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San Francisco Films

Barbary Coast * Barbary Coast (1935) four star
Drama starring: Edward G. Robinson, Walter Brennan, Miriam Hopkins, Joel McCrea Director: Howard Hawks, William Wyler
A money hungry young woman arrives in San Francisco to meet her intended husband, the owner of a casino. This film gives us a glimpse of San Francisco in the gold rush days, a man who refuses to be dragged into the corruption of the time, and the role of newspapers and vigilantes in the old West. 1935 Academy Awards Nomination: Best Cinematography
Barbary Coast
(wikipedia)

San Francisco* San Francisco (1936)
4 1/2 Stars
Musical Comedy
Starring: Clark Gable, Jeanette MacDonald
Director: W.S. Van Dyke
San Francisco (wikipedia)

 

The Maltese Falcon* The Maltese Falcon (1941) 4 1/2 Stars
DVD - Mystery
Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor
Director: John Huston
Sam Spade, a private detective, gets involved in a murderous hunt for a valuable statuette.
View Trailer


Gentleman Jim * Gentleman Jim(1942) 4 1/2 Stars
Starring: Errol Flynn, Alexis Smith
Director: Raoul Walsh
Set in 1880s and 1890s San Francisco, this is the story of the legendary fight between heavyweight champ Jim Corbett and John L. Sullivan. Flynn often said this was his favorite film. View Trailer

Out of the PastOut of the Past (1947)
4 1/2 Stars DVD - Classic Black & White film noir.
Starring: Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, Robert Mitchum, Kirk Douglas, Rhonda Fleming
Director: Jacques Tourneur
Features Kirk Douglas in an early role. Mitchum is hired by Douglas to find Jane Greer who has absconded with his money. He traces her to Mexico and then falls for her which complicates matters a little getting him deeply involved in blackmail and murder. Jane Greer is great as is the excellent supporting cast. Classic Black & White film noir.

 

Lady from Shanghai* The Lady from Shanghai(1948) 4 star
DVD - Drama
Starring:Orson Welles , Rita Hayworth
Director: Orson Welles
The Lady from Shanghai marked another artistic triumph and commercial failure for master filmmaker Orson Welles. It also chronicled the disintegration of his short-lived marriage to screen siren Rita Hayworth -- playing at times like an abstract commentary on their turbulent private life. View Trailer

Celluloid* Celluloid San Francisco: The Film Lover's Guide to Bay Area Movie Locations 4 1/2 Stars
by Jim Van Buskirk, Will Shank
This comprehensive guide to thousands of movie and television locations in the San Francisco Bay area includes easy-to-follow maps to identify significant historical film sites.



Cinema by the Bay* Cinema by the Bay by Sheerly Avni 4 1/2 Stars Featuring over 200 color photographs, Cinema by the Bay is the first major book to celebrate the movie studios and their films in the San Francisco area, including American Zoetrope, The Saul Zaentz Co., PDI, Pixar Studio, and Lucasfilm Ltd., as well as the independent filmmakers living and working there, from Chris Columbus to Clint Eastwood to Phillip Kaufman and Michael Ritchie. The first title to be published
by George Lucas books.

visit REEL SF for San Francisco movie locations from classic films


San Francisco Noir by Nathaniel Rich* San Francisco Noir by Nathaniel Rich 4 star
“San Francisco Noir is a rare book that lets you step into a dream. The dream is film—all the seductive phantoms of film noir that have haunted us for decades—and by discovering so carefully and describing so memorably all these fantasies, Nathaniel Rich has written a fascinating work of criticism disguised as a guided tour around a great city. ”—Martin Scorsese



* Forbidden Hollywood Collection: Volume Three (Other Men's Women / The Purchase Price / Frisco Jenny / Midnight Mary / Heroes for Sale / Wild Boys of the Road) 4 1/2 Stars
pre-Code movies from the 30's by the redoubtable William
A. Wellman a few photos




Independent Film Producers Survival Guide* The Independent Film Producer's Survival Guide: A Business and Legal Sourcebook by Gunnar Erickson, Harris Tulchin , Mark Halloran 5 stars





