Las Vegas – On-Screen Spots

It’s hard to find any spot in Las Vegas that hasn’t been immortalized on the big screen. From blockbusters to TV shows, film crews have always been attracted to the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas. Hollywood is only a four-hour drive away, making it quite accessible.

There are dozens of films that take place in Las Vegas; this list narrows it down to six of the most popular ones.


Ocean’s 11 and Ocean’s Eleven

Las Vegas

Ocean’s 11 was one of the first movies that took place and was filmed in Las Vegas. This movie follows a group of WWII veteran friends as they enact their plan to rob millions of dollars from Las Vegas casinos. The movie stars Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., and Peter Lawford, some of the biggest names of the day.

Ocean’s 11 takes place in the city and features locations like the Rivera Hotel and Casino, Sands Hotel and Casino, Sahara Hotel and Casino, Flamingo Las Vegas, and the Desert Inn. The original Ocean’s 11 was so popular that it inspired an equally successful recreation.

This recreation, the ever-so-slightly renamed Ocean’s Eleven, came out in 2001. Ocean’s Eleven, like the original film, filmed many of its scenes in Las Vegas. The Cromwell and the Flamingo Hotel & Casino are both featured at the beginning of the movie, which also includes the Welcome to Las Vegas sign and aerial shots of the Strip.

One of the main Las Vegas filming locations for Ocean’s Eleven was the Bellagio Hotel & Casino. The producer of the movie, Jerry Weintraub, had a close relationship with the owner of the Bellagio at the time. Because of this, the crew had unrestricted, 24-hour access to the hotel. The crew filmed on the casino floor, as well as in the hotel’s conservatory, botanical gardens, gallery of fine art, and fine dining restaurant. A walk through the Bellagio is basically a walk through the set of Ocean’s Eleven.


Diamonds Are Forever

Diamonds Are Forever, released in 1971, is the seventh movie in the James Bond franchise and stars Sean Connery.

Las Vegas

One of the first Las Vegas spots featured in Diamonds Are Forever is Circus Circus, a popular casino hotel that illuminates the Strip to this day. There, the female protagonist takes part in a water gun activity, which is still on the casino floor.

In the film, James Bond stayed at The Tropicana, and Fremont Street served as the site of a major car chase scene. At the time, Fremont Street was the main drag of Las Vegas. When the crew filmed the car chase, the city of Las Vegas had to shut down the entire area for three days.


Leaving Las Vegas

Leaving Las Vegas is a 1995 film starring Nicolas Cage about an alcoholic who strikes up an unexpected friendship with a sex worker. The protagonists first see each other at a stoplight outside Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel and Casino and officially meet at Bally’s Hotel & Casino.

The two characters have a discussion in front of the iconic light-up, neon clown outside Circus Circus. The movie also shows the characters on the aerial walkway near Excalibur, which is unmistakable with its cartoonish, castle-like exterior. Towards the end of the movie, the female protagonist hails a cab near the Mirage’s beautiful waterfall.

It’s a feat that the Leaving Las Vegas crew filmed on the Las Vegas Strip because, at the time, they didn’t have the proper permits. Because of this, many scenes were completed in one take, and the surrounding environment was completely true to life. The noise, lights, and pedestrians on the Strip added to the authenticity of Leaving Las Vegas.


Vegas Vacation

Vegas Vacation is a 1997 film and the fourth installment of the National Lampoon series, which began in 1983 with National Lampoon’s Vacation. In this movie, the entire Griswold family takes a vacation to Las Vegas, where plenty of shenanigans ensue.

A lot of Vegas Vacation was filmed at The Mirage because producer Jerry Weintraub, also the producer of Ocean’s Eleven, maintained his connection with the hotel owner. Multiple locations in The Mirage were used in the movie, such as the casino floor and a Siegfried & Roy show.

Other Las Vegas spots featured in Vegas Vacation are the MGM Grand, Riviera, Sand Hotel, Neon Museum, Fremont Street, and the Chapel of the Bells. While it’s not in Las Vegas, the Hoover Dam also makes an appearance in Vegas Vacation.


The Hangover

Las VegasOne of the most recent movies set and filmed in Las Vegas is The Hangover. This movie embraces Las Vegas’s reputation for being the ultimate party destination. In The Hangover, a few friends prepare to celebrate a bachelor party, until things go awry. They end up with a missing groom, a missing tooth, and a lot of missing memories.

The main filming location was Caesars Palace, where a lot of the movie takes place. Parts of the hotel featured in The Hangover include the front desk, lobby, pools, hallways, elevators, and the roof.

In the movie, the friends stay in a lavish suite, which they ultimately destroy. Luckily, this room was not actually in Caesars Palace but created at Warner Bros. Studios. While the room was in a far-off lot, all other parts of the hotel in The Hangover were real.

In addition to Caesars Palace, there are other spots throughout Las Vegas that are seen in The Hangover. At one point, the group visits a young woman at a motel to return her baby. This scene took place at the Days Inn Las Vegas Wild Wild West Gambling Hall, in room 825. There is also a scene where the group gets into an argument with the antagonist in a dirt lot. This scene was filmed in an empty plot of land at the corner of Mandalay Bay Road and Giles Street. In the film, the group can also be seen driving down East Fremont Street and passing Atomic Liquors.