Top 10 movies shot in San Francisco

San Francisco is a true land of cinema. From Ant-Man and the Wasp to Bullitt and the saga of Inspector Harry, (re)discover the city differently!

1. Ant-Man and the Wasp – an ant in San Francisco

Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) may be a San Francisco resident, but most of the scenes were not shot in the city but in Atlanta. However, there are a few elements that are very much part of the West Coast, such as Pier 39 when Ant-Man plays Giant-Man, as well as the famous Lombard Street or Verdi Place for the chase scenes.

2. A View to a Kill – James Bond in San Francisco

Fisherman's Wharf San Francisco - A View to a Kill
Fisherman’s Wharf San Francisco – A View to a Kill

Following in the footsteps of businessman Max Zorin (Christopher Walken), James Bond (Roger Moore) travels the globe, from London to Paris to San Francisco. In the latter, nicknamed the City of the Bay, Fisherman’s Wharf hosts the meeting between Bond and Agent Chuck Lee (David Yip), while the town hall is a place of corruption and the bay a must.

3. The Dirty Harry Saga

Five movies, one legend. Detective Harry, the baddest of all cops, is a cult figure in the city of San Francisco. Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) investigates all over the city with his gigantic weapon and his more than expeditious methods. From the pool at the top of the Hilton Hotel on Kearny Street to the Bank of America Tower on California Street to Chinatown, San Francisco is not immune to interrogation.

A film with mixed critics but a success as colossal as its character, the feature film was largely shot in California and especially in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Golden Gate Bridge and the bay are among the elements filmed, but also some typical streets such as Vallejo Street.

4. Mrs. Doubtfire

2640 Steiner Street San Francisco - Photo credit: Fantrippers
2640 Steiner Street San Francisco – Photo credit: Fantrippers

Adapted from the novelDaddy’s Housekeeper, the film tells the story of a father who wants to stay close to his children and does not hesitate to dress up as a respectable Scottish governess to achieve his goal. Mrs. Doubtfire made people laugh, cry, but above all it became a cult film. On the landscape, Crissy Field, Daniel’s apartment at 520 Green Street and Bridges Restaurant are part of the scenery, not to mention the Hillard house on Steiner Street. Following the death of Robin Williams in 2014, hundreds of wreaths of flowers were laid in his honour.

5. Titanic

USS Jeremiah O'Brien San Francisco - Wikimedia Commons photo by kevinmcgill
USS Jeremiah O’Brien San Francisco – Wikimedia Commons photo by kevinmcgill

Third biggest success in history after Avatar and Avengers: Endgame, the film with eleven Oscars, is part of the cinema pantheon. The engine room used in the film is actually that of the USS Jeremiah O’Brien, docked at Pier 45 of San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf, a former freighter that participated in the Allied landings of World War II and can be visited.

6. Superman (1978) – A quick trip to San Francisco

Superman (Christopher Reeve) saves people all over the world and San Francisco is no exception. The Man of Steel manages to catch a school bus on the Golden Gate Bridge while saving Jimmy Olsen (Marc McClure) from the collapse of the Boulder Dam in Nevada.

7. Sister Act

Saint Paul's Catholic Church in San Francisco - Wikimedia Commons photo by Chris06
Saint Paul’s Catholic Church in San Francisco – Wikimedia Commons photo by Chris06

Forced into hiding in a convent as part of the witness protection program, Dolores Van Cartier (Whoopi Goldberg) is assigned to manage the choir of the religious establishment. A godsend for this passionate and limitless cabaret singer. The Catholic Church of Saint Paul is the setting for the famous convent.

8. Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Scene at the Washington DC Building in Raiders of the Lost Ark
Scene at the Washington DC Building in Raiders of the Lost Ark. (Photo credit : LucasFilm)

Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford), in his adventures, stopped twice in San Francisco, without anyone knowing it. In Raiders of the Lost Ark, the City Hall serves as a government building from which Indy emerges furious from a meeting with the authorities denying him access to the Ark of the Covenant he discovered. In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the archaeologist takes a blimp at Berlin airport with his father (Sean Connery). The exterior of the building is actually the Administration Building on Treasure Island.

9. Bullitt – San Francisco on the move

San Francisco rhymes with trams, steep streets and of course Bullitt. The famous detective film in which Steve McQueen, Robert Vaughn and Jacqueline Bisset appear is mythical and inseparable from SF. The National Film Registry even selected it in 2007 for preservation in the U.S. Library of Congress for its “cultural, historical, or aesthetic significance.” As far as the shooting locations are concerned, we can see Lieutenant Frank Bullitt’s house, the grocery store across the street, Grace Cathedral and, of course, many city streets during the chase, such as Hyde Street, Laguna Street, Filbert Street or Lombard Street.

10. Basic Instinct

An erotic thriller of great violence but cultish, Basic Instinct is one of the most profitable films of the 1990s, despite numerous mixed reviews and extremely virulent protests. The first house of the murder, the café where Detective Nick Curran (Michael Douglas) needs a stiff drink or his apartment are among the places to see in SF.

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Cult! movies: 100 mythical places of cinema [French Edition]

Since the dawn of cinema, films have invaded the world and highlighted sometimes unexpected places. Every film location has its secrets. The latter are sometimes as exciting as the feature films themselves.

Did you know that the cemetery where the final duel of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly was built from scratch and that no body lies there? Or that the bus ofInto The Wild has been moved to discourage fans from spending the night there? From the story of the construction of The Bridge on the River Kwai to the incredible encounter during the shooting of the last scene ofIndiana Jones and the Last Crusadeembark on an exciting world tour with the greatest stars of the seventh art. Shiver in the real haunted house ofAmityville and discover the terrifying anecdotes of the making ofApocalypse Now in the Philippines. Visit the building of Blade Runner before stopping at Hogwarts and finally landing in Jurassic Parkin the middle of the Hawaiian archipelago. What if we also took you behind the scenes of the making of the Hobbits’ village of Lord of the Rings ?

Produced by a team of pop-culture specialists and enhanced by numerous anecdotes, Cult! movies tells the secrets of the places that made the history of cinema.

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By Damien Duarte

Monday, July 15, 2019

Passionné par la culture pop depuis son enfance, ses références vont de Donald Duck à Batman en passant par Marty McFly. Fantripper dans l'âme, voyager sur les traces de Ghostbusters, James Bond ou des héros de romans comme Cotton Malone fait partie d'un séjour idéal et réussi !

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