Dark Passage* Dark Passage (1947) 4 star
DVD - Film Noir
Starring: Humphrey Bogart , Lauren Bacall
Director: Delmer Daves
Film noir was at its peak in the late 1940s and this B/W is one of Bogey's best. From a cinematographer's point of view, this film was outstanding. I also enjoyed the atmospheric
feel of mid-century San Francisco. Lauren Bacall's Art Deco apartment where she hides Humphrey Bogart is located at 1360 Montgomery Street on San Francisco's Telegraph Hill. View Trailer

I Remember Mama* I Remember Mama (1948) 4 1/2 Stars
DVD
Starring: Irene Dunne, Barbara Bel Geddes
Director: George Stevens
George Stevens's charming film features Irene Dunne as Mama in one of her finest performances. The film is narrated by Mama's daughter Katrin (Barbara Bel Geddes), recalling the trials and tribulations of her family in turn-of-the-century San Francisco.

* Sudden Fear (1952) 4 star
Starring: Joan Crawford ,Jack Palance
Director:David Miller
Joan Crawford gives a find performance and Jack Palance is amazing effective playing against type
as a leading man. Despite a slow start, this is a fine suspense thriller that earned Oscar nominations for both of them. It aslso was nominated for the striking black and white photography.

Pal JoeyPal Joey (1957)
DVD - NR 111 min - Drama -Musical Romance
Starring: Rita Hayworth, Frank Sinatra and Kim Novak
Director:George Sidney
Writers: (screenplay), John O'Hara (from his novel of the same title and music and lyrics by Rodgers and Hart
The story is based on a character and situations O'Hara created in a series of short stories published in The New Yorker. 1st three minutes (video)


Vertigo* Vertigo (Collector's Edition)(1958)
DVD - Rated: PG
Starring: James Stewart, Kim Novak
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Complex story about a San Francisco detective and his psychological troubles with fear of
heights and with a woman.
View Trailer

Flower Drum Song* Flower Drum Song (1961) 4 1/2 Stars
Starring: Nancy Kwan, James Shigeta
Director: Henry Koster
San Francisco Chinatown setting adds to the pleasure of this Oscar and Hammerstien musical comedy.
It is a funny and romantic story of a Chinese picture bride. East culture meeting west culture.Drama Musical Comedy  View Trailer
Birdman of Alcatraz* Birdman of Alcatraz (1962)4 1/2 Stars
DVD - Rated: NR Drama
Starring: Burt Lancaster ,Karl Malden
Director:John Frankenheimer
This film is based on a true story, Burt Lancaster plays Robert Stroud, a withdrawn prison inmate who cures a sick bird that flies into his cell and eventually becomes a world-renowned ornithologist -- all while serving a life sentence.
Directed with his usual solid craftsmanship by John Frankenheimer,
View Trailer
Days of Wine and Roses * Days of Wine and Roses(1962) 4 1/2 Stars
DVD - Heavy Drama
Starring: Jack Lemmon, Lee Remick
Director: Blake Edwards The subject is the effect of alcoholism on family, career and life and the acting is brilliant. This award winning film is set is San Francisco.
View Trailer

Experiment in Terror*Experiment in Terror(1962) 4 1/2 Stars
DVD - Drama,Suspense
Starring: Glenn Ford, Lee Remick
Director: Blake Edwards
Take some footage of San Francisco, dash with the perfect score by Henry Mancini,toss in most excellent performers and what you have is a spine-chillingly scary, perfectly crafted film.

The Birds* The Birds (Collector's Edition) (1963)
DVD - Horror
Starring:Tippi Hedren, Rod Taylor, Jessica Tandy
Director:Alfred Hitchcock
Hitchcock's classic about a woman (Hedren) and mass bird attacks that follow her around isolated California community. Not for the squeamish; a delight for those who are game. Hitchcock makes his cameo appearance at the start of the film walking two dogs past the pet shop (the two terriers were actually his own). View Trailer

The Graduate* The Graduate (1967) 4 1/2 Stars
DVD - Drama / Romance
Starring: Anne Bancroft, Dustin Hoffman
Director: Mike Nichols
A young man just out of college doesn't know what to do with his life. But being involved with a young woman AND her mother probably wasn't it. View Trailer

Bullitt*Bullitt (1968) 4 star
DVD - Rated:PG Action, Crime, Mystery
Starring: Steve McQueen, Jacqueline Bisset
Director: Peter Yates
Detective Lt. Frank Bullitt--some other kind of cop. Pity the guy he works for. There are bad cops and there are good cops - and then there's Bullitt.

