There’s some merit to the claim that the San Fernando Valley is “the porn capital of the world.” A lot of porn has been and is filmed here. Per the Daily News, the mainstream newspaper covering the Valley, our city was bringing in more than $1 billion in revenue from porn in 2007. What people fail to realize, though, is that far more than porn is filmed in the 818. In fact, some of Hollywood’s most popular movies and TV shows are filmed or based in the San Fernando Valley.
Viva the Valley‘s mission is, has been, and will always be to uplift folks from and places in the SFV. That’s exactly why we wanted to prove that our hometown’s been a cultural staple in Hollywood for years—and that goes way beyond porn.
40 movies and shows filmed in the San Fernando Valley.
Over the course of researching this piece, there were more than 100 options to include across film and television. For your reading ease, we’ve only included 40 and sorted the list into two parts. First, you’ll find 18 TV shows filmed or based in the San Fernando Valley, all with links to view on their respective streaming platform. Then, we list 22 movies that fit the same criteria.
Keep reading to learn more about the 40 movies and shows filmed in the San Fernando Valley.
18 TV shows filmed or based in the 818
Euphoria tells the story of protagonist Rue Bennett, who is an addict in high school. It’s some pretty compelling stuff (the first season, anyway), and even though it’s not set in the Valley, the second season features a scene in which Rue is running through Lake Balboa, off of Saticoy Street and Balboa Boulevard. She even zooms past Heart’s Coffee Shop—which Valley kids know as a classic 818 diner.
Barry is a show about a struggling hitman who turns to acting as a way of dealing with his demons. While the majority of the show takes place in what some people refer to as “LA proper,” one of the main characters in Barry goes by the nickname NoHo Hank. Naturally, a lot of the scenes are shot in the newly bustling (read: gentrified) neighborhood. In the pilot, there’s also a feature of Ventura Boulevard when Barry picks up a gun that was mailed to him, you know, for work.
3. Never Have I Ever
Taking place in Sherman Oaks and following the experiences of an Indian Valley girl navigating high school, this Mindy Kaling masterpiece stays true to the diversity of the San Fernando Valley. On a more risqué note, it also introduced us to Paxton Hall-Yoshida (real name: Darren Barnet), who became an American heartthrob almost overnight.
4. Kobra Cai
Picking up 34 years after Johnny Lawrence lost to Daniel LaRusso in the All Valley Karate Tournament, Kobra Cai sees this rivalry alive and well (and still based in the Valley). Lawrence re-opens Cobra Kai, the dojo where young LaRusso was bullied, while setting out on a road to redemption. It’s the stuff Valley dreams are made of.
5. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
I was born in the 90s, so I distinctly remember coming come from elementary school to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Since I was so young, I didn’t realize that the TV Series, which ran from 1997 to 2003, had an episode filmed at California State University, Northridge’s Cleary Court Breezeway. It’s pretty cool to know that connection between two big parts of my childhood.
6. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
Talk about a freaking throwback. Turns out that in the early 90s, CSUN lent their front portico to the Power Rangers, which they then jumped off of to defeat the villain. Sadly, I couldn’t find the series on any streaming networks in the U.S., but you might be able to find an episode or two on the official Power Rangers YouTube channel.
7. The Office
Not to be controversial, but if you don’t consider The Office the workplace sitcom that started it all, I’m not quite sure you’ve been paying attention. Not only did this show perfect the art of breaking the fourth wall (which they did by having actors look straight into the camera), but they also connected the Valley to Scranton by way of Pacoima, Van Nuys, and Valley Village. You know that episode where the gang goes to the lake? Well, that’s Hansen Dam!
8. Pam & Tommy
Though I binged this show in a few days, I have to say that I have mixed feelings about it. Yes, it’s filmed largely in the Valley—including neighborhoods like Chatsworth, Van Nuys, North Hollywood, and Valley Glen—but it also mostly sticks to the porn identity that people connect to us. That said, it’s a pretty compelling historical of one of Hollywood’s most closely followed relationships.
