Over the years, Los Angeles has served as the setting for many movies. And in this time of physical-distancing, movies serve as a fun way to explore other Los Angeles neighborhoods and other time periods.
Here is our list of 13 Movies Set in Los Angeles. In the spirit of keeping this list family-friendly, no R-rated movies have been included. And if you want to stream them at home, you can find most of them on Amazon Prime Video. Click through to see them in our shop.
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13 Family-Friendly Movies Set in Los Angeles
Clueless (rated PG-13)
Clueless, starring Alicia Silverstone, is considered to be a modern version of Jane Austen’s novel Emma. The film centers around a group of Beverly Hills High School students.
Father of the Bride (rated PG)
Steve Martin is the “Father of the Bride” in this 1991 movie set in Los Angeles and the surrounding neighborhoods of Bel Air and San Marino. The comedic combination of Steve Martin, Diane Keaton, and Martin Short led to a sequel. Additionally, Father of the Bride Part 3 (ish) is currently available on Netflix and YouTube as a special fundraising opportunity for the World Central Kitchen. (Part 3 is about 25 minutes long and includes flashbacks to the original film.)
The Holiday (rated PG-13)
The Holiday, written and directed by Nancy Meyers, stars Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz as two women who participate in a home swap. Kate Winslet finds herself living in Cameron Diaz’s large Bel-Air mansion. The film itself shows a very lush, green side of Los Angeles not often depicted in movies.
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L.A. Story (rated PG-13)
L.A. Story is a 1991 movie written by, and featuring, Steve Martin. Steve Martin is a somewhat bored meteorologist – the weather in L.A. is so predictable he can record his forecasts days in advance. Mr. Martin’s character begins to receive messages from an electronic freeway sign near his home.
La La Land (rated PG-13)
A pianist (Ryan Gosling) and an actress (Emma Stone) pursue their career aspirations in this very popular, award-winning film. Many have commented that movies featuring big song-and-dance numbers like this aren’t often made any more. And how often do you get to see a huge dance scene on an L.A. freeway?
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Larry Crowne (rated PG-13)
Tom Hanks directed, co-wrote, and stars as Larry Crowne, a middle-aged man who loses his job and looks to change his life by attending college. The charming story also features Julia Roberts, Taraji P. Henson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Pam Grier, and Cedric the Entertainer among others and features many sites in and around Los Angeles.
Real Women Have Curves (rated PG-13)
Real Women Have Curves stars America Ferrera, a high school student who travels by public buses from her East Los Angeles home to her Beverly Hills high school. She is caught between her ambitions and dreams of going to college and the domineering mother who wants her to stay close to home, helping her older sister in her dress-making factory.
Rebel Without a Cause (rated PG-13)
Rebel Without a Cause, starring James Dean and Natalie Wood, is considered a classic film, for many reasons. The film prominently features a class field trip to the Griffith Observatory.
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Singin’ in the Rain (rated G)
This much-loved musical featuring Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, and Debbie Reynolds tells the story of a Hollywood production company making the transition from silent films to “talkies.”
Troop Beverly Hills (rated PG)
Shelley Long stars as a soon-to-be divorced Beverly Hills mother who becomes the leader of a troop of Beverly Hills Wilderness Girls. However, up until then Shelley Long’s character’s idea of “roughing it” meant spending a night in a plush Beverly Hills home. The movie also features cameos by a variety of stars including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Cheech Marin among others.
Valentine’s Day (rated PG-13)
This romantic comedy, directed by Garry Marshall, not only features a Who’s-who of stars, it also shows off many well-known Los Angeles attractions including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, Disney Concert Hall, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and much more. It’s a look at the break-ups and make-ups and everything in between all taking place on the “most romantic day of the year.”
What’s Cooking? (rated PG-13)
Set around Thanksgiving, What’s Cooking features four Los Angeles families of different ethnicities and backgrounds (Latino, Asian-American, African-American, and Jewish) as they gather for a Thanksgiving meal. The movie highlights the diversity of the city, the shared traditions of Thanksgiving, and the inter-connectedness of our lives.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit (rated PG)
Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a fantasy-comedy film, combining live action and animation. The movie is set in 1947 Hollywood where cartoon characters are referred to as “Toons” and “Toons” are paid as actors and live in the animated city, Toontown.
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Wendy Kennar is a mother, writer, and former teacher who has lived her entire life in the same Los Angeles zip code. You can read more from Wendy at her website WendyKennar.com where she writes about books, boys, and bodies (living with an invisible disability).