Vincent Thomas Bridge: Brushes with Fame


On Sunday, the Vincent Thomas Memorial Bridge had another brush with fame when director Tony Scott (Top Gun, Days of Thunder, True Romance) committed suicide by jumping from it to his death. Before this tragedy, Scott (read our tribute to him here) was planning to shoot the opening of his upcoming movie – a remake of Walter Hill’s The Warriors set in L.A. – on the bridge. “I’m hoping to get a hundred thousand real gang-members standing on the Vincent Thomas Bridge for one shot,” Scott told Rotten Tomatoes in 2009.

If the film does get made, it won’t be 1500’-long suspension bridge’s first time in the movies. Since opening in 1963, it has provided a cinematic backdrop that works equally well for 1960s novelty bands and 1980s thrillers. Scott, who reportedly jumped in the middle of the day in full view of several boats, had an audience to the end.

Head (1968, Bob Rafelson)
They’re too busy singing to put anybody down, but in the opening scene of this spastic comedy, The Monkees interrupt a dedication ceremony just before the ribbon-cutting by jumping off the bridge. A slow motion shot of Micky Dolenz plays over the weird, semi-ironic lyrics of “The Porpoise Song.”

To Live and Die in L.A. (1985, William Friedkin)
In this stylish, slow-burn thriller starring Willem DaFoe, William Petersen plays a Secret Service agent who bungee jumps off the bridge.

Heat (1995, Michael Mann)
Robert De Niro famously calls it the “Saint Vincent Thomas Bridge” in a scene in Heat.

Gone in 60 Seconds (2000)
Part of the suspension bridge can be seen in the film’s climactic car chase.

Charlie’s Angels (2000)
In a magical conflation of geography, a car chase starring Cameron Diaz and Crispin Glover starts in Fontana and almost immediately jumps to the Vincent Thomas Bridge.