Santa Rosa Is a Star in These Movies

Sonoma Town Was Backdrop for 'Scream,' 'Peggy Sue Got Married'

Upscale homes in Palm Desert.
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Santa Rosa, California, is a special place. It's located in Sonoma County, just 55 miles north of San Francisco, and is the center of wine country. But it's an urban center, with restaurants, bars, hotels, antiques, historic Railroad Square, loads of live entertainment, and spas galore, along with some urban wineries. Just outside Santa Rosa, beautiful California awaits, with stunning Pacific coastline and beaches and drop-dead gorgeous redwoods. It's no wonder Hollywood has tapped it repeatedly as a location for movies and television series. Here are a few in which Santa Rosa is an unsung star of the show.

  • 01 of 13

    'Cheaper by the Dozen' (2003)

    "Cheaper by the Dozen" is a family comedy about a husband and wife and their 12 spirited children. It stars Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt, with Hilary Duff and Ashton Kutcher. Some of the movies ​were filmed at Railroad Square in Santa Rosa.

  • 02 of 13

    'Bandits' (2001)

    "Bandits," which stars Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, and Cate Blanchett is ​a story about "gentlemen" bank robbers with a romantic twist. It was filmed at the Flamingo Resort Hotel and in several neighborhoods in Santa Rosa.

  • 03 of 13

    'Mumford' (1999)

    A romantic comedy about a man pretending to be a psychologist in a small town, "Mumford" stars Loren Dean, Ted Danson, and Martin Short. Santa Rosa shows up in many scenes of "Mumford." It was filmed at Farmers Lane and Highway 12, the Astro Motel, Santa Rosa Junior College, the 76 Station on Mendocino Avenue, Rita's New China Restaurant in the St. Francis Shopping Center, and the First Presbyterian Church on Pacific Avenue. Others sites in Sonoma County are also in the movie.

  • 04 of 13

    'Inventing the Abbotts' (1997)

    In "Inventing the Abbotts," forbidden love comes to a small town as two brothers meet two wealthy and beautiful sisters. It stars Liv Tyler, Joaquin Phoenix, Billy Crudup, and Jennifer Connelly. Parts of "Inventing the Abbotts" was filmed at Santa Rosa High School.

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  • 05 of 13

    'Grand Avenue' (1996, TV)

    This story about three Native American families growing up in Santa Rosa’s South Park neighborhood at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in the 1960s was produced by Robert Redford. The tales were taken from three short stories in the book "Grand Avenue" by Greg Sarris of Santa Rosa. It was filmed on location at Grand Avenue in South Park, West End neighborhoods near Railroad Square, Howarth Park, and Santa Rosa High School.

  • 06 of 13

    'Phenomenon' (1996)

    "Phenomenon," tells the story of an ordinary man who becomes a genius with telekinetic abilities after seeing a bright light in the sky. John Travolta, Robert Duvall, Forrest Whitaker, and Kyra Sedgwick star.

    It was filmed at Santa Rosa Junior College, standing in for the University of California at Berkeley, and the Wagon Wheel off U.S. 101 for the bar scenes.

  • 07 of 13

    'Scream' (1996)

    A horror movie fan becomes a serial killer in this scary flick directed by Wes Craven and starring Drew  Barrymore, Courtney Cox, Neve Campbell, and David Arquette. It was filmed at several locations around Santa Rosa. They include houses on McDonald Avenue and Calistoga Road and Town & Country Market.

  • 08 of 13

    'Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot' (1992)

    A cop is joined by his loud-mouthed mom as he fights crime on the streets of Los Angeles in this Sylvester Stallone vehicle. It was filmed at the now-closed Santa Rosa Air Center on Finley Avenue. 

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  • 09 of 13

    'Shadow of a Doubt' (1991, TV)

    This TV remake of the Hitchcock classic stars Diane Ladd and Mark Harmon. The house used for this movie is across the street from the one used in the original "Shadow of a Doubt" (1943), which is next to the house used in "Scream," which is kitty-corner from the house used in "Pollyanna" (1960).

  • 10 of 13

    'Die Hard 2: Die Harder' (1990)

    A police hero spots terrorists at an airport in this "Die Hard" sequel starring Bruce Willis. Some scenes were filmed at the now-closed Santa Rosa Air Center on Finley Avenue.

  • 11 of 13

    'Wildfire' (1988)

    Linda Fiorentino and Steve Bauer star in this “ Bonnie and Clyde”-style crime and romance flick. Santa Rosa residents will recognize Wood Pontiac and Cadillac on Corby Avenue in some scenes.

  • 12 of 13

    'Peggy Sue Got Married' (1986)

    In this hit film directed by Frances Ford Coppola and starring Kathleen Turner and Nicolas Cage, a middle-aged woman who is about to be divorced is magically transported back to her senior year in high school where she can change the course of her life. Some scenes were filmed at Santa Rosa High School and Lena's Restaurant, which is now razed.

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  • 13 of 13

    'The Blue Yonder' (1985, TV) (aka Time Flyer)

    "The Blue Yonder," a TV show about a boy obsessed with his grandfather's adventures as a pioneer, travels back in time to join him. Some scenes were filmed on Lower Fourth Street in Santa Rosa's Railroad Square.