For the uninitiated, Point Break 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.”
As James Brasuell writes for LA Curbed, not only is it an amazing action movie, not only was it fundamental for any teenager of the 90s, it is also an awesome LA film. Others of course include, Heat, Collateral, Get Shorty and the like, but there’s some memorable scenes and memorable locations used to make this 100% pure adrenaline action flick.
Regrettably, there are several banks named during the movie that could not be found via Google after no small amount of searching: the Encino Savings and Loan, where the “Guard grabbed LBJ’s ponytail”; Tarzana City National Bank; and Assured Trust Savings and Loan, which is where Utah and Pappas finally catch up to the Ex-Presidents (but not before Utah buys exactly two meatball sandwiches for Pappas, who claims that these particular variety of meatball sandwiches are the best he’s ever tasted).
1. Rose Bowl Stadium
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.
1001 Rose Bowl Dr, Pasadena, CA 91103
2. 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 or not there is an asshole shortage in the FBI.
11000 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90024
Article on bank robbery from 1991 in Bankers Online
3. 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.
42505 East Pacific Coast Highway, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, Malibu, CA 90265
4. 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 gets shot in the foot).
35000 East Pacific Coast Highway, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, Malibu, CA 90265
Beach fight scene on YouTube.
5. 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. Google doesn’t turn up a Latigo State Beach, and there is no state park sign or state park sign anywhere to be found on the Pacific Highway, which is where we assume Pappas is parked up. However, there is a very small area that is technically called Latigo Beach – but it’s a private residents area. In the movie, 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.
26734 Latigo Shore Drive, Malibu, CA 90265
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