The significance of San Francisco in cinema
With picturesque street corners and postcard vistas nearly everywhere you see, San Francisco has had a long involvement with Hollywood. Filled to the brim with iconic landmarks, jaw dropping scenery and a wide range of diverse locations, the city has enjoyed a long history as a favorite site for filmmakers and movie fans who want visit the places where their favorite scenes were filmed.
It's not difficult to see why SF is a Hollywood favorite: The bay, the bridge, the landmarks, and a variety of other landmarks are excellent places to shoot from. Unique locations are there in spades: Marina, Chinatown, Sixth Street, Cole Valley, Tenderloin, etc. Everything from scary thrillers to goofy comedies can easily be shot here. In fact, many films shot in SF are written specifically for the city, so it, in a sense, becomes a character in the movie.
Let’s take a look at some of the most iconic films shot at the iconic city:
Vertigo. Considered by many as Hitchcock’s finest movie, this psychological drama shot in SF includes shots in many iconic landmarks such as The Golden Gate Bridge and Brocklebank.
Bullitt. This 1968 classic is well remembered for having one of the best car chases in film history. The 10 minute chase was entirely shot in SF’s streets. If you look closely, many legendary city landmarks can be spotted.
Dirty Harry. Considered one as one of Clint Eastwood’s best remembered films, Dirty Harry takes Eastwood almost through a city tour where he chases a mysterious serial killer. The film is an excellent example of SF’s excellent versatility for film locations.
Milk. SF was the perfect background for the critically acclaimed 2008 film, Milk. Infamously, Gus Van Sant and his crew modified the façade of Castro Theatre in order to recreate a mid-70’s vibe. The results were excellent and Milk went on to receive an Oscar award.
Blue Jasmine. Woody Allen’s first film shot in American soil in the last four years, Blue Jasmine has enjoyed an overwhelming positive reception by critics and audiences alike. Allen has been praised for his clever use of iconic SF vistas and many consider Cate Blanchett’s performance as the best of her career so far. Prior to Blue Jasmine, Woody Allen had been interested in filming his movies outside of the U.S. His recent film is a welcome addition to the legendary filmmaker’s catalogue.