who starred in the film.


Have a favorite film location you’ve been to? Tell me about it in an email or in the comment section below.

Movie Recommendation

My wife and I watched “The Last Stop in Yuma County” last weekend, and we really enjoyed it. The low-budget but will-filmed crime-thriller takes place almost entirely at a remote desert gas station and adjoining diner in Yuma County, Arizona in the 1970s.

The premise is pretty simple. The gas station is the only one for a hundred miles, so most non-local travelers need to stop there to refill on their way through. The pumps, however, have gone dry. A refueling truck is expected at any time, so the owner of the gas station suggests to customers that they relax in the diner until it arrives. Things get complicated (and rather dark), however, when one of the travelers — a struggling salesman — realizes that two others are violent criminals who robbed a bank earlier that morning.

The film comes with some very tense moments, unexpected turns, and interesting characters. It almost feels like a Western at times (in a good way). It’s definitely worth checking out.

Random Thought

Obligatory Dog Shot

I met this magnificent beast at the store last week.

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Take care. And I’ll talk to you soon!

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