The film industry, which has been around for more than 100 years, might have started down in Southern California, but San Francisco has had a long and colorful history with film that will make any self-proclaimed film geek giddy. Spanning film classics to today’s contemporary movies, San Francisco has everything to offer a film geek, from film locations to great places to watch a flick. Have 49 hours in the city? Here’s what you need to do.
Movies and their Locations
Film by Alfred Hitchcock, Starring James Stewart and Kim Novak
In a city known for its many hills and scenic overlooks, San Francisco might not be the place for someone with acrophobia, and this is just what makes Alfred Hitchcock’s movie a classic. Filmed all over the city, we could point you anywhere, but one scene eclipses all others: the scene where Madeleine famously jumps into the bay.
Fort Point National Historic Site
End of Marine Drive on the Presidio of San Francisco
Film by Peter Yates, Starring Steve McQueen
We couldn’t think of a better backdrop than the windy streets of San Francisco for the best movie car chase ever. The car chase in this Steve McQueen classic set the precedent and has been copied but has never been matched. We’ll show you where it started:
Taylor and Vallejo Streets, Russian Hill
Film by Don Siegel, Starring Clint Eastwood
Dirty Harry and San Francisco. Never has there been a movie character so synonymous with a city. As renegade cop, Harry Callahan, Clint Eastwood gives us so many great scenes as he roams the streets. Here are a few must-see locations from the classic.
Bank of America Building (opening scene)
555 California St.
Frederick Street, Golden Gate Park
Mt. Davidson Landmark Park and Cross
125 Dalewood Way
Starring Whoopi Goldberg
How does a Whoopi Goldberg film get included on this list for film geeks? By including one of the most beautiful churches in the city. Located in the sleepy neighborhood of Noe Valley, this church is just a short walk from the Mission District and it’s perfect for the Whoopi Goldberg fanatic (we know there are a few out there).
St. Paul’s Church
221 Valley St.
Starring Robin Williams
Everyone’s favorite British maid came into our lives in the 90’s and has never left since. A must-see for families and kids at heart, the Hillard House is located in the Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco. We’ll give you a hint where it is. If you’re a true film geek, you’ll have no problem pointing it out.
Broadway and Steiner Streets
Film by Michael Bay, Starring Sean Connery and Nic Cage
Michael Bay explosions and San Francisco? That is certainly a recipe for a great action movie. The real star of the movie, however, was Alcatraz but did you know the movie filmed all over the city? Here are some great locations to put on your itinerary.
The Fairmont San Francisco (penthouse scenes)
950 Mason St.
Palace of Fine Arts
3601 Lyon St.
Need a tour guide? San Francisco Movie Tours will show you around while viewing over 70 clips aboard the Theater on Wheels.
Places to See a Flick
Film Night in the Park
Park perks in the summer include fresh-air flicks. Every summer Film Night in the Park draws more than 15,000 filmgoers to parks throughout San Francisco and Marin County. Films are presented free of charge on a giant outdoor screen. Attendees are encouraged to picnic before screenings and discouraged from blocking views with chairs and bringing pets. Full details and other locations are posted on www.filmnight.org.
The city’s museum devoted to the life of the legendary Walt Disney, the Walt Disney Family Museum offers a regular screening of classic films, often tied to current exhibits, Visitors should check the museum’s calendar for updated listings of events and showings.