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It’s the Point Break map of Los Angeles

“Vaya con dios”!

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For some growing up in Kansas, New York City, or, heck, Northern California, Point Break—starring Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze and directed by Oscar winner Kathryn Bigelow—is the ultimate cinematic expression of the Los Angeles experience. For others it’s Encino Man, but that’s a subject for a different post.

For the uninitiated, Point Break, released on July 12, 1991, tells the story of a rookie FBI agent named Johnny Utah (Reeves), who goes undercover to track a band of bank robbing surfers (The Ex-Presidents) led by Bodhi (Swayze).

There is surfing (mostly shot in Hawaii), there is the wooing of a surfer chick played by Lori Petty, there are car chases, there are shootouts (including one where LA native Anthony Kiedis shoots himself in the foot), and there is Gary Busey shouting obscenities in the role of Utah’s veteran partner, Angelo Pappas. And, of course, the whole thing ends with Reeves delivering arguably the best line from a career full of magnificent lines: “Vaya con Dios.”

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Rose Bowl Stadium

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Those who have really thought about it know that Johnny Utah’s hero’s journey really begins long before the opening scenes of the movie, at the Rose Bowl. There, Utah, wearing the number 9 on the back of his Ohio State jersey, “nukes” his knee while leading his team to victory over the University of Southern California.

Here’s how Utah describes how that injury led him on a path away from what we can assume was certain stardom in the National Football League: “I got my knee pulled back about 90 degrees the wrong way…two years of surgery, missed my window, went to law school instead.” The rest, as they say, is cinematic history.

Rose Bowl exterior Shutterstock.com

FBI Headquarters

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Johnny Utah’s first destination upon arriving in Los Angeles is to report for duty at FBI Headquarters. There we learn that Los Angeles is the “bank robbery capital of the world,” and Utah’s commanding officer says that in the last year (the film was release in 1991), there were “1,322 [bank robberies] in L.A. County, up 26 percent from the year before” (a description that might not have exactly nailed the numbers, but is a pretty accurate description of the popularity of the crime at the time).

Here’s what else we learn about life inside FBI headquarters from Point Break: At first it seems like Johnny Utah will fit right in because he “takes the skin off chicken,” and a healthy regimen is encouraged among the workforce at FBI Headquarters. But then the discussion takes a surprising turn and there is some discussion about whether there is an asshole shortage in the FBI.

Neptune’s Net

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After Lori Petty’s character fished Keanu Reeves out of the Pacific Ocean following his initial misguided attempt to learn to surf all on his own, he tracks her down at her place of employment. There, Utah orders a fish sandwich “to go,” but not before he gives his pitch that she should be the one to teach him to surf. She does. He totally learns how to surf.

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Leo Carrillo State Park Beach

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Online sources, namely, two of the actors who played the Ex-Presidents, credit this location for some of the movie’s bonfire scenes, the football scene, and some of the surfing. According to IMDB, this is the beach where Utah and Bodhi fight with local surfers, including one played by LA-native Anthony Kiedis (before he shoots himself in the foot).

Latigo Beach

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While Pappas is running to save Utah while he’s fighting with Kiedis and his spicy friends, we see a sign that says Latigo State Beach. The location is particularly critical for the movie because it’s the point break that inspires the line (“nice point break”), delivered by Utah, which inspires the name of the movie.

Nichols Canyon “Zeros” County Beach

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At one point in the movie, Bodhi picks up Utah to bring him on a dawn patrol at “Zeros.” Spoiler alert: Zeros is also the beach where Utah realizes that Bodhi and his friends—the very first group of surfers he met while undercover—are actually the Ex-Presidents! Imagine the luck! Zeros is also known by its more official title of Nicholas Canyon State Beach.

Patrick’s Roadhouse

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This is a minor moment in the movie, but Bodhi and one of the Ex-Presidents, trailed by Utah, have lunch here while casing banks for potential robbery. There has been some chatter online about Point Break inventing the name Patrick’s Roadhouse in homage to Road House, another of Swayze’s most popular movies. But Patrick’s Roadhouse is not made up. It’s real.

Patrick’s Roadhouse

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Fox Hills Mall (Westfield)

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According to IMDB, the scene where Utah and Pappas pursue the Ex-Presidents in a high-speed car chase after the Ex-Presidents robbed the Assured Trust Savings and Loan was filmed at the Fox Hills Mall, also known as Westfield Culver City, which has been around since 1975.

Via Google Maps

Santa Monica Airport (SMO)

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The Santa Monica Airport plays an important role in the climactic scenes of the movie, as Utah and Pappas have a shootout with the Ex-Presidents as the latter attempt to escape to Mexico. A gunfight would probably seem tame compared to some of the community meetings that have gone over the past couple of years about what to do with the Santa Monica Airport.

