Where was E.T. filmed?
Los Angeles, Crescent City, Culver City
House, Naturescapes, Retro, School/Colleges
Dated/Retro, Desert, High Tech/ Futuristic, School
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial is perhaps one of the most influential movies created in the 80s and is considered one of the classics because of how successful it was. With a lot of the movie’s emphasis being on the score used throughout the film, it makes sense that John Williams won the Academy Award for the Best Original Score when E.T. was released.
The unique cinematography, as well as the way E.T. connects with not only an adult audience but also to the younger generation is the reason why it remains one of Steven Spielberg’s best movies of all time. Have you seen it? Spoiler Alert: This guide will be featuring several scenes and plot points that occur throughout the film!
E.T. revolves around a small group of alien botanists who come to earth to collect plant samples but are disturbed by a human task force who predicted their arrival. With a hasty retreat, the aliens quickly get back to their spaceship but leave behind one of their own. The scared and lonely alien luckily finds Elliot, a 10-year-old boy who quickly befriends the alien. Although the process is gradual, Elliot eventually introduces E.T. to the rest of his siblings, including his brother Michael, played by Robert MacNaughton, as well as his sister Gertie who was played by Drew Barrymore.
As the movie progresses, E.T. and Elliot begin to develop a special bond as E.T. learns more about Earth while Elliot begins to understand the true meaning of friendship. To get home, E.T. begins making an improvised device that sends a message for his people to come and get him.
However, things take a turn for the worse when E.T. gets sick and even dies for a short time because of his connection to Elliot. Elliot manages to find E.T. alive again and heads to the forest where E.T.’s ship is coming to pick him up, evading the police on the way. With tearful goodbyes, Elliot begs E.T. to stay behind, but E.T. hugs him and points at his head saying that he’ll be right there.
The entirety of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial was filmed in California. This helped reduce the expenses of the funds that were put into the practical effects of the film. The film mostly utilizes the southern Californian locales as opposed to the northern ones, apart from the brief shot in Crescent City which was for the exterior forest scenes in E.T.
Practical effects were difficult to control in live backgrounds which had many variables to consider which led to some of the scenes like the interior of Elliot’s home, as well as the forest spaceship landing taking place within sound stages that were in Culver City.
Many of the locations used to film the movie are still around today, although there were minor changes made and the vegetation in the area has grown. With so many locations being close to cities and other points of interest, no doubt, you’ll have something to look forward to once you’re done visiting the many filming locations of E.T.
Forest scene in E.T.
Redwood National Park, California
In the introductory phase of the movie E.T., we see E.T. collecting biological samples of various fauna that are splayed throughout the forest. While everything seems alright at first, many things begin to go wrong when people show up, seeking to apprehend these unknown creatures. With the investigators nearing the mothership so quickly, the ship is forced to leave early, leaving E.T. behind. Although this scene was perhaps one of E.T. 's major action scenes, there were no recognizable voice lines apart from the occasional grunt and whine of E.T.
These forest sequences were shot in the Redwood National Park in Culver City, California. These major redwoods helped put into perspective just how small E.T. was and aided in creating a suspenseful setting for the opening sequence of the movie. With the Redwood National Park being one of the most well-known parks in the US, reaching this destination is an easy task. To get to the park you can drive along the US 101 highway that reaches close to Oregon and you’ll be able to reach the destination where the introduction of E.T. was shot.
Elliot’s house scene in E.T.
Culver Studios, Culver City, California
The scene introduces us to Elliot calling his brother who is busy playing a Dungeons and Dragons game with his friends. When Elliot asks Mike to play with the older boys, Mike replies, “You have to ask Steve, he's a gamemaster, he has absolute power.” With the authority of the gamemaster, Steve allows Elliot to play with them but first makes him wait for the pizza to arrive so that he can pay for it. He then hands him the cash and the scene cuts to the outside of Elliot’s home where he pays for the pizza.
The interior shots for Elliot’s house in E.T. were not shot in the house that’s shown in the next shot with Elliot paying for the pizza, in fact, the interior of the house was set on a soundstage in Culver City. Culver Studios was one of E.T.’s many film sets and allowed the producers to get creative with lighting and different angles.