9. The Good Place
Starring Kristen Bell, Ted Danson, and William Jackson Harper, this sitcom heavily features CSUN’s campus. Per Movie Maps, The Soraya, CSUN’s performing arts center, has appeared in at least three episodes of The Good Place. The Soraya has stood in for iconic landmarks like St. John’s University and the Sydney Opera House. A few episodes of The Good Place were also filmed on the lawn in front of the University Library.
10. Young Sheldon
The Big Bang theory has a strong fandom, so it’s not all too surprising that Young Sheldon has also seen a lot of success. As its title indicates, this series follows 9-year-old Sheldon Cooper as he’s starting high school in 1989. What ensues is, according to critics, is “a lot of heart and plenty of laughs.” But what parts of the Valley does it feature? Van Nuys High School, y’all.
11. You’re the Worst
Clocking in at five seasons and featuring Valley sites like the Burbank mall and Van Nuys RC Field in Lake Balboa, You’re the Worst is an FX TV show about Jimmy Shive-Overly—who’s described as “narcissistic, brash, and self-destructive”—and his paramour, Gretchen Cutler, who’s “cynical, people-pleasing, and stubborn.” Their paths cross at a wedding and, even though they shouldn’t, they start catching feels. Watch it to see how that turns out…
I was actually enrolled at Birmingham Community Charter High School when MTV was filming this coming-of-age show. I distinctly remember there would be times during class when I’d use the bathroom and I’d walk past a crew of cameras by the quad or some of the school’s buildings. You can actually see the football field, Joe’s Shack, and the main office in the season one trailer. (Is this where I say, “Go Patriots!”?)
Don’t let this show’s title fool you. Blake, Adam, and Anders, the protagonists, actually loathe working and spend most of their time doing recreational drugs. Even though this series is set in Rancho Cucamonga, California, the house in which the trio lives is actually in Van Nuys on Hamlin Street! According to Fotospot, an app that curates “photo-worthy” tourist attractions, the Workaholics house is owned by the studio, which means you can book tours of and stays in the house.
After divorcing her cheating husband, who created several computer coding languages, Molly Wells gets $87 billion in alimony. Loot is the story about how she spends that fortune. Since Wells lives in the most expensive mansion in Los Angeles, it’s only natural that she shouts out Valley hoods, like Van Nuys as well as North Hollywood, where one character appears in a play. (What I love most about the show is how diverse the cast is. Maya Rudolph and Joel Kim Booster leading? Yes, please!)
15. Made for Love
If you’re into dark comedy, then Made for Love might be made for you. It stars Cristin Milioti as Hazel Green, whose tech billionaire husband has implanted a monitoring device in her brain—giving him access to her thoughts, feelings, and location. As any free-will-loving individual would do, Green sets out to rid herself of the monitor. Through the series, we see a house in Studio City referred to as “Home Cube,” where a vast majority of Made for Love takes place. Sadly, HBO removed Made for Love from its catalog in December 2022, but its Valley connection remains forever.
16. The Orville
From the dude who brought you Family Guy, Seth MacFarlane, comes a mix of science fiction, comedy, and drama. In April and May of 2016, at least two episodes of the show were filmed at the CSUN library lawn and portico, as listed in CSUN’s library records. I watched the trailer and if I were to describe it in three words, I’d say: chaotic, funny, and weird—but in a good way.
17. CSI: Vegas
Another show that was filmed in CSUN’s gorgeous library? CSI: Vegas. According to the CSUN library, a 2007 episode of this forensics show was filmed at the library and Sierra Tower. The Sundial, which is the CSUN student newspaper, reported that the San Fernando Valley campus transformed into West Las Vegas University during the filming.
S.W.A.T. is the show that completes the holy trinity of series shot at CSUN’s library. Believe it or not, I was a student at CSUN when this was filmed. With the ever-popular Shemar Moore strutting around the campus, CSUN was in a whirlwind. Scenes took place at Manzanita Hall as well, where one student was even able to take a photo with Moore.
22 movies filmed or based in the San Fernando Valley
Let’s start with a quick caveat: I said we’re including classics, and the problem with that is that a lot of them aren’t on streaming networks. Instead, you’d have to rent them for less than $5 on YouTube or Amazon Prime Video. Still, they well earned their place in this article and on your watch list.