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The Dragonfly

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There used to be a Point Break live stage show at the Dragonfly on Santa Monica Boulevard. It claimed to be the longest running show in LA. In this version of Point Break, Johnny Utah was played by a member of the audience. Also, the audience was invited to wear rain ponchos. The show was awesome.

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Rose Bowl Stadium

Rose Bowl exterior Shutterstock.com

Those who have really thought about it know that Johnny Utah’s hero’s journey really begins long before the opening scenes of the movie, at the Rose Bowl. There, Utah, wearing the number 9 on the back of his Ohio State jersey, “nukes” his knee while leading his team to victory over the University of Southern California.

Here’s how Utah describes how that injury led him on a path away from what we can assume was certain stardom in the National Football League: “I got my knee pulled back about 90 degrees the wrong way…two years of surgery, missed my window, went to law school instead.” The rest, as they say, is cinematic history.

Rose Bowl exterior Shutterstock.com

FBI Headquarters

Johnny Utah’s first destination upon arriving in Los Angeles is to report for duty at FBI Headquarters. There we learn that Los Angeles is the “bank robbery capital of the world,” and Utah’s commanding officer says that in the last year (the film was release in 1991), there were “1,322 [bank robberies] in L.A. County, up 26 percent from the year before” (a description that might not have exactly nailed the numbers, but is a pretty accurate description of the popularity of the crime at the time).

Here’s what else we learn about life inside FBI headquarters from Point Break: At first it seems like Johnny Utah will fit right in because he “takes the skin off chicken,” and a healthy regimen is encouraged among the workforce at FBI Headquarters. But then the discussion takes a surprising turn and there is some discussion about whether there is an asshole shortage in the FBI.

Neptune’s Net

After Lori Petty’s character fished Keanu Reeves out of the Pacific Ocean following his initial misguided attempt to learn to surf all on his own, he tracks her down at her place of employment. There, Utah orders a fish sandwich “to go,” but not before he gives his pitch that she should be the one to teach him to surf. She does. He totally learns how to surf.

A post shared by Tony Fonte (@amfonte82) on

Leo Carrillo State Park Beach

Online sources, namely, two of the actors who played the Ex-Presidents, credit this location for some of the movie’s bonfire scenes, the football scene, and some of the surfing. According to IMDB, this is the beach where Utah and Bodhi fight with local surfers, including one played by LA-native Anthony Kiedis (before he shoots himself in the foot).

Latigo Beach

While Pappas is running to save Utah while he’s fighting with Kiedis and his spicy friends, we see a sign that says Latigo State Beach. The location is particularly critical for the movie because it’s the point break that inspires the line (“nice point break”), delivered by Utah, which inspires the name of the movie.

Nichols Canyon “Zeros” County Beach

At one point in the movie, Bodhi picks up Utah to bring him on a dawn patrol at “Zeros.” Spoiler alert: Zeros is also the beach where Utah realizes that Bodhi and his friends—the very first group of surfers he met while undercover—are actually the Ex-Presidents! Imagine the luck! Zeros is also known by its more official title of Nicholas Canyon State Beach.

Patrick’s Roadhouse

This is a minor moment in the movie, but Bodhi and one of the Ex-Presidents, trailed by Utah, have lunch here while casing banks for potential robbery. There has been some chatter online about Point Break inventing the name Patrick’s Roadhouse in homage to Road House, another of Swayze’s most popular movies. But Patrick’s Roadhouse is not made up. It’s real.

Patrick’s Roadhouse

A post shared by (@j3di_bunny) on

Fox Hills Mall (Westfield)

Via Google Maps

According to IMDB, the scene where Utah and Pappas pursue the Ex-Presidents in a high-speed car chase after the Ex-Presidents robbed the Assured Trust Savings and Loan was filmed at the Fox Hills Mall, also known as Westfield Culver City, which has been around since 1975.

Via Google Maps

Santa Monica Airport (SMO)

Shutterstock.com

The Santa Monica Airport plays an important role in the climactic scenes of the movie, as Utah and Pappas have a shootout with the Ex-Presidents as the latter attempt to escape to Mexico. A gunfight would probably seem tame compared to some of the community meetings that have gone over the past couple of years about what to do with the Santa Monica Airport.

Shutterstock.com

The Dragonfly

There used to be a Point Break live stage show at the Dragonfly on Santa Monica Boulevard. It claimed to be the longest running show in LA. In this version of Point Break, Johnny Utah was played by a member of the audience. Also, the audience was invited to wear rain ponchos. The show was awesome.