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The Best Los Angeles Movies 

Ranker Film
Updated January 24, 2020 2.8k votes 255 voters 8.4k views 87 items

List Rules Movies set in, starring, or about the city of Los Angeles, California

Iconic red carpets, a sidewalk dotted with stars in honor of the world’s most famous celebrities, Hollywood, million-dollar homes, designer clothes, sunshine, beautiful beaches, gangs – these are the things that come to mind when we talk about Los Angeles. Located in Southern California, L.A. is the most populous city in the state and the second most populous city in the country (second only to New York City). Home to the film industry, it's no surprise that L.A. often becomes the setting or subject of popular films. This list features the best movies about Los Angeles.

The home of the stars is prominent in some classic, popular movies like L.A. Confidential, Clueless, and Heat. Whether you're craving an action flick, a classic film, a tear-jerker, or a drama that you’re looking for this list is sure to feature a movie to fit your needs! Pretty Woman is a great example of a romantic movie set in Los Angeles.

This list has the best movies about L.A., including: Chinatown, The Long Goodbye, Mulholland Drive, Kiss Me Deadly, Short Cuts, Blade Runner, Die Hard, The Limey, Jackie Brown, Magnolia, Repo Man, The Big Sleep, and Model Shop. There are also several comedy movies set in L.A. like Friday and Rush Hour.

Vote up your favorite film starring the City of Angels or, if your favorite isn't here, add it below.

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list ordered by
1
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clash1977 added John Travolta, Bruce Willis, Uma Thurman

Released: 1994

Directed by: Quentin Tarantino

Pulp Fiction is a 1994 American crime film directed by Quentin Tarantino. The lives of two mob hitmen (Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta), a boxer (Bruce Willis), a gangster's wife (Uma ...more
2
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Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, Roman Polanski

Released: 1974

Directed by: Roman Polanski

Chinatown is a 1974 American neo-noir mystery film, directed by Roman Polanski from a screenplay by Robert Towne, starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway. The film was inspired by the ...more
3
Once Upon a Time in Holl... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Los Angeles Movies
Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie

Released: 2019

Directed by: Quentin Tarantino

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is a 2019 crime thriller film directed by Quentin Tarantino. A TV actor (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double (Brad Pitt) embark on an odyssey to make a name for ...more
4
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Julianne Moore, Jeff Bridges, Tara Reid

Released: 1998

Directed by: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

The Big Lebowski is a 1998 stoner comedy film written, produced, and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. It stars Jeff Bridges as Jeffrey "The Dude" Lebowski, an unemployed Los Angeles ...more
5
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William Holden, Buster Keaton, Gloria Swanson

Released: 1950

Directed by: Billy Wilder

Sunset Boulevard—stylized onscreen as SUNSET BLVD.—is a 1950 American film noir directed and co-written by Billy Wilder, and produced and co-written by Charles Brackett. It was named after the ...more
6
L.A. Confidential is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Los Angeles Movies
Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Kim Basinger

Released: 1997

Directed by: Curtis Hanson

L.A. Confidential is a 1997 neo-noir film based on James Ellroy's 1990 novel of the same title, the third book in his L.A. Quartet series. Like the book, the film tells the story of a group of ...more
7
Reservoir Dogs is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Los Angeles Movies
clash1977 added Quentin Tarantino, Steve Buscemi, Tim Roth

Released: 1992

Directed by: Quentin Tarantino

Reservoir Dogs is a 1992 American ensemble crime film that depicts the events before and after a botched diamond heist. The film was the debut of director and writer Quentin Tarantino, and stars ...more
8
Mulholland Drive is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Los Angeles Movies
Naomi Watts, Billy Ray Cyrus, Melissa George

Released: 2001

Directed by: David Lynch

Mulholland Drive is a 2001 American neo-noir mystery film written and directed by David Lynch and starring Naomi Watts, Laura Harring, and Justin Theroux. It tells the story of an aspiring ...more
9
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clash1977 added Julianne Moore, Mark Wahlberg, Heather Graham

Released: 1997

Directed by: Paul Thomas Anderson

10
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Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia

Released: 1988

Directed by: John McTiernan

Die Hard is a 1988 American action film directed by John McTiernan and written by Steven E. de Souza and Jeb Stuart. It is based on the 1979 novel Nothing Lasts Forever, by Roderick Thorp. Die ...more
11
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Ice Cube, Angela Bassett, Cuba Gooding Jr.

