Top San Francisco Film Sites

Films and television shows set in San Francisco capture some of its best views and most famous sights This short list will tell you where to find them.

  • 01 of 09

    Alcatraz Prison

    Alcatraz Island
    ••• Alcatraz Island Has Been in Many Films. ©2009 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

    Alcatraz has featured in so many films that it probably deserves its own videography.

    In fact, if you're looking for spots in San Francisco where films were made, this island may have the highest concentration of them in town.

    Use this guide to find out how to visit Alcatraz.

  • 02 of 09

    "Bullitt" Car Chase

    'Bullitt' Car Chase
    ••• Car Chase scene from Bullitt. Getty Images / Getty Images

     

    Lots of people think "Bullitt," the 1960s thriller starring Steve McQueen features one of the great car chases in cinematic history.

     

    The filmmakers edited so many streets into those action sequences that it would require a Star Trek-style transporter to execute in real life.

    It's best not to try recreating those flying jumps for yourself, even if you are driving a 1968 Ford Mustang GT fastback. In fact, even though McQueen was known for his driving ability, stunt drivers were behind the wheel for more than 90% of the film's chase scenes.

    To see one of the film's most iconic spots, go to Taylor and Vallejo and look from there toward the Bay. That's where the cars were jumping into the air at each intersection. 

  • 03 of 09

    Dirty Harry Sites

     

    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 at 666 Filbert Street, where the rooftop sniper shoots a priest. The sniper's perch itself was blocks away at the Dante Building (1606 Stockton). 

    The elevator scene takes place at The Cannery shopping center 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.

    Check the Dirty Harry site at Film in America for more locales and clips.

  • 04 of 09

    High Anxiety

    Hyatt Regency in Embarcadero.
    ••• Lobby of the Hyatt Regency Embarcadero Center. Roberto Soncin Gerometta / Getty Images

    The Mel Brooks farce "High Anxiety" gets its inspiration the Alfred Hitchcock film "Vertigo."

    The obscene phone call scene was filmed at Fort Point, near where James Stewart fished Kim Novak out of the Bay in "Vertigo." The Hyatt Regency Embarcadero Center's 17-story tall atrium also features in several scenes.

    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09

    Joy Luck Club

    Street Scene in San Francisco's Chinatown
    ••• Street Scene in San Francisco's Chinatown. ©2006 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

    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 hometown of San Francisco, with many scenes filmed in Chinatown.

    You can see them on this self-guided Chinatown tour.

  • 06 of 09

    Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

    Trekkies know that San Francisco is the headquarters of fictional Star Fleet Command and the United Federation of Planets. 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 actually the Monterey Bay Aquarium (which appears in the film with the San Francisco skyline superimposed in the background).

    Check the Star Trek Voyage Home site at Film in America for more locales and clips.

  • 07 of 09

    Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo

    Legion of Honor Museum, San Francisco
    ••• Legion of Honor Museum, San Francisco. ©2004 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

    In this Alfred Hitchcock classic, a detective tails a cool, glamorous woman around the 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.

    You can use this guide to take your own Vertigo tour of San Francisco.

  • 08 of 09

    Full House House

    The Full House House at 1709 Broderick in San Francisco
    ••• The Full House House at 1709 Broderick in San Francisco. Adapted from Google Street View

    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.

    Find out where to see all of the Full House sites.

    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    Mrs. Doubtfire House

    Pictures Mrs. Doubtfire House
    ••• Mrs. Doubtfire House. ©Betsy Malloy Photography

    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.

    To see the Mrs. Doubtfire house along with other San Francisco Victorian gems, use the guide to San Francisco Victorian houses.