10 Best Movies Filmed in San Francisco

Being one of the most influential and beautiful cities in the world, San Francisco has definitely made its share of cameos on the silver screen. From action films to chick flicks, San Francisco has been a part of them all. Here's a list of what made it to our Top 10.

The Rock
Everyone remembers this one. Nicholas Cage teams up with Ex-British spy Sean Connery to take out a group of terrorists who have taken hostages on Alcatraz and threaten to bomb San Francisco. In the process, Connery destroys half the city with a Hummer, throws a Government agent off the roof of the Fairmont, and even meets up with his long lost daughter. All in a days work.
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Dirty Harry
“You’ve got to ask yourself one question. ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya punk?” In this classic Clint Eastwood plays Harry Callahan, a San Francisco Detective infamous for his heavy-handed tactics and a disregard for criminal’s rights. With his .44 Magnum, nothing gets in Harry’s way from chasing down a psycho serial killer named Scorpio, not even the law.
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The Pursuit of Happyness
Will Smith stars as Chris Gardener, a salesman who loses his family savings to a bad investment. After his wife leaves him and he becomes homeless, Chris is determined to start a new life for himself and his son, played by Smith’s son, Jaden. This story of determination and perseverance reiterates the notion that anyone can do anything they set their mind to and all that good stuff.
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Talk about someone with issues. This guy terrorized San Franciscans for nearly a decade by preying on the public after dark. If that wasn’t enough, he displayed his obsession for astrology while updating the papers with his murder count. The worst part about it, he’s still out there. Jake Gyllenhal stars as a socially awkward newspaper cartoonist who becomes obsessed with cracking the code of the Zodiac and finds himself getting a little too close to the case.
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Escape from Alcatraz
Another classic. Escape from Alcatraz is the story about Frank Morris (played by Clint Eastwood, who apparently loved to make movies in SF), the only person to ever escape from the rock. From creating a dummy out of paper mache to chiseling a hole in his cell with a spoon, this guy had a lot of down time. Then again, what else would you do if you were in prison?
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Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Alien spores begin to rain from space and form odd looking flowers. Scientist Elizabeth Driscoll (Brooke Adams) and her friend Matthew Bennell (Donald Sutherland) begin to notice that people all over the city are changing inexplicably. They soon realize that once you fall asleep these spores attach themselves to human bodies and transform them into “pod people”. They attempt to escape San Francisco, only to be chased everywhere they go by the pod people. This one’s a little weird, it’s even got dogs that have human faces on them. A real trip.
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48 Hours
Eddie’s big break. A couple of cop killers escape from prison and detective Jack Cates (Nic Nolte…remember him?) is forced to team up with another convict, Reggie Hammond (Eddie Murphy). The catch is they only have 48 hours to catch the criminals before Reggie goes back to the big house. Oddly enough, the two don’t like each other and have just as many problems with each other as they do catching the criminals.
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Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller about (you guessed it) a police detective who has a traumatic experience chasing down a criminal. While jumping a rooftop in pursuit, Detective John “Scottie” Ferguson slips and is saved by a rain gutter. The result is a bad fear of heights that plagues Scottie and leads to a series of tragic consequences events involving him and another woman…twice. With so many twists and turns in this one, you’ll just have to see it for yourself.
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The Game
This one is a bit trippy. Nicholas Van Oten (Michael Douglas) is a successful business man who has sacrificed his entire family life for the good of his company. On his 48th birthday, he receives a card from his long forgotten brother telling him about a game that will change his life. From there the movie goes through a series of plot twists with new complexities added to keep Nicholas, and the audience, confused as hell. The movie ends with a dramatic climax and Nicholas falling through the famous Sheraton glass ceiling and the final plot twist is revealed. I’m not going to spoil this one for you, go rent it.
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The movie that changed action films forever. Steve McQueen and his ’68 Mustang Fastback tear up the streets of San Francisco for a 9 min and 42 second chase scene. The chase included 5 districts and 2 other cities before McQueen finally rammed the other guy’s Charger into a gas station just outside Daly City. Oh yea, and there’s a plot which includes mob hit men, crooked senators, and McQueen as a bad ass SF detective.
Learn more about Bullitt
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