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Kill Bill vol 1 and vol 2 are two action movies, or rather one long movie split in two (it was intended to be made as one film but was split because the original version was more than four hours) and released in 2003 and 2004.
Watch the movies first. The article contains some spoilers and outright "in-jokes" referring to scenes in the movie(s), but in order to minimize the spoilers, not everything is explained here, and so the article refers to events that readers won't understand without watching them first.
The protagonist "The Bride" (later her name is revealed as Beatrix Kiddo) used to be a member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad - organization. The members were named after snake species and she went by the name "black mamba". One day she discovered she was pregnant and therefore decided to quit the job, escape, and start a new life under a new identity. Bill, the boss of the organization (and who was also in some kind of relationship with her), mildly speaking, didn't accept this. The Bride found a new man, and as they were about to get married in El Paso, the rest of the squad showed up at the wedding rehearsal, and gunned down everybody - or so they thought. The sheriff and his team investigating the crime scene have no idea of who she is and so she is just referred to as "The Bride".
The Bride survives and wakes up from coma in a hospital four years later, and here the movie begins. She decides to travel around the world to search for and kill the four assassins and finally Bill himself. The movie(s) takes her around the southwestern U.S., Japan and Mexico, and there are flashbacks from her time training in China with the martial arts master Pai Mei. Much of the movie has been shot on location, though the U.S. parts were all shot in Southern California and most of the Asian parts in China.
|“||That woman... deserves her revenge, and... we deserve to die... But then again, so does she. So I guess... we'll just see... won't we?||”|
The film follows a nonlinear narrative, and the destinations are listed in the order they first show up in the movie. Most places are around Southern California, and you may want to drive to get around, the same goes for the Mexican location. The few Asian locations are better accessible by public transportation.
|“||Go-Go, I know you feel you must protect your mistress. But I beg you, walk away.||”|
- 1 Vernita Greene's house, 5500 Atlas St (South Pasadena). The house, green in the movie (where else would a character with that name in a Tarantino film live?), is in a residential district and as such likely inhabited. As of April 2017 it was painted white. If you are driving, the late nurse Buck's yellow Pussy Wagon truck or otherwise, park it right outside. Otherwise you can easily get in by bus; it's unclear if school buses still stop outside, but there are bus stops on Huntington Drive North near the crossing with Alpha St, served by LA Metro lines 78 and 79..
- 2 Two Pines wedding chapel (Sanctuary Adventist Church), 198 St East, East Av G (about 15 miles east of Lancaster (California)). Not in El Paso, but in the Mojave Desert (the Joshua tree in front is a dead giveaway), in the hamlet of Hi Vista. The church where everything began is actively promoting the fact that the movie was shot here (they shot the whole she-bang: bride, groom, reverend, reverend's wife... hell, they even shot that old colored fella that plays the organ), for example on its website they're referring to themselves as the "Kill Bill church". Other movies have been shot here as well, and in the windows there are (or have been) "Film Here" ads. Photography requires permission, both for the outside and inside of the church. It's also a functional church, and movie fans are welcome to attend services too. Car or taxi are the practical ways to get to the chapel. If you really insist on walking across the desert like the Bride in Volume 2 looking for Budd's trailer, local bus Line 50 will take you to Wilsonia Gardens, the corner of 170th St E and Ave. K-8, about 7.5 miles (12 km) from the church..
- 3 The hospital (St. Lukes Medical Center), 2632 East Washington Blvd near Altadena Dr (Pasadena). The hospital where she wakes up is filmed from the inside only, and is not in Texas either – nothing was filmed in Texas. St. Lukes Medical Center is a former hospital, and since 2002 it has been a place for filming hospital scenes. Unclear if it can be visited other than from the outside but local buses 32, 33, 264 and 268 stop at different stops in the corner of East Washington Boulevard and North Altadena Drive..