To get to Culver Studios in Culver City is a relatively easy task, seeing as you can get to it using public transportation as well. To get to the studio, you can take the CC1 bus that travels along Washington Boulevard. You can get off further up the street where Washington Boulevard and Culver Boulevard meet, where you’ll see the Culver Studios located on the right side of the road.
Elliot fakes his sickness scene in E.T.
7121 Lonzo Street, Tujunga, Los Angeles, California
With Elliot’s curiosity overriding his willingness to go to school, he decides to fake a sickness in hopes that his mother will let him stay at home. With his thermometer getting hot thanks to the lamp nearby aiding him, he can convince his mother Mary Taylor, played by Dee Wallace Stone, to let him stay at home. The scene then cuts to Gertie who points out to Mary the skid marks of tire and grass that Mike left on the driveway as he pulled out and ran over some of the lawn. A stressed and rushed Mary exclaims by saying “Come on…” before ushering Gertie inside the car and giving an explanation so she can placate her.
This scene that showcases Elliot’s home allows the audience to see the size of his house and just how well he can hide E.T. within its confines. This house is located within a suburb of Tujunga and it's easy to get to if you’re driving. If you drive along Lonzo Street, you’ll be able to see the house that served as one of E.T. 's film scenes at the end of the street in a corner that looks like a cul-de-sac. The house address is 7121 Lonzo Street and over the years, the appearance of the house didn’t change much, except for the trees that have since grown over the years.
Elliot causes chaos in class scene in E.T.
Culver City High School, Culver City, California
“Run for your life! Back to the river. Back to the forest. Run!” With those words, Elliot causes a commotion in his science class by releasing one of the frog specimens from a jar. He then shoos the frog away and it begins to hop around the class causing chaos, particularly for the girls present. He then proceeds to release all the frog specimens whilst mentioning that he must save them all. When it flashes back to the scene in school, the audience sees a multitude of frogs on the floor as they all scramble around the classroom.
This scene in E.T. was shot in Culver City High School. Culver City High School is an easy location to reach as it’s both accessible through private and public transportation. To reach the school which served as one of the filming locations for E.T., you can drive along Culver Boulevard and then make a turn on Elenda Street. At the end of the street, you should be able to see the high school on the right-hand side of the road.
Halloween scene in E.T.
Granada Circle, Porter Ranch, California
As we follow E.T.’s journey with Elliot and his family, we happen to come across a Halloween celebration. As they leave the house, we see an overhead shot of the Halloween celebrations taking place and a wide variety of costumes as E.T. heads to the forest. Fun Fact: The scene where E.T. recognizes a child in a Yoda costume is an ode to the friendship and an inside tour that Steven Spielberg and George Lucas have with each other. In that scene, E.T. says “Home, Home” to Yoda as he walks past him.
This scene in E.T. was shot in a suburban area, much like the rest of the film. The scenic views from the overhead camera angle used in the film were shot in the Porter Ranch area which was the main area used as an E.T. 's filming location. To get to this intersection where this scene in the movie took place, you can drive along Wilbur Avenue and then take a turn along Killimore Avenue. The location where this scene took place was at the intersection of Killimore Avenue and Granada Circle.
Playground scene in E.T.
Porter Ridge Park, Porter Ridge, California
Trying to get E.T. to the forest as quickly as possible, Elliot formulates a plan with Michael to both hide and transport E.T. Michael and Elliot steal the van that houses E.T. and make their way to a nearby playground where their friends are waiting with their bicycles. When the back doors open and his friends see E.T., a Dumbfounded Fred asks Elliot, “Well, can’t he just beam up?” to which Elliot replies with, “This is reality, Fred.”
This scene, as well as the subsequent scenes that were all at a park, was shot in Porter Ridge Park, known to the locals as E.T. Park. The park hasn’t changed much over the years apart from a few upgrades that include basketball courts and larger sand pits, as well as fully grown trees that help shade the area. To get to the famous park, you can travel along Sesnon Boulevard and make a turn into a street that leads to Muirkirk Drive. Then you’ll be able to find parking for your car as well as more shade as you enter the park.
With many memorable moments, E.T. introduced a new way of reaching the audience for filmmakers. Instead of catering solely to adults, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial is praised for having a child-centric audience which makes for a movie that was unlike any other in the 1980s. Perhaps one of the best movies from Steven Spielberg, E.T. continues to draw in audiences to this date, both young and old, making this film a definite timeless classic.