🎬These movies were filmed in Sanford. You can visit the sites during history tour

It’s the weather, walkable community and old-town charm that attracts filmmakers

SANFORD, Fla. – There is a rich history in Sanford, with some buildings still standing from the late 1800s, but did you know some iconic Hollywood movies were filmed there as well?

Two ladies are sharing those star-studded landmarks, offering history and movie tours through Sanford.

“It’s really a filmmaker’s destination here because there are so many options. We have First Street with the old community feel, epic churches and buildings,” said Brenda Urias, owner of Sanford Tours and Experiences.

Sanford was used to depict a Pennsylvania neighborhood in the coming of age comedy-drama My Girl, filmed in 1991.

“When they filmed the movie, the location scouts, because it can get cold and they filmed during the winter in Pennsylvania, they came to Florida... They were looking for old historic homes,” said tour guide Nancy Sepulveda.

Scene from My Girl filmed in Sanford (Copyright 2023 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

One of the memorable moments in the movie is when Veda is comforted by her teacher after the death of her young friend. That scene was filmed on the porch of a home on Magnolia Avenue.

Another home along Myrtle Avenue was used as Thomas J.’s house in the film. The photo below shows filmmakers shooting the scene where Veda sneaks over to Thomas J.’s house.

Film crew shooting My Girl scene in front of Sanford home on Myrtle Ave. (Copyright 2023 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

Historic Sanford Square will also seem familiar as the two young characters Veda and Thomas J., played by Macaulay Culkin, ride their bikes across the road. The iconic clock tower is shown in the scene.

“Another scene was towards the end of the movie. Veta and her dad walk through town and see Thomas’ mother having lunch at Jake’s restaurant. Jake’s restaurant was, what is now the Breezeway,” Sepulveda said.

Sepulveda and Urias are sharing some of the star-studded moments with visitors and neighbors through the Sanford History Tour.

“I moved into historic downtown Sanford and I absolutely fell in love with the architecture and community, so I wanted to tell the story of historic downtown Sanford and all the amazing things that happened here,” Urias said.

The walking tours last about 90 minutes and guides small groups through the city, highlighting unique landmarks and film sets. In early March, the group held a movie tour using a trolley bus with plans to offer the tour again sometime in the fall.

“We talk about the scene and we do let the passengers get off the trolley to take pictures,” said Sepulveda.

Parts of American martial arts movie Never Back Down, starring Sean Faris, Cam Gigandet and Amber Heard, were also filmed in Sanford before its 2008 release.

“Unfurl Collective is the scene of Never Back Down, it was the martial arts gym used in the movie. It’s now a shopping environment. Right up front is where people would come in and out and there’s a couple fight scenes that happened in the parking lot,” said Urias.

Some of the training scenes took place at the Sanford Riverwalk.

Scene from Never Back Down along Sanford Riverwalk (Copyright 2023 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

Urias said she hopes by adding some movie history to the tour, visitors and neighbors will be encouraged to explore and learn more about the area’s history.

“I hope that they would get an appreciation for historic downtown Sanford, for the Riverwalk, the marina and residential district and really showcase how amazing Sanford is and the history Sanford has,” said Urias. “There is a lot of sense of pride out here.”

According to a movie database, other films, including Last Shift, Monster, Passenger 57, Rosewood and Solace, have scenes that were shot in Sanford as well with more movies on the way featuring the historic city.

Click HERE to book a history tour with Sanford Tours & Experiences. The business also offers bike and golf cart rentals as well as Ghost and Craft Beer tours.

About the Author:

Crystal Moyer is a morning news anchor who joined the News 6 team in 2020.