LATEST NEWS[May 2013]
Continuing the Hollywood Sign's 90th anniversary celebration, a new slideshow has been posted titled "Moments in Hollywood Sign History: The 1978 Rebuild" … »[April 2013]
As part of the 90th celebration of the Hollywood Sign, the Hollywood Sign Trust will be featuring "Legends and Lore of the Hollywood Sign" slideshows on the home page. … »[March 2013]
The Hollywood Sign is proud to be in Argo, which just won the Academy Award for Best Picture. The Hollywood Sign is the hardest working actress in Hollywood appearing in over 150 movies,… »[February 2013]
Dick Van Dyke was honored with the SAG Lifetime Achievement award. He starred in a 3D movie about the legend of the Hollywood Sign caretaker who replaced the light bulbs at the Sign when… »
Category Archives: The Sign in the Movies
The Sign in the Movies: A Towering Hollywood Star
AN OPEN CALL FOR ALL FILM BUFFS!
We've listed over 70 films, TV shows, video games and music videos below that have featured the Sign, but there may be more. If you spot a cameo by the Sign that isn't on our list, please email us with details about the sighting right away.
If we add it to our list, and you'd like credit for your discovery, we'll put your name in the listing. You'll be a part of Hollywood Sign history!
A 50-foot pop culture icon can only get so far in Hollywood without catching the eyes of "movie people." So it should come as no surprise that the Hollywood Sign has been in its fair share of films – many more, in fact, than celebrated A-listers like George Clooney or Cate Blanchett.
Though it is such a towering Hollywood star, it is little known that the Sign was a bit of a child prodigy, appearing in its first feature-length motion picture (1935's "Hollywood Boulevard ") at the tender age of 12. Despite this promising debut, the Sign had to wait until it was almost 50 years old before it started landing regular callbacks! The reason for the snub? While the vast majority of American movies were filmed in Hollywood before then, very few were set in Hollywood – so the Sign's presence would have been a dead giveaway. Hollywood, at least in the mainstream imagination, was a place where movies were made, not a place populated by real people, dramas and stories.
It wasn't until the Sign wowed the industry a bit part in 1970's Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and with its thrilling stuntman appearance in 1974's "Earthquake" that the calls started pouring in. From 1935 to today, the Sign has appeared in, according to our count, well over 70 films, television shows, and video games.Through the years, it's starred alongside the likes of Warren Beatty, Marlon Brando, Charlton Heston, Ava Gardner, Johnny Depp, and Jim Carrey. The Sign has co-starred in more than one film with four different actors: Jennifer Connelly ("The Rocketeer" and "Career Opportunities"). Charlize Theron ("The Italian Job" and "Mighty Joe Young"). Mike Meyers ("Austin Powers in Goldmember" and "Shrek II", and Donald Sutherland ("The Italian Job" and "The Day of the Locust").
True, the Sign may have had an opportunity to "rub letters" with some of the biggest names in Hollywood, but it's also had its share of career challenges. For one thing, the Sign has struggled to move beyond its typecast role as a signifier of massive-scale destruction, having been destroyed no less than 10 times on screen – by everything from earthquakes and global warming, to a giant gorilla and, most fearsome of all, John Belushi.While the roles haven't always been great, the Sign has added something to every film it's been in, whether it's being used to quickly establish a setting, deliver a visual punch-line, or add a chilling note of "reality" to a depiction of disaster or a future gone awry.
The Black Dahlia (2006)
Starring Josh Hartnett, Scarlett Johansson, Hillary Swank.
Directed by Brian DePalma.
The Sign, which at thetime of the film’s setting (1940) still read HOLLYWOODLAND, was near the site of the grisly Black Dahlia murder. It’s shown, accurately, with the “H” damaged, as it would have been before the Chamber of Commerce’s 1949 refurbishment.
Starring Nicole Kidman, Will Ferrell, Shirley MacLaine, Michael Caine.
Directed by Nora Ephron.
A gorgeous helicopter shot of the Sign is seen in the opening credits.
(Contributed by Marcel Pazzin)
Win a Date With Tad Hamilton! (2004)
Starring Kate Bosworth, Topher Grace.
Directed by Robert Luketic.
In the animated opening credits, the Hollywood Sign makes an appearance to set up the romantic comedy plot of a small town girl winning a date with a movie star.
Starring Beau Bridges, Kim Delaney.
Directed by John Lafia.
This emmy-nominated TV movie depicts what would happen to Los Angeles in the event of a 10.5 earthquake. Given the magnitude of the quake, the damage isn’t that bad: Only one of the Ls and a W go toppling over the hillside this time. Heck, the Sign probably looked worse circa 1976.
Super Babies: Baby Geniuses 2 (2004)
Starring Jon Voight, Scott Baio.
Directed by Bob Clark.
The film’s villain (an immortal baby who never ages) has a secret lair inside of the Sign’s H.
Shrek II (2004)
Mike Meyers, Eddie Murphy.
Directed by Andrew Adamson, Kelly Asbury, Conrad Vernon.
Our heroes arrive in a land far far away … as evidenced by a ridiculous FAR FAR AWAY Sign that’s similar in appearance to the Hollywood Sign.
The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
Starring Dennis Quaid, Jake Gyllenhaal.
Directed by Roland Emmerich.
You KNOW the climate is getting weird when it’s a tornado, not an Earthquake, that knocks the Sign over — in this case, killing an innocent reporter who’s covering the freak storm from the street below.
Hollywood Homicide (2003)
Starring Harrison Ford and Josh Hartnett
Directed by Ron Shelton
The Hollywood Sign is featured in the opening credits of movie where two LAPD detectives who moonlight in other fields investigate the murder of an up-and-coming rap group.
(Contributed by Ethan Mitchell)
Starring Samuel L. Jackson, Colin Farrell, Michelle Rodriguez, LL Cool J.
Directed by Clark Johnson.
Once again, the Sign sets the scene. At the very start of the movie, we hear a police radio requesting S.W.A.T. assistance, and the camera flies over the Sign into downtown Los Angeles to show a thrilling bank robbery taking place.
(Contributed by Emma-Louise Rabson)
The Italian Job (2003)
Starring Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, Donald Sutherland, Jason Statham, Seth Green, Mos Def, Edward Norton.
Directed by F. Gary Gray.