By CHAD SINGER | Special to the Palisadian-Post
The name “Pacific Palisades” brings a number of things to mind immediately: the proximity to the beach and its great beach weather, its safe neighborhoods, great public and private schools, and, of course, its many stunning homes.
What may not come to mind—and what you may not know—is how frequently our small community is featured in TV and film as the backdrop that idealizes the lifestyle imagery sought by the directors of these productions.
Whether utilizing a local school or a beautiful home, using the coastal backdrop, or just using the name itself, many very famous TV shows and movies have been filmed in Pacific Palisades. The following are some fun examples of the history and relationship between the Palisades real estate and entertainment media.
Let’s start with a film called “Prizzi’s Honor” (1985), starring Jack Nicholson, which won an Oscar and four Golden Globe awards. This movie was partly filmed at a private home located on Corona Del Mar. The house has since been demolished and a new one was constructed in 1990.
The TV series “Baywatch” was filmed at Lifeguard Headquarters by Tower 15 of Will Rogers State Beach. “Baywatch” debuted in 1989 and, at one point in the series, was the most widely viewed TV series in the world, pulling in an estimated weekly audience of more than 1.1 billion viewers in 142 countries with millions of people around the world wishing that they could live in Pacific Palisades and be rescued by one of its lifeguards.
Will Rogers State Beach is named after the famous Western actor who lived on his ranch in Pacific Palisades and set up his own production company here. In fact, you have probably been on the ranch’s polo fields at one time or another.
“Heat,” a 1995 American crime film starring Al Pacino, Robert De Niro and Val Kilmer, features a memorable romantic scene at twilight where Neil McCauley, a professional thief played by Robert De Niro, gives Eady (Amy Brenneman) the choice of walking away from the situation or running away with him. The scene was shot at North Beirut Avenue and Via de Las Olas.
The 1997 American action film “Face/Off,” starring John Travolta and Nicholas Cage, with its iconic movie poster featuring the protagonist FBI Special Agent Sean Archer, played by both stars, respectively. The home that special agent Archer lived in was none other than a house located on Swarthmore Avenue.
In more recent times, the Palisades has continued to set the stage for a variety of many well-known TV shows and movies. In 2003, two films shots select scenes at Palisades Charter High School. The first was the Disney film “Freaky Friday,” starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsey Lohan, and the second was the now “classic” comedy “Old School,” starring Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn and Luke Wilson. Both films were received well and box office hits.
In the popular “Teen Wolf” (2011-2017) TV series, “Beacon High School” was actually shot at Pali High, while all of the Dunphy kids (except for Stella) from TV’s “Modern Family” (2009-2020) attended Pali High.
Many Americans and, frankly, much of the world, take their cues from TV and film as to what it means to be wealthy, successful, powerful and to live a life of leisure. The TV and film industry use locations like Pacific Palisades because they exemplify those qualities.
For those fortunate enough to call Pacific Palisades home, they are quite literally living the dream. Next time you drop your child off at school, walk through your neighborhood, visit a park or boogie board at the beach, you might just be stepping onto the set of your favorite movie or TV show without even realizing it.
Be a star and live the dream in Pacific Palisades.
Chad Singer is a sales partner with Amalfi Estates, which has sold $1.4 billion in properties and was selected by the WSJ as one of the top 60 agents in the country out of one million agents. If you are thinking of buying a home or selling your own, contact Chad at 818-605-3704 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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