Los Angeles movies: 50 films that best capture the essence of LA

From seedy mysteries and Hollywood satires to the bounciest of beach films, we rank the greatest Los Angeles movies of all time, the ones that get it.

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Los Angeles movies

Los Angeles movies

The world knows Los Angeles better than it thinks. Not even counting the many classic satires of Hollywood itself, the vast majority of American-made movies are filmed within the city limits, with the Valley supplying a neighboring every-suburb for all varieties of domestic drama. But which films really nail what it means to live here? Time Out scoured the history of cinema to come up with a ranked list of essential Los Angeles movies—a trove of shady noir villians, sappy romances, sunny comedies and everything in between. (Pardon our occasional cynicism: Hating Los Angeles is definitely a part of loving it.) And please leave your suggestions in the comments box below. We’re aware that this subject, like the city itself, is a sprawl. It’s time to explore the best (and worst) Los Angeles movies.


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9 comments
Carl P
Carl P

How the hell did you miss out Falling Down?! It's a movie about a guy walking across L.A.

Carlos
Carlos

Really? Boyz-n-the Hood is ranked 29th? I can care less about Colors or any film after but John Singleton's masterpiece was the first real film to showcase life in South Central Los Angeles from the perspective of the people who lived there. But of course like in real life no one gives a dam about that part of the city.

Joe
Joe

I would have added Collateral, Bad Influence, Pretty Woman, El Norte, Wonderland and Species.

Alex
Alex

What About... Menace II Society, CRASH, American Me, Blood In Blood Out... ???????????? where R They?

BaronVG
BaronVG

After reading some of the other reviews, another one that stunned me was the omission of Lethal Weapon! Again, WOW! I mean, out of the many late 80s action movies set in Los Angeles, you pick DIE HARD?!?! Die Hard; a movie set mostly in a building that just happens to be in L.A. Whereas Lethal Weapon and it's action was more spread out over the city. Ridiculous. Now my rating is TWO stars.

BaronVG
BaronVG

Ok, I appreciate all the movies on this list but there were two movies I was just waiting to read about: Collateral and Pulp Fiction. Neither made the list. Wow. Just...WOW. I guess I should be happy that Heat was on here at least.

Sonny Black
Sonny Black

Average list at best. The big ones that are missing here off the top of my head would be, Lincoln Lawyer, American Gigolo, Rush Hour, Lethal Weapon, Color of Night, Beverly Hills Cop, Falling Down... One that stood out to me that shouldn't be on here was & is Blade Runner. I'm sorry but LA is non-recognizable for the most part in that film.

Chris
Chris

"Mommie Dearest" and "The Loved One"

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