Where was True Lies filmed?
Los Angeles, San Diego, Baltimore, Encino, Asheville, Key West, Toronto
Beach/Oceanview, Naturescapes, Ranh, Hotels/Motels, Studios
Beachfront, Luxury Hotel, School
About True Lies
James Cameron built a reputation for himself as a maestro when it comes to releasing epics and science fiction films. His list of credits includes “The Terminator,” “Titanic,” and “Avatar.” Sometimes he throws in an action comedy in the mix, like in the case of his 1994 spy film “True Lies.”
Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Lee Curtis, Charlton Heston, and Eliza Dushku, Cameron also penned the movie. It is inspired by the 1991 French comedy “La Totale!” The movie follows the life of Harry Tasker (Schwarzenegger), a U.S. government agent and family man who leads a double life as a spy.
Helen (Curtis), his wife who works as a secretary, and daughter Dana (Dushku) believe that he is a computer salesman. His supposed work as a salesman involves a lot of travel, and during these overseas business trips, he moonlights as a spy. Harry is in fact a covert agent working for a top-secret counterterrorism agency known as the Omega Sector.
Alongside his fellow agents, Faisil (Grant Heslov) and Albert “Gib” Gibson (Tom Arnold), Harry infiltrates a Switzerland soiree hosted by a wealthy arms dealer, Jamal Khaled (Marshall Manesh). At the party, Harry sets his eyes on Juno Skinner (Tia Carrere), an art dealer who also works for Khaled. She is also on the payroll of an Islamic terrorist group known as “Crimson Jihad.”
Salim Abu Aziz (Art Malik) heads the extremist sect. In the pretense of being a potential art buyer, Harry visits Juno aiming to learn more about their dealings. Aziz and his men see right through him leading to an attempt on his life.
Harry fights them off but ends up losing track of Aziz in the process. Wrapped up in the assignment, he doesn’t make it back home for his surprise birthday party. He drops by his wife’s office the next day to surprise her for lunch and smooth things over.
True Lies Locations
Right from the very first scene, and with Schwarzenegger cast as the main star, everyone knows that “True Lies” bills itself as an action-packed film. A case in point is the scene where Harry commandeers a police horse to chase a bad guy, who is on a motorcycle.
They go through a hotel lobby, onto the elevator of a high-rise, and eventually end up on a roof. The final straw is when Harry can’t get the horse to free fall into the pool below. If anything, it also tells you that stellar choices were made when picking out the “True Lies” filming locations.
For starters, the Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites at 404 S. Figueroa Street in Downtown Los Angeles provided the setting for the elevator chase scene. When Harry rides the horse in the lobby, the Ambassador Hotel - 3400 Wilshire Boulevard is the backdrop for that scene. The swimming pool at the Columbia/Warner Bros. Ranch is where they filmed part of the sequence.
Production mostly took place around Florida, California, North Carolina, and Maryland. Toronto is also listed as one of the production locations. Without further ado, let us recap some of the best scenes in “True Lies” and their filming locations.
Much like with most of Cameron’s other productions, the “True Lies” production budget exceeded the $100 million mark. It’s reportedly the first film to ever cross that figure.
Harry threatens Simon scene in True Lies
Sepulveda Dam, Encino
Not expecting her husband to stop by, Harry overhears secret arrangements Helen makes with a man called Simon (Bill Paxton). Harry suspects his wife is cheating on him, and he makes use of the Omega Sector resources at his disposal to get to the bottom of things.
Gib consoles him saying, “Same thing happened to me with wife number two, 'member? I have no idea nothing's going on, right? I come home one day, and the house is empty, and I mean completely empty. She even took the ice cube trays out of the freezer.”
He soon learns that Simon has a knack for warming his way into women’s hearts by pretending to work as a covert agent. In the real sense, he is a used car salesman.
Alongside his fellow Omega agents, Harry orchestrates a kidnap to frighten Simon into staying away from Helen. Using a voice-distortion device, he also interrogates his wife and learns that a desperate need for adventure is what made her consider stepping out of their marriage.
In a chivalrous attempt to provide her with the thrilling experience she needs, he stages a spy mission and has her seduce a mysterious figure in a hotel room. It turns out that her target is Harry in disguise. Aziz’s men break the romantic moment by bursting in and kidnapping the couple.
Helen meets Simon at the 6th Street Viaduct in Los Angeles. The Hotel Marquis is where she posed as a lady of the night called Doris for the rendezvous with Harry in disguise.
For when Harry threatens Simon, the crew filmed at the Sepulveda Dam in Encino. Hop onto bus 240 or the CE573 to get to the “True Lies” location.
Helen finds out about Harry’s double life scene in True Lies
Key West, Florida Keys, Florida
The extremists take the two to a hideaway in the Florida Keys. Harry learns that the group paid Juno to help steal four MIRV nuclear warheads into the country. They pulled it off by hiding the missiles in priceless antique statues.
Aziz and Harry get into a lighthearted banter to diffuse the tension after the leader of the sect reveal one of the atomic weapons. He asks Harry if he knows what it is and with a smile, the covert agent responds, “this is an espresso machine.”
