E.T. – The Extraterrestrial, 1982
visit the film locations
Los Angeles: Flights: Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
Redwood National Park at Crescent City, northern California. Open All Year From March 1 to December 31 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. From January 1 to February 28 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Redwood National Parks are along US Highways 101 and 199. From 101, access additional park sites via the Bald Hills Road, Davison Road, Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway, Coastal Drive, Requa Road, and Enderts Beach Road (south to north). From 199, take South Fork Road to Howland Hill Road.
Elliot was originally to have tempted E.T. with M&Ms. But, in one of the worst business decisions since Decca Records turned down the Beatles in 1962 because guitar bands were on the way out, M&M makers Mars refused the cross-promotion and Hershey, makers of Reese’s Pieces scored one of the greatest product placement coups in film history.
ET filming location: Elliot’s house below the San Gabriel Mountains: Lonzo Drive, Tujunga
In its day, the biggest-grossing film ever, Steven Spielberg’s tearjerking fantasy was filmed largely on the soundstages at Culver Studios (previously Pathe, Pathe-de Mille and RKO-Pathe Studios), 9336 Washington Boulevard in Culver City, where many other movie greats, including the original King Kong and Gone With the Wind, were shot.
Interiors, apart from the high school, were filmed here, but so were some exteriors too, including the rear of Elliot’s house and the backyard where he (Henry Thomas) leaves a trail of Reese’s Pieces to tempt the alien.
You'll find Elliot’s frog-infested school in Los Angeles; it’s the Culver City High School, Elenda Street at Franklin Avenue. The principal was played by Harrison Ford, whose role ended up on the cutting room floor, though I suppose true fans might be able to recognise the back of his head and shoulder, which are supposedly still in the finished film.
The neighbourhood chosen for the film was Northridge – the epicentre of 1994’s disastrous quake – northwest of Los Angeles in the San Fernando Valley.
E.T. filming location: The flying bicycles: White Oak Avenue, Porter Ranch
The ‘Halloween’ and chase scenes filmed in the Porter Ranch district of the Valley, and the flying bicycle chase on the tree-lined stretch of White Oak Avenue between Tribune Street and San Fernando Mission Boulevard, but Elliot’s house is about fifteen miles to the east.
Spielberg wanted a more dramatic backdrop and headed off to the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. The actual house is 7121 Lonzo Drive, Tujunga, a suburb north of Burbank.