American Sniper, 2014
visit the film locations
For visitors from the UK: Visit California
Los Angeles: Flights: Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
Visit: O’Malley’s On Main, 140 Main Street, Seal Beach, CA 90740 (tel: 562.430.0631)
Visit: the Paramount Ranch, 2903 Cornell Road, Agoura Hills, CA 91301 (tel: 805.370.2301)
Visit: Leo Carillo State Beach, 35000 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265
Visit: Huntington Beach
Leo Carrillo State Beach is named after the actor whose career stretched back to silent films but is best remembered as Pancho – sidekick to The Cisco Kid on US TV in the early 50s. He was also a conservationist and longtime member of the California Beach and Parks Commission – hence the honour. Films shot here include the original 1984 The Karate Kid, Clint Eastwood’s Letters From Iwo Jima (as – guess where? – Iwo Jima) and Point Break. If the tide is out, you can find the only sea cave on this stretch of coast, in which Fenster (Benicio del Toro) is disposed of in The Usual Suspects.
American Sniper filming location: the rooftop battle in ‘Sadr City, Iraq’: Broadway Street, El Centro, California
Photograph: Google Maps
A bulked-up Bradley Cooper is almost unrecognisable as Chris Kyle, heroic saver of countless lives or ruthless fantasist? Clint Eastwood’s box office success jettisons any of the potentially interesting contradictions in this ambiguous character in favour of an oddly old-fashioned black-and-white pitting of noble patriots against devious ‘savages’.
The ‘Iraq’ war sequences were filmed in Morocco. The country’s capital, Rabat on the Atlantic coast, and its neighbour city of Sale across the Bou Regreg River, doubled for war-torn ‘Fallujah’ – as they previously stood in for ‘Somalia’ in Ridley Scott’s 2001 Black Hawk Down.
The rest of the film, though, was made in California. Much of the ‘Ramadi’ tour of duty was filmed at the 100-acre Blue Cloud Movie Ranch, 20000 Blue Cloud Road, Santa Clarita, off I-5 north of Los Angeles, where a section of urban ‘Iraq’ was recreated to match up with the Moroccan shoot.
‘Tour Four’, the climactic battle at ‘Sadr City’ was filmed in the desert town of El Centro, about 100 miles east of San Diego in the arid Imperial Valley. An old milk processing plant on the north side of Broadway Street alongside the rail line, west of North 3rd Street, was turned into the abandoned ‘date factory’, on the roof of which Chris and his team are jeopardized not only by Iraqi insurgents, but a blinding sandstorm, generated via a blend of practical and digital effects.
The ‘military air base’ is San Bernardino International Airport, 294 South Leland Norton Way, San Bernardino.
Two separate locations were used for the SEAL training sequences. The sniper range where Chris proves his targeting skills is the Paramount Ranch, 2903 Cornell Road, Agoura Hills, in the Santa Monica Mountains west of Los Angeles.
The intense BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL) training, supposedly conducted at the Coronado-Naval Amphibious Base, 2000 Trident Way in San Diego, was recreated in the (probably) less taxing environment of Leo Carillo State Beach, 35000 Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu.
It’s off to another Southern California beach to find the bar in which Kyle first meets wife-to-be Taya while macho men use each other’s backs as dartboards, which is O'Malley’s On Main, 140 Main Street, Seal Beach, southeast of Long Beach.
American Sniper location: Kyle wins a teddy bear: Huntington Beach Pier, Huntington Beach, California
Photograph: wikimedia / Regina Wilkerson
About ten miles down the coast, Kyle takes Taya to Huntington Beach, where he puts his lethal skills to more benign use by winning a teddy bear at a shooting booth on Huntington Beach Pier, 2000 Main Street.
The yacht, aboard which Chris and Taya get married is moored in Marina Del Rey, back toward Venice.
Both of the Kyle residences are around Los Angeles, and it’s in Venice, off Venice Boulevard, that a house was used to stand in for the couple’s ‘San Diego’ residence, Taya's home base during Chris's deployments abroad.
And a house in Northridge, up in the San Fernando Valley, became the home in ‘Midlothian, Texas’, to which Kyle returns after his final tour of duty.