Twenty five years ago I was lucky enough to live in the beautiful city by the bay. I spent my free time wandering the streets and hills, finding out about the places used in film locations and all the myths and legends surrounding the area. I still have an overwhelming fondness for the place and love nothing more than spotting locations I recognise in movies. Here are my top five favourites.
Often criticized for playing ‘himself, Steve McQueen just had a real ‘on screen presence’ and this film, with the car chase, the driving, the attitude, all capitalise on that. A cop assigned to a witness, the witness gets shot and then Bullitt must work on untangling the enormously complicated plot, cue car chases and steep streets. Total 60s class.
Just Like Heaven (2005)
Reese Witherspoon is an overworked doctor with no love life who has an unfortunate collision with a large truck. Mark Ruffalo moves into her beautiful apartment but sees her as an apparition and has to help solve the mystery of what happened to her. It’s a lovely, light-hearted romance, a modern take on the ‘’ghost and living person in love’’ problem and a good spin on Sleeping Beauty.
The Game (1997)
Directed by David Fincher and probably the best Michael Douglas action thriller ever. Throw in Sean Penn as his little brother and you have a ‘seat of the pants’ movie. Millionaire Nicholas Van Orton is a little obsessive. He wakes up on his 48th birthday in the same mansion where his father committed suicide at the same age, then an unexpected gift changes his life. Brilliantly executed chase scenes around the city and an amazing concept, One of my personal all time favourite movies.
Hitchcock uses the city and surrounding area as a backdrop for this slick thriller. James Stewart stars as ‘Scottie’ Ferguson, a detective recovering from a bout of vertigo, hired to follow the wife of an old friend, the coolly serene and beautiful Madeleine, played by Kim Novak. This is pure 1950s nostalgia, beautiful clothes and stunning backdrops. Scenes feature Muir Woods, Top of the Mark Hotel and Coit Tower alongside the Golden Gate Bridge and wind swept stretches of the Peninsula.
Mrs Doubtfire (1993)
Robin Williams had such great range as an actor, this was his finest comedic moment. In order to spend time with his estranged kids, ‘Daniel Hillard’ creates the identity and gender swapping title character and applies for a job as a nanny. Hilarious, with a stellar cast of supporting characters. The ‘painted ladies’ of San Francisco and the house used for exterior shots at 2640 Steiner Street are selfie snapping tourist hot spots.