Today massive shopping malls are a part of everyday life in the UK, but not so long ago – with our smaller centres and precincts – we could only marvel from afar at the retail paradises that rolled out across the USA. For many of us, our window to these shopping playgrounds came in the form of the cinema screen. Here are some of the most famous American malls featured in classic movies, where you can still shop today – make sure you take your travel money cardwith you!
Around 25 minutes’ drive from the city of Pittsburgh is the Pennsylvania municipality of Monroeville. In 1978 its simply named Monroeville Mall gained a cult status that endures to this day when it became the principal location for George A. Romero’s classic horror Dawn of the Dead. Centred around a small group of survivors sheltering in the mall from a zombie apocalypse, the movie apparently struck more of a chord with American audiences than its predecessor Night of the Living Dead – colour film brought the saga to life and the relocation from a rural farmhouse to such a modern and pedestrian setting gave it a whole new dimension to audiences of the late 20th Century. Monroeville Mall survived the zombie uprising and is still going strong with stores including JC Penney (clearly visible in the film) and more contemporary brands such as Abercrombie & Fitch and H&M.
Time travel meant that historic characters like Ludwig van Beethoven and Genghis Khan were very much alive to see the American shopping mall experience in 1989’s Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. The eponymous heroes – a pair of loveable California slackers played by Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves – bring a variety of iconic figures from the past to their home town of San Dimas in the present day in order to help with a school project. The fish out of water figures soon start to cause chaos in the brave new world when left to their own devices at the shopping mall. The mall used was not in California, but in fact in Arizona. Metrocenter in Phoenix is the real life location – with stores like Just Sports and Urban Sports, you can follow in Khan’s footsteps by trying on all the latest athletic gear.
We do not see its interior in the movie, but the third featured mall nonetheless provided a prominent backdrop for another much loved 80s classic. It started as the “Twin Pines Mall” and then, through a minor rewriting of history, became the “Lone Pine Mall” – but the real location for where Doc Emmett Brown shows Marty McFly his time machine in Back to the Future is the car park of Puente Hills Mall in City of Industry, California – less than an hour’s drive from Hollywood. A JC Penney department store was also visible in this scene – the store is no longer at Puente Hills, but there is a good substitute in the form of Macy’s. And if you just can’t get enough of the movies there’s an AMC Theatres cinema at which to catch the latest releases.
Three everyday malls that became stars of the big screen and are worth checking out should your travels take you near… And with no hidden fees and the best exchange rates, you don’t need a movie star salary to use a Caxton FX card.