visit the film locations
Los Angeles: Flights: Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
Travel: Los Angeles Metro
Eat at: Firehouse Restaurant, 213 Rose Avenue at Main Street, Venice (tel: 310.396.6810)
Visit: The Derby, 4500 Los Feliz Boulevard at Hillhurst Avenue (tel: 323.663. 8979)
Visit Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, 6925 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood (tel: 323.464.8111)
California: Visit: Mojave Airport and Spaceport, Mojave
The venerable Derby in Los Feliz is where Doug Liman parodies the famous tracking shot from Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas, and the club believe it or not boasts the Oval Bar from 1945 Joan Crawford Oscar-winner Mildred Pierce.
Speed film location: Jack Traven chats to the doomed bus driver: Firehouse Restaurant, Rose Avenue, Venice, Los Angeles
The appealingly simple premise was turned into mega-blockbuster by cinematographer-turned-director Jan De Bont’s high-octane direction – though his subsequent track record (Speed 2, The Haunting, Lara Croft: The Cradle of Life...) seems to indicate this was a one-off. Rewrites by (an uncredited) Joss Whedon probably helped.
Speed film location: the bomb in the elevator: Gas Company Towers, 555 West Fifth Street at the northwest corner of Olive Street, downtown Los Angeles
The office block where the embittered Howard Payne (Dennis Hopper) is foiled in his attempt to bomb the elevator is the 52-storey Gas Company Towers, 555 West Fifth Street at the northwest corner of Olive Street, downtown Los Angeles (see it as the venue for the party in in Charlie’s Angels, and as the ‘United States Courthouse’ outside which Jamie Foxx picks up Tom Cruise in Michael Mann's Collateral).
Speed film location: Jack Traven celebrates receiving his award: The Derby, 4500 Los Feliz Boulevard, Los Feliz, Los Angeles
Jack Traven (Keanu Reeves) celebrates his award at The Derby, 4500 Los Feliz Boulevard at Hillhurst Avenue. The old Brown Derby Restaurant, it was renovated and reinvented as a swing venue in 1993. It’s a major location for Doug Liman’s Swingers.
Traven chats to the bus driver at the Firehouse Restaurant, 213 Rose Avenue at Main Street, Venice, opposite the Koo Koo Roo Californian Kitchen, with its landmark, love-it-or-hate-it clown-ballet dancer sculpture (I think it’s kitschy fun).
Speed film location: The bus blows up: Main Street at Rose Avenue, Venice, Los Angeles
The bus is blown up on Main Street, just south of Rose Avenue, and this is where Traven receives the sinister phone call from Payne.
The spectacular bus jump on the unfinished freeway used the recently completed Glenn Anderson Freeway (Century Freeway). The yawning gap was added later with computer- generated imagery.
Speed film location: the bus is diverted to ‘LAX’: Mojave Airport and Spaceport, Mojave, Kern County, California.
Photograph: Mojave Airport and Spaceport
The bus is finally diverted to the airstrips of ‘Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Kind of. The airport actually used for the filming is Mojave Airport and Spaceport, at Mojave in Kern County, seen also in S.W.A.T., Die Hard II and Clint Eastwood's Flags of Our Fathers.
The money drop is at Fifth and Hill Streets, by the steps at the northeast corner of recently renovated Pershing Square, downtown Los Angeles. Here too is the station of, what was then, the recently completed first section of the long-awaited Los Angeles Metro, Metro Red Line at Pershing Square Station.
Speed film location: the train erupts onto the street: Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood.
Most of the underground sequences were filmed on studio mock-ups, but it’s on the real Hollywood Boulevard, just outside Grauman’s Chinese Theatre between Highland and La Brea Avenues (near the – then uncompleted – Hollywood/Highland Metro Station), that the train finally explodes into daylight.