- 4 Hospital garage (American Cement building, 2404 Wilshire Blvd Garage), 2404 Wilshire Blvd (Los Angeles/Northwest). The American Cement building next to Mac Arthur Park in Los Angeles has likewise been used in other movies too, and as of early 2019 it also featured a "film here" banner on the wall. It is a public parking garage, so you can park your car here or just take a look inside. If you are not getting around by car, Westlake/MacArthur Park metro station is just across the park and bus 20 stops right outside on Wilshire Boulevard..
- 5 Production ig, 2 Chome-1-9 Nakacho, Musashino (Mitaka). This company produced the anime section with O-Ren Ishii's life up to now. Their studios are in Mitaka, and might have tours available. Other than that, they have a store in the Shibuya Marui department store in Shibuya. The studios are three blocks northeast of Mitaka railway station. The Shibuya Marui department store (also known as 0101), in turn, is a couple of blocks north of Shibuya railway station, next to the railway on the western side.
- 6 Okinawa sushi bar and the House of Blue Leaves (Beijing Film Studios (北京电影制片厂)), 77 N 3rd Ring Rd W, Bei Tai Ping Zhuang (Haidian District, Beijing). The Japanese scenes are largely shot in the Beijing Film Studios: Hattori Hanzo's sushi bar, sword room, and the House of Blue Leaves where the Bride, using her new Hattori Hanzo sword, cuts down O-Ren Ishii's associates and bodyguards one by one, and finally O-Ren herself. Quite possibly also the scene where yakuza boss Tanaka makes the mistake of insulting O-Ren. There's a reason these impressive fencing scenes were shot here; director Quentin Tarantino regarded the crew of the Beijing Film Studios as the world's best in creating martial arts scenes the "old school" way. The facilities in central Beijing were used for film making until 2009, and in 2012 they were partially demolished, but as of 2015 there were still some buildings left. The district still houses the Beijing Film Academy. To get here by public transportation, take subway line 10 to Xitucheng station, then walk about 600 m south along Xitucheng road.
- 7 Rainbow Bridge (Tokyo (Minato, Shibaura Pier, Odaiba Waterfont)). O-Ren Ishii and her gang travels in cars through Tokyo for a night out at the House of Blue Leaves across this bridge, and this is pretty much everything little actually filmed in Japan, in addition to the Bride riding a motorcycle past some big signs, possibly in Akihabara or Shibuya. The Yurikamome automatic guideway transit line goes across the bridge, with the Odaiba-kaihinkōen station on Odaiba island and Shibaura-futō station in Minato.
- 8 House of Blue Leaves (inspiration) (Gonpachi Restaurant), 1 Chome-13-11 Nishiazabu, Minato City (Tokyo/Minato). Sometimes referred to as the "Kill Bill restaurant" and while the film wasn't shot here, you can see the maker was inspired by this restaurant. Reputedly the owner turned down the suggestion to shoot here (and given the reaction by "Charlie Brown" and his wife to a few dozen yakuzas and O-Ren's other associates in pieces all over the place, this was a rather wise choice...). The restaurant itself specializes in charcoal grilled meat dishes and soba noodles. The restaurant is about 500 m southwest of Roppongi subway station along Roppongi-dori.
- 9 Sofie, Western entrance of 2nd St tunnel, Figueroa St (Los Angeles/Downtown). Curiously enough, the scene where the Bride drives a motorcycle next to Sofie Fatale's car and looks at her when they stop for the traffic lights is not shot in Tokyo but at the western entrance of the 2nd Street tunnel in Los Angeles downtown. This too is a place that has been featured in dozens of other movies (action movies especially) including Blade Runner, Independence Day, The Terminator, Lethal Weapon 2, and Rocky IV. If not getting around by four or two wheels, the Civic Center/Grand Park metro station is five blocks away, and some bus lines pass nearby.
