In a city this beautiful, it’s no surprise that there are hundreds of movies set in San Francisco. From dramatic murder-mysteries to screwball comedies, these movies filmed in the Bay Area date back to 1935 and highlight the diversity and creativity of the area. Here, Culture Trip hails the famous films set in San Francisco.
This beloved identity-swapping movie features Robin Williams as Daniel Hillard, a father who deals with losing custody of his children by pretending to be a housekeeper named Mrs Euphegenia Doubtfire. After disguising himself as a woman, Hillard is hired by his estranged wife, and hilarity ensues.
Steve Jobs, the co-founder and revolutionary genius behind Apple computers, has often been described as the boss from hell. His unrealistically high expectations for the people around him led to strained relationships with his family, friends, and coworkers. The 2013 film, which was released nearly two years after Steve Job’s death, stars Ashton Kutcher as Jobs, a Reed College dropout with an idea that would change the world.
The Barbary Coast is a neighborhood in what is currently San Francisco’s Financial District. In the mid-1800s, the city was rapidly growing due to California’s Gold Rush, and many of the Barbary Coast’s residents included criminals, prostitutes, and gamblers. Howard Hawks’ 1935 film, The Barbary Coast, stars Miriam Hopkins, Joel McCrea and Edward G Robinson and shows how their characters navigate the lawless town of San Francisco.
The mystery-thriller Zodiac tells the story of a real-life serial killer who terrorized the Bay Area in the 1960s and 1970s. The film’s main character is San Francisco Chronicle reporter Robert Graysmith, who is played by Jake Gyllenhaal. Since Graysmith is a cartoonist for the newspaper, he is not taken seriously by his colleagues when he tries to get involved with the case. Thus, Graysmith is forced to try and identify the Zodiac killer on his own, and creepiness ensues.
Facebook is one of the biggest players in the tech industry today, but in 2004 it was simply a website operating out of a Harvard dorm room. The Social Network depicts Facebook’s origins, legal battles between founder Mark Zuckerberg and his fellow Harvard classmates, and management disputes among Facebook contributors. Although many scenes in the film were set in Boston, the film also portrays the company’s relocation to Palo Alto. It offers an inside look into the entrepreneurial start-up culture that is currently dominating the Bay Area business world.
This iconic 1970s action thriller stars Clint Eastwood as “Dirty” Harry Callahan, a San Francisco detective trying to catch a serial killer who goes by the name Scorpio. Dirty Harry was filmed all over San Francisco and features many iconic spots, including Golden Gate Park, City Hall, and the Bank of America Building.
The 1997 comedy George of the Jungle is loosely based on Tarzan, a story of a man raised by gorillas in the African jungle. The film begins when a San Francisco couple, Ursula Stanhope and Lyle Van De Groot, take a safari in Africa. Lyle and Ursula are separated after a lion tries to attack them, and Ursula is rescued by George, a man who lives in a treehouse with a pack of gorillas. George and Ursula become friends, and after a series of unfortunate events, they wind up in San Francisco where George wreaks havoc on the city due to his uncivilized nature.
Based on John Steinbeck’s novel of the same name, Cannery Row is a film about the colorful characters that make up Monterey’s fishing and canning industry during World War 1. It stars Debra Winger and Nick Nolte as Suzy DeSoto and Doc, two very different characters who don’t quite fit in with the other inhabitants of Cannery Row. Although the film is not set in San Francisco, it gives viewers a look into what life was like for people living and working along California’s waterfront during the early to mid-1900s.
In 2002, the Oakland Athletics had the third lowest payroll in the MLB, making it difficult to attract big-time baseball players to play for their team. In order to get the A’s out of their slump, the team’s general manager, Billy Beane, re-evaluates the league by analyzing player statistics, or sabermetrics, in ways that had never been done before. Despite Oakland’s low budget, Billy Beane’s use of sabermetrics helped the A’s get to the 2002 and 2003 playoffs. The film is based on Michael Lewis’s book, Moneyball: the Art of Winning an Unfair Game, and has led to the wide use of Sabermetrics among other teams in the MLB.
Although the original novel by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac, D’entre les morts, was set in Paris, France, Alfred Hitchcock’s film version, Vertigo, was relocated to San Francisco. After developing vertigo, John “Scottie” Ferguson is forced to give up his job as a police detective. In his retirement, Scottie is hired to follow the wife of a man he knew in college, Gavin Elster. The plot thickens after Gavin’s wife commits suicide and may not be the person she said she was.
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