The Terminator | 1984
Arnold Schwarzenegger, the cyborg sent back from 2029AD to terminate future heroine Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), first materialises in a flurry of animated lightning at the Griffith Observatory, 2800 East Observatory Road, in Griffith Park, where he rips the hearts out of a couple of punks and takes their clothes (while thanking God he didn’t land in a convent). The scene features some stunning nighttime views over the great flat expanse of Los Angeles.
Rebel Without A Cause gave the Observatory worldwide fame in 1955 (there’s now a bust of Dean in the grounds)since when it's been featured in the Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy Hollywood satire Bowfinger; stylish 1995 neo-noir Devil In A Blue Dress, with Denzel Washington; Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle; the spoofy 1987 film of Dragnet – with Tom Hanks and Dan Aykroyd; The Rocketeer and, of course, La La Land.
Connor lives at 420 South Lafayette Park Place, just south of West 3rd Street, near MacArthur Park, Downtown.
She works as a waitress in ‘Big Buns’ cafe, which is actually Carrows Restaurant, 815 South Fremont Avenue at Mission Street, South Pasadena. You can still get a great burger here.
Newly kitted out, the Terminator gets tooled up at the ‘Alamo Gun Shop’, which is now EZ Auto Sales, 14329 Victory Boulevard at Tyrone Avenue, Van Nuys in the San Fernando Valley.
The motel, where Reese teaches Connor survival skills and where, presumably, John Connor is conceived, is the Tiki Motel, 7301 Santa Fe Avenue, Huntington Park. It's no longer my duty to warn you that this is not five-star accommodation, as it's since closed down and been redeveloped as private housing.
The car chase is around downtown Los Angeles, on Sixth and Seventh Streets and Broadway, leading to a shootout in the huge indoor parking lot of the Department of Power and Water, 111 North Hope Street. The tunnel chase, with the Terminator’s bike dodging home-made bombs, was filmed in the Second Street Tunnel, which dives underground between Hill Street and Figueroa Street, also downtown.
The final confrontation, with the Terminator reduced to a metal skeleton before being crushed in the jaws of a metal press, was filmed at Kern’s of California, 13010 East Temple Avenue, down in City of Industry, southeast Los Angeles.
Before disappearing into the ‘Mexican’ desert, Connor gets her picture taken at the remote gas station in Sun Valley in the Mojave Desert (Joshua Trees are a dead giveaway), outskirts of Palmdale, north of Los Angeles.