In general, film locations for the American movie are typically either New York, Los Angeles, or someplace that is so nondescript it's not worth mentioning within the context of the plot. And let's face it, no one really gives a fuck about San Diego. Even in Some Like It Hot when they actually are in San Diego, they pretend it's Florida. Then there's Chicago, which gave us the unfortunate disaster that was The Break Up starring Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston. So it seems the one city that is occasionally forgotten in terms of how many amazing films have used it as a backdrop is San Francisco. Below are some of the finest cinematic frames rendered in a city that once prompted Oscar Wilde to say, "It is an odd thing, but everyone who disappears is said to be seen in San Francisco. It must be a delightful city, and possess all the attractions of the next world." 1. Vertigo: Only Alfred Hitchcock could make paranoia and deception look this good. The best scene ever captured in front of the Golden Gate Bridge is when Jimmy Stuart rescues Kim Novak from her fake plunge into the San Francisco Bay.
2. Dirty Harry: Clint Eastwood as rogue inspector Harry Callahan isn't the only thing that makes this movie worth watching repeatedly. The opening shot alone of an anonymous killer skulking from atop a high building waiting to hone in on his prey shows us a side of San Francisco that only a loose representation of the Zodiac killer could force us to see.
3. Play It Again, Sam: Woody Allen may have filmed movies in Europe, but he only left New York once in favor of the west coast. In the 1972 film adaptation of his play based on a neurotic man who lives his life by taking guidance from imaginary friend Humphrey Bogart, Allen shows a brief affection for a part of the country he usually disdains.
4. What's Up, Doc?: Some people think The Way We Were or Prince of Tides is Barbra at her best, but nothing--nothing--is as good as the scene with Ryan O'Neal and Streisand trapped on a delivery bike careening through the steep streets of San Francisco.
5. Bullitt: Admittedly, this movie is not very good. But it won an Academy Award at a time when that still meant something. What makes it number five for me is how fucking good the city looks in a car chase scenario. It was 1968 so it all had the fresh appearance of an unpolluted, relatively unpopulated city. Plus, Steve McQueen is hotter than a recently steamed tamale. More men should strive for his ruggedness.
6. Foul Play: Goldie Hawn truly established her skills as a comedienne in the hijinks of this movie. Oh yeah, and Chevy Chase is kind of there. Like always.
7. Harold and Maude: What city could be better for the suicidal tendencies of an adolescent boy? After all, the Golden Gate Bridge is the number one locale for jumpers.
8. The Maltese Falcon: San Francisco, 1941, Humphrey Bogart. Enough said.
9. Milk: Sean Penn, a man who in the early days of his career would never be associated with playing a flamboyantly gay politician, gives Harvey Milk and his city the tribute they deserve in this historical biopic filmed prevalently in the Castro.
10. So I Married An Axe Murderer: Maybe I'll get a lot of shit for this one, but I just don't care. I was almost tempted to place it above Bullitt. This movie is the last great thing Mike Meyers will ever do. And how can you resist the warm, fuzzy feeling that rises up in your chest when you see the scene of him driving while "There She Goes" by The La's plays in the background?