What you need to know!
Did a full day walking tour of LA. Our tour guide Damien was very knowledgeable & passionate about giving us all the information in a clear & concise way. The tour was very well planned & organised & was not tiring.
We did The Real Hollywood tour & loved it! The tour was at a great pace & the guide (Vicky) was very knowledgeable & made the tour fun. Thank you!
Stuart was so knowledgeable & was worth the day with him. I had been to LA multiple times before but this is the first time I had taken a tour - so thrilled to have this experience with my mom & sister. I would recommend this tour again & again.
We had an amazing DTLA Murder Mystery Ghost tour with Damien & Dante... thank you very much from the Italian girls... very interesting & funny… absolutely recommended!
This tour was awesome! Stuart is very knowledgeable, likeable & fun. The stops on the tour were very interesting & I learned a lot. I’ve been on quite a few tours of this nature & this was one of my favorites - highly recommend!
Did a walking tour of LA (LA in a Day). Vicky started us off with the Hollywood tour & Damien (who is also the owner) was our guide for the rest of the day. The entire day was awesome, I suggest this tour. There isn't that much walking, to be honest. It's very fun!
My boyfriend & I took the DTLA Murder Mystery Ghost tour with Stuart as our guide & had the most amazing time! We had experiences we will never forget! We were able to see parts & people of Los Angeles that we never would have without Stuart. I give this 10/10. If we visit again, this will be at the top of our to do list!
Absolutely amazing! Highly recommend taking both The Real Hollywood Tour & the Central Downtown LA tour! Our time in LA wouldn't have been the same. Great way to learn about the city, see it from a different angle, explore the local life & learn about its history & filming industry. Damien our guide was fantastic!
Sylvie was our host & was fantastic. She had a lot of local knowledge & gave her unique perspective as someone who had moved to the area many years ago, so she had an outsider's as well as an insider's perspective. The tour gave us a great overview of Santa Monica & Venice & set us up for a great rest of the day.
We took 2 tours, the Santa Monica & Venice Bike tour (with Sylvie) & the Real Hollywood tour (with Damien). Both were great & highly recommended. Sylvie & Damien were informative, knowledgeable & easy to talk to. They were like you were with friends. We were traveling as a family of 4 with 2 boys (15 & 12). We all enjoyed the tours.
10 Movies Set in Hollywood
For this list we’ve focused only on movies set in Hollywood – otherwise we’d have to list thousands and thousands of movies. It’s often said that Hollywood (the movie industry) loves to make movies about itself and, although that may not be entirely true, there are a number of movies that have been made about the movie industry and there are others that have used the neighborhood as a backdrop. If you’re visiting Hollywood (the neighborhood) consider watching these movies – they’re all classics and you can probably stream some of them on Netflix (or Youtube). It’s fun to spot places that you’ve been when they’re being used as locations in movies – and you can show off if you’re watching the film with your friends and you see a location that you recognize. Many of the locations are on our Real Hollywood Tour.
The first version of A Star is Born (which was, once again, remade in 2018), starring Constance Bennett and Lowell Sherman, it’s the one of the first movies that’s about the movie industry itself (which was still fairly new then), as well as being a classic amongst movies set in Hollywood itself. Watch it to see how the strong the cult of fame had become even in the 1930’s – and to see what Hollywood looked like then.
Another film in which Hollywood is a state of mind as much as an industry or area – this is a classic that you can watch again and again. William Holden visits several famous Hollywood landmarks, including the legendary Schwab’s Drug Store, which was on the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Laurel Avenue (it was torn down in the 1980’s), Paramount Studios and his apartment building, on N Ivar Street. The mansion in which Norma Desmond lives isn’t actually on Sunset Boulevard in reality, but in Hancock Park, and its swimming pool was built just for this movie. Sunset Boulevard really is the ultimate Hollywood cautionary tale, the idea of the faded movie star, living a life now completely isolated from the world by their money and fame, has passed into our cultural lexicon.
