TV Shows and Movies Filmed in Los Angeles

May 22, 2024

Los Angeles isn’t just the home of Hollywood – it’s a living, breathing set that has been the backdrop of many iconic films and television shows. Legendary shows like Melrose Place and Beverly Hills 90210, reality shows like Laguna Beach, and award-winning films like La La Land and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood have shown the razzle-dazzle of the “City of Angels,” with films such as Nightcrawler and television shows like Too Old to Die Young showing the gritty underbelly of the city.

Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler. Image via IMDB.

It’s no wonder that the beautiful beaches, picturesque mountains, and winding coastal roads have inspired both award-winning and emerging filmmakers.

Movies Set and Based in Los Angeles

Los Angeles offers a lot of diversity for filmmakers, making it possible for films like Marriage Story (2019) and Nightcrawler (2014) to capture key scenes. While LA has an impressive filmography, due to all of the resources and support for filmmakers, a few standout films shot and based in Los Angeles include:

Boyz n the Hood (1991). Image via The Boombox.

Boyz n the Hood (1991)

Boyz n the Hood, starring Cuba Gooding Jr., Ice Cube, Morris Chestnut, and Laurence Fishburne, tells the story of three friends living in Los Angeles and covers themes of interpersonal relationships, race, and violence.  The film was John Singleton’s (Snowfall, Poetic Justice, 2 Fast 2 Furious) directorial debut, and he would go on to John Singleton become the first-ever Black director to be nominated by the Academy for Best Director.

Clueless (1995)

Clueless is one of the iconic examples of a film set in Los Angeles, specifically, the affluent neighborhood of Bel Air. Alicia Silverstone (The Crush) played her most recognizable role to date – Cher Horowitz, a born and raised California girl with an affinity for fashion. The film catapulted Silverstone into film history, and filming locations included the Beverly Hills: Rodeo Drive steps, Occidental College, and Westside Pavilion. The film was directed by NYFA Guest Speaker Amy Heckerling.

La La Land (2016)

The hit film La La Land was a love letter to Los Angeles, with filming locations all over the city. Rose Towers played home to Emma Stone’s character, Mia, Smoke House Restaurant, and Jar Restaurant in various scenes, as well as Rialto Theatre and Griffith Observatory. Colorado Street Bridge also played a vital part in Mia and Sebastian’s romance. The film was directed by 

Damien Chazelle, who is also known for films like Whiplash (2014). 

Chinatown (1974)

The Academy-Award-winning 1974 film Chinatown, starring Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, and John Huston, brought audiences into 1930s Los Angeles. The film follows a detective specializing in investigating infidelity, bringing him to various Los Angeles locations such as Echo Park, City Hall, Catalina Island, and of course, Chinatown.

Us (2019)

The horror movie Us, directed by Jordan Peele, forced audiences to see a different side of Los Angeles, one as a backdrop of terror. The film follows the Wilson family as they’re stalked by mysterious lookalikes. Various filming locations include Calabasas, Pasadena, and the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

American Graffiti. Image via CBS News.

Additional Movies Set and Based in Los Angeles

  1. Nightcrawler (2014)
  2. Laurel Canyon (2002)
  3. Friends with Money (2006)
  4. American Graffiti (1973)
  5. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019)
  6. Marriage Story (2019)
  7. Drive (2011)
  8. Swingers (1996)
  9. The Anniversary Party (2001)
  10. My Girl 2 (1994)

TV Shows Set and Based in Los Angeles

LA provides a great environment for hit television shows, essentially playing a character in popular series like Entourage and season two of You. A few of many TV series set and based in Los Angeles include:

Issa Rae in Insecure. Image via

Insecure (2016-2021)

Insecure is credited with giving a real-life portrayal of what it’s like to live in Los Angeles. NYFA alum Issa Rae, who created and starred in the hit series, pushes back on stereotypes about various neighborhoods around the city throughout the show’s run, using Los Angeles as her canvas. Skipping typical Los Angeles “green juice or yoga or aspiring actors,” which are often used to summarize the city, Insecure does a fantastic job of incorporating the local culture and diversity.

Barry (2018-2023)

Starring NYFA alum Bill Hader, who also created the show, Barry has filmed all over Los Angeles and Los Feliz, with prominent scenes at Paramount Pictures Studio, and the Steve Allen Theater. The urban setting is crucial to the show, which follows a former hitman who aspires to be an actor, leaving his old life behind for LA. Henry Winkler, who also stars in the show, visited NYFA Los Angeles to host a masterclass for students.

Too Old to Die Young (2019)

Created by visionary director Nicolas Winding Refn (The Neon Demon) and starring Miles Teller and Jena Malone, Too Old to Die Young brings audiences into the underworld of a corrupt Los Angeles. Filming locations include the San Fernando Valley, specifically, Studio City, various local businesses, Laurel Canyon Blvd, the Sunkist Headquarters building in Sherman Oaks, as well as various residences. 

The Lincoln Lawyer (2022 – )

The Lincoln Lawyer, starring NYFA acting alum Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, follows a lawyer who mainly operates out of his (you guessed it) Lincolns. The story takes place in LA and features several scenes of Garcia-Rufio driving down Sunset Boulevard, at local businesses such as the Paseo Club, The Cowboy Palace Saloon, and Le Grand Restaurant, as well as the Venice Beach Boardwalk.

The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story (2016)

In the first season of American Crime Story, Ryan Murphy brought viewers back to an infamous part of Los Angeles history – the OJ Simpson trial. In this series, Murphy was challenged to recreate locations that locals knew due to the notoriety of Nicole Brown’s tragic death, as well as settings that most Americans had seen on the news. Murphy managed to balance truth and fictionalized events, relying on several locations to reinforce the narrative of the series. Murphy was also inspired by Los Angeles in his series American Horror Story, season five, Hotel.

Dollface, season two. Image via

Additional TV Shows Set and Based in Los Angeles

  1. Feud (2017-)
  2. Entourage (2004-2011)
  3. Glow (2017-2019)
  4. Dollface (2019)
  5. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990-1996)
  6. You (2018-)
  7. Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000-2024)
  8. Californication (2007–2014)
  9. New Girl (2011-2018)
  10. American Horror Story: Hotel (2015)

Gain Experience in Filmmaking and Acting at NYFA Los Angeles

Los Angeles is one of the best cities for film, media, and entertainment, and also home to one of our NYFA campuses. Located in Burbank, NYFA LA is within proximity to major production studios such as Warner Brothers, famous for a range of shows and movies filmed there. Ready to learn more about our Los Angeles campus and life on the West Coast? Learn more about NYFA Los Angeles today!