For some movies, the location was just as important as the actors. It established the framework for the story, anchored the film’s culture and set the atmosphere. Here’s a look at classic, Oscar-winning movies in which the location took center stage.
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Gone With the Wind: This classic from 1939 won nine Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress, Best Color Cinematography, Best Art Direction, and Best Film Editing. Tara, the plantation house and grounds, was set in Clayton County, GA, a half-hour south of Atlanta. The fictional location was based on the author’s ancestral home. In the movie, the Georgia landscape was not authentic, and much of the movie was filmed in California. Atlanta is also home to the Gone With the Wind Museum.
From Here to Eternity: Released in 1953, this movie won eight Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Screenplay, Best B&W Cinematography, Best Sound Recording, and Best Film Editing. In the movie, the soldiers were stationed in Hawaii before Pearl Harbor. Part of the movie was filmed at Schofield Barracks in Honolulu.
West Side Story: The 1961 movie won 10 Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Set Decoration, Best Sound, Best Film Editing, and Best Musical Score. The location, a Lincoln Square neighborhood on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, was the crux of the film. The Sharks and the Jets were having a turf war over 68th Street between Amsterdam Avenue and West End Avenue. It was set in the mid-’50s, before the urban renewal of the 1960s when it was still a blue collar neighborhood. Originally, the film’s concept was for East Side Story, set on the Lower East Side with a Jewish leading lady and an Italian-Catholic leading man
Godfather I: This classic from 1972 won three Oscars: Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Screenplay. The film is a tour of NYC. The Corleone residence is located at 110 Longfellow Ave. in Staten Island. The 6,248-square-foot home was listed at $2.9 million in 2014. Clemenza’s house is at 1999 E. 5th St., Brooklyn. The single-family built in 1925 would rent for $3,000 in today’s market.
The Sting: Released in 1973, this movie won 7 Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Set Design, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, and Best Original Score. Many locations were filmed in Los Angeles, but the train station scenes, however, were filmed on location in Chicago. One location was LaSalle Street Station at 141 W. Van Buren St. Condos in that area sell for about $325,000.
Godfather II: This 1974 sequel won 6 Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, Best Screenplay, Best Set Design, and Best Musical Score. In the movie, the Corleone family has moved out west to Lake Tahoe. Their house is on a 15-acre estate built in 1938. It has since been subdivided into 22 multimillion-dollar units called Fleur du Lac Estates.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest: The winner of 5 Oscars, this 1975 movie took home Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay. The author wrote the book after working at a mental health facility in Menlo Park, CA, as an orderly during the graveyard shift. The movie was filmed on location at Oregon State Mental Hospital in Salem, OR. All the actors who played patients actually lived on-site in the psychiatric ward throughout production.
Annie Hall: The 1977 movie won four Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay. Woody Allen often uses NYC as his muse. Annie’s one-bedroom apartment was at 36 E. 68th St. in the Lenox Hill neighborhood of Manhattan. In today’s market, rental costs would be $4,074.
Rain Man: Claiming four Academy Awards, this 1988 movie took home Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Screenplay. The film was set in the Cincinnati area. Charlie’s childhood home was at 2 Beech Crest Lane in Cincinnati’s East Walnut Hills. The 5,800-square-foot Tudor-style mansion has 5 beds and 6 baths. In 2013, it sold for $640,000.
Silence of the Lambs: The 1991 movie won 5 awards on Oscar night: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay. It was filmed mostly in the Pittsburgh area. The victim was abducted at Bradford Court Apartments at 1799 Crafton Blvd., Crafton, PA. A 2-bedroom, 1-bath currently rents for $650 per month.
Forrest Gump: The winner of six Academy Awards, the 1994 movie took home Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Screenplay, Best Film Editing, and Best Visual Effects. Although it was set in Alabama, it was mostly filmed in the Beaufort, SC area. Bubba’s Louisiana home was filmed at Lucy Point Creek on Ladies Island, SC. Jenny’s farmhouse and the Gump boarding house were built just for the movie and then torn down.
American Beauty: The 1999 movie won five Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Screenplay, and Best Cinematography. It was set in the Chicago suburbs, but it was filmed in California. The fictional addresses are on Blondie Street. Burnham’s home interior was filmed at 11388 Homedale St. in Brentwood, just west of UCLA. Col. Fitts’ house next door was filmed at 330 S. Windsor Blvd. between West 3rd and West 4th streets in Midtown’s Hancock Park District.