LOCATION, LOCATION, Location? #11 – Revealed ~ This Is Spinal Tap

Did ‘ya Guess It?

After our 10th LOCATION, LOCATION, Location?  entry, there was only one place to go – to #11.  Our 11th LLL? entry has been seen in countless movies and TV shows, so chances are if you made a guess, you were probably right. 

The answer to the 11th LOCATION, LOCATION, Location? is the famed Westin Bonaventure Hotel located in downtown Los Angeles, CA.  Surprisingly, not much has changed at this hotel over the years, so a NOW and THEN photo really isn’t necessary, but there is a lot of filming history to this place, so let’s get to it.


The Westin Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles


If you haven’t already caught the 11 (eleven) reference, it was deemed appropriate to use the Westin Bonaventure Hotel for this LOCATION, LOCATION, Location? post because the hotel was featured (very briefly) as the location for the Recording Industry Convention in Rob Reiner’s 1984 rock music mockumentary, This is Spinal Tap.  The location was where the band received terrible news that their label,  Polymer Records, would not approve their album cover. Still don’t get the 11 reference?  Well, here’s a clip …




If you’re interested in knowing more about This is Spinal Tap, look it up on IMDB.  It’s the only film on the site that has a rating chart from 1 to 11. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088258/





“It’s a Living” was set in the hotel’s lounge.

The Westin Bonaventure has actually had much more screen time in many other films and television shows throughout the years.  It was heavily used as a location for the suspenseful finale of Clint Eastwood’s 1993 thriller, In the Line of Fire – a film that utilizes many features of the hotel and makes it central to wrapping up the plot.  Are you a fan of “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century”?  Well, the Westin Bonaventure made several appearances in that show using both the exterior and interior as a futuristic setting. Speaking of TV, the hotel’s revolving rooftop lounge/restaurant was recreated as the setting for the 1980’s television show, “It’s a Living” starring a pre-“Wings”, Crystal Bernard, Ann Jillian and an ensemble cast.


The Bonaventure’s pool in ‘Rain Man’.

Tom Cruise was seen at the hotel’s pool in 1988’s Rain Man where, as Charlie Babbitt, he refused a hefty paycheck in order to spend more time with his brother Raymond, played by Dustin Hoffman.  (On a side note, that scene was played out against the film’s producer, Gerald R. Molen, who often appeared in cameos of films he produced. He was also the game warden working with the sick Triceratops in Jurassic Park.  Nice guy if you ever get to meet him.)

Arnold Schwarzenegger galloped through the hotel as well – literally – and only a year after Clint Eastwood shot up the place.  The hotel lobby, fountain and elevators were used for an exciting action scene involving Arnie on horseback chasing the bad guy in James Cameron’s 1994 action-comedy hit, True Lies.


Arnie gallops through the hotel in pursuit.

The hotel’s impressive filmography goes on and on with appearances in such films as Nick of Time, Strange Days, Midnight Madness, The Lincoln Lawyer, Showtime, Hancock, Forget Paris, Blue Thunder, and Mission Impossible III.  It even had an appearance in the beginning of Lionel Richie’s Dancing on the Ceiling music video.  No doubt, the hotel being used as a filming location isn’t going to stop any time soon.

If you have several hundred dollars to spare for parking at the hotel or in downtown Los Angeles, take a visit to the Westin Bonaventure and relive some movie and TV magic.  As you walk through the hotel, make sure to note the bronze plaques that have been put up which point out where several productions were filmed.


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:


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