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Tuesday June 19th 2018

Rain Man | 1988

Rain Man location: Sunset Plaza Drive, West Hollywood, Los Angeles
Rain Man location: Charlie Babbitt's apartment: Sunset Plaza Drive, West Hollywood, Los Angeles

The Oscar-grabbing movie travelled all over the US, but was based in Cincinnati, Ohio, for four weeks, and made use of locations in Indiana and Kentucky.

On hearing of his father’s death, hard-hearted businessman Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise) travels from Los Angeles, where his business operates out of the docks of San Pedro, to Cincinnati.

Charlie’s childhood home is the Tudor-style mansion at 2 Beech Crest Lane, off Madison Road in Cincinnati’s East Walnut Hills district, on the Ohio River’s northern shore, northeast of downtown.

The ‘Cincinnati Trust’, where Charlie charms the desk clerk to divulge the whereabouts of the $3 million trust fund, is the lobby of the Dixie Terminal, 120 East Fourth Street at Walnut Street, downtown Cincinnati. The Dixie Terminal Buildings were completed in 1921 as a combined streetcar terminal, stock exchange and office space for the city's business district. After streetcars were discontinued in the 1950s, the terminal continued to be used for bus services, until 1998 when these too ceased. The complex still houses shops and offices – and its elaborate marble arcade is open to the public.

If ‘Wallbrook’, the home where he finds brother Raymond, looks a bit religiose, with statues of the virgin in the walls, that’s because it’s St Anne’s Convent, 1000 Saint Anne Drive, Melbourne, just to the southeast of Cincinnati over the Ohio River on Route 8, Kentucky. Built 1919 by architect Howard McClorey, it now houses a Montessori school.

Charlie’s father’s funeral was filmed at Evergreen Cemetery, 25 Alexandria Pike, Southgate, just south of Newport, also in Kentucky.

The bridge Charlie and Raymond cross leaving town is the John A Roebling Suspension Bridge, a prototype for the designer’s later Brooklyn Bridge in New York (you can see it from the window of the Dixie Terminal Building).

Rain Man location: Vernon Manor Hotel, Oak Street, Newport
Rain Man location: the first night: Vernon Manor Hotel, Oak Street, Newport | Photograph: Flickr © Nancy Badertscher

The first night away from ‘Wallbrook’ is spent at the Vernon Manor Hotel, 400 Oak Street, Cincinnati, a 1924 landmark in the historic uptown district, loosely modelled on much-used movie location Hatfield House, Hertfordshire, in the UK. Unfortunately, the hotel finally closed its doors in March 2009.

Rain Man location: Pompilio's, Washington Avenue, Newport
Rain Man location: counting toothpicks: Pompilio’s, Washington Avenue, Newport | Photograph: Flickr © Jenniferrt66

And it’s back to Newport for the café where Raymond reveals his numerical skills by remembering the waitress’s phone number and counting scattered toothpicks. It’s Pompilio’s Bar and Restaurant, 600 Washington Avenue. A southern Italian restaurant, built in 1933, Pompilio’s was granted one of the US’s first post-Prohibition liquor licences.

Serving Cincinnati, though across the border in Kentucky, it’s off to Greater Cincinnati International Airport, where Raymond quotes a few useful statistics, decides that road travel is preferable and the two take the highway, I-275, which happens to be the ring road around Cincinnati.

Rain Man location: DeLuxe Inn, El Reno, Oklahoma
Rain Man location: the ‘Amarillo, Texas’ motel: DeLuxe Inn, El Reno, Oklahoma | Photograph: Flickr © Jenniferrt66

The film’s crew was based in Oklahoma City for the cross-States journey. The motel in ‘Amarillo, Texas’, where Charlie realises that Raymond was his imaginary friend, ‘the Rain Man’, was the Big 8$ Motel, 1705 East 66th Highway, El Reno, on I-40 about 15 miles west of Oklahoma City. It later became the DeLuxe Inn, but has since been demolished.

Rain Man location: Big 8 Motel, El Reno, Oklahoma
Rain Man location: the motel in its heyday: Big 8$ Motel, El Reno, Oklahoma

The sign, ‘Amarillo’s Finest’, was added for the movie, and, much to the confusion of passing motorists, was retained as a feature of the motel. The brothers’ room was 117.

Rain Man location: DeLuxe Inn, El Reno
Rain Man location: making a phone call at the gas station: Cogar, Oklahoma | Photograph: Flickr © GuyB v3.0

The gas station, where the pair stops to make a phone call, is a disused, and now once again dilapidated W.S. Kelly Gas Station and Store, at Cogar, Caddo County, Oklahoma, about ten miles south of El Reno over the South Canadian River.

Twenty miles west of El Reno, south of I-40, is the town of Hinton, where Raymond gets to watch Judge Wapner on the farmhouse TV. Way up about twenty miles north of Oklahoma City, on I-35, is the town of Guthrie, where Charlie takes Raymond to see the doctor at the Guthrie Clinic, on the corner of Oklahoma Street and Division Street.

Rain Man location: Caesar's Palace, las Vegas
Rain Man location: counting cards: Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas | Photograph: Flickr © cayusa

More road filming took place in south Nevada, en route to Las Vegas. Raymond demonstrates his skill with cards and Charlie teaches him to dance in Caesars Palace, 3570 South Las Vegas Boulevard. The complex has been enlarged since filming. The foursome from Todd Phillips's 2009 hit The Hangover follow in their footsteps.

Back to Los Angeles, and Susanna (Valerie Golino) is dropped off at her apartment, Ocean View Apartments, 1435 South Beacon Street in San Pedro.

Rain Man location: Westin Bonaventure, South Figueroa, downtown Los Angeles
Rain Man location: the offer from Dr Bruner: Westin Bonaventure Hotel, South Figueroa, downtown Los Angeles

Charlie, reborn as a caring brother, turns down a $250,000 offer from Dr Bruner poolside in the Westin Bonaventure Hotel, 404 South Figueroa Street, downtown. Its cylindrical glass towers can also be seen in This Is Spinal Tap, True Lies, In The Line of Fire, Jim McBride’s 1983 remake of Breathless (with Richard Gere), Strange Days and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. Its interior even became the NASA facility for Christopher Nolan's Interstellar.

Charlie's LA home is (the rear of) 1599 Sunset Plaza Drive in West Hoillywood.

He takes Raymond for pancakes at the Pink Cadillac Cafe (you can’t do the same – the pancake house is now Blue Bamboo, 359 North La Cienega Boulevard, serving up Asian fusion fare), before battling it out with the medical profession (a cameo from director Barry Levinson) for custody of Raymond.

Rain Man location: Wattles Mansion, Hollywood, Los Angeles
Rain Man location: the custody battle: Wattles Mansion, Hollywood, Los Angeles

The meeting takes place in the Wattles Mansion, 1824 North Curson Avenue on the south end of Runyon Canyon Park in Hollywood, a 1905 house and gardens built as the winter residence of an Omaha businessman.

Charlie finally sees Raymond off back to ‘Wallbrook’ at Santa Ana Train Station, 2800 North Main Street, Santa Ana, southeast of Los Angeles.