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15 Famous Film Locations In San Francisco

Picture of Samantha Cardenas
Updated: 27 October 2017
There’s something about seeing places you recognize from home in a movie that ignites some sort of pride. Sure, Los Angeles and New York are popular movie locations, but San Francisco has made some noteworthy appearances in classic films, too. Take a look at our list.

Vertigo (1958)

One of the greatest films shot in San Francisco, Vertigo covers a lot of the city, from the Mission District to Nob Hill. Note the famous vantage point of the Golden Gate Bridge from Fort Mason, where we see Scottie witness Madeline plunge into the water from the edge of the rocks.

Dirty Harry (1971)

We see Clint Eastwood’s character Harry chase after the killer in Dirty Harry at Kezar Stadium. Other famous spots include Vista Point overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge and the cross at Mount Davidson.

Pacific Heights (1990)

From the title alone, any resident of San Francisco will know exactly where Pacific Heights takes place. However, the house used in the film is located right on the corner of 19th and Texas Streets in Potrero Hill and is not actually in Pacific Heights.

Sister Act 2 (1992)

The sequel to the highly successful first installment, Sister Act 2 was a huge stepping stone for big names like Lauryn Hill, Jennifer Love Hewitt, and Kathy Najimy. Filming locations include the Bank of America building at 555 California and the City College of San Francisco.

So I Married An Axe Murderer (1993)

Viewers watching So I Married An Axe Murderer will get a little glimpse of every part of the city. Locations include the Palace of Fine Arts, Coit Tower, Fog City Diner, and the San Francisco War Memorial.

Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)

Considered by many to be one of Robin Williams’ best films, Mrs. Doubtfire is adored by many San Franciscans. The house used in the film at 2640 Steiner Street in Pacific Heights is still visited by many people every day. When Williams died, fans showed their love and support by bringing flowers and trinkets to the house to pay tribute to him.

Bedazzled (2000)

A disappointment to some and a goofy classic to others, this 2000 remake of the 1967 British comedy shows off many famous San Francisco spots. The fountain at Four Embarcadero, City Hall, and the city’s many hills are just a few of the sights.

The Wedding Planner (2001)

A classic chick flick, The Wedding Planner features many picturesque San Francisco locations. They include City Hall (where the Jennifer Lopez and Justin Chambers characters go to get married) and Golden Gate Park, where they dance. One of the most recognizable scenes takes place on Taylor and Sacramento, where Matthew McConaughey’s character steps in to save Lopez when she’s about to be crushed by a rolling dumpster.

The Princess Diaries (2001)

What many people don’t know about The Princess Diaries is that the house Mia Thermopolis (Anne Hathaway) lived in wasn’t in one of San Francisco’s prestigious neighborhoods — it was actually in the Excelsior district on Brazil and Athens. It also used to be a fire house! Other filming locations include Grove High School on Lyon Street.

The Sweetest Thing (2002)

Cameron Diaz, Christina Applegate, and Selma Blair take audiences through the trials and tribulations of San Francisco dating in The Sweetest Thing. Scenes were filmed at the Palace of Fine Arts, New Grant Avenue Cleaners on Vallejo, and North Beach, to name just a few of the locations.

Enough (2002)

Jennifer Lopez makes the list again with her thriller Enough. Arguably one of her better films, it stars her as a woman trying to escape with her child from an abusive relationship. The most recognizable location is Vesuvio Cafe in North Beach.

The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

Real-life father and son Will Smith and Jaden Smith star in The Pursuit of Happyness. The movie tells the heartfelt story of a father struggling to provide for himself and his son while they’re bounced around different shelters. Locations include Glen Park Bart Station and Golden Gate Park.

Milk (2008)

In Gus Van Sant’s Milk, Sean Penn plays the San Francisco gay rights activist and politician Harvey Milk. Much of the filming took place in the Castro, as well as at City Hall.

La Mission (2009)

La Mission tells the story of an ex-con, played by San Francisco-born Benjamin Bratt, who finds out that his son is gay. The film showcases one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in San Francisco — the Mission.

San Andreas (2015)

Thanks to lots of CGI, San Andreas takes us on an action-packed ride from Los Angeles to San Francisco after a Magnitude 9 earthquake shakes up California. The most realistic and terrifying scene takes place on the Golden Gate Bridge as it’s engulfed by water.