Jarhead: Exploring Every Filming Location of the 2005 Movie

Based on the 2003 memoir titled ‘Jarhead: A Marine’s Chronicle of the Gulf War and Other Battles’ by former US Marine Anthony Swofford, ‘Jarhead’ is a 2005 biographical war drama movie helmed by Sam Mendes. Set in the late 1980s, the narrative follows Anthony Swofford, portrayed by Jake Gyllenhaal, who enlists as a Marine and must now train in boot camp under a strict and sadistic drill instructor. Undertaking a sniper course, Anthony finds himself under the command of Staff Sgt. Sykes. Anthony gets shipped out along with Alan Troy when the US gets involved in the Gulf War.

Through Anthony’s eyes, we get to witness the uncertainties faced by the soldiers about the war and their respective homes as they try to soldier on. Alongside Gyllenhaal, the action film features a star-studded ensemble cast of Jamie FoxxPeter Sarsgaard, Lucas Black, and Chris Cooper, as it unfolds mostly in the deserted warzone of the Persian Gulf War. The explosions and gun-combats against the backdrop of places in ruins make one wonder where ‘Jarhead’ was filmed. If you are in the same boat, allow us to provide you with all the necessary details!

Jarhead Filming Locations

‘Jarhead’ was filmed in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Mexico, particularly in Los Angeles County, Imperial County, Victorville, Camarillo, Yuma, Alamogordo, and Baja California. The principal photography for the Sam Mendes directorial seemingly commenced in late 2004 and reportedly wrapped up in about five months or so, in 2005. Now, without further ado, let us walk you through all the specific locations that stand in for the base camps and warzones in the action drama movie!

Los Angeles County, California

A significant portion of ‘Jarhead’ was lensed across Los Angeles County, including the Universal Studios situated at 100 Universal City Plaza in Universal City. To be specific, the production team utilized the Little Europe backlot, Stage 28, and Stage 12 (used for shooting the aircraft interior scenes) of the film studio. Moreover, a few desert scenes were recorded on one of the Universal Studios sound stages as they used the lighting to double as burning oil wells. As per reports, the locales of the cities of Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Santa Clarita also feature in some sequences of the war drama movie.

Imperial County, California

The filming unit set up camp in Imperial County to tape various key portions of ‘Jarhead.’ Some Kuwait scenes for the film were seemingly shot in Hugh T. Osborne Lookout Park on Osborne Park Road or Imperial Sand Dunes at 5777 CA-78, both in the city of Brawley. Furthermore, they transformed the old Helieg Meyers building in El Centro into a sound stage for the movie. The city of Holtville also features in some sequences.

Other Locations in California

For shooting purposes, the production team of ‘Jarhead’ also traveled to other locations across California, especially in the city of Victorville. More than a couple of sites in Victorville served as important filming sites for the film, including Southern California Logistics Airport at 18374 Phantom, George Air Force Base, 18312 Finance Street, and 980 George Boulevard.

The scenes where Swoff and Troy wander through the dunes at night as they try to return to base were recorded on Glamis Dunes. The cast and crew also utilized the premise of California State University Channel Islands at 1 University Drive in the city of Camarillo for shooting the Jake Gyllenhaal starrer.

Other Locations in the US

Several other sites in the country also make an appearance in different portions of ‘Jarhead.’ The city of Yuma was occupied by the director and his team for a while, where they filmed some important scenes. White Sands National Park in New Mexico, which is the world’s largest and best-protected surface deposit of gypsum sand, served as one of the prominent production locations. Just east of the national park is the city of Alamogordo, which also appears in the film.

Baja California, Mexico

In order to shoot some additional desert scenes for ‘Jarhead,’ the production team traveled all the way to the Mexican state of Baja California. In particular, they utilized the locales of the capital city of the state, that is, Mexicali, to lens key sequences for the Jamie Foxx starrer. Over the years, Baja California has hosted the production of numerous film projects, such as ‘Troy,’ ‘Pearl Harbor,’ and ‘Little Boy.’

Read More: Is Jarhead Based on a True Story?