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Top Five Spots Made Famous in the Movies 

San Francisco's place in cinematic lore is assured, because the city has served as a backdrop to countless classic films (and plenty of car commercials, too). Here are a handful of places to get that sense of dramatic déjà vu.

Union Square

Between Stockton and Powell, Post and Geary

It served as the centerpiece for Francis Ford Coppola's 1974 thriller The Conversation, in which a surveillance expert played by Gene Hackman records a secret discussion between two people walking around the plaza.

Fort Point

The Presidio, end of Marine Drive (under the Golden Gate Bridge toll plaza)

The former military stronghold at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge features prominently in Alfred Hitchcock's quintessential San Francisco suspense drama, Vertigo (1958), in which Jimmy Stewart rescues the mysterious Kim Novak from the churning waters. (She jumps from the low granite sea wall that borders the ocean.)

VJ Grocery & Delicatessen

1199 Clay (at Taylor)

Bullitt, the 1968 detective movie starring Steve McQueen, features what may be the most famous car chase in film history, as McQueen's green Mustang swerves through the streets of the city. This shop (under a different name) is where McQueen buys his groceries.

The Rawhide II

280 Seventh St. (at Folsom)

This gay and lesbian western-style bar became the focus of demonstrators against 1992's Basic Instinct, which caused a stir even during filming, when activists picketing the production because of the script's misogynistic leanings denounced the Rawhide's owner for renting out the bar as a location.

Mount Davidson

Near Portola & Miraloma

The Dirty Harry series employed the city's gritty side to maximum effect, but perhaps no location is more arresting than the cross on Mount Davidson, a 103-foot-high steel-and-concrete monument to victims of the Armenian genocide. In one of the original 1971 film's most memorable scenes, San Francisco native Clint Eastwood struggles with a homicidal lunatic at its base before finally stabbing him in the kneecap.


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