Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Thomas Crown Affair (1968) Filming Locations - Part 1 Downtown Boston

Carlos and I headed to Boston to do some filming location research on The Thomas Crown Affair (1968). It's a project I had in mind for a long time and I hope to do the same for Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973) which was also shot in the Boston area.

In The Thomas Crown Affair (1968), Thomas Crown (Steve McQueen) recruits several highly trained criminals to do a bank heist. They don't know who hired them and they don't know each other. Only Thomas Crown knows who they are. He figures this is the perfect crime because no one can squeal on anybody else. In the beginning of the film, you see all the criminals arrive in Boston and head to the Boston Mercantile Bank. This part of the film offers lots of glimpses of downtown Boston circa late 1960s.

Boston Common at Park Street

Alas, we couldn't find the exact spot in the Boston Common so we just shot a few pictures of the general area. The phone booths from the movie are long gone.

South Station. Maybe? We were at a loss and couldn't find anything in South Station that looked quite like this.

This is what part of the interior of South Station looks like today.

Faneuil Hall in Boston. 

The surrounding area of the historic Faneuil Hall looks nothing like it did back in 1968. My how things change! The Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market Place area is a popular tourist location. There are lots of shops, restaurants, eateries and live outdoor entertainment.

We think this is the entrance/exit of the Downtown Crossing subway stop (locally known as just a T stop) but we are not sure. Downtown Crossing area has gone through a lot of changes recently. The original Filene's Department Store and Filene's Basement in Boston, there since 1909, is being torn down for condominiums. The building is not part of the movie but important to the area so I thought I'd share it.

This is where we think the above shot from the film was taken but we are not sure. This entrance/exit is right beneath the Filene's building.

Truly the end of an era!

We tried and tried but couldn't quite figure out which streets these were. I think one of them is Washington Street. The actor is clearly walking across more than one street to get to Congress Street where the bank is. Below are a couple streets that could be these above.

We had better luck finding the Boston Mercantile Bank exterior which is on 55 Congress Street. The interior scenes of the bank robbery were filmed elsewhere.

See those dots? I think that is where the old Boston Mercantile Bank sign used to be.

City of Boston Police Department Headquarters. After the bank robbery, you can see an image of a police car driving by and of this building. The building is now a Loews Boston Hotel but they left the old inscription up.

In this scene, the getaway car drives off with all the money. I noted the name of the Snifter Tavern on the right and Googled it. It's no longer around but I found that the address was 237 Congress Street.

This is what the current 237 Congress Street looks like from the other side of the road. Note that the building with the Trade Composition Co. from the film screencap no longer exists. But there is a building in the far distance that is still the same and that and the address of the tavern is how I know I got the right spot.

In this scene, Vicki Anderson (Faye Dunaway) meets with Boston Police Detective Eddy Malone (Paul Burke) at the Prudential Center. I'll admit that I didn't quite find the spot but this looked similar and was in the same area.

Stay tuned! I have Parts 2 and 3 coming up. We had much more success finding the Beacon Hill and Cemetery locations from the film. We also plan to take a couple more trips to find the other locations we didn't get to the first time.


  1. Thanks for the now and then comparison photos. It's always amazing to see how much things change, even within just a few decades! I love this film - look forward to parts 2 and 3.

  2. Nice idea for a series. Here in NYC we got a guy who does this sort of thing on a regular basis:

    I've been to Boston a number of times in the past, and it's always fascinating to see the old buildings and the history behind them.

  3. Rich - I never claimed this was a new idea. Why can't I do it on my own? We have Boston film location tours but finding sites on my own is a lot of fun too.

  4. Very nice job, Raquel! Love Boston and it's fun seeing how you were able to match up the movie locations with modern day streets!!

    Best wishes,

  5. Thanks for the now and then comparisons. I love this film! I look forward to parts 2 and 3. It's amazing how much can change in just a few decades. Particularly that section Faneuil Hall with its new modern skyline!

    On another note, I left a comment yesterday, it showed as being published then I noticed it disappeared. This happened on my own blog too when I tried leaving a reply comment. And for some reason certain blogs are showing up in my Blogger reading list but not others. What's going on with Blogger all of sudden!

    1. Robby - I saw your comment in email form but it somehow disappeared from the blog. Thank you so much for leaving it again. I appreciate the support. These location searches are tough. Have you ever done a post about how you go about doing them? Research, screen caps, on location stuff, etc?

    2. Hi Raquel,

      No, I haven't done a post on that, but perhaps I should! A lot of the research is comparing screen caps (which I usually take from DVDs - or YouTube in the case I can't find a DVD) with vintage photos (which I usually find electronically through various library collections or my personal collection of postcards). Now it has gotten to the point I just know the architectural details of buildings in different neighborhoods well enough I either know right away where the location is or a good starting point to begin looking. Maybe down the road I'll do a more thorough "how to." Thanks for the suggestion.


Leave me a comment! If it is a long one, make sure you save a draft of it elsewhere just in case Google gobbles it up and spits it out.

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