Films in Monterey County

Think about some of the movies or advertisements you’ve seen. Remember any romantic love scenes at sunset on windswept cliffs with nothing but the sea stretching out behind young lovers? How about a TV commercial that caught your eye with views of your dream car cruising down a winding, coastal road, crossing a famous bridge built in the nineteen thirties with a sweeping art deco inspired look? Or a magazine ad for a cool sports watch or new backpack with hip, rugged people camping out amidst a gorgeous campfire and giant redwood trees with mountains in the distance?

These scenes, and more, have been shot in Monterey County for more than 200 films, nearly as many television programs, and countless magazine, and newspaper ads and shoots. From the Edison Manufacturing Company’s earliest 20-second travelogues in 1897 (Surf at Monterey) to latter day film favorites such as Rebecca, National Velvet, Play Misty for Me, Turner & Hooch, Basic Instinct, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, and most recently Mad Men, Big Little Lies, Mythbusters, and the BBC’s Big Blue Live.

Stroll down Cannery Row and you’ll trail Marilyn Monroe and Barbara Stanwyck in Clash by Night. Tour Carmel’s Tor House and you’ll visit Clint Eastwood’s home in The Eiger Sanction. Motor along 17-Mile Drive and you’ll follow the same scenic road as Doris Day in Julie, Troy Donahue in My Blood Runs Cold, and Rosalind Russell in Five Finger Exercise. Every corner of Monterey County, from Salinas and Carmel Valley to King City, or the former Ft. Ord and the wilds of Big Sur, has had its turn on the silver screen and its brush with the stars. Nearly 40 movies alone have been filmed at Pt. Lobos, in addition to the myriad of advertising, fashion, wedding, and student photo shoots that happen daily all over Monterey County.

In the meantime, as you decide where to shoot your project, waves will continue to pound the rocks at Point Pinos. Fog will continue to drift through the branches of the Lone Cypress Tree. Golden hills will shelter rural valleys, and a new generation of artists will make movie, TV, photographic and new media magic, lured by the beauty, welcoming people, and scenic diversity that is Monterey County.

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