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Venice Centennial

Birth of Venice and early years

Actors, Filmmakers and Writers in Venice live or lived

Actors, Filmmakers and Writers in Venice hung out

Venice on TV

Venice and Theater

Program of the 1978 Venice Festival at the Fox Venice Theater

The Fox Venice Theater

Tale of the Fox
(from Free Venice Beachhead)

1981 Resistance Celebration Schedule

1981 Resistance Celebration Articles

The Rhythm of Venice Beach

University of Venice


Beats film

Venice - Ocean Park

Showbiz Comes to Venice

Spoken Word

Annual Events


Institutions, Organizations, Foundations

Publishers etc.

Rubber Tramps of

Vector Supercar

Paul Tanck on
Venice-related films

The Venice Walk

JJ for President







Films - Alphabetical by Title

The Acts of Venice Beach (2001) Video by "Mad" Chad Taylor, skateboarding comedian and juggler of bizarre objects such as chainsaws.

After 40 Years of Working by Demetrios. A record of the closing of the Eames design office at 901 Washington Boulevard - and its influence on architecture, furniture design, and film.

Akeelah and the Bee (2005) - Los Angeles schoolgirl aspires to the national spelling bee

Ambrose’s Fury - directed by Mack Sennett: Keystone Kops plus roller coasters

American History X When a skinhead gang leader from Venice goes to the penitentiary for killing two black youths, his kid brother takes up the torch and carries on.

American Pie (1999)

And Then There Is Always The Possibility of Disappearing Altogether (1975) indie production by Pegarty Long. The tearing down of the old burned pier serves as a symbol of loss and the difficulty of change.

Apt Pupil (1998)

Arachnophobia (1990) According to a website that keeps track of such things, some location shooting was in Venice.

The Arousers (1970) aka Sweet Kill, A Kiss from Eddie - Tab Hunter is in it

The Art of Survival (1995) The subject is artistand Holocaust survivor Tibor Jankay; the filmmaker Harlan Steinberger

Assault on Precinct 13 director John Carpenter, exteriors and jail scenes filmed at the old Venice police station

Attaway (2005) 8 min -documentary on local artist, by Christopher Gallo

The Babymaker (1970) stars Barbara Hershey, was shot at the Fox Venice Theatre and includes light show footage from Single Wing Turquoise Bird, with real-life Venice artists and musicians in their native environment.

Bachelor Party

Battle for the Boardwalk documentary by Aaron Waugh on the struggle between vendors and artists, "cries for salvation in the wake of capitalism and enterprise."

Beach House (1995) also known as The Freshman, Venice Beach Girls. Three male college students cant get into campus housing so they rent a house, guess where, and take in a rich sorority girl to help with the rent. Known as "the best movie in the worst genre."

The Beat from Within: Reflections of a Beatnik (1963) 12 minutes Life at the Venice West Café with scenes of John and Anna Haag, POP and the Ocean Front Walk Trolley! Directed by Tom Koester. Available on DVD, for $15.50 from ralphmorin (at) verzon.net. It screened a while ago at the Egyptian Theater and also on KCET and people seemed to get a kick out of it.

The Beats: an existential comedy (1980) by Philomene Long, made for under $5000. Groucho Marx interviews what one reviewer calls a "scruffy looking Venice Beach poet" on his TV show, Stuart Z. Perkoff. Also with Allen Ginsberg, Frank Rios, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Shirley Clarke. Lawrence Lipton reads at the Venice West coffeehouse, accompanied by bongo drums.

Being Human (1993) According to a website that keeps track of such things, some location shooting was in Venice.

The Big Fix (1978) Richard Dreyfuss plays detective Moses Wine, a nice guy who sings his kids to sleep over the phone. His ex-wife goes out with a BEST trainer. Moses Wine pursues the villain to a house in the canal district, #451 on some street, which turns out to be boarded up. There are scenes at the Israel Levin Senior Adult Center, the boardwalk, and a pier, which one I'm not sure.

The Big Lebowski - The Dude lives in a courtyard apartment in Venice

The Birds 1963

Blast from the Past About a boy born in a bomb shelter, has scenes filmed at Venice Beach including the star jumping in the ocean with all his clothes on.

Bloodfist VII: Manhunt (1995) Don "The Dragon" Wilson - Venice is only one of the many areas of Los Angeles through which the protagonist is chased by police.

Blow (2001) starts with a Venice beach scene

Breakin’ (1984) - some scenes filmed at Venice Beach

Breathless - (saw the location crew near the near "The Fall of Icarus")

Brink - Venice Beach location

Brucemas (1968) indie film by Dan McLaughlin

The Buddy System (1984) Joe (Richard Dreyfuss) is a school security guard who lives in the canal district in an incredibly charming house with stained glass windows. He goes out to feed ducks. There's a scene on West Washington, where his girlfriend works in a dress shop. He has invented a bathroom scale that talks. "You've gained seven pounds. If you want to put something in your mouth, try a gun." A boy tries to matchmake between his mom (Susan Sarandon) and Joe, but Joe goes back to his old girlfriend. After a decent interval, Tim and his mom drop by to visit, but Joe has moved - given up that place with hardwood floors and all those shelves - now we know he's a fool.

Bucket of Blood (1959) Roger Corman, doing what he does best. Partly filmed at the Gas House, a legendary Beat hangout on the boardwalk.

Bullitt (1968)

Butterfly Man - Two of its creators flew to Los Angeles to seek funding, and on the way in from the airport, passed a freshly-shot corpse only yards away from where they were to stay, near Venice Beach.

