Where Was Terminator 2: Judgement Day Filmed?
Directed by the prolific James Cameron, and featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger in the titular role, ‘Terminator 2: Judgement Day’ is hands down one of the best action-adventure films spun out of Hollywood. Born in the heydays of the American boom, the story of the film franchise weaves a mythical story that revolves around a destined apocalypse. But it is ‘T2,’ the sequel to the 1984 film ‘The Terminator,’ which marks a high point in the genre. It centers upon the adolescent version of the future resistance leader John Connor.
The story brings back Schwarzenegger as a reprogrammed T-800 sent back by Connor to protect his younger self, while a newer, agile, and shapeshifting model T-1000 is sent by the machines to kill John. Fraught with helicopter chases, explosions, gunfights, and a lot of smoke, this is a film that warrants a watch from every cinephile. If you are wondering about the locations where the film was shot, let us give you a detailed tour.
Terminator 2: Judgement Day Filming Locations
‘Terminator 2’ was filmed in its entirety in the US, especially in California and New Mexico. Filming commenced on October 9, 1990, and was wrapped up by March 28, 1991. With a whopping budget of $102 million, roughly 15 times the budget allocated to its predecessor ‘The Terminator,’ ‘T2’ was touted as the most expensive cinematic production at the time of its release. Although a million-dollar production is now part of the Hollywood extravagance, it was unprecedented in the early 1990s. Let us now take you to the specific locations where the film was shot!
Los Angeles, California
Most of the filming was carried out in and around the Californian city of Los Angeles, home to the world-famous cinema industry of Hollywood. We meet Sarah Connor, who is kept at a high-security mental prison facility called Pescadero State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. Pescadero is a small rural town in San Mateo County, but the sequences were filmed at a location closer to the city. Lake View Medical Center, a hospital located at 11600 Eldridge Avenue at Sylmar in the Lake View Terrace neighborhood of Los Angeles, served as the hospital interiors.
After being abandoned and having a stint in film productions, the premise has now been converted to an addiction treatment center called the Phoenix House Academy. Although the hospital’s parking garage, from where John, Sarah, and the T-800 make a daring escape, is a bit far. The scene was filmed at Petersen Automotive Museum, a museum showcasing automobile history at 6060 Wilshire Boulevard.
Upon his descent, the old beefcake terminator enters a biker bar to intimidate a gang of bikers. The scenes were filmed at the Corral Biker Bar. Once located at 12002 Osborne Street in the Lake View Terrace suburbs of Los Angeles, the site has since been transformed into the Lake View Terrace Branch Library.
Towards the beginning, the upgraded terminator T-1000 arrives underneath the 6th Street Bridge on 600 Mesquit Street in downtown LA. He tracks young John Connor, who extracts some money from an ATM in Reseda. However, the shopping mall and gaming parlor, which is the destination of John, is not in this area.
The exterior scenes of the gaming parlor sequence were filmed at Northridge Fashion Center, a shopping mall located at 9301 Tampa Avenue in the Northridge neighborhood of Los Angeles. The mall was damaged in the earthquake of 1994 but was shortly restored to its previous state.
As the terminators converge on John, a tense motorcycle chase sequence follows. John jumps into an emptied waterway, but the shape-shifting terminator follows him with a huge truck, much to his dismay. The jump sequence was filmed at the bridge at the intersection of Hayvenhurst & Plummer in San Fernando Valley, located a few miles north of the city of LA.
They jump to the flood control channel of Tujunga Wash, and the chase continues for quite a while. The channels are usually wet, but the river was redirected to initiate filming.
After briefly losing the tail of T-1000, John is compelled to make a call and warn his foster parents. The scene was filmed near Lake View Terrace Liquor Store, which stands at 11844 Foothill Boulevard in the Lake View Terrace area of LA.
Sarah repeatedly dreams of a park that gets obliterated in a nuclear explosion. These scenes were captured at Elysian Park located at Elysian Park Drive in the eponymous neighborhood of the city.
The filming of the climactic chase sequence was carried out on the Terminal Island Freeway, a roadway linking the Los Angeles corridor of Sepulveda Boulevard to Long Island. In a massive feat, the crew laid out 16 kilometers of electric cables to light up the sequence. The enthralling stunt where the helicopter flies under an overpass was filmed on Pacific Coast Highway.
Some scenes were filmed at Sherman Oaks Galleria, a shopping center located at 15301 Ventura Boulevard in the Sherman Oaks suburb of LA. Additionally, some sequences were filmed in the Sun Valley region of Los Angeles.
Other Locations in California
The crew filmed extensively in locations across California to bring the futuristic story to reality. The exterior of the Cyberdyne headquarters was filmed at an office building at 47131 Bayside Parkway on the corner of Gateway Boulevard, in the Californian suburb of Fremont in Alameda County. The building is now recognized as the office of Mattson Technology. The crew installed a glass lobby to the building, only to blow it up in pieces.
The opening sequence reveals a horrific vision of the city annihilated in a nuclear explosion. The scene was filmed at the demolished Kaiser Steel Mill at Fontana on the edge of San Bernardino County, east of Los Angeles. The crew used residual debris from the 1989 fire of the Universal Studios backlot to populate the scenes. The final battle of the machines was filmed at the same location, and the defunct mill was brought to life through optical tricks.
The pool where the terminator takes a final thumbs-up dip was filled not with molten metal but with white paint. The residence of John’s foster parents is a quintessential suburban American home located at 19828 Valerio Street in Winnetka, California.
The interior scenes of the shopping mall where John meets the mythical terminators for the first time were filmed at Santa Monica Place, an outdoor shopping mall located at 395 Santa Monica Place, near the beach of Santa Monica.
The scene where John Connor hacks into the ATM was filmed at 14400 Roscoe Boulevard in the Van Nuys region of California. Shortly after, the terminator breaks down the reason for his visit to a surprised Connor. The scene was filmed not far, at 14224 Roscoe Boulevard on the corner of Wakefield Avenue in the same region.
After rescuing Sarah, the team stops at a gas station to refill supplies before heading south. The scene was filmed at 46551 140th Street East in Lancaster, California.
Sarah heads to the Dyson residence hoping to revert the course of the imminent future. The scenes were filmed at a posh residence in Malibu, California.
Some scenes were filmed at Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanical Garden. Popularly known as “The Arboretum,” the massive 127-acre site located at 301 North Baldwin Avenue in Arcadia is home to a historically important botanical garden. The studio work was mostly carried out in Valencia Studios, a production center located at 26030 Avenue Hall in Valencia, California.
The production team also filmed a few scenes at Westfield MainPlace Mall, located at 2800 North Main Street, in Santa Ana, and at Los Cerritos Center, another shopping mall situated at 239 Los Cerritos Center in the Cerritos region of California. Moreover, the crew filmed some scenes at El Mirage Dry Lake and also on Long Beach.
Some parts of the final showdown of ‘Terminator 2: Judgment Day’ were filmed quite far in the city of Chicago in northeastern Illinois. Favored by filmmakers all over the world, the city has also served as a filming location for many movies and shows, including ‘Candyman,’ ‘Fargo,’ ‘Shameless,’ ‘Ozark,’ and ‘The Batman.’
Santa Fe, New Mexico
The terminator states that they have to get away from the city, and Sarah gives him the idea of heading south. They reach the ranch of Enrique to procure arms and ammunition. Although the ranch proved to be in California, some sequences were filmed near Santa Fe in the state of New Mexico.
Read More: Terminator Movies Timelines, Explained