19. La Bamba (1987)
You bet your buns that if anyone mentions this movie to me, I’m immediately screaming “Not my Ritchie!” at the top of my lungs. It’s such a powerful scene in such a wonderful movie—and it gets me in my feels every single time. Considering that Richard Steven Valenzuela, who went by the stage name Ritchie Valens, was born in Pacoima, it’s only natural that the story would be set in the San Fernando Valley and that they shot it primarily in his hometown.
20. The Karate Kid (1984)
Considering that there was a spin-off show (Cobra Kai) from this film, it’s not hard to acknowledge that it is a 1980s classic. If you haven’t already seen it, let me give you a quick plot summary: The new kid on the block is Daniel, and he quickly finds himself being bullied by karate students at the Cobra Kai dojo. In steps Mr. Miyagi, a repairman who just happens to be a master of martial arts. Under Mr. Miyagi’s tutelage, Daniel trains in karate and prepares to go against the savage Cobra Kai in the All Valley Karate Tournament.
21. The Sandlot (1993)
Recently, I saw a Tweet from a Los Angeles Times editor that read: “The Sandlot takes place in the early 1960s in the San Fernando Valley. Realistically, what city would it be?” I haven’t been able to stop thinking about that since. Replies ranged from Pacoima to Van Nuys and Granada Hills to Canoga Park. We may never know the answer to this question, but we certainly know this classic is set in the San Fernando Valley—and that’s good enough for me.
22. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019)
Quentin Tarantino’s ninth studio film is loosely based on the real story of Sharon Tate. Tate was a famous actress who was brutally murdered by the Manson Family in her Hollywood Hills home. What made the story darker is that Tate was pregnant. Naturally, the film mostly takes place in Hollywood, but the Valley gets its shoutout as Tate visits Casa Vega in Sherman Oaks and Brat Pitt’s character (stuntman Cliff Booth) goes on a trip to Chatsworth.
23. Back to the Future (1985)
Talk about a Valley classic! To this day, this film is inspiring art exhibits, musicals, and actor appearances at Comic Cons. Additionally, digital creator and director Giovanni Hernandez, who’s lived in the Valley all his life, actually made a video explaining the different Valley scenes you can spot in Back to the Future. Most notably, this includes Marty McFly’s house, which is in Arleta.
24. Licorice Pizza (2021)
Even though I’ve never seen this Paul Thomas Anderson film, I trust that it’s good from word of mouth—and its whopping 91 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie’s protagonists are Alana Kane and Gary Valentine, who we see come of age, do wild things, and fall in love in the 1970s San Fernando Valley.
26. Pulp Fiction (1994)
According to The New York Times, this Tarantino classic was filmed in neighborhoods all over Los Angeles, including the San Fernando Valley. You know that scene where Bruce Willis’s Butch saves Ving Rhames’s Marsellus Wallace from even more brutal sexual trauma? Yes, the one with all the violence. Well, that was filmed at Crown Pawn Shop in Canoga Park.
27. Boogie Nights (1997)
Like Licorice Pizza, Boogie Nights is a Paul Thomas Anderson film. Anderson was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley, and he actually still lives here. A lot of his films have been described as love letters to the San Fernando Valley, and Boogie Nights is that, but a little more erotic. It features Mark Wahlberg as a busboy-turned-adult-film-star. The movie is set in the Valley and showcases the Reseda Theatre as well as Miss Donuts.
28. Encino Man (1992)
This is another film I haven’t seen, but the plot summary makes it seem pretty watch-worthy. Apparently, protagonist Dave Morgan, a teenager from the San Fernando Valley, “happens upon a caveman frozen in a block of ice.” Morgan and his “goofy friend Stoney” decide to thaw the caveman—only to discover that he’s survived all this time. They then make the brilliant decision to pass the caveman (Brendan Fraser) off as a foreign exchange student. Cue: misadventures!
29. Crash (2004)
Crash features a truly star-studded cast, including Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Brendan Fraser, Ludacris, and Terrence Howard. The plot is also quite compelling, documenting events following a Los Angeles car crash involving people of multiple races. If you watch the film, you’ll see the Carney’s in Studio City.