California Dreaming (1979) Young man from the Midwest tries to join the glamour crowd at the beach.

California Suite (1978)

The Camera Man - Buster Keaton - boardwalk and pier

Canals, Calliopes & Chaos indie film by Tom Moran and Tom Sewell

Carrie (1976)

Carroll Shelby: An Interview with the Snake 1960s footage of racing Cobras and scenes inside the Shelby facility at Venice

Charlie’s Angels Cameron Diaz's apartment is in Venice. When a delivery man shows up at her door, you can see a canal in the background.

The Circus

Cisco Pike - written and directed by Venice resident Bill Norton. Is said to have some night shots of Pacific Ocean Park and some exteriors at the far north end of Ocean Front Walk (Paul Tanck's thoughts about it)

Closing Day at the Lafayette Cafe - Lance Diskan

Cobra (Paul Tanck's thoughts about it)

Colors (1988) Dedicated to the glory of CRASH, the gang-banging unit of the Los Angeles Police Dept. Partly filmed in Venice

Crash (2005) - said to have 9 plotlines; said to have at least one Venice location.

Crazy Love also known as Love is a Dog From Hell (1987) Based on Charles Bukowski's story "The Copulating Mermaid of Venice, California" and said to be the author's favorite movie made from one of his works. A frustrated boy, full of romantic longing, grows up to be a necrophiliac. Directed by Dominique Derudderre, in Dutch, it nevertheless won an award for best Belgian film.

Curse of the Faceless Man (1958) One location is supposed to be the Cove of the Blind Fishermen, but it’s actually part of Venice Beach.

Dan Aykroyd Unplugged Footage of UFOs, including those sighted from Venice

Dark Angel (1925) Don’t know what it was about, but this 8-reel Samuel Goldwyn movie previewed in Venice, attended by Rudolph Valentino, Marion Davies and William Randolph Hearst, Norma Talmadge, Joe Schenck, Elinor Glyn, and other luminaries.

Death in Venice, CA (1994) Based of course on the Thomas Mann classic Death in Venice. A stressed-out academic type spends some downtime at the beach and develops lust for a 17-year-old boy who is involved with the "rough trade of Venice beach, boardwalks, and public toilets." Very acclaimed by the gay community, has won several impressive awards.

Deep Freeze - this Leon Russell concert video was painfully edited in Venice. Read the fascinating story here.

Democracy Poem - Janice Yudell

Desperate Teenage Lovedolls (2003) "comically punky version of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls"; includes a character called Bum Under Pier

Disaster Relief (2005) 3 min.by Ann Randolph on homelessness

Divide and Conquer a documentary by Aaron Waugh, is the second part of The Battle for the Boardwalk. Addresses the "challenges facing both commercial vendors and the artist."

Dogtown and Z-Boys (2002)
Skateboarding in the 70s in a rundown area bordering Venice. In 1975, the Zephyr Skating Team showed everybody what it was all about at the Del Mar Nationals. True artistry and a slice of significant cultural history.Los Angeles Magazine named this one of the 25 greatest movies about L.A. Joe Joesting, a self-described androgynous youth, says Venice is called Dog Town "because of the stray dogs and the ugly girls chasing after the surfers."

Double Indemnity (1944)

Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986) - I love Richard Dreyfuss in anything, especially in Venice. Harry Perry makes an appearance too.

Dracula Vs. Frankenstein (1971)
"We must kill more girls, Groton. We are scientists!"
The evil doctor Durea runs a funhouse on the boardwalk, as a front for the gruesome hobby he practices in the grand Frankenstein tradition in his basement laboratory. ("I have to wonder about the layout of the Chamber of Horrors: it's on a pier over the beach, but somehow it manages to have stone steps leading down to a deep basement," says one unnamed critic.) With the help of his assistant, who kills nubile young women on the fog-enshrouded boardwalk, the doctor experiments with reviving the dead.
A woman called Judith learns from the Missing Persons Bureau of Venice that her sister has disappeared into the hippie underworld. A cop tells her the beach is "a hangout for pushers and white slavery operators... you'd be surprised just how many young girls come out here just hoping to get involved in all this kind of stuff." Judith searches for her sister in a sleazy Venice nightclub and a sleazy biker slips her a hit of acid. Meanwhile back at the funhouse Grazbo, the evil doc’s other assistant, greets a hippie couple, Strange and Samantha and they view waxwork atrocities. There are various acts of rape and murder. Dracula comes into the action somehow.

Dragnet (1987) - car chase scene and destruction on Speedway

Easy Rider - Not Venice location, but influential poet and visual artist Wallace Berman plays a sower of seeds

Echoes of Venice West indie film Bob Chatterton

Emperor of Hemp (1999) - Includes boardwalk footage and the world’s first hemp store, a stand run by Jack Herer and Captain Ed late in 1979

The End of the Western World - SuZi Zimmerman - boardwalk performers

Evil is Live Spelled Backwards (1970) indie film by Dan McLaughlin

Fade to Black (1980) Plenty of location shots of the old Venice Jail and City Hall (now the Public Arts place and Beyond Baroque) and Windward Avenue, Market Street and the boardwalk - I've been told. There seem to be several movies with this title.

The Falcon and the Snowman - The stars sit on a bench at one of the pagodas, near where the real spies met to pass state secrets.

Falling Down (1993) Michael Douglas loses it. His ex-wife (Barbara Hershey) and kid live in Venice, which is where he's trying to go when all the aggravations get in the way. Horribly distressing climax at pier.

