Happy Tuesday, folks! This Friday, my hubby and I will be on vacation to California for a week. We’ll be attending San Diego Comic Con for the first time next week but we’ll spend our first four days of our trip in San Francisco (including a day trip to Napa). My brother went to University of San Francisco for a couple of years so I’ve visited the beautiful city several times before, but it’s been nearly a decade since I’ve been back there. Coincidentally, the city is named after St. Francis of Assisi, which is the name of my hubby & my grade school back in Jakarta.
Undoubtedly San Francisco’s beauty and iconic landmarks have often been depicted in various forms of pop culture. There are hundreds of movies set in SF, you can see the full list in its Wikipedia page. I’m afraid I’ve only seen a tiny handful of those, so I’m making this post sort of ‘interactive.’ Please supply your own favorite movie scene(s) set in that city. You can either give the title and description or supply the still shot or video clip from that film in the comments. I will add the scenes/photos you listed and keep updating the post until Wednesday night. By the way, I’ve just moved Vertigo to the top of the queue, hopefully I’ll get around to watching it before I leave. Anyway, here are three memorable scenes set in San Francisco to start things off:
- I love this movie! I’ve watched it several times and it’s funny and heartwarming, perhaps one of the few Robin Williams movies where he doesn’t outright annoy me. That house 2640 Steiner Street is shown pretty prominently throughout where his kids live with their mother, and that part when Doubtfire ripped the hood ornament from his ex-wife’s Mercedes is priceless!
- The Rock
I don’t know whether we’ll have time to take the Alcatraz tour but if we do, I’ll definitely remember some of the scenes from The Rock, perhaps the only Michael Bay movie I’d actually recommend. The cast is awesome, this is when Nic Cage still made watchable movies — add Ed Harris, Michael Biehn AND Sean Connery who didn’t bother to switch off his Scottish brogue, it’s a fun action romp I wouldn’t mind watching several times over.
- Joy Luck Club
It’s been a while since I’ve seen this film based on Amy Tan’s novel, but I remember being really affected by it. The story tells of four order Chinese-immigrant women living in San Francisco, so there are lots of scenes in the Chinatown area where they meet regularly to play Mahjong, eat and share stories. The film explores the hidden past of these mothers and the cultural conflicts between them and their Americanized daughters. I wonder whatever happened to Russell Wong, he was perfectly charming as well as despicable in this film.
- A View to Kill
Since Ted just did a Bond post yesterday, might as well include a Bond movie here, too. This one is nowhere near my favorite Bond movie, but Christopher Walken is always amusing, even if his take on a Bond villain is as tacky as ever. Add Tanya Roberts and 80s supermodel Grace Jones to the bargain and the agony is complete. The fight scene atop the Golden Gate bridge is pretty memorable though, probably the only thing I remember from that movie.
- I’ve already included this Golden Gate bridge scene on my favorite Marvel superhero scenes post, but it deserves another mention on this list. It’s preposterous and over the top, but it’s a movie about superhero mutants, so that certainly comes with the territory. Plus, Magneto is such an iconic villain and that battle on Alcatraz island in the grand finale is pretty intense.
• Jimmy Stewart rescues Kim Novak in Vertigo (1958)
• The car chase scene in Bullit (1968) w/ Steve McQueen
• Dirty Harry (1971) – Harry confronts the downed “Scorpio” killer in San Francisco’s Kezar Stadium
Check out Markus Welby’s post on Dirty Harry as he reminisced about his recent trip to some of the film’s locations.
• Alfred Hitchcock’s classic thriller The Birds (1963)
• The Harvey Milk’s rally speech in Milk (2008)
• 1974 The Conversation‘s opening sequence in Union Square
• The Killer Elite (1975) final shootout scene
• Landscaped apartment rooftop in Just Like Heaven (2008)
• Noir thriller Out of the Past (1947) with Robert Mitchum
• Another Clint Eastwood movie set in the Bay area – Escape from Alcatraz (1979)
• Classic musical San Francisco (1936) with Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy and Jeannette McDonald
• So I Married an Axe Murderer with Mike Myers as a SF poet who thinks his wife (Nancy Travis) is a serial killer
There’s even a movie locations tour for people who want to compare the locations in the movie to their real-life counterpart.
• The woman jumping scene from The Towering Inferno (1974)
Well, now it’s your turn to supply me with your own favorite movie(s) and/or movie scene(s) set in San Francisco. We’ll be going to Napa Valley area as well so if you have fave scenes in that area, feel free to include them. The one movie I love that’s set in Napa is A Walk in the Clouds.
Thanks everybody, please don’t drop the ball 😀