Petula* Petulia (1968)
Rated: R Drama
Starring: Julie Christie, George C. Scott
Director: Richard Lester
Brilliant film, set against mid-60s San Francisco scene, about recently divorced doctor and his relationship
with unhappily married kook. Terrific acting, especially by Scott and Knight, in one of decade's top films.
Dirty Harry* Dirty Harry (1971)4 1/2 Stars
Clint Eastwood, in one of his most iconic roles, stars as Harry Callahan, a rebellious member of the San Francisco Police Department assigned to the gruesome Zodiac Killer
DVD -
Rated:R Action,Crime, Thriller
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Andrew Robinson
Director: Don Siegel
The police drama was spun on its head in 1971 by the violent, glib, and anarchic DIRTY HARRY,
a Nixon-era hit that continues to influence films. Clint Eastwood, in one of his most iconic roles, stars as Harry Callahan, a rebellious member of the San Francisco Police Department assigned to the gruesome Zodiac Killer case.
Dirty Harry Tour of San Francisco

Harold and Maude* Harold and Maude (1971)
Rated:PG Drama ,Romance, Comedy
Starring: Ruth Gordon, Bud Cort Director: Hal Ashby
Wonderful film about the loving relationship between 20-year-old Cort, who's obsessed with death, and 79-year-old swinger Gordon. It is a great black comedy. The story, characters, actors, music and script are all wonderful. See this movie often. Always take someone with you who has not seen it.One of my all-time favorite movies. View Trailer

Butterfies are Free* Butterflies Are Free (1972)
DVD -Rated:PG Drama romance comedy
Starring: Goldie Hawn, Edward Albert
Director: Milton Katselas
A corny charming film about a young blind man seeking independence and his kooky next door neighbor. Naturally they fall in love. View Trailer
* Play It Again,Sam (1972)
DVD -Comedy ,Romance
Starring: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton
Director: Herbert Ross
A very clever and funny film. A mild mannered film critic is dumped by his wife and his ego is crushed.
American Graffiti* American Graffiti (1973)
DVD - Rated:PG
Starring: Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard
Director: George Lucas
Not only a great movie but a brilliant work of historical fiction.This is a must-see film. View Trailer
The Conversation* The Conversation (1974)
DVD - Crime,Thriller,Drama,Mystery
Starring: Gene Hackman, John Cazale
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Made between The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather Part II (1974), and in part an homage to Michelangelo Antonioni's art-movie classic Blow-Up (1966), The Conversation was a return to small-scale art films for Francis Ford Coppola. Easily one of the best films ever made.

Smile* Smile (1974)
DVD-Rated: PG
Starring: Bruce Dern, Barbara Feldon,
Director: Michael Ritchie
Competitive mayhem and mounting chaos take over in this biting satire. The chief pageant judge is forced to re-examine his cherished small-town values upon encountering the behind-the-scenes activity at a California This was one of Melanie Griffith's first movies. Set in Santa Rosa, CA
High Anxiety* High Anxiety(1978)
DVD - Rated: PG
Starring: Mel Brooks, Madeline Kahn, Cloris Leachman, Harvey Korman
Director: Mel Brooks
An affectionate homage more than a spoof of Alfred Hitchcock thrillers, this movie is hilarious.Dr. Richard Thorndyke arrives as new administrator of the Psychoneurotic Institute for the Very, VERY Nervous
Body Snatchers* Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
DVD
Rated: PG
Starring: Donald Sutherland ,Brooke Adams
Director: Philip Kaufman
The fight for survival as the population of San Francisco is systematically cloned by alien "pods" from a distant, dying planet. Very Scary!! View Trailer
Escape from Alcatraz* Escape From Alcatraz (1979)
DVD - Rated: PG Drama
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Patrick McGoohan with Danny Glover in his film debut.
Director: Don Siegel
Based on a true story, this is the greatest prison escape movie of all time.
View Trailer
Frisco Kid* The Frisco Kid (1979)
DVD - Rated: PG
Starring: Gene Wilder, Harrison Ford
Director: Robert Aldrich
Gene Wilder plays Polish rabbi Avram Belinsky, who intends to set up a congregation in San Francisco. Unsuited for life in the Old West, poor Avram is victimized by everyone with whom he comes in contact. Salvation arrives in the unlikely form of taciturn bank robber Tommy (Harrison Ford). Incredibly, Tommy takes a liking to the feckless Avram, and together the two men embark on a series of seriocomic adventures. There is a wonderful rapport between Gene Wilder and Harrison Ford thats helps this film over over its bumpy spots.

