The Wraith






The Wraith was released into theaters on November 21st, 1986. Filming locations include Tucson and Vail, Az. It was directed by Mike Marvin. The lead of Jake Kesey was played by Charlie Sheen. Immediately after Sheen finished shooting The Wraith he started working on Platoon, the greatest war film ever made, in my humble opinion. The Wraith's car in the film was a Dodge M4S Turbo Interceptor. It was designed and constructed at an estimated cost of $1.1 million dollars by Chrysler Motors and PPG Industries. While filming a chase sequence in mountainy terrane, assistant cameraman Bruce Ingram was killed when the camera car he was in overturned. For some reason, it was decided that Griffin O'Neal, who was in the movie for twenty-four minutes, would be put on the theatrical poster alongside the three leads. I never understood that.  The movie has a phenomenal soundtrack. Some of the songs include Addicted to Love by Robert Palmer, Hold On Blue Eyes by LaMarca, Rebel Yell by Billy Idol, Secret Loser by Ozzy Osbourne and Smokin' in the Boys Room by Motley Crue. The score was composed by Michael Hoenig and J. Peter Robinson. The films first DVD release was on November 26th, 2002. 


The light flies under the bridge - Frontage Rd. Vail, Az. 85641
(Cienega Bridge)

The bridge was constructed in 1921. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on September 30th, 1988.


2021


Rolling hills road - just south of * N. Sandario Rd. and N. Kinney Rd. Tucson, Az. 85743

Jake is riding his Honda XL350R south along N. Sandario Rd. 


All "Now" pictures taken in 2021.



Keri Johnson's house - 2128 E. 5th St. Tucson, Az. 85719

The 1,425 square foot house was built in 1927. The large tree in front of the house was removed in 2019.


All "Now" pictures taken in 2020.




Swimming hole - 5700 N. Sabino Canyon Rd. Tucson, Az. 85750
(Sabino Canyon Recreation Area, Sabino Creek)

In order to get to the exact spot where they were swimming, start out at the visitor center and travel north along N. Upper Sabino Canyon Road for .5 miles until you reach a sign that reads Sabino Dam, with an arrow pointing to the right. You'll then travel 1 mile until the road ends and you come to a restroom structure. Continue walking past the restrooms and follow the dirt paths to the Sabino Dam and the swimming hole is directly under the dam. The majority of the rock formations seen in the film are still recognizable. The best time to see the swimming hole with water is in the spring, when the melting snow from the Santa Catalina Mountains run into the creek. Another option would be after a hard rainfall during monsoon season, which runs from early July to late September, but exercise caution regarding flash floods during this period.


All "Now" pictures taken in 2021.






View of the swimming area from the direction of the dam.


Big Kay's Burger - 2627 E. Benson Hwy. Tucson, Az. 85706

The structure used for Big Kay's was demolished in the early 90's. It had been there since at least the mid 60's. It would've been partially where the current building now sits.


All "Now" pictures taken in 2021.





Sheriff Loomis talks to Packard and his gang - Catalina Hwy. Az.
(Geology Vista Point)

This location is at an elevation of 6,700 feet. 


All "Now" pictures taken in 2021.





Packard Walsh's garage - W. Old Tucson Ajo Hwy. and S. San Juaquin Rd. Tucson, Az. 85713
(Snyder Hill)

The entire area around the hill is a high use free campsite.


All "Now" pictures taken in 2021.


The spot where the structure stood.

Looking out in the opposite direction from where the structure stood.


RoadblockFrontage Rd. Vail, Az. 85641
(Cienega Bridge)

The police are chasing the Wraith north along Frontage Road. This is the same bridge that the light flies under at the beginning of the movie.


All "Now" pictures taken in 2021.




Skank & Gutterboy driving - N. 4th Ave. and E. 7th St. Tucson, Az. 85705

They are driving south along N. 4th Street.


2021


Skank & Gutterboy chase Jake & Keri - N. 4th Ave. and E. University Blvd. Tucson, Az. 85705

They are driving south along N. 4th Street.


2021


They emerge from the underpass - N. 4th Ave. and E. Stevens Ave. Tucson, Az. 85701
(4th Ave. underpass)

There's been some debate amongst fans of the film as to whether the 4th or 6th Avenue underpass was used for the bike chase scene. It's very difficult to know for sure, since the 4th Avenue tunnel has been restructured and the 6th Avenue tunnel has been remodeled since filming took place. However, something I'm one-hundred percent certain about is that when they emerge, it's from the 4th Avenue underpass. This is because The Shanty can be seen on the right side of the street, as fellow Wraith fan Alto Beto has pointed out. They then turn left onto E. Stevens Ave. and the pursuit continues. It's not out of the realm of possibility that the shots of them approaching and exiting were at the 4th Avenue underpass and the shots of them going through the tunnel were inside the 6th Avenue underpass.


