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Movies Filmed in Orange County

By June 15, 2015August 2nd, 2021Activities, Orange County

Image via: James Willamor

North Orange County is just about 20 miles from downtown Los Angeles, so for some it may not be surprising to find out movie filming occasionally rolls over into Orange County. But having lived here almost all of my life, it’s somewhat shocking. I’ve never heard any buzz about a movie being filmed at my high school or minutes away from my home at the beach. The film industry seems to have kept it pretty hush-hush (or maybe I need to get out more).

With one quick Google search, dozens of movies filmed in quiet Orange County popped up. Popular films, classic films, and even films I’ve never heard of have been shot in the beautiful Orange County weather. You’d never know how diverse the setting of Orange County could be until you noticed the diversity of these films.

“Iron Man” – (now Masimo), Irvine

A popular office building turned movie set, the former Nikken headquarters doesn’t seem camera shy. Many office scenes have been shot here, including a few featuring Tony Stark.

“Ocean’s Eleven” – Scenes at UCI Campus

At University of California, Irvine, the Gillespie Neuroscience Research Facility played an important role in Ocean’s Eleven, the set. The cast and crew spent nights and holidays shooting, while students hit the books during the days.

“Jerry Maguire” – Scenes at John Wayne Airport and Fashion Island

I first watched Jerry Maguire a year or two ago and didn’t even spot Newport Beach’s Fashion Island. The movie was also filmed at John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, so I may need to watch it again to see these spots for myself.

Image via: Tracie Hall

“Beaches” – Crystal Cove

Filming in Orange County isn’t anything new. It’s been happening for more than 25 years. The movie “Beaches” was filmed on the beautiful beaches in Laguna and Crystal Cove in 1988.

“Savages” – Laguna Beach

Much of this movie was shot in Laguna Beach. From ocean view real estate to sandy beach scenes, Laguna Beach was a perfect location for the film.

“Catch Me If You Can” – Old County Courthouse in Santa Ana

One of the more popular Orange County filming locations, the Old County Courthouse in Santa Ana was used to film “Catch Me If You Can.” The matured courtrooms can be spotted in many other films as well.

Image Via: Ken Lund

“The Hangover III” – 73 freeway between Costa Mesa & Newport Beach

“The Hangover III” cast and crew caused a stir when they shut the 73 freeway down for two days while filming. I’m relieved they shut down the 73 and not the 405.

“Rain Man” – Santa Ana Train Station

Barry Levinson wrapped up his film, “Rain Man,” at Orange County’s Santa Ana Train Station. Although “Rain Man” is said to be the first film shot at the Spanish-style building, but there is no doubt it will be used in future movies.

Image Via: Charlie Nguyen

“That Thing You Do” – Old Town Orange near Chapman University

A filming location for decades, Old Town Orange has been transformed time and time again. Tom Hanks ventured to Orange to film “That Thing You Do,” just one of the more than 20 feature films that have taken over Old Town Orange for production purposes.

“American Sniper” – Seal Beach

“American Sniper” was possibly the most recently released movie to be shot on Orange County territory. One scene from the film was shot on the pier in Seal Beach.

“Pearl Harbor” – Tustin Hangar

As a child I remember driving by this hangar and wondering what on earth it was. Well, apparently now it’s a movie set. The Marine Corps Air Station is seen in many movies, Pearl Harbor is just one.

Image Via: Dave Walker

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