- 10 As I said before, I've allowed you to keep your wicked life for two reasons... (Tokyo General Hospital), 3 Chome-15-2 Egota (Nakano City). There's actually one more scene filmed in Japan, where the Bride drops off Sofie at Tokyo General Hospital. Literally. Tokyo General Hospital with terrain somewhat similar to the one in the movie can be found on the Egota-no-mori park side, a little less than 1 km southwest from Shin-egota subway station.
- Finally, when in Japan, you can also check out if there's a concert by the 5,6,7,8's – that band playing in the House of the Blue Leaves.
|“||You are here to learn the mysteries of Kung Fu, not linguistics. If you can't understand me, I will communicate with you like I would a dog!||”|
- 11 Budd's trailer (Mule Canyon in Calico Hills, north of I-15, 15mi E of Barstow. Mule Canyon Rd runs NE from Yermo Rd to the west of Calico Ghost town). The scenes around Budd's trailer were filmed in the Mule Canyon, 15 miles east of Barstow and a few miles north of Yermo and the I-15. Given that Budd told Elle Driver that the Bride was buried in Barstow, the action was almost certainly intended to take place around here. You don't need to worry about encountering the mamba Elle let loose, but there may be rattlesnakes. Easiest to visit by car (there's a gravel road leading into the canyon, an offroad car can be a good idea), otherwise Victor Valley Transit line 29 takes you from Barstow to Yermo. Calico Ghost Town is a few miles to the northwest.
- 12 My Oh My Club (interior) (Sam's Hofbrau), 1751 E Olympic Boulevard at McGarry st (Los Angeles/Downtown). It's unclear where the outside of the strip club where Budd worked as a bouncer was. The interior, however was shot in this bar in downtown LA. Bus 66 goes along East Olympic Boulevard stops outside.
- 13 The grave of Paula Schultz (Mt View cemetery), 37067 Irwin Rd (Barstow). There's no Huntington Cemetery in Barstow and no street named Fuller. There is one street named Guadalupe, but no cemetery nearby. But in the north of the city, a mile and a half north of the railway station (a little more from downtown), there's the Mt View cemetery, and this is where The Bride was buried in the grave of Paula Schultz. Not much when it comes to public transportation here; the "Barstow to NTC" commuter line has a few departures northbound in the morning and southbound in the afternoon. So your car-free option would be to walk.
- 14 White Lotus Temple, Gao Miao Temple (Zhongwei). The temple that master Pai Mei resides in is in northwestern China. When watching the movie one may imagine it's on a remote, lonesome mountain top, but it's actually in the middle of a major city. The Miao Gao temple is one of Zhongwei's main attractions and features a multichambered Chinese version of Hell. The temple is almost next to the railway station.
- 15 May I have a glass of water, please? (Emma Jean's Holland Burger Cafe), 17142 North D Street (a couple of miles north of Victorville). A Route 66 diner north of Victorville is the place where the guy working the nightshift sees a somewhat unusual patron. Emma Jean Holland's Burger Cafe has been around since 1947, is famed for large servings and somewhat of a local celebrity. Victor Valley Transit bus 22 from downtown Victorville stops right outside.
- 16 Bill's hacienda (Careyes). The resort of Careyes in Jalisco, Mexico is 90 miles or 150 km south of Puerto Vallarta, and 60 miles or 100 km west of Manzanillo. It's a made up of villas, bungalows and castles. The meeting of the Bride and Bill is reportedly shot at the "estate of Seal & Heidi Klum" in Careyes, which is called Bill's hacienda or Bill's house, but this place does look more like a hotel than a private home. It has valet parking, and the Bride passes something looking like a hotel lobby and enters Bill's suite with the number 101 on the door. To get here, rent a car or take a taxi from Puerto Vallarta or Manzanillo airport.
- Arts in Japan – Kill Bill was inspired by Japanese samurai movies, and much of Volume 1 takes place in Japan featuring Japanese aesthetic elements.
- Martial arts – swordsmanship and kung fu play a big role in the movies.
- Old West – the movie also features many cultural elements from the Old West.