On Location: San Francisco

Like any movie fan, if you’re planning a vacation you probably ask yourself the question, “Are there any shooting locations nearby that I could go check out?” If you’re thinking of vacation in San Francisco anytime soon, there are plenty of cinematic landmarks for you to see.

From serving as the home to Nick and Nora Charles in After The Thin Man to hosting two of Alfred Hitchcock’s most famous films, as well as Mel Brooks’ spoof of Hitchcock, San Francisco has a long tradition of appearing in films. From its beautiful bay, hills and architecture the city and the surrounding Bay Area have been a destination for when directors wish to set their films in a city with its own unique look. Tough guys like Bogart and Dirty Harry have prowled its foggy streets. It has been attacked by a giant octopus and Kurt Russel has discovered big trouble under its Chinatown streets. San Francisco has seen it all.

Of course, there are plenty of websites out there with information on finding exactly where Jimmy Stewart’s Vertigo apartment was or where the hotel that Mel Brooks checks into and gets High Anxiety from are. There are even a few that will direct you to where Mike Myers Married An Axe Murderer or where Donald Sutherland became aware of an Invasion Of The Bodysnatchers.

Beyond everything else, the thriller Vertigo is Alfred Hitchcock’s love letter to San Francisco. Beautifully captured locales make the city an additional character in the movie and make it impossible to imagine set anywhere else. GoCalifornia has a nice run down of where to find some of the film’s most memorable locations. If you’re a fan of Hitchcock’s supernatural thriller The Birds, Roadside America has the information on where to find that film’s memorable church and school house. Further Hitchcock locations can be found at Guidepost.

If you’re thinking of renting a Mustang to recreate Steve McQueen’s mad dash through the streets of San Francisco in Bullitt, you’ll be in for a rather difficult time. According to this site, the route that McQueen takes can only exist through the magic of editing. (Here’s a Google map of the streets used for the sequence.)

The San Francisco Chronicle has recently launched a page which features a number of filming locations and even more information can be found at Film In America.

About Rich Drees 6800 Articles
A film fan since he first saw that Rebel Blockade Runner fleeing the massive Imperial Star Destroyer at the tender age of 8 and a veteran freelance journalist with twenty years experience writing about film and pop culture.
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