Released: 1991

Directed by: John Singleton

Boyz n the Hood is a 1991 American hood drama written and directed by John Singleton in his directorial debut, and starring Ice Cube, Cuba Gooding Jr., Morris Chestnut, Laurence Fishburne, Nia ...more
12
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Natalie Portman, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro

Released: 1995

Directed by: Michael Mann

Heat is a 1995 American crime thriller film written, produced and directed by Michael Mann, and starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Val Kilmer. The film was released in the United States on ...more
13
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Debbie Reynolds, Gene Kelly, Rita Moreno

Released: 1952

Directed by: Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly

Singin' in the Rain is a 1952 American musical comedy film directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, starring Kelly, Donald O'Connor and Debbie Reynolds, and choreographed by Kelly and Donen. It ...more
14
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Alicia Silverstone, Brittany Murphy, Paul Rudd

Released: 1995

Directed by: Amy Heckerling

Clueless is a 1995 American comedy film loosely based on Jane Austen's 1815 novel Emma. It stars Alicia Silverstone, Stacey Dash, Paul Rudd, and Brittany Murphy. The film is set in Beverly Hills ...more
15
Training Day is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Los Angeles Movies
clash1977 added Eva Mendes, Snoop Dogg, Denzel Washington

Released: 2001

Directed by: Antoine Fuqua

Training Day is a 2001 American thriller film directed by Antoine Fuqua, written by David Ayer, and starring Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke. The story follows two LAPD narcotics officers over ...more
16
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clash1977 added Eddie Murphy, Damon Wayans, Paul Reiser

Released: 1984

Directed by: Martin Brest

Beverly Hills Cop is a 1984 American action comedy film directed by Martin Brest and starring Eddie Murphy as Axel Foley, a street-smart Detroit cop who heads to Beverly Hills, California to ...more
17
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Nicolas Cage, Sean Penn, Jennifer Jason Leigh

Released: 1982

Directed by: Amy Heckerling

Fast Times at Ridgemont High is a 1982 American coming-of-age teen comedy film written by Cameron Crowe, adapted from his 1981 book of the same name. As a freelance writer for Rolling Stone ...more
18
Blade Runner is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Los Angeles Movies
Harrison Ford, Daryl Hannah, Sean Young

Released: 1982

Directed by: Ridley Scott

Blade Runner is a 1982 American neo-noir dystopian science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, and Edward James Olmos. The screenplay, ...more
19
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clash1977 added Keanu Reeves, Gary Busey, Patrick Swayze

Released: 1991

Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow

Point Break is a 1991 American action film directed by Kathryn Bigelow, starring Patrick Swayze, Keanu Reeves, Lori Petty and Gary Busey. The title refers to the surfing term point break, where ...more
20
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clash1977 added Mel Gibson, Gary Busey, Danny Glover

Released: 1987

Directed by: Richard Donner

Lethal Weapon is a 1987 American buddy cop action film directed by Richard Donner, starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover as a mismatched pair of L.A.P.D. detectives and stars Mitchell Ryan and ...more
21
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Natalie Wood, James Dean, Dennis Hopper

Released: 1955

Directed by: Nicholas Ray

Rebel Without a Cause is a 1955 American drama film about emotionally confused suburban, middle-class teenagers. The film stars James Dean, Sal Mineo and Natalie Wood. Directed by Nicholas Ray, ...more
22
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clash1977 added Edward Norton, Edward Furlong, Beverly DAngelo

Released: 1998

Directed by: Tony Kaye

American History X is a 1998 American drama film directed by Tony Kaye and written by David McKenna. It stars Edward Norton and Edward Furlong, and co-stars Fairuza Balk, Stacy Keach, Elliott ...more
23
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Christina Hendricks, Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan

Released: 2011

Directed by: Nicolas Winding

Drive is a 2011 American neo noir arthouse action directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, starring Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Oscar Isaac and Albert Brooks. It is adapted from the ...more
24
La La Land is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Los Angeles Movies
Albert Rose added Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, John Legend

Released: 2016

Directed by: Damien Chazelle

La La Land is a 2016 American romantic musical comedy-drama film written and directed by Damien Chazelle and starring Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, John Legend, and Rosemarie DeWitt. The plot ...more
25
Straight Outta Compton ... is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Los Angeles Movies
Tom Islava added O'Shea Jackson Jr., Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell

Released: 2015

Directed by: F. Gary Gray

Straight Outta Compton is a 2015 American biographical film directed by F. Gary Gray. The group NWA emerges from the mean streets of Compton in Los Angeles, California, in the mid-1980s and ...more