So you’ve already watched La La Land, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, maybe Sunset Boulevard or The Player – congratulations, you made it through the first tier of movies about Los Angeles that capture its beauty!

Now we’re helping you delve a little deeper into the films and directors that have captured the lost sides and eras in movies based in Los Angeles; the movies that are not so well-known but equally unique in their own way. Some of these movies you may not have previously heard of, but believe us, they’re worth the watch. Especially if you’re out here looking to travel across best LA movies through stories told through the eyes of artistic visionaries of Hollywood.

1. Model Shop (1969)

The 1969 film by Jacques Demy may have missed everyone’s radar until about 40 years after it came out, but the last couple of years made this one of the best movies about Los Angeles giving the cult classic its deserved attention. Quentin Tarantino credited the movie for having influenced the look of Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. Critics say the late 1960s movie about Los Angeles is more about the sharp looks of Los Angeles than about the architect bored of wife and his life, who becomes fascinated by a French woman that works in a sleazy photography studio. It does great justice to both Venice Beach and The Sunset Strip. The movie till date remains a “worth watching” candidate, though it could have had a bigger impact had Columbia Pictures allowed Harrison Ford to star, as Demy wished.

Genre & Rating


?️ 6.6/10 on IMDb

? 83% on Rotten Tomatoes

2. Shampoo (1975)

Shampoo serves as one of those movies about Los Angeles that aren’t so much about the great landscapes of the city as they are about shedding light on the older albeit fascinating gems that the city has to offer. This movie captures the mood of L.A. on film, and quite masterfully so. Warren Beatty plays the playboy hairdresser protagonist, and Lee Grant, Goldie Hawn and Julie Christie as his various love interests. Set on Election Day 1968, this movie also became the movie debut of Carrie Fisher, as Grant’s flirtatious teen daughter.

The characters don’t travel beyond the elite enclaves of this city but their witty banter alone makes the movie worth the watch as they simultaneously take full advantage of the swinging sixties. The Beverly Hills Hotel however, is shown in all its glory. The following year, Blaxploitation film “Black Shampoo” was released, putting a fun plot twist to a similar but far more action packed storyline.

Genre & Rating


?️ 6.3/10 on IMDb

? 60% on Rotten Tomatoes

3. Breathless (1960)

Some reviewers called this movie based in Los Angeles unjustly dismissed, since it packed plenty of 80’s style into a lean and shiny L.A. noir. Richard Gere is the drifter who impulsively shoots a cop then hides out with the alluring architecture student Valerie Kaprisky. So their journey (quite literally) takes them from UCLA Sculpture Garden to a punk club to the straight-out-of-a-fairytale, Gaudi-esque O’Niell Hotel and even pre-gentrified Downtown. And this is truly one of the greater movies about Los Angeles with the right retro feel.

Genre & Rating


?️ 7.8/10 on IMDb

? 97% on Rotten Tomatoes

4. To Live And Die In L.A. (1985)

This intense tale about a U.S. Secret Service agent obsessively hunting a murderer is one of the best LA movies that offers a clutching visualization of the city as a neon wasteland filled with seedy strip clubs, rusty oil derricks, barren train yards, and sun baked burger shacks. Striking scenes take place across Downtown and South Central, and in iconic locations like Union Station and LAX. However, the scene that cemented this movie as one of the all-time best crime movies about Los Angeles was the show-stopping car chase which finds Willian Peterson speeding the wrong way down the Terminal Island Freeway and eventually winding up in the basin of L.A. River.

Genre & Rating


?️ 7.3/10 on IMDb

? 91% on Rotten Tomatoes

5. Devil in a Blue Dress (1995)

Aspiring private investigator Easy Rawlings (Denzel Washington) is the protagonist of this moody period noir adapted from the the Walter Mosley mystery. Additionally, the director Carl Franklin shot this movie based in Los Angeles in Downtown to recreate scenes of the nightspots of Black Los Angeles entertainment district on Central Avenue. Though this movie didn’t perform too well at the box office, “Devil in a Blue Dress” became one of the best LA movies to look at the milieu of “L.A. Confidential” and “Chinatown” though the eyes of the Black community.

Genre & Rating


?️ 6.7/10 on IMDb

? 88% on Rotten Tomatoes

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