Fantasy by the Sea - Tom Sewell, Tom Moran, goes with their book of the same name

Feeding the Sparrows by Feeding the Horses (1978) 71 minute documentary by Moritz Borman, produced by ZDF German Television, explores the political struggles for the hearts and minds of our community. Its world premiere was at the Venice Night festival. Includes Moe Stavnezer, Arnold Springer, Sweet William, Frank Gehry, the Venice BeachHead staff.

Fifth Horizon - an imaginary film, shot mostly in Venice, in the novel A Darkness More Than Night by Michael Connelly

50 Nuts - biker video that promises "Even someone with a severe case of A.D.D. can't look away from the grinds, flips, tricks, and racing portrayed in this flick."

Fish Hooky - Little Rascals; made around the roller coaster out at the end of the pier.

Fletch (1985) In this comedy, Chevy Chase is a reporter investigating drug dealers at Venice Beach

Floundering (1994) Down and out in Venice, a black comedy in the aftermath of the LA riots. An unemployed man, his brother the drug addict, and his cheating girlfriend. Interesting cast includes Billy Bob Thornton, Steve Buscemi, Exene Cervenka. Director Peter McCarthy lived in Venice at the time. Described as "uneven," the movie ends with Elvis Costello's "What's So Funny Bout Peace, Love and Understanding?" - a strange personal coincidence because one of the years I lived in Venice, the holiday cards I designed quoted those words.

Forbidden Zone (1981) Made by the Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo, an unremittingly bizarre film, like the raunchiest of underground comix come to life. Indeed there is a bit of animation although mostly it's live actors, like Viva as the ex-queen, and the charismatic Marie-Pascale Elfman as Frenchy. The Forbidden Zone is accessed through - where else?- a dilapidated house in Venice. The sets are painted and expressionistic; the highlights include a human skeleton wearing a bra and a nightmare grade-school classroom where the students shoot craps and pack Saturday Night Specials. At the Fox Venice Theater world premiere the pre-sold audience broke into applause frequently, particularly for Susan Tyrrell's production number as the voluptuous and evil Queen of the Zone, the appearance of Herve' Villachaize as the King; and most spectacularly for Danny Elfman, alias Satan. This movie is mentioned by a film-buff character in William Gibson's Virtual Light.

Frankie & Johnny Are Married directed by and starring Venice director/actor Michael Pressman, and co-starring his wife Lisa Chess, won the first Abbot Award, for excellence in filmmaking. A romantic comedy, set and shot primarily in Venice, chronicles the couple's real-life misadventures mounting an equity-waiver play

Free Emma Viser (1975) by Janice Yudell

From Hell's Angel to Harvester For Jesus, Gene and Joanne Culver (1990) Hell's Angel-turned-Christian, who apparently had some presence in Venice.

Gang! Just what it sounds like. Title was later changed to Walk Proud! There's quite a lot about the making of it in my book Call Someplace Paradise.

Get Shorty (1995) All the Miami scenes were shot in Santa Monica, Marina Del Rey, and Venice

Giant (1956) I know it's hard to believe, but this is according to a website that keeps track of location shooting

Go! (1999) a character named Derek is leader of skinhead white supremacists in Venice.

The Golden Box (1970) Hired gunmen kill nightclub piano player, steal music book which contains coded information on treasure. Two hostesses follow them across country and the drama ends abruptly in the canals of Venice.

The Goonies (1985)

Graffiti Verite' (1999) Graffiti artist SANO demonstrates sketching, outlining and fading, highlighting and shadowing, can control, 3D effects, and more, on a 50-foot long wall at Venice Beach

GV6: The Odyssey - has a bit of boardwalk footage

Grease Venice High was Rydell High in the film

Greetings from L.A - Harry Perry is in it, so maybe some landscape too.

Groovy (1967or 68) Legendary lost film of Strawberry Alarm Clock performance at the beach

Gunga Din (1939)

Halloween (1978)

Hardware Wars (1977) The Ernie Fosselius classic was made in San Francisco and has nothing to do with Venice, except that I first saw it at the Venice Library in 1978. The satire was shot on an $8,000 budget and as of 1997 had grossed over $500,000, earning the status of most profitable independent short film ever made to date. Won 15 first place film festival awards. Ernie Fosselius was at one point a member of the Venice band The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo

Harry and Tonto (1974) Art Carney ends up on a bench at Venice Beach.

Hero and the Terror (1988) Chuck Norris vehicle, from Michael Blodgett’s novel and screenplay. In the book Hero was a Venice policeman, I don’t know if the movie specified which department he worked for.

Hey, Mama (1968) Indie film by Vaughn Obern

High Sierra (1941)

The Hippie Revolt (1967) Looks at the '60s lifestyle in various hotbeds of it, including Venice.

The Hitcher (1986) George W. Bush was a member of the production company

Hitchhike to Hollywood - about boardwalk musician Harry Perry

Hollywood Homicide (2003) One of the characters has a mother who lives in a little white canal house. There is a chase scene through the canal district, and the bad guy jumps in the water. Director Ron Shelton is quoted as saying it would be a great place for a chase scene because "I thought it was a view of L.A. we haven’t seen before….." which makes you wonder where he’s been all his life.

Hoppyland - 15 minute video from film of the 1951 opening day ceremonies at the 80-acre theme park built by William F. Boyd the actor who played Hopalong Cassidy.