Aziz’s demands to the government include having the military should retreat from the Persian Gulf forever. If they don’t heed his demands, he threatens to detonate the weapons in major U.S. cities. To demonstrate the gravity of the matter, Aziz also plans to detonate one of the warheads on the uninhabited island.
The group also administers a truth serum on Harry, and he confesses his double life in front of Helen. When she asks if he has ever killed anyone, Harry responds, “yeah, but they were all bad.”
With most of the scenes filmed on-location, naturally, the crew also filmed the Key West sequences on the island. Besides hosting the “True Lies” production crew, productions like “Scarface” and “2 Fast 2 Furious” feature sequences were filmed on the island.
The bridge escape scene in True Lies
Seven Mile Bridge, Florida Keys
Eventually, Harry manages to escape with Helen just as one warhead is scheduled to explode in 90 minutes. The couple also witnesses other warheads loaded onto vehicles that bypass the U.S. Customs via the Overseas Highway.
In the ensuing melee, Harry kills most of Aziz’s men. Amazed by her husband’s braveness, Helen remarks, “I married Rambo!” The couple gets separated and once again, Aziz escapes and takes one of the missiles with him.
Juno captures Helen and takes her along with the convoy. Gib and other agents catch up with Harry, before using two Marine Harrier Jump Jets to destroy a segment of the Seven Mile Bridge. That subsequently stops the convoy, and Harry rescues his wife from Juno’s limo right before the vehicle plummets off the Highway.
The Overseas Highway in Key Largo was the setting for part of the bridge escape sequence. For the bridge destruction scene, the crew actually filmed at the Seven Mile Bridge in the Florida Keys.
Joining Bahia Honda Key and Key Vaca, the Old Seven Mile formerly functioned as a railway bridge. It dates to 1910 and once had the Overseas Highway US1 running through it. The “True Lies” location seen on the screen is the new bridge replaced in 1982.
A missile goes off on the island scene in True Lies
Greenwich Studios, Unit 10, Greenwich Centre Business Park, 53 Norman Rd, London SE10 9QF, United Kingdom
The warhead on the island detonates as members of the public watch, but no one is killed. Gib informs the couple that Aziz’s men kidnaped their daughter and they have her holed up at a downtown Miami skyscraper. The extremists are also threatening to launch their last warhead at the location.
Harry hops into one of the Harriers and drives off to save his daughter. Gib points out that it has been 10 years since Harry drove one of the Harriers. Harry responds, “if I break it, they can take it out of my pay.”
Some of the “True Lies” scenes were filmed at various studios. The Greenwich Studios at 12100 Ivan Tors Boulevard provided the setting for some of the sequences.
Founded by the legendary producer Ivan Tors in 1964, the studio went up on the market in 2017, with a $15 million price tag attached. The production team also made use of the Falls Lake Backlot at Universal Studios during filming.
Harry saves his daughter scene in True Lies
Colonial Bank Center, 1200 Brickell Ave Ste 1800-D, Miami, FL
Faisil manages to infiltrate the Miami building, posing as a member of the news team Aziz requests. He kills several of the extremists, and Dana flees to the rooftop of the building with the missile control key.
She climbs onto a tower crane, threatening to drop the detonator. Aziz, who is pursuing her, nearly catches up but Harry arrives in the nick of time. He rescues his confused daughter, and following a tense struggle, Harry corners Aziz.
As the villain dangles precariously from his gun belt, right next to the plane’s wing-mounted missile, Harry fires while delivering his famous line, “you’re fired!” The missile aimed at one of the terrorist helicopters kills Aziz and the rest of his men.
The Colonial Bank Center at 1200 Brickell Avenue in Miami served as the backdrop for the “True Lies” scene.
The final tango scene in True Lies
Crystal Ballroom, Millennium Biltmore, 506 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA
The family eventually reunites, and a year later, Helen joins Harry working as an Omega agent. On a mission at a formal event, the couple meets Simon.
Helen’s former flame is working as a waiter but still pulling his shtick, pretending to be a spy. After they confront him, he runs away fearing for his life. Waiting for their contact, the couple while the night away, passionately dancing the tango.
All the while, he ignores Gib who is telling him through the radio, “Harry, you do not have time to tango, buddy. You copy?”
The film crew converted the Rosecliff Mansion at 548 Bellevue Avenue in Newport, Rhode Island into a “True Lies” film set for the ballroom scenes. However, for Harry and Helen’s final tango, the crew set up shop at the Millennium Biltmore’s Crystal Ballroom.
A combination of locations created the Swiss Chalet seen in the opening scene. The “True Lies” production crew filmed the scenes around Rhode Island, including at the Salve Regina University at 52 Ochre Point Avenue and 100 Ochre Point Avenue.
Lake Tahoe, near Truckee, provided the backdrop for the snowy ski getaway sequences. Other “True Lies” film shoot locations are worth a visit, if only for a photo op, including Jimmy's Auto at 418 New York Avenue in Washington. Henry Ripening & Distribution Center, formerly known as Offshore Marine Basin, at 578 Enterprise Street, Escondido was another production location.
Boreal Mountain Resort at 19455 Boreal Ridge Road, Alverno High School - 200 North Michillinda Avenue, Sierra Madre, Georgetown Park Mall in Washington, and Marathon in Florida provided the setting for various other scenes.