LATEST NEWS[November 2013]
Yes, Hollywood has had a Sign for 90 years but what was Hollywood like before 1923? Check out our new homepage slideshow for a glimpse of pre-Sign Hollywood.… »[October 2013]
As Halloween approaches, the Hollywood Sign remembers all the times its been pranked. While that is one of the reasons why the Sign has such intense security now, it's fun to remember… »[September 2013]
The Hollywood Sign is celebrating its 90th anniversary this month with a party hosted by the Hollywood Sign Trust and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Although we know the Hollywood… »[August 2013]
The Hollywood Sign teamed up with Oscars Outdoors for a special outdoor screening of Safety Last, a 1923 silent romantic comedy featuring the iconic image of Harold Lloyd clutching the… »
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.
Gangster Squad (2013)
Written by Will Beall and Paul Lieberman
Directed by Ruben Fleischer
Starring Emma Stone, Sean Penn, and Ryan Gosling
Los Angeles, 1949: A secret crew of police officers led by two determined sergeants work together in an effort to take down the ruthless mob king Mickey Cohen who runs the city.
In the first scene of the movie, it shows the Griffith Observatory then the camera zooms over to the Hollywoodland Sign.
(Contributed by Lisa Iwanyszyn)
Seven Psychopaths (2012)
Written and Directed by Martin McDonagh
Starring Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, and Woody Harrelson
Seven Psychopaths is a 2012 British black comedy film written, co-produced and directed by Martin McDonagh. It stars Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Tom Waits, and Christopher Walken. The film marks the second collaboration between McDonagh and Farrell, following 2008′s In Bruges.
Directed by Ben Affleck
Screenplay by Chris Terrio
Starring Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, and John Goodman
Argo is a 2012 American thriller film directed by Ben Affleck; it is a dramatization of the “Canadian Caper” based on an article published in 2007, in which Tony Mendez, a CIA operative, led the rescue of six U.S. diplomats from Tehran, Iran, during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis.
Rock of Ages (2012)
Directed by Adam Shankman
Written by Justin Theroux, Chris D’Arienzo, and Allan Loeb
Starring Tom Cruise, Alec Bladwin, and Julianne Hough
Set in 1987 Los Angeles, Drew and Sherrie are two young people chasing their dreams in the big city. When they meet, it’s love at first sight, though their romance will face a series of challenges.
(Contributed by Janet Chance)
Current 20th Century Fox opening logo animation
20th Century Fox knows that nothing says “showbiz” like the Hollywood Sign, which is why the world-famous icon is now being used to open all of the studio’s releases … Looks like we’ll be seeing even more of the Hollywood Sign at the movies in the very near future!
Friends with Benefits (2011)
Directed by Will Gluck.
Starring Mila Kunis, Justin Timberlake, Patricia Clarkson.
Promotional trailers for this film show Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake sitting on the “H” of the Sign.
(Contributed by Mary Mallory)
Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)
Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson.
Starring Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Kim Coates, Shawn Roberts.
Promotional posters for this film show Milla Jovovich striding over the Hollywood Hills past a blasted, weathered “H” from the Sign.
(Contributed by Duff Ferguson)
Valentine's Day (2010)
Directed by Garry Marshall.
Starring Jessica Alba, Kathy Bates, Jessica Biel, Bradley Cooper.
The Sign appears in the background during a soccer match.
(Contributed by Yvanne Kennedy)
The Runaways (2010)
Directed by Floria Sigismondi.
Starring Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning, Michael Shannon, Stella Maeve, Tatum O’Neill.
The Sign looms large in this coming-of-age biopic about 70′s teenage band The Runaways, including a scene where the band hangs out behind the letters of the Sign.
(Contributed by Beth McGroarty, Los Angeles, CA)
Starring Sterling Knight, Brandon Mychal Smith, Daniel Campbell.
No movie about star struck teens going to Hollywood would be complete without a mandatory shot of the Sign, and this popular Disney Channel Original Movie is no exception. The landmark also figures large in the promotional Bus Tour mini-films made for the film, as the film’s stars are taken on a special tour of glamorous Hollywood sights.
(Contributed by Whitney Petralia)