In many cases, the most important character in a movie or show is the setting. That’s why directors take such great care in finding the perfect locations for their projects, and their choices have transformed anonymous buildings into iconic cultural sites.
Ranging from creepy to swanky, here are the most recognizable homes to ever grace the screen. But watch out, because there are a few fakes mixed in here too! Can you tell the real houses from the Hollywood movie sets?
1. Full House: The Tanner household is part of a row of brightly colored houses called the ‘Painted Ladies’ in San Francisco. These matching buildings must be the most beloved duplicates from the show, after Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen of course.
2. The Brady Bunch: Here’s the story of a lovely lady…who lived in the 1970s’ most iconic home. When the house recently went back on the market, HGTV outbid NSYNC member Lance Bass for ownership.
3. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: It’s a long way from West Philadelphia. However, the Banks’ mansion actually isn’t in Bel-Air; it’s located in Brentwood. Hopefully guests today aren’t treated like Jazzy Jeff was…
4. Harry Potter: From the mind of J.K. Rowling, 4 Privet Drive was the home of Vernon, Petunia, and Dudley Dursley, as well as some unfortunate cousin named Harry Potter. The real house appropriately has a cupboard under the stairs.
Flickr / Matthew Wells
5. The Simpsons: Yes, we know Evergreen Terrace exists only in the animated world, but that didn’t stop Fox from building a stunning replica in Nevada. It was the prize in a 1997 contest, though its winner told Fox to ‘eat his shorts’ by taking a cash prize rather than the full-sized home.
6. Downton Abbey: Though Highclere Castle is nearly 200 years old, it is most famous as the setting of Downton Abbey. It has a total of 300 rooms and is at the center of a sprawling 6,000-acre estate.
7. Home Alone: The Wet Bandits aren’t the only ones trying to peek inside this dwelling! Fans of Kevin McCallister still snap photos of this Georgian home in the Chicago suburb of Winnetka.
8. Twilight: The stylish and modern Cullen residence is owned by Nike executive John Hoke. Its architect designed it to resemble a treehouse, which blends in perfectly with the forest surrounding it.
9. Psycho: A family like the Bateses needs a house that’s just as creepy as they are. Though it’s nothing more than an empty shell of a building, the original house stands today on the Universal Studios Hollywood backlot.
10. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: Ferris described his pal Cameron’s crib as a museum because it’s ‘very beautiful and very cold, and you’re not allowed to touch anything.’ In real life, it’s called the Ben Rose House and has an area to display a fancy car collection, just like in the movie.
11. Seinfeld: Known as ‘The Shelley,’ this building’s tenants included Jerry Seinfeld and Cosmo Kramer. Surprisingly, it is actually in Los Angeles, not New York’s Upper West Side as the show claims.
12. Forrest Gump: It’s the place where Forrest discovered running and met Elvis Presley, but sadly it’s not real. The crew built it exclusively for the film and tore it down as soon as they completed filming.
13. Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure: Even though Pee-Wee Herman seems to live in a fantasy world, his house definitely exists. For better or worse, the current owners scrapped the lawn ornaments and firetruck-red paint.
14. Sleepless in Seattle: Tom Hanks is a lucky guy. Not only did he get Meg Ryan in Sleepless, but he also got to live in the world’s coolest houseboat! Today, you can even rent it out for a few nights!
Rick Miner / Coldwell Banker Danforth
15. The Amityville Horror: At first the filmmakers were disappointed they were not allowed to shoot in the actual Amityville, but then they found this house in Toms River, New Jersey.
American International Pictures
16. Roseanne: While the Connors resided on the outskirts of Chicago, their house is actually in Evansville, Indiana. The town was once home to the show’s creator Matt Williams.
17. Poltergeist: They’re here! In this case, ‘here’ is Simi Valley, California. Steven Spielberg personally chose this suburban abode to become one of the evilest homes in movie history. We can only hope that it’s not actually haunted.
18. The Goonies: These adventurous teens chased after One-Eyed Willy’s treasure to save their neighborhood, and we can certainly see why. The Walshes’ charming seaside home still stands in Astoria, Oregon.
19. Modern Family: Though maybe not as luxurious as Jay and Gloria’s mansion, the Dunphy home has its own charm. The actual house lies just a couple miles from the studio where most of the scenes are shot in Los Angeles.
20. The O.C.: The Cohen’s Italian villa-style mansion was home to Ryan, Seth, Sandy, and Kristen until an earthquake ‘destroyed’ it in the final season. The real place still stands and sold in 2016 for a whopping $6.25 million.
21. Breaking Bad: For several years, this Albuquerque house belonged to the Whites — or was it the Heisenbergs? The real-life owner had a serious issue with fans copying Walter by tossing pizzas on the roof.
Do you have a Hollywood dream home on this list? It’s crazy to know just how many of these places are real locations you can visit.
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