Monday, March 2, 2015

Madonna: Like A Prayer

Here are links to other Madonna video or movie locations and shows:
   Evening With Madonna - Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange Project
   GAP commercial
   La Isla Bonita
   Like A Prayer (video)
   Like A Prayer (album)
   Material Girl
   Next Best Thing
   What It Feels Like For A Girl

There are a handful of locations which I have continually searched for hours (okay, days) on end until I found them.   The ultimate Madonna video location I have looked for many years was Like A Prayer.  While I knew the church interiors were shot at Raleigh Studios, I was desperate to find the church exterior as well as the apartments where Madonna witnesses the assault of the young woman.

I looked at every white steeple church in Los Angeles, no matches.  The only hint available was that it was shot in San Pedro.  While I had looked at the Mission Maria Stella Maris church many times, it was very close but I couldn't be sure it was truly the right location.

Late one night, I finally struck gold.   The "apartments" were not apartments at all, but the Battery Osgood Farley facility at Fort MacArthur.  After some quick checking, all the images matched up and fortunately everything was still intact and identifiable.

The Mission Maria Stella Maris church is less than 50-yards from the battery location, so I'm pretty sure it is the exterior used for filming.  The exterior and front doors appear to be a facade, mostly likely built to match up to the set created in the studio.   

UPDATE:  As you may have read in my original blog, I wasn't sure about the above church being the one used for the quick establishing shot.  It had enough similarities that I thought it was likely it, but still wasn't 100% convinced.   Well, thanks to fan, Kevin Petrie, he found what appears to be the actual location for the church located at 205 N Culver Avenue in the Compton area of Los Angeles:

The steeple is no longer there and they added a couple windows, but it appears to be the right one!


The following shots are of the Battery Osgood Farley area.  As you can see, some of the doors have changed over the years, but overall the location is nearly identical to when they filmed in early 1989.  First up is Madonna's door.  As this is only seen in a few medium and close up shots, it was difficult to determine exactly which spot across the way was the right one, but I was able to line it up from the reverse shot.  To make it look like an apartment, they stuck up a few mailboxes on the wall.


Comparison shots (yes, I'm that kind of geeky fan)....

Looking in the other direction, the barred windows are essentially the same as they were in 1989, however the doors are different than they appeared in the video.

(My friend, Heather, standing in for Madonna.)


Comparison shots....

Here is the spot at the top of the stairs where the bad guy gives Madonna the evil eye....


Geeky fan comparison shot....

And here are the stairs Leon Robinson bolts down to help the woman.  Of course, we had to do the same for pictures!!!


 Comparison shots....

As for the burning crosses scenes, there is a spot just on the other side of this location that has some similar hills.   I can't be sure this is the spot they used, but I've included the photos below for reference.


Comparison shot....

Thank you and enjoy the pictures!


  1. You did take us there! What a treat!!! This is so AWESOME! I can almost here the music as I go through the pics. Now I want to watch the video!

  2. This was really great. I came across it after watching the La Isla Bonita and looking up where the set was. Thanks for providing something so interesting and fun.

  3. I discovered your page today, and can't look away! Great job!

  4. What great detective work!

  5. Emotion love it locations thanks robert

  6. And if I remember correctly this video was actually filmed in December 1988 and Warren Beatty was on set at some point (probs during the studio filming)

  7. great job, I have been in Edigar Terrace for photos of Papa dont Preach video

  8. The mystery has been solved. I was out near Cabrillo beach with my girlfriend at the time, and we saw the crosses burning up on the hilltop that night. When the video came out later, we always wondered if we had seen them filming it, and now its been confirmed we did!!! Thanks!!