Top Five Movies Filmed in Griffith Park

The 4,200 acres of Griffith Park in Los Angeles are home to caves, canyons, winding mountain roads and a world-famous observatory—making it a convenient and popular place for filming movies and TV shows. As you make your way around the park, you'll come across locations you may recognize from these five movies.

1. 'Rebel without a Cause'

James Dean, Natalie Wood and their classmates take a field trip to the Griffith Observatory in this 1955 classic. They visit the planetarium, after which Dean and some hoodlums engage in a knife fight (using real switchblades!). The interior of the observatory, including the planetarium, was completely remodeled in the early 2000s, but the exterior still looks just as it did in this movie. A bronze bust, located to the west of the main lawn, commemorates Dean.

The observatory can also be seen in "The Terminator" (it's where the cyborg portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger lands) and "Jurassic Park" (as the visitor center).

2. 'The Searchers'

In the climactic scene of this classic Western, John Wayne chases Natalie Wood into a cave in Bronson Canyon, rescuing her. But this cave is more famously known from the 1960s TV show "Batman"—those scenes of the Batmobile emerging from the Bat Cave were filmed here.

3. 'Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy'

When Ron Burgundy and his fellow anchormen fight the bears at the San Diego Zoo in this 2004 comedy, they're really in an enclosure at the Griffith Park Zoo (aka the Old Zoo). The animals were moved to the Los Angeles Zoo in 1966, but the original zoo ruins still stand and are a popular (and kind of creepy) hiking and picnicking spot. The Old Zoo can also be seen as the Central Park Zoo in the movie "Eraser."

4. 'Bye Bye Birdie'

The Elvis-ish Conrad Birdie (Jesse Pearson) serenades his No. 1 fan (Ann-Margret) at the outdoor Greek Theatre in this 1963 musical that also starred Dick Van Dyke and Janet Leigh. The Greek Theatre seating area has been expanded over the years, and the benches have been replaced by individual seats.

5. 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit'

The tunnel to Toontown is actually the Observatory Tunnel, located on a road that leads to the Griffith Observatory. The tunnel can also be seen (as the River Road Tunnel) in Back to the Future Part II during a chase between a car and a hoverboard. The tunnel is much shorter than it appears to be in this film, thanks to movie magic.

Laura Goldman is a freelance writer and lifelong Angeleno. Check out her i Still Love Dogs blog and follow her on Twitter.

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