FYI: The 2002 comedy “Orange County” was not actually filmed in Orange County. But here are a few films that were! 

When it comes to movie productions, our neighbors in Los Angeles County obviously have much more notoriety. But that doesn’t mean that Orange County hasn’t been shown love by the film industry, from time to time.

Whether it’s a big budget sequel or a star-studded drama, here are 10 popular films that were made in Orange County. 

10. “The Hangover Part III” (2013)

Scene location: The 73 Freeway, that runs through Irvine, Costa Mesa and Newport Beach.


If you’re like me – or most rational people – and think that the second part of the “Hangover” series was inferior in every way to the first, then it’s possible you missed out on this follow-up. I don’t know if anybody remembers a two-day period when they shut down the 73 Freeway and were forced to take the dreaded 405 or 55. Well, the reason they did that was for this mediocre sequel. As if you didn’t have enough reasons to dislike this movie…

9. “Poltergeist” (1982)

Scene location: Langson Library at UC Irvine.


Before this movie was hit by a curse of bad remakes, it was believed to be a cursed film franchise. In the six years between the release of the first and third films in the series, four cast members died, including the late Dominique Dunne.

Director Tobe Hooper and crew decided to bring this curse to UC Irvine campus, where the Langson Library was used as a set for the film.

The only thing scarier than haunted spirits coming to UC Irvine is the constant screams of “boba two dollars” on Ring Road and the funky smelling trees right outside the library.

The movie came out over 30 years ago in 1982, but the library still looks the same as it did in the film. If you’re a big “Poltergeist” fan, it’s a place to definitely check it out. 

8. “Ocean’s Eleven” (2001)

Scene location: Gillespie Neuroscience Research Facility at UC Irvine


In this heist movie directed by Steven Soderbergh, we see George Clooney and Brad Pitt traversing to the Gillespie Neuroscience Research Facility to steal a “pinch.” Needless to say, Clooney and Pitt’s characters were able to steal what they needed with no problem because the Irvine Police Department was too busy arresting somebody for jaywalking. Priorities, guys, priorities. 

7. “American Sniper” (2014)

Scene location: Seal Beach Pier


“‘Murica!” At least that’s what most red blooded Americans were shouting after seeing Bradley Cooper waste terrorists for two hours. When you saw this movie, you probably didn’t realize that the all too adorable scene of Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller on a date was shot on the Seal Beach Pier. Why? Because nobody ever wants to go to Seal Beach. Look, I like sand that’s filled with jagged shells and water that is green as much as the next guy, but the only way I’m showing up this beach is if I get to hang out with Clint Eastwood.

6. “Jerry Maguire” (1996)

Scene location: John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana and Fashion Island in Newport Beach


We all know Tom Cruise’s iconic role as a power sports agent in the 1996 film “Jerry Maguire.” It also stars Cuba Gooding Jr. – before he was terrible – and was directed by Cameron Crowe – also before he was terrible. The film crew found themselves in Fashion Island and John Wayne Airport for a number of shoots. Hopefully they didn’t find themselves in the Island Cinema because that would’ve blown half their budget…

5. “Catch Me If You Can” (2002)

Scene location: Old County Courthouse in Santa Ana

Catch Me

Before Leonardo DiCaprio was running away from Academy Awards, he was running away from Tom Hanks in this 2002 crime comedy film. After Tom Hanks teamed up with Steven Spielberg to kill Nazis in “Saving Private Ryan,” he chased DiCaprio right into the Old County Courthouse in Santa Ana. Sadly, no Oscar for DiCaprio for this film, but at least he got to enjoy the lovely city that is Santa Ana. Oh wait…

4. “Rain Man” (1988)

Scene location: Santa Ana Regional Transportation Center

Rain Man

And we have more Tom Cruise! This 1988 movie, directed by Barry Levinson, saw Dustin Hoffman and the aforementioned Cruise find their way to the Santa Ana Regional Transportation Center.

3. “Pearl Harbor” (2001)

Scene location: Blimp hangars at the former Marine Corps Air Station in Tustin


Don’t want to close my eyes! Don’t want to fall asleep! Wait, wrong Michael Bay movie. Either way, I do actually want to close my eyes and fall asleep when watching “Pearl Harbor.”

We bring you to a film directed by Michael Bay, the only man who could possibly out “‘Murica” Clint Eastwood. The old Marine Corps Air Station in Tustin has seen use in a number of films, but the most notable is “Pearl Harbor.” Even if you’re one of the many people that don’t think Michael Bay is a good filmmaker, you have to admit that the “Pearl Harbor” film is great.

I lied. This movie is terrible and exploits a tragic event that happened in American history for entertainment value.

The only redeeming thing about it is that it was shot in Tustin. Look, I’m all in on Ben Affleck these days, but this was during his dark ages so if you ever have the misfortune of being stuck watching this movie, keep an eye out for the impressive hangar.

2. “Accepted” (2006)

Scene location: Chapman University in Orange


So the producers of this movie want you to believe that Ohio, which is where the film takes place, can compare to Chapman University in Orange.

I’ve been to Ohio and I’m not buying it. Nevertheless, I don’t think anybody remembers this movie outside of a pre-famous Jonah Hill screaming “Ask me about my wiener!” in a hot dog costume. “Accepted” is a fun movie that’s definitely worth visiting if you go to Chapman or are looking for a few cheap laughs. 

1. “Conquest of the Planet of the Apes” (1972)

Scene location: UC Irvine campus


Damn them all to…Irvine? This Charlton Heston-less “Planet of the Apes” movie came out in 1972 and was directed by J. Lee Thompson. Much of this movie takes place on the UCI campus in its early days. It’s likely that the apes revolted because they couldn’t afford parking.

Originally posted 2016-04-12 21:50:05.

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