LOCATION, LOCATION, Location? #5 – Revealed ~ Breakdown

Did ‘ya Guess It?

Our fifth Location, Location, Location?  left a few Beyond the Marquee readers guessing … something it also did to Kurt Russell back in 1997.

The answer to this week’s Location, Location, Location? location is Belle’s Diner from the 1997 action-thriller, Breakdown, starring Kurt Russell and Kathleen Quinlan.

 

 

Let’s take a look at the NOW and THEN picture and a bit of information about the location …

Located on the outskirts of Palmdale, CA, the structure for Belle’s Diner still stands … barely.

 

Breakdown quickly became a sleeper hit during the summer of 1997.  Starring Kurt Russell and helmed by writer/director Jonathan Mostow, the film still stands as a great example of a simple premise turned into a taut action-thriller.  The idea for the film was conceived by Mostow when he and his wife ventured out from the East Coast on a move to Los Angeles to start his film career.  While driving through some remote stretches of road in the open West, he started thinking about the possibilities of a car breaking down and what people would have to do to stay alive in the open expanses of the desert.  If someone pulled up to help you, would they actually give you help or have more sinister plans in store?

The road going past Belle’s Diner. Hasn’t changed much at all since 1997.

The filming of Breakdown took place in key locations throughout Arizona, Utah and California.  Our highlighted location, a desert restaurant in the film named Belle’s Diner, is actually located in the high desert of Palmdale, California.  If you think it looks desolate in the film, the real-life location matches that image exactly and finding the remaining building is no small feat.

The origin of Belle’s Diner isn’t well-known as it very likely could have been an actual roadhouse bar at one time.  Other theories are that it was created specifically for a film production and was kept standing throughout the years.  What was once a fully realized restaurant is now nothing more than a mere shell that serves as a home for desert birds and other wildlife. The earmarks of the location (as seen in the film) are still there including the tall Joshua tree out front and the red metal roadside pole that once held the sign for Belle’s Diner.   Since its appearance in Breakdown, it has been used in other productions, but that list is vague at best.

Breakdown helped launch the career of director Jonathan Mostow to the A-List and marked his first collaboration with famed producer Dino DeLaurentiis.  Mostow would later go on to direct the submarine actioner, U-571, with Matthew McConaughey and was hired on to direct Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.  Coincidentally, Arnold Schwarzenegger got his first big break working with Dino DeLaurentiis on Conan the Barbarian.  While filming the RV road scenes for T3 with Arnold, Mostow was surprised to discover that they were filming on the same road that went right past Belle’s Diner.

If you haven’t seen Breakdown, do yourself a favor and buckle up tight.  It’s a great action-thriller that will leave you on the edge of your seat.

Kurt Russell frantically searches for his wife at Belle’s Diner in the 1997 film, ‘Breakdown’.

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There are three things that matter in filmmaking and television:

Location, Location, Location.

As part of a fun series here on Beyond the Marquee, I will be choosing random filming locations from some famous (and not so famous) film and television productions throughout the years.  They will be posted here for our viewers to take a guess as to what movie or TV show the location was used.

The location as it looks NOW will be posted on Monday and on Wednesday, I will post the answer and THEN picture identifying the location as it was seen on the large or small screen. Some entries may be very easy to guess, others may be difficult and sometimes I may give a clue that will help point you in the right direction.

Previous LOCATION, LOCATION, Location?  Entries can be found here:

http://beyondthemarquee.com/category/about-us/original-featured-sections/location-location-location/

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7 Responses to “LOCATION, LOCATION, Location? #5 – Revealed ~ Breakdown”

  1. John R says:

    Where IS the Belle’s Diner set located? Highway mile marker or address please?

  2. RCJ says:

    Great movie! Watching it as I type!

  3. Joe Morrison says:

    Where was the location where he is riding under the truck? I think it is Indian springs nv

  4. Amber says:

    I actually watched this being taped on 7th street in old town victorville.i was fetting put of school when vocto valley jr high was still a school

  5. Mark says:

    Preceding Kurt Russell entering Victorville, he and others were on a hill looking down into the town, but from that view it does not look like Victorville?

  6. tony says:

    I’m from Victorville Ca. and it sure looks like down town VV in the movie about when he gets out of the bank…shortly after.Curious ??

    • Kevin Stern says:

      Hi Tony. You’re correct. Victorville did stand in for the town where Kurt Russell is forced to go to the bank for cash. It’s not too hard to place yourself where they exactly filmed on the main street – just pay attention to the buildings. Victorville is not too far from the desert location where the Cafe scene was filmed and LOCATION, LOCATION, Location? visited the two locations all within the same day.

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