Hot Moves (1985) 85 minutes. I have to admit I went into this with low expectations, but was pleasantly entertained by a pretty funny movie. There is a plot - four virginal young boys decide to make getting laid their summer project. Hot Moves starts off with plenty of jazzy vertigo-inducing camera techniques, but thankfully settles down somewhat as it goes along. There's as much Venice in it as anybody could want. We get the acts of a number of beach performers, energetic individuals with incredible moves, and a plethora of nekkid girls. There's a cool special effects animation fantasy sequence. Favorite character: Virgil Frye as the Porno Man

The Hypnotic Eye (1960) Low budget horror pic, not made in Venice, but with Gas House regulars Lawrence Lipton (as king of the Beatniks) and Eric Nord (playing a bongo drum). Rumor had it that the actors were actually hypnotized, and the movie was banned in Finland.

I Don't Know (1971) indie film by Penelope Spheeris

I Love You Alice B. Toklas (1968) Another satire of hippie culture, partly filmed on Windward Avenue and the boardwalk.

The Ice Cream Man (2001) illuminates a melting pot of cultures in a two-mile radius of Venice Beach. Dylan Rush says, "I feel like I’m sharing my neighborhood with the world."

Icetown and M-Boys - "mockumentary," World Premiere at the Other Venice Film Festival 2005

In Venice - by Rich Mann

Incision (1974) Pegarty Long

The Irish Vampire Goes West Pegarty Long - upcoming horror-fantasy feature

Irreversible (1973) Pegarty Long, the burned Venice pier is a backdrop

The Italians (1915) Written and produced by the legendary Thomas Ince, recovered during the '70s. An Italian gondolier falls in love with an American girl, and as a poor immigrant in the New York slums seeks vengeance on the man who refused to help his dying child. Said to be a very good film; its naturalism and acting style are particularly praised. The canals of Venice looked a lot more like the ones in Italy in those days. According to William K. Everson in American Silent Film, this movie was used by Francis Ford Coppola as a basic model and constant reference when making The Godfather.

Jazz at the Front Porch - John Hunt, Paul Challacombe

The Jazz Singer (1980) a scene was filmed on the boardwalk.

Jerry McGuire (1996)

Joe Frank Short Films - there are said to exist two short films by this radio monologist who amused people for more than 20 years on NPR. His Venice connection? Well, he did a "Live at Market Street" show in 1988; and the subjects of two of his raps are described as (1) a man who fought in the war in Europe, joined a monastery, and eventually became a homeless alcoholic in Venice and (2) Joe lies to Larry about pushing a fisherman off the pier at Venice Beach.

Kid Auto Races at Venice (1914) In the early days there was an annual soapbox derby, and during an interlude when rain stopped work on Mabel's Strange Predicament, Mack Sennett rounded up Chaplin and four of the Keystone kid actors and they made this little movie in 45 minutes. Michael Ventura calls it "six minutes and 10 seconds of weird prophetic poetry .... one of the most significant pictures ever" because it was in selecting a costume for this film that Chaplin discovered his trademark Little Tramp look. He quotes Chaplin: "For me he was fixed, complete, the moment I looked in the mirror and saw him for the first time, yet even now I don't know all the things there are to be known about him….I created him, but I am not him, and yet sometimes our paths cross."

King of Venice (1995) - Gerry Fialka

King Sonny Zorro Millennium (1993) 30 min. by Barbara Peck, about the legendary boardwalk musician

L.A. Backwater: the Venice Canals (1974 or 76) indie documentary by Jeanne Rosenberg, Jane Spiller

L.A. Story (1991) Steve Martin as a TV personality with women troubles

Little Dragons (1978? 80?) Executive producer: Venice denizen Tony Bill. Outside of a dance hall barn where some kind of hootenanny is going on, two kids are smoking a joint. The boy wears an orange tee shirt with "Venice" written across it, exactly like the one my daughter bought on the boardwalk.

Living the Blues - 13 min about the band Canned Heat, who originated in Venice

Lolita (1997)

Lords of Dogtown to be released summer 2005. The Z-Boys take unauthorized skateboard practice in empty swimming pools

Los Angeles Plays Itself CalArts film professor Thom Andersen chronicles the filmmaker's irritations and elations about how his lifelong home is represented.

Los Angels - Indie film about a 12-year-old girl with a strange birthmark. "When she meets Jimmy against the backdrop of the eccentric and beautiful Venice Beach, she realizes that she's not alone."

Lost Horizon (1937)

Love Her Madly Ray Manzarek - tour of Doors-related locales

Mabel’s Strange Predicament (1914)

Mabel’s Wilful Way (1915)

Magnificent Obsession (1954)

The Man in the Photo Booth - A Venice Memoir - 3 decades of avant garde misadventures…Tom’s first job in town was to paint psychedelic abstracts on nude models for Roger Corman’s The Trip

Marlowe (1969) In a book put together by beat artist Bob Farrington, a photo is captioned, "James Garner making Marlowe at the Infinite Pad next to our house at 28 Ketch Street."

Matchstick Men - con artist Nick Cage picks up his daughter at Venice High

Max Dugan Returns (1983) Hammond Lumber Company and the Rose Cafe make appearances.

Michael Brod's "Whoever in Transit" (1974) by William Moritz - Documentation of an environmental art work, starring the people of Venice, California.