Rebel Without a Cause (1955) (top photo)
The last movie James Dean made before his untimely death and also the only one he made to be set in Los Angeles, this film (also starring Sal Mineo and Nathalie Wood) used a host of locations in Hollywood and Los Feliz. The abandoned mansion Dean and his friends break into is actually the one in which Norma Desmond lives in Sunset Boulevard (see above) and they play around in the empty pool that Joe Gillis falls into in that movie (a couple of years later the mansion was actually demolished). One of the most famous sequences in the movie was shot at the Griffith Observatory, where there’s now a bust of James Dean and from which you can get a great photo of the Hollywood Sign.
The quintessential 1980’s action movie – and really very much a Los Angeles movie too. Mel Gibson and Danny Glover chase criminals and create mayhem all over the city, but where would the villain’s lair be? A nightclub on Hollywood Boulevard of course! Lethal Weapon is also emblematic of movies set in Hollywood, or Los Angeles, in the sense that L.A. is often seen as a place where bad things happen – violent crime, natural disasters, alien invasions etc.
An audience favorite and one of the most popular romantic comedies of all time, Julia Roberts’ apartment is on Las Palmas, right off the Walk of Fame. No longer an area of vice and prostitution you can see how Hollywood Boulevard has really cleaned up since the late 1980’s (although the chances of running into a movie star there like Richard Gere have also diminished it would seem). Who can forget the opening speech: “Welcome to Hollywood! What’s your dream? Everybody comes here; this is Hollywood, land of dreams. Some dreams come true, some don’t; but keep on dreamin’ – this is Hollywood”. You knew this would be high on the list of movies set in Hollywood, right?
A love letter to the beginnings of the movie industry, when Los Angeles, and Hollywood, was first becoming the movie capital of America (and the world). The movie uses several locations in Hollywood itself, including Chaplin’s own studio complex (still there, on Sunset and La Brea, although unfortunately closed to the public) and other historic spots like Musso and Frank’s near Hollywood and Highland. Still Robert Downey Jr.’s finest performance? He was Oscar nominated for his performance, which seems unlikely to happen for his role as Iron Man.
Another movie about the movie business – and Hollywood almost never comes out of these kinds of films looking good. Hollywood Center Studios, Sunset Boulevard and Hollywood Boulevard itself all make appearances in this satire about a movie producer who just can’t seem to concentrate on covering up a crime he committed.
Another famous action movie set in Los Angeles, this time from the 1990’s, and Keanu Reeves’ most successful movie until the Matrix Trilogy. The movie filmed all over the city, including in downtown, but the famous denouement, when the subway train shoots out of the tunnel and into the street, was filmed at Hollywood and Highland where construction was taking place at the time on the Metro Red Line subway.
A beautifully shot movie set in 1950’s Los Angeles, starring Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce and Kim Basinger, L.A. Confidential used a wealth of Hollywood locations including the Frolic Room at the Pantages Theater (which we visit for a cocktail on our Hollywood Speakeasy Bar Tour), Café Formosa and Boardners. Also look out for the famous landmark Crossroads of the World, on Sunset Boulevard, which was the location of Sid Hudgen’s Hush Hush magazine’s main office. The Crossroads of the World was also the location for the Hollywood agent’s office in Argo.
Martin Scorsese’s movie about the billionaire Howard Hughes (played by Leonardo Di Caprio) used several Hollywood locations from the 1930’s, including the Pantages Theater, Graumann’s Chinese Theater (as it was then) and the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Sowden House (in Los Feliz). Although Howard Hughes was many things and the title of the movie refers to his work developing and flying airplanes, the movie mostly focuses on his career as a Hollywood mogul.
La La Land (2016) – Bonus Movie (photo above)
So actually there are 11 movies set in Hollywood on our list! Fun, bright and breezy throwback to the musicals that the Hollywood studios used to make in the 1950’s and 60’s. Mia and Sebastian dance and sing their way around Hollywood (watch out for the Knickerbocker, The Roosevelt and the ‘You are the Star’ mural) and it looks beautiful. Don’t be disappointed if you visit Hollywood and it doesn’t quite look as good as it does in La La Land. Just remember – it’s a Hollywood movie!
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