Time after Time* Time After Time (1979)
DVD - PG Drama
Starring: Malcolm McDowell, David Warner
Director: Nicholas Meyer
Jack the Ripper travels to modern-day San Francisco with H.G.Wells in pursuit. It's sci-fi, thrilling and romantic!

The Presidio * The Presidio (1988)
DVD - Rated:R
Action / Crime / Thriller
Starring: Sean Connery, Mark Harmon, Meg Ryan
Director: Peter Hyams
An easy going police detective must investigate a murder on a military base where he and the base commander have sparred before. The commander becomes downright nasty when his daughter shows an interest in the detective. Good action scenes in San Francisco.

Tucker* Tucker--The Man and His Dream (1988)
DVD - Rted: PG Drama
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Joan Allen
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Coppola's autobiography of Preston Tucker is a truly colorful experince. A wonderful film .View Trailer
Pacific Heights* Pacific Heights (1990)
DVD - Rated:R Drama
Starring: Melanie Griffith, Matthew Modine
Director: John Schlesinger
Young couple purchases a Victorian home in San Francisco, fixes it up and rents out two of its apartments
to the tenant from hell
Flashback* Flashback (1990)
DVD - Rated:R Comedy
Starring: Dennis Hopper, Kiefer Sutherland, et al. Director: Franco Amurri
A very '80s FBI agent must escort an ex-'60s radical to prison for past political activism. But the clever old hippie's still up to his old tricks. It's hilarious.
Basic Instinct* Basic Instinct (1992)
DVD - Rated: R Mystery ,Crime,Thriller
Starring:Michael Douglas, Sharon Stone
Director:Paul Verhoeven
This film grossed over $100 million at the box-office despite vigorous protests at its depiction of gays and women. The shocking opening sequence features a graphic sexual encounter involving a rock-star bound with
a white Hermes scarf by an unidentified blond woman. Despite the fact that the scene ends with a bloody murder, Hermes scarves quickly sold out at stores nationwide.

Last of his Tribe* The Last of His Tribe (1992)
DVD - Rated: PG Drama ,Romance
Starring:Jon Voight, Graham Greene
Director: Harry Hook  View Trailer
Iahi documentary DVD* The Last Yahi (1992)
Actor:Linda Hunt
Directors:Pamela Roberts (II)and Jed Riffe
Black & White,- DVD
View Trailer
Sister Act* Sister Act (1992)
DVD - Comedy ,Crime
Starring: Whoopi Goldberg ,Maggie Smith
Director: Emile Ardolino
When a worldly singer witnesses a mob crime, the police hide her as a nun in a traditional convent where she has trouble fitting in.

Heart and Soul* Heart and Souls (1993)
DVD - Fantasy ,Comedy
Starring: Robert Downey Jr.,Charles Grodin
Director:Ron Underwood
A charming comedy about a yuppie who is revisited in adulthood by the spirits of four
people who had been his friends as a child.
Joy Luck Club* The Joy Luck Club (1993)
DVD - Rated: R Drama
Starring:Tamlyn Tomita,Rosalind Chao
Director:Wayne Wang
Director Wayne Wang and screenwriter Ronald Bass effectively interweave sixteen mother-daughter tales in their silken film version of Amy Tan's best-selling novel about the clash between generations. The film takes place in present-day San Francisco, concentrating on a group of late-middle-aged Chinese women.

