Air Force One movie cover Movie Locations Guide

Where was Air Force One filmed?

1997

About Air Force One

If you’re ready for an adrenalin-pumping movie that will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish, then make sure to add Air Force One to your watchlist. It’s filled with action, thrill, and fantastic surprises. Read on to know more, as we’ve included some interesting scenes and even Air Force One filming locations you will want to check out.

Air Force One is a gripping political action-thriller starring Harrison Ford as US President James Marshall and Gary Oldman as Egor Korshunov, the leader of a group of terrorists who obtains control of Air Force One. It’s co-produced and directed by Wolfgang Peterson and released on October 15, 1997.

The movie begins with the arrest of a fascist leader, General Alexander Radek (Jürgen Prochnow), who has brought horror and death to thousands of people. Several weeks after his arrest, President Marshall attends a gathering in Moscow, celebrating Radek’s imprisonment. During his speech, he pledges that they will not be afraid of and tolerate terrorism.

However, unbeknown to them, one of the biggest acts of terrorism against the United States is just about to start. On their flight home, a gang of terrorists, headed by Egor Korshunov, hijacks Air Force One, the aircraft carrying his crew, wife (Wendy Crewson), and daughter (Liesel Matthews). Despite the tight security, the terrorists successfully board the plane, thanks to the help of a corrupt secret service agent, Gibbs (Xander Berkeley).

Amidst the chaos, President Marshall is ordered to head to the escape pod, which is later ejected from the plane. But Marshall did not escape Air Force One. Instead of giving in to the terrorists’ demands, he makes his stand against them. A veteran trained for combat, the President fights to rescue the hostages, including his family, on board.

City Locations

Los Angeles, CA; Cleveland, OH

Location Types

Architectural, House, Mansions, Buildings/Offices, Police/Jails, Theatres

Location Styles

Dated/50's-60's-70's Building, Federal Building, Plane, School, Gothic/Victorian

Air Force One Locations

Air Force One production began on September 16, 1996, in Columbus, Ohio. It’s where the cast and crew executed complex aerial stunts, which involved the Boeing 747 aircraft, doubling for the actual Air Force One. Filming concluded four months later, on January 17, 1997.

The primary Air Force One filming location is Los Angeles City in California. It featured The Ebell of Los Angeles at South Lucerne Blvd. and the Los Angeles International Airport, which stood in for the Moscow airport, where Air Force One departed from in the film. Although the real White House in Washington, DC, was seen in the 1997 film, its lawn was actually a park recreated in Los Angeles.

The production also took place in Cleveland, Ohio. In the parachuting scene at the beginning of the movie, the stunt performers landed on the roof of the iconic Severance Hall. It’s the home of The Cleveland Orchestra and one of the world’s most elegant concert halls, which opened in 1931. In the same sequence, you’ll also see the interior of the Cuyahoga County Court House, a historic courthouse just a short drive from the city’s concert hall.

Additionally, a second team went to Russia to take shots of Moscow’s Red Square. It’s one of the capital’s largest and oldest squares found in the historic city center. Other Air Force One locations include the Channel Islands, Beverly Hills, and Culver City, California.

Fun fact:

Air Force One is any Air Force plane carrying the President or transporting the Commander-in-Chief. Before filming, some movie crew members had the opportunity to tour the actual Air Force One. Then they used this experience for some of the sequences in the movie, including the fake press members' tour scene.

Radek’s arrest scene in Air Force One

Cuyahoga County Court House, 1 W Lakeside Ave #202, Cleveland, OH

The movie’s opening sequence is already one of the most exciting action scenes in Air Force One. It involves the American Special Forces unit entering the palace of the dictator of Kazakhstan, General Ivan Radek. Of course, apprehending the general isn’t easy. There are parachuting, jumping on the roof, and military combats involved before one of the soldiers declares, “Package is wrapped,” after finally capturing Radek.

Two Air Force One locations were used to shoot this action-packed scene. The exterior sequences were shot at Severance Hall in Cleveland, but the Cuyahoga County Court House was used for the palace’s interior scenes. Pay attention to the Court House’s elegant marble staircase with its gorgeous stained glass and the pedimented and arched windows and doors. There are also fluted Ionic columns and vaulted ceilings you can’t miss as you watch the opening scene.

The Cuyahoga County Court House lies between Fort Huntington Park and Cleveland Convention Center Urban Farm. It was established in 1807, but the current building was completed in 1911. With its history and magnificent structural features and elements, the Court House was included in the National Register of Historic Places list in 1975.

The Court House is close to several city attractions, making it an excellent base for a cultural tour in downtown Cleveland. It is easily accessible by bus with stops just a short walk from the location.

The US President’s speech scene in Air Force One

The Ebell of Los Angeles, 743 S Lucerne Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

Three weeks after the arrest of Kazakhstan’s self-proclaimed leader, the US President, Marshall delivers an anti-terrorism speech in Moscow that surprises everyone. Instead of following his planned speech, Marshall declares, “Real peace is not just the absence of conflict; it's the presence of justice.” Then he ends his talk by saying, “We will no longer tolerate, and we will no longer be afraid. It's your turn to be afraid.”

All scenes that featured the Moscow airport were shot in the Ebell of Los Angeles instead of using the Sheremetyevo International Airport. It’s an elegant venue for weddings, special events, photo shoots, business gatherings, important celebrations, and more.