30. The Bad News Bears (1976)
Even though there was a 2005 remake of this 1976 classic, the more recent movie doesn’t have a connection to the San Fernando Valley. On the other hand, the original film does. The Bad News Bears was filmed all around Los Angeles, but it was mostly shot in the San Fernando Valley. If you look carefully, you can see that the field they play at is in Mason Park, which west Valley kids know is on Mason Avenue in Chatsworth.
31. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Recently, Drew Barrymore—one of the stars of E.T.—said that she grew up believing the namesake alien was real. Considering that the film’s special effects continue to be regarded as ahead of their time, that honestly tracks. While the film takes place in a “suburban town in California,” iconic scenes from the movie were filmed in west Valley cities like Northridge, Porter Ranch, and Granada Hills.
32. Nightcrawler (2014)
Filmed all over Los Angeles, Nightcrawler follows Jake Gyllenhaal’s Louis Bloom, a newly minted cameraman who goes to questionable lengths to get all the right footage. What I most love about Nightcrawler is that it answers the age-old question, â€œIs the San Fernando Valley a part of LA?” by showing the neighborhood as straight-up LA. It features mostly Ventura Boulevard, but a win is a win.
33. A Cinderella Story (2004)
Contrary to most of the films on this list—which were filmed in the Valley but not based in the Valley—we have A Cinderella Story. Movie Locations reports that not a lot of the movie was actually filmed here, but the whole story takes place in the Valley. It’s an adaptation of the fairytale that stars Hilary Duff and Chad Michael Murray, the former being a waitress at a San Fernando Valley diner and the latter being your typical hot guy.
34. Superbad (2007)
From when I first watched Superbad in theaters (had to sneak in because I was 14 at the time), I instantly recognized that Burbank corner. In the years since, it’s hard for me to drive by 7 Days Liquor without remembering when Francis accidentally runs McLovin’ over in the parking lot. I’d say spoiler alert, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a Valley kid (or anyone, for that matter) who hasn’t seen this coming-of-age classic.
35. Booksmart (2019)
I think of Booksmart in the same regard as I do Superbad. They’re both films about nerdy high school students on a quest to do outlandish sh*t before they leave for college. And they’re both filmed in the Valley? And two of the leading characters in each film (Jonah Hill and Beanie Feldstein) are siblings!? The connection couldn’t be clearer. Booksmart is actually based in the Valley and features a lot more SFV footage, including Lido’s Pizza on Sepulveda Boulevard and Victory Boulevard as well as a house party in Encino.
36. Magnolia (1999)
Like Boogie Nights and Licorice Pizza, Magnolia is another Paul Thomas Anderson film. And if there’s one thing about Paul Thomas Anderson movies, as you can see, is that they’re going to feature the San Fernando Valley. This particular film also has a star-studded cast, including Tom Cruise, Julianne Moore, and John C. Riley. It’s basically an existential film about people finding happiness in the Valley.
37. The Terminator (1984)
Not to be so hyperbolic, but who among us didn’t say “ll be back,” in The Terminator’s voice? No tea or shade, but probably someone who was born post-1995. In any case, The Terminator is a classic film that featured Victory Boulevard in Van Nuys when the titular character purchased a gun at Alamo Gunshop.
38. Sky High (2005)
Remember director and digital content creator Giovanni Hernandez? He also points out that the CSUN library recast itself as this film’s namesake high school, Sky High. “In the movie,” says Hernandez, “the building is supposed to be up in the sky, like some sort of hovering device.” That makes sense, considering the plot involves a school where teenagers are trained to be superheroes.
39. Day Shift (2022)
I’m not saying someone at Netflix has stumbled across this site, but I am saying that it’s a cool coincidence that the villain/realtor in Day Shift uses the slogan “Viva La Valley.” This film is a visual love letter to the SFV, which is clear in its scenes that include a long stretch of Reseda Boulevard as well as Circus Liquor in North Hollywood. It does get a little campy, but it’s definitely worth the watch.
40. Clueless (1995)
I’m gonna be honest: I had no intention of including Clueless in this roundup. I’ve never seen the film, out of protest for how it makes Valley girls seem: ditzy, unaware, and a little classless. But I’m a journalist, so I had to put personal feelings aside and acknowledge that Clueless definitely counts as a movie set or filmed in the 818. After all, the Beverly Hills mansion is actually in Encino.