Category Archives: The Sign in the Movies

Here’s a quick look at all of the Sign’s many roles through the years, including each film’s year of release, the Sign’s co-stars and director, and a brief description of its big screen moment …

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.

Here’s a quick look at all of the Sign’s many roles through the years, including each film’s year of release, the Sign’s co-stars and director, and a brief description of its big screen moment …