Mrs. Doubtfire*Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)
DVD - Comedy,Family
Starring: Robin Williams ,Sally Field
Director: Chris Columbus
After a bitter divorce, an actor disguises himself as a female housekeeper to spend secret time with his children held in custody by his Ex. Hilarious film. View Trailer
Interview with a Vampire*Interview With the Vampire
DVD - Rated R Drama , Horror
Starring: Tom Cruise ,Brad Pitt
Director: Neil Jordan
Anne Rice's romantic horror tale inspired this atmospheric chiller. A young reporter (Christian Slater) interviewing a man who claims to be a 200-year-old vampire. The man, Louis (Brad Pitt), shares his story, beginning in 18th-century New Orleans with his first encounter with the charismatic and decadent vampire Lestat (Tom Cruise). Lestat converts Louis to blood-sucking and immortality, but Louis fails to adopt Lestat's cavalier attitude, instead tormenting himself with guilt over his new nature. 
I Married an Axe Murderer* So I Married an Axe Murderer (1993)
DVD
Comedy ,Romance ,Thriller
Starring:Mike Myers,Nancy Travis
Director: Thomas Schlamme
A San Francisco poet who fears commitment has a girlfriend who he suspects may not be who she appears.
Forrest Gump* Forrest Gump (1994)
DVD
Starring: Tom Hanks ,Robin Wright
Director: Robert Zemeckis
1994's Forrest Gump remains a shining beacon that overlooks the sea of coarse, cynical, and violent movies currently proffered by Hollywood filmmakers. Tom Hanks won a much-deserved Academy Award for his portrayal of the eponymous protagonist, a dull-witted member of the baby-boom generation who overcomes adversity, survives war, enjoys success, and transforms the lives of all who come into contact with him. Robin Wright is touching as the girl he loves; Gary Sinise offers a superb portrayal as Forrest<s scornful army buddy; and Sally Field is memorable as his devoted, long-suffering mother. Director Robert Zemeckis won an Oscar for his inspired directing.

Golden Gate* Golden Gate (1994)
VHS - Rated R Drama
Starring: Matt Dillon,Joan Chen Director: John Madden
Adventure ,Drama ,Comedy
When A Man Loves a Woman* When a Man Loves a Woman (1994)
DVD - Rated R Drama
Starring: Andy Garcia ,Meg Ryan
Director: Luis Mandoki
A family torn apart by alcoholism and recovering from it, this was a star vehicle for popular actress Meg Ryan, who plays Alice Green, a school counselor who has a serious drinking problem. Her husband is Michael (Andy Garcia), an airline pilot. View Trailer

Murder in the First* Murder in the First
DVD - Rated R Drama,Thriller
Starring: Christian Slater ,Kevin Bacon, Director: Marc Rocco
This shocking prison drama was inspired by a true story. In 1938, Henri Young (Kevin Bacon), sentenced to Alcatraz for stealing $5, attempted to escape from prison with three other prisoners. He was brought back to custody, and was to be punished by spending 19 days in solitary confinement. Nineteen days stretched into three years. Young was put on trial and assigned a first-time public defender, James Stamphill (Christian Slater)

The Game* The Game (1997)
DVD - Rated R
Mystery,ThrillerStarring: Michael Douglas, Sean Penn
Director: David Fincher
Michael Douglas plays Nicholas Van Orton, a Scrooge-like San Francisco investment banker following in his father's Scrooge-like footsteps. On Nicholas's 48th birthday (the age at which his father committed suicide), his younger, free-spirited brother Conrad (Sean Penn) blows into town and gives Nicholas a special gift , a ticket to CRS (Consumer Recreation Services), a company that constructs games custom-fit for each participant .
Patch Adams* Patch Adams (1998)
DVD - Rated: PG13
Starring: Robin Williams, et al.
Director: Tom Shadyac
A medical student in the 70's that treated patients, illegally, using humor.
Note: During filming, Robin Williams and the rest of the cast and crew worked closely with the Make A Wish Foundation to fulfill the fantasies of several children who were at the time undergoing cancer treatment. The children appeared with Williams in scenes at the pediatric ward. View Trailer