Mike's Murder (1987) On Betty's wall we see an example of the distinctive Fox Venice Theater schedule. She loves Mike, whose criminal friend Pete lives in the canal district. As Mike calls Betty from somewhere between Venice and Ocean Park, we get a brief glimpse of Speedway. After Mike gets grabbed elsewhere, Pete goes back to canal house. An ominous car pulls up and he runs across a footbridge. Next day he walks around the neighborhood alleys trying to figure out what to do. Betty goes to a Venice art opening courtesy of her conceptual artist friend.

Million Dollar Baby

Misery (1990)

Mixed Nuts (1994) Steve Martin and, among others, Juliette Lewis. Universally loathed by reviewers; I thought it was fun.

The Model Shop (1969) - (Paul Tanck's thoughts about it)

Mommie Dearest (1981)

Monkey Trouble - Harvey Keitel as small-time thief and boardwalk organ grinder whose monkey is trained to pick pockets

Mother, Juggs and Speed Rick Feibusch says, "For those of you out there who wish to restore the squalor of the past, go rent a video of Mother, Juggs, and Speed and look at the "old Venice" you hoped would remain. Back in the hole! Though it's cool to see Bill Cosby before he got all "Huxtabuled" out."

Mr. P's Dancing Sushi Bar (1999) Vietnam veteran is chef at Venice sushi restaurant, his wife works in a t-shirt shop and gets politically involved.

Naked Brown Men - hip-hop comedy. The Basco Brothers and some of the cast and crew were living in Venice when it was made

The Net - feature film, thriller. Heroine is a computer analyst who works at home in a canal house and gets crossways of "a group of Internet anarchists called the Praetorians who want to collapse the social order."

Newsreel (1938) one of the subjects is: "Down to the sea on snow in Venice, California. It's real snow, too, put on a toboggan slide, and for once those beach beauties really get wet."

Night Tide (1961) - 84 min - by avant-garde indie filmmaker Curtis Harrington. Sailor (Dennis Hopper) meets mermaid; no good comes of it. Described by one critic as a " lovely mood piece" with a "loose, lyrical quality." Cast includes Cameron the witch. Said to be Harrington’s best work, partly because the cinematographer is Floyd Crosby, father of musician David.

Number Our Days Morrie Rosen, director of the Israel Levin Center, hosts this film about the elderly Jewish community of Venice

Number Please? (1920) Starring Harold Lloyd, written and directed by Hal Roach. Girl dumps boy for a guy who’ll buy her a balloon ride. Jilted lover tries suicide by roller coaster. Explores the comic possibilities of many different amusement park attractions.

On Oceanfront Walk (1977) indie film by Mark Rosner

On the Loose: Venice Beach a porno movie

On the Road All Day Everyday Pillar is a Christian rock band, and here they are at Venice Beach, among other places.

Once Upon a Knight (1961) Insurance investigator must recover stolen painting of nude. He's allergic to nude women. His search leads him to Venice CA, known as the stomping ground of the beatniks. He there encounters the Nudeniks, beauties who lead Sir Seemore on a wild chase after the stolen painting.

One Man`s Justice "An Army drill sergeant scours the streets of Venice, California for the killers of his wife and daughter."

Only in Venice (2001) A funny, romantic comedy with lots of improv scenes, from Mario Romano, with Tonya Crowe as a Venice Beach astrologer, and Shari Elf

The Park-In Lot - (2004) 68 min. by.Robert Taryan, on the Dudley-Rose-Boardwalk area comunity

Photobooth: A Venice Memoir - documentary, Tom Sewell & Tom Moran

Point of No Return (1993) Adaptation of La Femme Nikita, and it's an education to watch them back-to-back. Famous turbaned skater-musician Harry Perry is in it. The house Bridget Fonda lives in is the exact one that appears in one of my paintings, "Pagodas."

P.O.P. Time Lapse (1976) indie film by Bill Alsop and Robb Stelle

Portrait of Terror (1965) (aka Blood Bath) Crazed killer hides out in seedy Venice CA hotel.

A Portrait of the Pagoda by Abbey Breit

Possessed to Skate - music video; the band is Suicidal Tendencies. Catherine Hardwicke directed it and I make the not-unreasonable assumption that it was shot in Venice.

Psychic Babble (2006) - 22 min -Burnt-out porn editor with love on his mind consults all the fortune tellers along the Venice boardwalk

Pure (2004) from NHB Productions in Venice, some interior and exterior scenes filmed at Marco Place.

Reaching for the Moon (1907) with Douglas Fairbanks
(Paul Tanck's thoughts about it)

Rebecca (1940)

Revolution Sugarbitch's music video shot entirely in Venice.

The Rhythm of Venice Beach Medicine Bow Gallery, 67 minutes, of which 42 minutes portray the Venice Beach Drum Circle. It was shown at the Big Bear Lake International Film Festival and Digital Bearfest 2000 as the Featured Documentary. Its own page is here.

Robin Hood (1922)

Rockin' at the Ocean (1979) Gretchen Nemzer looks at Venice and the boardwalk

Rocky Horror Picture Show - (1975) started as a stage play, but as a movie it at first seemed doomed to failure. The night before the official opening in Westwood, a sneak preview hosted by the Fox Venice Theater was attended by an overflow crowd of the play’s camp (ha ha) followers. That special midnight screening started a tradition that crumbled the audience/performer barrier. On consecutive weekend midnights, the same people, who tended to know all the words, returned again and again, wearing bolder costumes and bringing more props. Early in 1977, the Fox witnessed the emergence of what one insider calls the "first full-fledged character group": the Rocky Horror Revue. Between the two screenings of the film, these intrepid members of the "shadow cast" would perform on stage lip-synched versions of their favorite scenes.