2021


Jake & Keri riding5700 N. Sabino Canyon Rd. Tucson, Az. 85750
(Sabino Canyon Recreation Area)

They're riding along N. Sabino Canyon Rd. The road has been closed to private vehicles since 1978, but it's a very popular hiking destination. It runs 3.7 miles (one way). There are ten bridges within that 3.7 mile span. In the 1st screenshot, they're crossing over the sixth bridge. In screenshots 2 & 3, they're crossing over the tenth bridge.


2021


All "Now" pictures taken in 2021.


27 comments:

  1. Love it!
    My favorite movie :)

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  2. The Wraith - "Hold On Blue Eyes" La Marca >>> http://youtu.be/6te3SBzDiUk

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  3. Just wanted to mention that the chase tunnel photo you have is wrong. In the movie, the tunnel used was the 6th Avenue underpass. You have a photo of the 4th Ave underpass. The original 6th Ave underpass is still there, and looks just like is does in the shot you have from the movie, looking over Jake's motorcycle.

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    1. 100% true, have lived here in Tucson for 30 years. When I first saw the movie I thought it was 4th ave, but it is definitely 6th, what gives it away is the 4th ave tunnel is open in the middle so you can see on comming traffic. 6th ave is separated

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    2. It's the old 4th avenue underpass. That 2nd picture is the new one. If you freeze the movie as they come out of the tunnel, you can see the Shanty on the right side.

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  4. Thank you Anonymous, I'll check that out the next time I'm in Tucson.

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  5. The Wraith (1986) is one of the best and coolest movies ever made. I watch it several times a year. Thanks for your webpage here about The Wraith.

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  6. Remember It Like Yesterday I was the Driver / Runner for The Writers. And did not get credit for it on the film. But That's Ok I Have a Really great time with them Crazy Writers I Drove them around in my Classic Cadillac Limo Day & Night all over the Tucson Area. Something I will Remember forever. Thank You for some great Memories. Every time I Watch this movie its awesome to think I was There. This was 30 years ago and I was 36 years old Then. Great time in life where did the time go.

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    1. who are you on facebook or twitter?.... if you have some old pics please share it... i am fabio flimone.... thanx

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  7. So fun to see the actual locations... something to do if ever in Tucson!!

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  8. HI...the garage location is also wrong. The "now" picture is an old landfill at Kinney and Ajo. The actual scene was from the NW corner of Snyder Hill, at San Joaquin and Ajo. I live down the street, and would be more than happy to provide the correct picture if you need.

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    1. You're right, nice find! I live in Phoenix so the next time I go down to Tucson I'll get a now picture of this location.

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    2. Hello I'm Thomas from Germany, I'm a big fan of the movie. How can we get in contact? Because of the picture. I would be very interested in it

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  9. Hi, I'm Mickael from France. Thanks for the picture :) I'm a big fan too and for sure I will come there to see this by my own eyes !

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  10. I wonder if anyone has exact location (coordinates) of the swimming hole? What's quoted here is the visitor's centre.

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    1. I was an extra in that movie. Wish I could remember the exact location for you. All I remember is how nice & down to earth Nick & Charlie were. I will stop there & not say anymore about any other cast member. I do remember it was FREEZING COLD & we were in our bikinis. My friend & I had to go wading in the water (it's our legs you see when Charlie & Sherilyn are talking as they're floating on the rafts)...so surprised you couldn't see our goosebumps! Lol. It's a fun memory and neat to be able to say, "I was there."

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    2. Very nice! Was that you walking in the front or the back in that scene? :) Do you remember how many days you were there for filming? Or how long it lasted?

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  11. I would also like to know. I have been searching the map for 30 minutes trying to locate it. I would love to head over there. I’m only 15 minutes from there.

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    1. 32°18'52.5"N 110°48'41.2"W
      Under the Sabino Creek Dam.

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  12. Love that you keep updating the pics on this one - randomly check back every few years to see the 'now' pics are fresh - great work!

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    1. Thanks, I really appreciate it! I recently decided to do a complete overhaul of my The Wraith page.

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  13. From Japan I'm a big fan of this movie!
    A long time ago, when I saw this movie on TV, I was very impressed and loved it. It doesn't air very often, so I bought Blu-ray the other day and watched it many times. I think the world view and music of this movie are wonderful!
    I am very impressed to see the location site at that time in the current photos! thank you!

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  14. Nice Work!! Love this movie!!

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  15. This is cool and must have took an incredible amount of time to put all of these different movie locations together. A lot of work, but very cool to see! Love The Wraith movie. Always had a huge crush on "Keri" when I was a teenager.

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