Homeward Bound II * Homeward Bound II - Lost in San Francisco (1996)
DVD
Director: David R. Ellis
Studio: Disney Studios
Shadow, Sassy and Chance are back! It's been three years since their trek through the woods and over the mountains. Now the family lives in San Fransisco and they're taking a vacation in Canada. Only problem, the pets escape from the airport while being put in the cargo area of the plane. Now their family is in Canada and the pets are all alone in San Fransisco. They meet scruffy bully dogs and a gang of rebel dogs all abandoned and have started their own group....Summary written by Dylan Self

Wildflowers* Wildflowers (1999)
DVD - Rated:R Drama
Starring: Clea DuVall, Daryl Hannah
Director: Melissa Painter
A mysterious girl becomes involved with a 17-year-old girl and changes her life forever.
This is a beautiful film about real people spanning two generations -- that of the counterculture of the sixties, and the children they bore, and then reared or abandoned.

The Bachelor* The Bachelor (1999)
DVD - Rated: PG13
Starring: Chris O'Donnell, Renée Zellweger
Director: Gary Sinyor
A committment-phobic man goes in search of a bride including his fed up girlfriend, to inherit his grandfather's $100 million inheritance. Very cute , a great remake of the old classic.
Bicentennial Man* Bicentennial Man (1999)
DVD - Rated: PG
Sci-Fi / Drama / Romance
Starring: Robin Williams
Director: Chris Columbus
Williams plays Andrew, a robot programmed for domestic chores and sold to an upper-middle-class family, the Martins, in the year 2005. The family patriarch (Sam Neill) recognizes and encourages Andrew's uncommon characteristics, particularly his artistic streak, sensitivity to beauty, humor, and independence of spirit. In so doing, he sets Williams's tin man on a two-century journey to become more human than most human beings.

Foreign Correspondents* Foreign Correspondent (1999)
DVD - Rated: PG13
Drama / Romance
Starring: Melanie Lynskey,
Wil Wheaton
Director: Mark Tapio Kines
Two individuals from opposite sides of the world are each drawn into a mysterious
relationship with a distant penpal that somehow connects their two lives.

Just One Night* Just One Night (2000)
DVD - Rated: PG-13
some sexual content, brief violence and drug use.
Starring: Timothy Hutton-Isaac Alder
Maria Grazia Cucinotta- Aurora
Sometimes, beauty can make time stand still.
Seven Girlfriends* Seven Girlfriends (2000)
DVD - Rated: PG
Comedy / Romance
Starring: Tim Daly, Jami Gertz, Mimi Rogers,Laura Leighton
Director: Paul Lazarus
A romantic comedy about a 30-something guy who's been unlucky in love, so he decides to check in with some former girlfriends to see how to improve his chances.

Sweet November * Sweet November (2001)
DVD - Rated:PG 13
Starring:Keanu Reeves, Charlize Theron
Director: Pat O'Connor
Nelson Moss and Sara Deever have nothing in common except an hour spent in DMV hell. She's a charming spirit who brings out the best in men. He's a workaholic executive whose only intimate relationship is with the bottom line ... until he meets Sara.

Woman on Top* Woman on Top (2000) DVD - Rated: R Starring: Penélope Cruz, Murilo Benício, Harold Perrineau Jr.
Director: Fina Torres
A charming romantic comedy with Latin sizzle about a Brazilian woman who is a gifted cook but who also suffers from acute motion sickness, with both of these personal qualities playing promitop

 

Wedding Planner* The Wedding Planner (2001)
DVD - Rated: PG
Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Matthew McConaughey
Director: Adam Shankman
Mary Fiore is the wedding planner. She's ambitious, extremely organized, and she knows exactly what to do
and say to make any wedding a spectacular event. But when Mary falls (literally) for a handsome doctor her busy yet uncomplicated life is turned upside down - he's the groom in the biggest wedding of her career!


San Francisco DVD Documentaries
*American Experience - The Great San Francisco Earthquake
*Globe Trekker - San Francisco
*Beatles: From Liverpool to San Francisco
*The Feel of the Rope: Reflections on Life at the San Francisco Cable Car Division
*Carnaval San Francisco: Dance, Drums, and Fantasy
*Historical World Fairs: San Francisco (2-DVD Set)
*On Location: San Francisco

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