Role Models (2008) - in the canal district

Roller Boogie (1979) shot partly in the canal district, and in the same Windward Avenue locale as A Touch of Evil, although made decades later and in color. "A rich teenager flees her shallow homelife ... to join in the fun at a roller disco rink."

Roller Skate Fever 15-minute short, lots of Venice boardwalk footage (or wheelage.)

Romy and Michele's High School Reunion (1997) They live in a 4th-story Venice apartment and go out clubbing a lot. Rick Feibusch says, "My personal favorite cinema view of Venice was the opening helicopter shot......and their apartment on Ocean Front Walk."

Ron Jeremy on the Loose Venice Beach A 105-minute porn extravaganza where "the sun and sand are hot, the sex and girls are even hotter." How original! Incidentally, the star is also the director.

Rubber Tramps - from Medicine Bow Gallery with commentary by Ken Kesey, about people who stay in motion. Has some Venice in it

The Sandpiper (1965)

The Savages (1967) 25 min. by Alan Gorg. A black husband and father deals with problems of youth in Ghost Town (Oakwood) section

Scotch and Milk (1998) "neo-noir", partly improvisational, written and directed by Adam Goldberg

Seabiscuit (2003)

The Secret of Michelangelo: Everyman’s Dream (1968) The subject is not Venice but the Sistine Chapel. However, this film was made by locals Alexander and Jane Eliot.

The Seventh Sign (1988) - Priest has been sent from the Vatican to Venice CA to investigate the apocalypse. Demi Moore and Michael Biehn live in Venice, strange man moves into garage apartment. Critic Michael Healy called this movie "invigoratingly awful" as well as absurd, ludicrous and silly. "There's enough idiocy and theological distortion here to offend believers of all varieties."

Shake City 101 explores the phenomenon of Krump dancing, a free-form style of hip-hop dance

Skatetown USA (1979) Fantasy roller disco musical with fairly fabulous production numbers, lots of sexy Patrick Swayze, and some real decent Venice Beach footage where hotdog skaters dribble basketballs and jump rope. The Unknown Comic, a guy with his head covered by a paper bag, gives away bags: "pictures of myself" and small bags: "pictures of myself as a baby."

Slam From The Street #4: West Coast: Venice Beach: Hoops By The Beach 4th in a series of movies about street ball

Slithis (1977) Also known as Spawn of the Slithis. One critic notes that Venice is the only star of this movie. It opens with aerial photos of the locale and was shot mostly on location in the canals, including a scene where boys find a dead dog on a canal bank. Lots of street people and a sign that reads "Venice lives." Slithis was made by Stephen Traxler, then 31, for $100,000. The filmmaker spent months in a leg cast gazing at the canals all day. "I figured something had to come out of there," he said. What came out was a vaguely humanoid mud monster. A character called Dr. John diagnosed the beast as the side effect of a radiation leak from a nuclear plant. When the movie played in theaters, the audience members were each given a Slithis Survival Kit: a barf bag and a copy machine image of the monster, which you were supposed to put under your pillow and pray to for protection. This is a film that critics love to hate. Their kindest assessment is that it seems to have been made on Quaaludes, such a large proportion of it having been filmed in slow motion, and consequently the Slithis Survival Kit should have included No-Doz. One reviewer flatly states Slithis is "not recommended for anyone, anywhere, anytime." More recently, the heavy metal band Engorged has apparently recorded a Slithis tribute. (Paul Tanck's thoughts about it)

Slumber Party Massacre (1982) The credits roll over daybreak in Venice Beach, California, where the paper boy delivers the bad news that a mass murderer has escaped. He goes after the girls' basketball team of Venice Beach High

Soft Toilet Seats (1999) "A hopelessly single man whose best friend and real estate agent, talks him into moving out of his pleasant Venice Beach den and into a suburban San Fernando Valley home"

Spartacus (1960)


Stagecoach (1939)

Stir (1998) - takes place at the run-down Waldorf Hotel. Two lovers swear their loyalty. Six years later, Joseph is killed at the Waldorf after discovering the cure for a deadly disease. There’s something about espionage and weird dreams. Karen Black is in it, always a plus.

Strange Days (1995) Juliette Lewis as Faith, the sexiest wench ever seen onscreen. She left Ralph Fiennes cruelly, but he can't get over her, and constantly plays back the multi-sensory tapes he made of the glory days skating with Faith at Venice Beach.

Streets - Runaway kids versus killer psycho cop

The Stud Farm (1969) Guy leaves home to join his brother, a successful fashion model on the West Coast. Meets hippie Sam hippie and transvestite Clarence. A film guide says, "When he arrives in Venice CA Gary learns that his brother is not a fashion model but a male prostitute at the Farm." Disillusioned he joins the Farm's male sex show in a flagellation act.

Sweet November (2001)

A Talk with Bob Schmidt (1981) John Cline says: "On August 13th, 1981, I was roaming around and ran across Bob Schmidt and spent about twenty minutes talking to him on-camera, or rather, listening to him talk. I was there for a few more days and instead of supporting his wine habit, I bought him lunch and dinner and spent quite a bit more time talking to him off-camera. He was fascinating."

Tarzan and Jane Regained ... Sort Of (1962 or '63) Andy Warhol’s first film was shot in several SoCal locations, probably including Venice. Dennis Hoppper was in it.

