Visiting The Scene: Movie Buffs Travel To Favorite Movie Shoots

Katz's Deli

Folks in the know stop by Katz’s Delicatessen in New York City and plop down at a table marked by a sign which identifies it as a prop from the movie “When Harry Met Sally.”

By Victor Block

Feel like you should be in the movies? Well, until that talent scout comes along, do the next best thing and visit the scene where some of your favorite movies were shot.

Bob Burrus is doing just that. He is channeling John Travolta as he enters Lenny’s Pizza in Brooklyn and orders a slice. After devouring the snack, he emerges onto 86th Street and struts down several blocks, the song Staying Alive playing in his head.

Bob is reliving the opening scene of Saturday Night Fever. And he’s not alone in his fantasy.

As he mimics one of his favorite movie sequences, others around the country are fantasizing theirs.

From Maine to Hawaii, locations where movie scenes were filmed attract visitors seeking to hold onto memories of beloved motion pictures. At places ranging from a delicatessen in New York to a beach in Hawaii, from a state reformatory in Ohio to an island off the coast of South Carolina, people are recapturing treasured moments.

Sally’s Table

Folks in the know stop by Katz’s Delicatessen in New York City and plop down at a table marked by a sign which identifies it as a prop from the movie When Harry Met Sally. It’s where Meg Ryan acted out the famous fake orgasm scene which prompted an elderly woman seated nearby, played by director Rob Reiner’s mother, to tell the waitperson, “I’ll have what she’s having.”

Stephen King’s House

On a quest to relive scenes from movies based on books by Stephen King? Then head to Maine. That master of horror has lived in the state for much of his life and places in Bangor and elsewhere play roles in his novels.

The Thomas Hill Standpipe, a water tower built in Bangor in 1897, shows up in IT when the bodies of drowning victims are found inside. The Mount Hope Cemetery is the setting for scenes from Pet Sematary.

King’s creepy Victorian-style house also is worth a look-see. It dates back to 1858 and is surrounded by a fence decorated with bats and gargoyles. A good way to take in these and other places associated with the author and his books is to join a tour group led by Stuart Tinker, a recognized expert in all things Stephen King. For more information, log onto or call (207)947-7193.

As long as you’re in Maine, you might wish to check out other film locations. Sand Beach on Mt. Desert Island was the site of a picnic in The Cider House Rules. The Marshall Point Lighthouse near Point Clyde is where Forrest Gump ended his run across the country from California’s Pacific coastline to “another ocean.” More about him later.

That Scene’s A Beach

Not surprisingly, Hawaii also has a number of motion picture claims to fame. In what may be the most legendary beach scene of all time, Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr engaged in a passionate kiss on the shore of Halona Beach Cove on Oahu in From Here to Eternity.

A very different beach scene occurs in the original version of Planet of the Apes, which starred a craggy-looking Charlton Heston. The movie comes to an end on a magnificent strip of sand located between Zuma Beach and Point Dune in Malibu.

Ohio State Reformatory site of Shawshank Prison

Most of The Shawshank Redemption was shot in and around Mansfield, Ohio, and an immersive experience awaits those who seek out the locations.

The brooding Ohio State Reformatory played the role of the fictional Shawshank State Prison in New England. Warden Norton’s (Bob Gunton) office, the parole board meeting room and the tunnel through which Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) escaped are among sites waiting exploration.

A self-guided Shawshank Trail Driving Tour leads devotees to 15 filming sites including the courtroom where Andy was wrongly sentenced for killing his wife and her lover, and the bus station where Red (Morgan Freeman) purchased a ticket to join Andy in Mexico. For more information log onto

Another locale provided the backdrop for one of a number of iconic characters played by Tom Hanks. Most locations portrayed in Forrest Gump, for which Hanks won an Academy Award, are were grouped around Beaufort, S.C.

The fictitious town of Greenbow, Ala., where Gump lived as a boy, is played by Varnville, S.C. The tiny bridge with a “Mississippi Welcomes You” sign which Forrest crosses is east of Beaufort. Even the realistic Vietnam War scenes, when Gump first meets Bubba and Lieutenant Dan, were filmed on barrier islands off the Beaufort coastline.

Batter Up

The list of movie settings, imaginary and real, includes places at or close to where they’re depicted in films. The dreamlike baseball diamond in the middle of a corn field in Field of Dreams is at a farm in Dyersville, Iowa, a town of about 4,000 people near the state’s eastern border. Fans of that movie continue to show up to tour the farm house and regulation size field. For more information log onto

The dreamlike baseball diamond in the middle of a corn field in Field of Dreams is at a farm in Dyersville, Iowa

Alfred Hitchcock’s frightening film, The Birds, in which flocks of murderous sea gulls and crows attack humans, was filmed in and around Bodega Bay and the nearby town of Bodega, a former fishing village on California’s coast. In fact the inlet is located along a major migration route and is a popular bird-watching site.

Among places associated with the motion picture are the Potter School building (now a private home), from which terrified children ran screaming while being attacked by birds, and the Tides Wharf and Restaurant.

Countless other places throughout the country also have played roles in numerous motion pictures. They wait discovery and delight by fans seeking to keep alive memories of favorite movies.








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