Located in the heart of the city, the Ebell of Los Angeles is a historic property brimming with old-charm glamour. It features an impressive collection of fine artworks, furnishings, marble statues, clocks, vintage clothing, accessories, carpets, etc. Besides hosting dinners, weddings, live music, and unique events, it also supports dozens of scholarships and non-profits.

Whether you’re looking to organize an elegant party or want to be in the same room where President Marshall delivers his speech in the film, the Ebell is a fantastic place to visit. You can catch the bus 20 with stops at Wilshire Boulevard to get to this gorgeous event venue.

The presidential palace scene in Air Force One

Case Western Reserve University, 10900 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH

A night scene as the movie opens shows the “Presidential Palace, Kazakhstan, former Republic of USSR.” But the quiet night turns chaotic when US Armed Forces arrive in parachutes to fulfill a mission. But the building you’ll see in this sequence isn’t the real presidential palace of Kazakhstan. It’s the Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

Founded in 1826, Case Western Reserve University is the leading national research university stationed in the country’s number one arts district. It’s a world-class educational center with a 267-acre campus within the bustling University Circle, a thriving neighborhood just less than five minutes from downtown Cleveland. University Circle is also home to numerous natural and cultural attractions, including Severance Hall and the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Due to its strategic location, the University is a great place to visit when discovering all these filming locations of Air Force One. Not only will you see where your favorite movie scenes were filmed, but you’ll also have the chance to explore the neighborhood and see what the city has to offer. While the best way to discover the area is by foot, you’ll find numerous bus lines that will take you directly to the University Circle.

Russian prison scene in Air Force One

Mansfield Reformatory, 100 Reformatory Rd, Mansfield, OH

“General Radek has been released.” It’s the statement that the terrorists have been waiting for since hijacking the aircraft with the US President on board. But after confirming the general’s release from the Russian prison, the terrorists have more demands before setting the hostages free.

This scene, which depicts the Russian prison where General Radek is incarcerated, was shot at the Ohio State Reformatory, also referred to as the Mansfield Reformatory. It’s a Romanesque Revival prison built in 1886 and designed by architect Levi Scofield. It is home to the Ohio State Corrections History Museum, a famous site for paranormal enthusiasts, adventurers, and ghost hunters.

The Mansfield Reformatory offers daily tours from 11 AM to 4 PM, except for Thanksgiving and other major Holidays. It allows visitors to explore the facility and learn about its history through self-guided tours or with a guide. If you plan to bring your little ones, you can take advantage of the family-friendly Hollywood Meets History Tour. It’s a great way to get a glimpse of the reformatory’s prison timeline and visit the warden’s living area.

A newly launched tour is the Shawshank Bus Tour. It involves an educational and entertaining visit to 10 film shoot locations of the classic film in three hours. It’s a must-do adventure, along with your tour to the Air Force One film site.

The best way to get there is by driving or renting a car. Alternatively, you can catch bus D to get to Mansfield and then catch a taxi to the reformatory.

Moscow airport scenes in Air Force One

Los Angeles International Airport, 1 World Way, Los Angeles, CA

“Gentlemen! Welcome to Air Force One,” greets one of the airport staff at Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow. It’s where Egor Korshunov and his men appear during the inspection before boarding the plane. They are disguised as members of the press.

The Los Angeles International Airport served as Sheremetyevo International Airport in the film. It’s the main gateway to Los Angeles and is one of the world’s busiest airports, with millions of passengers passing through its gates each year. The city center is only fifteen miles from LAX Airport, with numerous road and rail connections that link the city of Los Angeles and LAX.

The airport is home to the Flight Path Museum and Learning Center. It’s one of the country’s impressive aviation and aerospace museums located in Southern California. While in the area, head to the Automobile Driving Museum near the airport. It’s an obligatory spot for lovers of historical, vintage, and classic cars.

Ramstein Air Force Base scene in Air Force One

Rickenbacker International Airport, 2241 John Cir Dr, Columbus, OH

One of the intense scenes in the film happens at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany, where Air Force One is set for an emergency landing. “No matter what happens, we land this aircraft,” says one of the pilots. But while the plane is on the runway, Korshunov and one of his men kill the pilots and take control of Air Force One. They successfully get the aircraft back in the air before crashing into another plane.

The Rickenbacker International Airport stood in for Ramstein Air Force Base. It’s one of the only cargo-focused airports in the world, supporting the largest aircraft in existence. With its world-class facilities and services, it’s no surprise that it’s chosen as a filming location for Air Force One.

Plus, the airport is only twelve miles from downtown Columbus, Ohio, making it an ideal stop when visiting the fun-filled Midwest city. It’s accessible from Highways 23, 33, 1-70, 1-71, and I-270.

Conclusion

There is no shortage of places to see and things to do if you plan to visit every location used as the Air Force One film set. Besides the movie’s action-filled scenes, these unique places will grab your attention. It will transport you to some of the sophisticated and welcoming cities in the United States, including Los Angeles, Cleveland, Columbus, and Mansfield, as well as their rich and lively neighborhoods.

Whether you’re a fan of this 1997 American action-thriller film or not, there’s no doubt you’ll enjoy exploring each of its film sites. It includes historical buildings, luxury venues, government buildings, airports, and more. Even the Channel Islands’ eight-island archipelago in the Pacific Ocean is one of the scenic locations in the movie.