Ted and Venus (1991, 2, or 3) Also known as Love in Venice, Love and Venus. Directed by Bud Cort, set in the Venice of 1974. An emotionally disturbed hippie poet is obsessed with a woman who eventually has him arrested, and it's not the first time he's been behind bars for harassment. (Sounds like the much-publicized real-life case of the poet known as Greenie, who hounded a woman out of Venice with his unwanted attentions.) Interesting cast includes Carol Kane, Cassandra "Elvira" Peterson, Martin Mull, Woody Harrelson (as a homeless Vietnam vet) and Timothy Leary (as a judge). Includes a poetry reading where the poem was written by Henry Rollins. There's a wonderful article by screenwriter Paul Ciotti about the making of this movie - and how movies get made.

Tell Me a Riddle partly filmed in Venice

The Terror (1963) Roger Corman

That Thing You Do (1996) At the end, where they tell you after the movie is over what happened to everybody, two of the characters got married and raised four kids in Venice, California.

Thrashin’ Famous skateboard guy Tony Alva is in a Venice band called the Scoundrelz

The Tin Shack (1967) Indie film produced by Rol Murrow, documenting Venice artists Max Neufeldt, Joe Funk and Keith Kirts. It had an original blues score and was shown around the US as part of the UCLA Student Film Program.

(Title Unknown) made by Wallace Berman, described by poet Aya as a "flashback before dying, ending with the late Bob Alexander taking a hit in his clenched fisted arm."

(Title unknown) - James Forsher interviewed residents of the Cadillac Hotel for two years for a documentary

(Title unknown) - Fay Tichner is in a movie about the 1915 Bathing Suit Contest, which she won.

(Title unknown) - skate film described by Tim Altic: "…documentary of rollerskating in Venice, made by Percy Adl,. that showed back in 1980 and ‘85 in Germany… it documented the most incredible skaters of the time and showed a very organic view of Venice and its people. I hear from older German skaters that it was a good film..."

A Touch of Evil (1958) Released in four different versions, the last in 1998. Directed by Orson Welles, filmed mostly on Windward Avenue, which is meant to be a Mexican border town.

Track of the Vampire (1966) (aka Nightmare Castle) a Venice CA artist believes he is the reincarnation of a vampire, kills women by dipping them in molten wax and painting them.

The Tramp (1915)

Treasure Island (1934)

TRON (1982) Partly created by the Venice-based animation company of Steve Lisberger.

True Grit (1969)

Uncle Bill - Jim Rosellini

Under the Covers (2005) - a DVD subtitled "A Magical Journey: Rock ’n roll in L.A. in the ‘60s and 70s" has footage of the Doors at Venice Beach

Underground Aces

Under the Covers (2005) - a DVD subtitled "A Magical Journey: Rock ’n roll in L.A. in the ‘60s and 70s" has footage of the Doors at Venice Beach

The Underground Man (1974) Based on a Ross McDonald novel. Lew Archer lives in Venice canals and waxes poetic about their past splendor.

Unknown Soldier Jim Morrison's student movie when attending cinema classes at UCLA in which he is tied to an attractively weathered post and shot, spewing blood.

Vegas Vacation (1997)

Venice (1978) indie film by Patrick Mullins

Venice, America documentary by Stanley Mitchell, received Abbot Award for Most Excellent Short Film. Explores Venice's social and economic diversity and the challenges of creating and preserving this unique community.

Venice Beach by Jung-Ho Kim Even crustraceans need to work out to stay fit. Watch a day in a life of a crab at the gym.

Venice Beach (1978) indie film by David and Joanna Fessenden, comedy, described as "a celebration/lampoon of B-movies."

Venice Beach Cam ongoing, updated every 10 minutes

Venice Beach Confidential - Another summer weekend on the boardwalk

Venice Beach People (2002) The cast includes a great number of individuals who portray "himself" or "herself".

Venice Beach Sketches (2002) 86 min. Made for video, set in a far, "episodic drama that explores the fates of the battlefield-wounded of the 21st Century gender wars from a refreshingly honest and unique worldview." Directed by Gerald Maxey

Venice Beach - Stock Footage "The freaks of Venice Beach await you! They're all here in this collection of classic Venice Beach footage: Rollerbladers, tattoo artists, basketball players and those modest gentlemen working out on Muscle Beach."

Venice Beach Volley Ball (1991) This one is a video game.

Venice Bound (1995) A swindler from New York gets sideways of the wrong crime boss and is obliged to flee to Venice CA, where he makes friends with other misfits.

Venice Canal Festival - Janice Yudell

Venice in the ’60s - Leland Auslender -15 min - Venice West coffeehouse

Venice Lobotomy - (2006) 60min. Erin Grayson's documentary on the protracted battle of the Lincoln Place evictions

Venice: Lost and Found - indie film by Brad Bemis and Angela Galletta, subject of a none too favorable review in the Free Venice Beachhead, October 2002. Started out with 60 hours of video footage. Sources include archival photos and films. Interviews include Dennis Hopper and Gregory Hines; and Ray Manzarek on the Sixties.

The Venice Project (1999) Dennis Hopper plays an avant-garde artist in Venice CA; story also concerns past events in Venice, Italy.

Venice Renaissance by Jim Rosellini

Venice To Vegas - skateboard guys

Venice Underground (2000) Several local talents, including street musicians, blend techno rhythms and textures with real guitars, bass and drums. Includes interviews and a track called "Venice by the Sea"

Venice/Venice (1992) Director Henry Jaglom stars as a filmmaker in a story about the effect movies have on all our lives. Takes place in both Italy and California.

