Monday, July 11, 2011

Rushmore Film Locations Part 1

Wes Anderson is one of my favorite modern directors.  Rushmore is in my opinion his best film, not only because its wonderful, but it was filmed in Houston (which is where I live).

The Rushmore school is actually St. John's school.  Wes Anderson picked this location because it was where he went to school.  Sadly, there has been major construction since 1998, and none of the buildings look the same.  Yet another reason why I should have done this 10 years ago when I first thought about it.

As you can see new buildings have been added.

Here is where Max first meets Mr. Blume.

Aside from some new windows, the chapel has not changed much.

This is from the same scene.

The courtyard area is now a parking lot.

Here is the circular drive that appears in a few scenes.

and currently

Here is the barber shop Max's Father owns.

It actually was and still is a barber shop.

After Max is expelled from Rushmore he attends Grover Cleveland High School.

Grover Cleveland is actually Lamar High School and is right across the street from St. John's.   Lamar was built in the 30's and still has that awesome art deco look.

This shot took me a while to locate.

Most of the school is surrounded by a chain link fence, so that's what I was looking for.  I parked here to take the picture of the Rushmore gate.  When I walked back to my car I realized it was the side front of the school.  The gate is long gone, or was possibly put there for the film.

Here is a great scene.

Mr. Blume stops by Grover Cleveland to run over Max's bike.  Here it is today.

Another shot from the same scene.

Almost identical today.

If you are wondering how I located the barber shop, it was this scene.  I read the sign "11th Street Cleaners"  I only knew of one 11th Street in town so that's where I went.

Here it is today, repainted and falling apart.

There are a couple more places I have found that I need to photograph.  I really want to go inside the chapel from the opening scene, we'll see if I can sneak in there one day.  Until then enjoy Part 1.


  1. I've never seen the film, but I've learned something from you post....I love "before and after" shots even if they are of something that I'm not familiar with. Great shots! I enjoyed comparing all the little details!

  2. Thanks guys. Tokyo - I spend a lot of time staring at movie locations from films I have not seen, something about them really interests me.

  3. What about Ms. Blume's house? I'm still trying to figure out where that is.

  4. I actually was an extra in the opening scene (one of the young boys in the pews), and my family goes to the church that the school is attached to.

    I remember that, because I wasn't 16 yet, I couldn't get the $20 they were giving to the older kids. I got a cast t-shirt instead. I can't find the darn thing, but figure it's worth a pretty penny now - certainly more than $20.

    We did about 3 hours of pewaerobics -stand up, sit down, stand up, sit down, etc.- for that opening scene. The kids behind me were all talking about Ghost Busters before Murray came up and cameras rolled. At one point, in the middle of one of the takes, someone must have tripped over their lights, or a switch was blown, because the whole room went dark all of a sudden. I distinctly remember the tenor of the Texas twang that called out "Bill, it's the ghosts, get your gun!" to uproarious laughter right before the lights came on. Murray's face was pricelessly disgusted.

    Anyhow, St. John's renovated the interior of their main worship space a few years back. The walls are very much the same white stone, as are the stained glass windows that appear behind Bill Murray's head in the scene. The red carpet has been replaced with a stone tile (light tan if I remember). They've also opened up the area around the altar more, and I don't think the pulpit that Murray speaks from is there any more.

    They shot the church to make it look smaller, too. It's actually quite a large space, able to hold a few hundred people.