One of two Michael Mann films compiled here, Collateral stars Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx as a hitman and a cab driver caught up in a citywide cat-and-mouse game. Mann just gets LA, there’s no denying it.
Billy Wilder’s filmography consists of some of the most important films in the medium’s history. As a lover of Los Angeles (and Hollywood in general), the director’s work often doubles as excellent films and love letters to the city. Double Idemnity is one such example.
Michael Mann might be the seminal modern-day Los Angeles filmmaker. That’s a big honor—and a controversial declaration, possibly—but one look at Heat is enough evidence to prove it.
When people think of Quentin Tarantino’s best, there’s likely to be all kinds of different answers. One that remains criminally underrated is Jackie Brown, a send-up of Blaxploitation films of the 70s and a loving tribute to classic LA heist films.
As a lover of Old Hollywood and 1950s sensibilities, it’s no wonder David Lynch was able to craft one of the best movies set in Los Angeles so far. As dreamlike as it is nightmarish, Mulholland Drive is an LA masterpiece and one of Lynch’s many magnum opuses.
The Tarantino film that needs no introduction, Pulp Fiction practically created a subgenre of darkly comedic and cartoonishly violent films driven by great dialogue and Hollywood homages galore. Naturally, being set in Los Angeles, the film earns itself a spot here.
One of two films on this list to deal with the decline of silent films, Singin’ in the Rain is one of the most delightful musicals of all time and one of the most glorious LA movies to come from the city to date. Debbie Reynolds is a real stand-out, going on to live a long and illustrious life post-production.
Another Wilder classic is Sunset Boulevard, a heartbreaking story about the decline of silent films and the rise of talkies. One doesn’t consider just how many people lost their jobs at this point in Hollywood, but Wilder lays it all out.
The Coen brothers tend to stick to the Midwest, so The Big Lebowski’s accurate depiction of California’s capital is pretty surprising (but welcome). After all, they’ve worked in the city before—Barton Fink and Hail, Caesar!, their two films about filmmaking, do a pretty great job too.
Robert Altman is one of the most respected filmmakers of the 20th century, and The Player is his satirical exploration of the craft. Featuring all kinds of cameos and great jabs at the Hollywood system, it’s obvious that it takes a pro to lampoon the pros.