Venice Venus(1977) by John "Dr. Video" Hunt. An Inca princess as a Venice street person

Venice West and the L.A. Scene indie film by Mary Kerr - shot on the roof of the L.A. Louver Gallery, has interviews with Tony Scibella, Frank T. Rios, John Thomas, Philomene Long and Saul White. Is half of a two-part documentary Swinging in the Shadows (the other is San Francisco's Wild History Groove)

Walk Proud (1979) One reviewer said the casting of Robby Benson as a Chicano "looks more like a stunt than a challenge. Why do it at all?" The working title was Gang! and it generated a lot of controversy. The production donated $3000 to neighborhood organization Barrios Unidos to keep the local hoodlums sweet, but the good will wore off quickly. Local youth were hired as extras, but fights broke out between the Venice gang and others during location filming in Culver City and at the Santa Monica Pier. When the crew moved to the Venice Pavilion, a couple of dozen police officers were on the scene. Many local people thought this excessive, but the police boss said a lot of them were there on their own time, so what could he do? One night, two Venice gang members were shot, apparently by jealous rivals who hadn't been chosen for the movie. A young man was killed before he had a chance to cash his bit-part paycheck. The trajectory of filmmaking in Venice: from Our Gang to Gang!

Wasp Woman 1960, 1995 remake, from Roger Corman. Mad scientist creates youth serum from wasp byproducts, with predictable results.

Wayne’s World (1992) Penelope Spheeris directed

We Can't Have Everything (1918) A Cecil B DeMille silent film; in one scene an aircraft takes off from and lands on Venice Beach

Weekend Pass (1984) 92 min comedy about four sailors

Welcome 2 The Hen House DVD, 83 minutes - Hen House Studios filmed recording sessions for free, and combined the results with some super8 footage and some animation. Described by producers as a "fantastical journey through the current independent Los Angeles area music scene."

Welcome to Venice Beach California (1988) Video includes the chainsaw juggler, an amazing limbo guy, a whole lot of performance by rollerskaters and skateboarders, a one-man band, the piano guy, sidewalk chalk artist, boardwalk portraitist, and plenty of T&A.

What Dreams May Come - includes a remarkable animated sequence from Venice‘s Digital Domain. The tree took six weeks to make.

What Is Love? (1981) Indie film about love, peace and brotherhood, made by an LA Cinematheque member whose name is unavailable to me. Scenes of the pulsating humanity at the Sidewalk Cafe, the disco skate area and other boardwalk locations, and of Ocean Front Walk viewed in a long shot from out in the sand.

White Men Can't Jump (1992) Filmed on location at various basketball courts including the one at Venice Beach. A group called the Venice Beach Boys is on the sound track.

White Oleander Astrid is living with her mother in Venice when her mother is arrested

Why Not? (1994) sketch comedy by Craig Mayo.

Why Pick on Me? (1918) Starring Harold Lloyd, written and directed by Hal Roach. The pier, a canal bridge, the funhouse - great atmosphere of early Venice.

Wild Angels - Peter Fonda biker movie includes real members of the Venice Hells Angels chapter (Paul Tanck's thoughts about it)

Willie and Phil (1980) Many scenes of Venice Beach life. A hugely funny article by Bill Lawren in Oui magazine was called "Home Movies: How I made big bucks renting out my apartment to a movie studio 'cause they promised I'd meet Margot Kidder." The author lived in a beachfront neighborhood with a scrofulous paint job and a decor "somewhere between early head shop and late Watergate." A 20th-Century Fox location scout showed up one day, and after a preliminary look around brought back director Paul Mazursky, a producer, an assistant director, an art director, and "a distant-looking Swede named Sven who used to work with Ingmar Bergman." The deal was struck: $750 a day for filming and $375 a day for setting up and tearing down, plus Lawren would get a hotel room for the duration. The crew kicked him out of his own place, but he actually did get to speak to Margot Kidder for about a second.

Windward Avenue Sketches (1976) by John "Dr. Video" Hunt, with historian John Hamilton.

Winter Kills (1979) allegedly some part of it was filmed in Venice and the cast includes Belinda Bauer, who went on to become a soul therapist here.


Xanadu - is centered on Sonny, an artist who conjures up the nine muses of Greek mythology, who come life on a Venice mural

You Can't Hurry Love (1988) (aka Greetings from LA; aka Lovestruck) Harry Perry is in it.

Zabriskie Point (1970)



Venice in Films

and films in Venice

If there could be an ultimate Venice film festival, including every foot of film exposed here - commercial and independent, studio and experimental - that festival would run for months.
Every time a film crew sets up, there are mixed feelings among Venetians. Some resent being treated as local color, like zoo animals. Others believe there is not enough hiring of the Venice talent pool when movie companies come in. The people who are able to benefit from the presence of a film crew are happy and those who suffer inconvenience or worse, are not.
This list includes a lot of movies I haven't seen, but somebody told me there was a Venice connection. A few entries are from a website that keeps track of location filming, but may not be totally reliable. Who knows, they might get their information from applications for location filming permits - which may not have been used. Or the footage may not have survived the film's final cut. If this site was the source, I tried to find a second citation but often failed.
So if you know something is listed here incorrectly, or want to add information about any of the films, please tell the webslave!

Filmmakers: contact Gerry Fialka (pfsuzy at aol dot com) about the annual Venice Film Night. Movies about Venice only.

© 2004 - 2012 Pat Hartman
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