Top San Francisco Film Sites

Places to See the Sites of San Francisco Films

Films and television shows set in San Francisco capture some of its best views and most famous sights, and this short list will tell you where to find them.
  • 01 of 09
    Alcatraz Island
    ••• Alcatraz Island Has Been in Many Films. ©2009 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

    Alcatraz has featured in so many films it probably deserves its own videography. If you're looking for spots in San Francisco where films were made, this place may have the highest concentration of them in town.

    Movies About Alcatraz

  • 02 of 09

    You'll find plenty of car chases set on San Francisco's hills, but Bullitt, the 1960s thriller starring Steve McQueen features one of the great car chases in cinematic history. The filmmakers used most every street in the city, editing them into sequences that would require a Star Trek-style transporter to execute in real life. We don't recommend trying to recreate those flying jumps for yourself, but you'll find some of the steepest streets featured in the film on Russian Hill.

  • 03 of 09

    Clint Eastwood's first outing as Harry Callahan, a determined cop hunting down the psychotic Scorpio takes place in San Francisco. Some of the sights featured include Saints Peter and Paul Church, where the rooftop sniper shoots a priest, who by movie magic was filmed blocks away. The sniper's perch, by the way, is located at the Dante Building (1606 Stockton). 

    The elevator scene takes place at The Cannery near Fisherman's Wharf and the hill with the big cross on top is Mount Davidson in South San Francisco. Other sites include City Hall, the Hall of Justice (850 Bryant Street) and 555 California Street.

  • 04 of 09

    High Anxiety

    A Mel Brooks farce that draws on Alfred Hitchcock's films features a psychiatrist with a fear of heights. Tipping its hat to Vertigo, the obscene phone call scene was filmed at Fort Point, near where James Stewart fished Kim Novak out of the Bay. The Hyatt Regency Embarcadero Center's 17-story tall atrium also features in several scenes.

    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09

    Amy Tan's novel about generational and cultural conflicts between a small group of traditional Chinese immigrant women and their more liberated Chinese-American daughters is set in Tan's home town of San Francisco, with many scenes filmed in Chinatown.

  • 06 of 09

    Trekkies will know that San Francisco is the headquarters of fictional Star Fleet Command and the United Federation of Planets, and it also features prominently in the fourth Star Trek film. The easily recognizable Golden Gate Bridge probably won't get hit by a cosmic storm when you're there, nor will you see a Klingon ship flying under it, but it's fun to imagine. The so-called Sausalito Cetacean Institute is really the Monterey Bay Aquarium (which appears in the film with the San Francisco skyline superimposed in the background).

  • 07 of 09

    Tales of the City

    Armistead Maupin's stories present an interesting look at life in San Francisco in the early 70's from the viewpoint of an eccentric apartment building owner. The fictional Barbary Lane is actually Macondray Lane on Russian Hill (1801 Taylor Street at Green), a nice place for a hillside walk.

  • 08 of 09

    In this Alfred Hitchcock classic, a detective tails a cool, glamorous woman around equally glamorous San Francisco of the 1950s. The film's most famous scenes feature many of the city's iconic features, including the Golden Gate Bridge and Nob Hill.

    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    Victorian Houses

    The iconic row of Victorian-style houses with the San Francisco skyline behind them can be seen from Alamo Square Park above Steiner between Fulton and Hayes. Opening scenes of the television show Full House were filmed in the park, but the "house with the red door" is not located here, but further west at 1709 Broderick.

    North of the park at Steiner and Broadway is the house where the out-of-work actor played by Robin Williams works as his ex-wife's nanny, dressed up as a 60-year-old British woman named Mrs. Doubtfire, just to see his children.

    Guide to San Francisco Victorians in Movies and Television