There is more to Los Angeles than the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. Like its East coast counterpart, New York, LA has been the backdrop for many films: the contrast between wealthy neighbourhoods and the city’s grim underbelly are what make Los Angeles one of the greatest natural sets.

 

5. The Terminator

James Cameron’s classic tends to pop up in a few of my Top 5s but for good reason. Here, it is for the view of a sunny and harmless Los Angeles during the day and an eerily sinister LA at night. The city adds to the atmosphere of Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) fleeing with Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) from the relentless eponymous cyborg (Arnold Schwarzenegger).

 

 

4. Mulholland Drive

In typical David Lynch style, Mulholland Drive is a surrealist look at Hollywood that had never before been captured in such a way. Named after a road in Los Angeles, the film follows Betty Elms (Naomi Watts), a budding actress, who loses her memory after an accident.

Like a lot of work by Lynch, the film creates many questions and is a little puzzling at times, but blurring the lines between fiction and reality are what make this strange and twisted love letter to Hollywood so intriguing.

 

 

3. Crash

Overlapping and intertwining stories may feel gimmicky, today, but Crash reminds us of how it can still be done – and done well. In this emotionally charged drama, race, prejudice and forgiveness are themes throughout the film that connect the characters. Although it is home to the iconic Hollywood sign, the Los Angeles we see in Crash is a bleak place and far from what we know as the land where dreams come true.

 

 

2. Boyz n the Hood

John Singleton directs this coming-of-age story that takes a stark look at life in South Central LA: a side of the city that was unfamiliar to many people. By incorporating gangster rap, race relations, and gang warfare in LA, Singleton created a zeitgeist film that had a strong social impact when it was released, but which is still as powerful 21 years later.

 

 

1. L.A. Confidential

L.A. Confidential has everything you could want from a crime thriller: an unsolved murder, corruption and a great ending that makes you want to immediately watch the film all over again. A pre-Gladiator Russell Crowe stars as a brutish Officer Bud White who becomes embroiled in corruption in the LAPD. Kim Basinger and Kevin Spacey also star in this cleverly written homage to classic 1940s and 1950s noir films. 

 

 

About The Author

...an east Londoner who has an unhealthy long-standing love affair with films!

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