6 Places You'll Recognize from the Background of Every Movie

We rarely pay attention to the locations in a film, unless the landscapes are unusually breathtaking (probably CGI) or, like, literally wallpapered in genitals. However, if you think back to your favorite films, you might notice that many of them used the same locations. Just like with actors, there is an elite group of places that tend to show up in hit and/or classic movies.

Here are six locations with more robust IMDb pages (and better managers, apparently) than 80 percent of Hollywood.

#6. Quality Cafe -- Basically Every Cafe in Every Movie Ever

I Am Not a Stalker

If you live in Los Angeles, you may have seen the Quality Cafe once or twice -- and if you own a television, you've probably seen it hundreds of times. Seriously, the same place has been featured in a ton of TV shows and movies:

Sometimes in the exact same spot:

And with the exact same coffee mugs:


Denzel and Ethan win the award for cutest couple to sit in that booth.

Remember the awkward scene in the first season of Mad Men when Don Draper talks with his half-brother? That was also the Quality Cafe, only with '60s hairdos and indoor smoking allowed.


"We even made a Colored entrance for some of the crew members. That didn't go over well."

Gary Sinise investigated a crime that was committed inside the Quality Cafe in an episode of CSI: NY, even though Los Angeles is a little outside a New York cop's jurisdiction:



Strange ... usually CSI is so firmly grounded in reality.

The Quality Cafe doesn't even function as a real diner anymore. It stopped serving meals in 2006, but it's been doing pretty well for itself as a film location over the past few decades, as demonstrated by this two-and-a-half-minute mashup video of different scenes shot there. For example, here's Hilary Swank taking some advice and/or exposition from Morgan Freeman in Million Dollar Baby:


"Hey, how'd you like to be God? No? Guess it's time for Plan B, then ..."

Here's Morgan Freeman talking to Gwyneth Paltrow about Brad Pitt in Se7en:


He's a regular.

And here's Brad Pitt discussing some serious stuff with ... Vince Vaughn in Mr. and Mrs. Smith:


The really, really poor man's Morgan Freeman.

Meanwhile, here are Scarlett Johansson and Thora Birch making fun of Steve Buscemi's face in Ghost World:

And here's Tom Hanks looking exasperated in the same booth in Catch Me if You Can:


Do they at least wash those mugs?

How about a bleached Nicolas Cage staring at a lady in Gone in 60 Seconds? Sure thing, we got that, too:


Screw washing. If Cage drinks here, they'd better use an autoclave.

And there's more. So now you know: If you ever get the feeling that all the diners used in Hollywood movies look the same, that's because they probably are.

#5. Vasquez Rocks -- The Slanting Rock Formation in Sci-Fi Movies

Mike Dillon

If this particular formation of rocks looks familiar to you, congratulations on being a nerd. These are the Vasquez Rocks located in Agua Dulce, California, and they are most famous for being used as the backdrop of several Star Trek scenes, from the famous showdown between Captain Kirk and the Gorn in the original series ...


Notice its position relative to Kirk's crotch. That's subtext, baby.

... to the scenes set on planet Vulcan in Star Trek IV and in the 2009 J.J. Abrams reboot:


So what these movies are trying to tell us is that God isn't very creative.

That's right -- like many actors in the Star Trek universe, these rocks have played multiple parts. They even showed up in animated form in the Star Trek-themed episode of Futurama:


The real rocks weren't available to do voice work, so Michael Winslow filled in.

But unlike most actors involved with Star Trek, the rocks went on to have a long and varied career. Besides appearing in shows like Bones, The New Girl, and Friends ...

... the Vasquez Rocks have also appeared in over 40 films. Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles, for example, was filmed almost entirely at Agua Dulce, which is appropriate because the rocks are actually named after a real bandit from the Old West, Tiburcio Vasquez.


Who may or may not have been involved in anachronistic musical numbers in real life.

For more-recent stuff, the rocks also show up in 127 Hours, Little Miss Sunshine, and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. And speaking of films starring duos of immature slackers, the rocks actually play a double role in Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey. Bill and Ted first see them while watching an episode of Star Trek, and then they get killed by their robot doubles at those very same rocks:


Just one Wayne's World movie short of the slacker trifecta.

#4. Hatfield House -- The Home of Rich Superheroes

Treasure Houses

Hatfield House in England was built in 1611 and has a long and proud association with the country's royal family. But fuck that: The only reason we're talking about it here is that it's also Batman's house. And Tarzan's. And Lara Croft's. Basically, any action hero whose superpowers include "having insanely rich parents" lives there.


Fortunately, most of their parents are dead, otherwise it'd get pretty crowded.

That's Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft crossing the house's famous Long Hall in the first Tomb Raider movie -- the scene lasts like 10 seconds, but it serves to establish that she could buy half of South America if she wanted to. Meanwhile, in Robert Downey Jr.'s Sherlock Holmes, the legendary detective has a meeting with a very rich person in that same hallway:


*British mumbling*

And of course, one of the house's most memorable roles was doubling for Wayne Manor in Tim Burton's Batman movies. Here's the Long Hallway acting as a game room for the likes of Bruce Wayne, Commissioner Gordon, and Harvey Dent, back when he had a full face and was black (note the ceiling and the chimney on the right):


"Sure, Billy Dee, just a couple more background scenes and you can play Two-Face in the next movie. I promise."

Besides the two Burton movies, the grounds outside Hatfield House were also used for some exterior shots in Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins -- that's right, this place has been in more Batman movies than Michael Keaton.

Another favorite spot for Hollywood films is the house's library: It's been used in Batman ...

... Tomb Raider ...

... and the film Orlando with Tilda Swinton, who is the only one who actually knows how to read.


Neeeeeeerd.

Then there's the room known as Marble Hall, which is easily recognizable due to its checkered floor. It acted as Tarzan's family castle in Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, starring Christopher Lambert from Highlander:

And it's also the room where Bruce Wayne meets Vicki Vale for the first time in Batman:


"So I've kinda got this fetish ..."

These are just some of the 30 different credits to the house's name, which include V for Vendetta, Shakespeare in Love, and Elizabeth: The Golden Age. Tim Burton actually returned here for a scene in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory -- knowing him, he'd probably shoot every movie there if he could afford it.

Recommended For Your Pleasure

To turn on reply notifications, click here

811 Comments

The Cracked Podcast

Choosing to "Like" Cracked has no side effects, so what's the worst that could happen?

The Weekly Hit List

Sit back... Relax... We'll do all the work.
Get a weekly update on the best at Cracked. Subscribe now!