ScenePast pinpoints famous movie locations in cities across the country.
Some movie scenes have such distinctive locations that you think it would be easy to spot them in real-life, but ScenePast proves it’s not that simple. The app takes you back in time at over 650 filming locations to give you a before-and-after look at some of the most iconic locales in film history.
Within the platform, a time-travel styled lever filters results by year or zip code. There’s also the option of finding locations near you, which means you can head out and see them for yourself. If you don’t already own them, a “Watch Now” button lets you download the related film or TV show directly from iTunes.
Some have complained that the selection of movies within the app doesn’t make much sense, but that comes down to the founders’ approach to the project.
“We like to mix it up, trading between different TV shows, films, cities, genres, and decades,” Bernstein explained to Wired about how they select titles. “We may add a 1950s New York City-set film like Sweet Smell of Success, then start on a 1990s TV show like Beverly Hills, 90210.”
When you consider that Michael Bernstein and Craig Bryan have sorted through 20,000 hours of footage so far, it’s understandable why they want to keep things interesting for themselves. “On bigger films, like Back to the Future, locations are well documented, so you can easily figure out where Marty McFly lived. However, less popular films like 1983’s Crackers, set in San Francisco, can be challenging to figure out—but also enormously rewarding.”
If you live in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, or Miami, it could be fun to take a look at the app – you can even help the pair pinpoint certain locations in the area that you happen to know. So far it’s only available for iOS, but if that happens to be your operating system, you can download the app here.