1. A garbage man is caught by surprise when a sudden electrical storm occurs right next to his truck. Note the corner of the building and the style of the trim at the top. When Griffith Observatory was remodeled, the existing staircase was turned into a walkway, and a replacement set of stair sloped the opposite direction was built in front of the existing wall. The wall with the door and two windows in the modern-day shot didn't exist in 1984. There are similarities though. Again, the corner of the building with its distinctive trim is visible. In the upper-left corner, there is also an archway.
2. The Terminator arrives. One of the few remaining details from the original staircase is the diamond pattern on the wall. To the left, a light fixture can be seen attached to an embedded column.
Here's a picture that better shows the arrival spot of the Terminator
3. Having just arrived, the Terminator walks over to the wall, where it sees an expansive view of Los Angeles. The wall is correct, although it now has lights embedded into it. There's evidence of a staircase at the far right, and even though the modern-day shots were taken in the daytime, it's easy to see the main street from the center of the movie screenshots.
4. Some inebriated punks have taken note of a naked man walking toward them from Griffith Observatory. The similarities speak for themselves.
5. The last of the three punks gives his clothes to the Terminator. Note the curvature of the railing. Due to the presence of a picnic table, it wasn't possible to match the curvature perfectly, but it's close enough that the similarity should be self-evident. The thick pole is the pole the punk was holding onto in the movie. The roof no longer exists today but the concrete slab for the telescope is barely visible to the right. This is the exact location where the punk was prone on the ground.
6. Elsewhere in Los Angeles, another visitor from the future is about to arrive... This alley was one of two locations used to depict Kyle's arrival in 1984. just beyond the entrance to the alley, a fire hydrant sits near the curb. It is oriented the same way today as it was in the movie. Across the street, the upper floors of the buildings are very similar, although the ground levels have changed considerably over the years. What really confirms this location are two signs further down the street. In the movie, there is a very tall sign in the background that looks like it's glowing brightly. In the modern-day shot, it's a sign that says 'St. Vincent', and it's the same shape as the glowing sign in the movie. A little further down the street is another very tall sign, which has white letters on a dark background. The sign has the word 'diamonds' on it. The lettering is a bit fuzzy in the movie, but it's quite clear in the modern-day shot.
7. This next comparison is included mainly to illustrate on additional matching feature. Since the camera panned from the street to the alley in one continuous shot, this has to be the same alley. However, this alley was not the one actually used to film Kyle Reese's arrival scenes. Another alley was used for that, which is just a block away from this one.
8. A bum's drunken stupor is interrupted by sudden gusts of wind and a major electrical disturbance. Careful observers will note that the abrupt termination of the brick wall matches up. It's not a perfect match, as the wall in the modern-day shot has received an additional quarter-century of vehicle damage, but the contour of the lower section is pretty similar. A metal rail that used to support the security door in the movie still exists.
9. Kyle has arrived. The stairs seen in the movie still exist. Unfortunately, they are now behind a substantial security barrier. Some of the framework for the stairs is still visible, the most notable feature being a large horizontal beam. One of the vertical rails with rivets is visible, too. Note the fire escapes in the movie screenshot, which still exist today
10. The police are very quick to arrive on the scene. Note the manhole cover in the street. On either side of the alley are heavy duty protective rails that are not seen at the entrances of other alleys in the area. The one one the right is L-shaped and curves around the corner. At it's base is a rounded concrete block.
11. After stealing a police officer's gun, Kyle breaks through a door to avoid additional officers responding to the scene. The door is quite different, but there are similarities in the brickwork, on the right side of the doorway, the third brick up from the bottom has a white dot on it. Five bricks up from that point, there's a large diagonal notch in the brick. Two bricks up from that is a brick with a horizontal groove across it. Further to the right, at the edge of the gate, there is a large damaged section in the bricks. Below that is a plate with a corner cut at a 45-degree angle and one fastener visible below that cropped corner.
12. Sarah arrives at work on the last normal day of her life. The driveway she used to ride onto the sidewalk still exists, as well as the tree and lamp post she passes. Note the positional relationship of the tree and lamp post. In the background, just to the right of the lamp post, is another tree that is angled to the left. On the far left side of the screenshot are two trees that are still present today. The intersection matches up as well.
13. As Sarah walks past Big Buns, the roof can be seen. While the building has received modifications over the years (mainly in the entrance), much of the roof is still recognizable. It has the same tile, the same trim around the edge of the roof, and even the rectangular box area on top is the same shape and construction.
14. The Terminator goes "shopping". The sign frame is still the same, down to the mounting hardware used to secure it. In the background, a billboard is visible. The trim along the top of the building seems to match
15. The Terminator is about to go inside. The smoking gun is the address number, which looks exactly the same now as it did in 1984. The front entry is pretty much identical. There's the white window above the double-doors, the same powered door closers, and even the same brick columns on either side of the entry. There are also small, capped posts sticking out of the ground that still exist today.
16. The Terminator locates a payphone and pulls up next to it. While most of the buildings in the background have been demolished and replaced, the most distinctive building in the shot by far still exists today. It's not the only distinctive detail. Note that most of the palm trees match in both position and relative height when compared to each other. One palm tree that leans to the right is behind a distinctive "three headed" lamp post. In the foreground is the pole the Terminator pulls up to. Near the rear wheel of the station wagon, an access plate is visible in the sidewalk, which still exists today.
17. The camera sweeps the neighborhood to set the scene. To the left, an already mature tree in 1984 still exists today in front of Wrong Sarah's neighbor. The layout of the windows matches, and the roof is the same shape. It appears that the roof is being redone, as much of the clay tile is missing. The driveway for Wrong Sarah's house can be seen in the modern-day photo. The house next to Wrong Sarah's neighbor still exists today, but isn't visible due to numerous obstacles
18. The wrong Sarah's house was demolished and replaced with an apartment building. Aside from the address number itself, the only other matching feature is the driveway ramp, which has a dark square tile in the middle of it.
19. The house directly across the street form Wrong Sarah's house is still present. What's visible of the windows, vents, and roofline match. The chimney still exists, although it has been shortened. The house next to it has changed very little. The roof is the right shape and the windows are the right shape and layout. The driveway shared by the two houses still exists, although now a fence runs down the middle of it.
All photos and descriptions by David Drummond
Edited by Adrian Czarny