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28 Oscar-nominated movies filmed in San Francisco

The gold statue is no stranger to our golden city

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Sunday marks the 92nd Academy Awards, and although the Oscars are a Hollywood affair, Oscar is a frequent San Francisco tourist who bestows golden laurels on notable movies filmed locally for decades.

For the second year in a row, no films shot or based in San Francisco are up for awards on Sunday—even the acclaimed The Last Black Man In San Francisco was snubbed this award season, and Avengers: Endgame (nominated for Best Visual Effects) featured a few spare scenes set in San Francisco, but those were actually shot in Atlanta.

Still, SF’s history with Academy Award-winning films is long and glamorous. Based on the original filming permits, here are the locales of the Oscar winning or nominated film shot in the city going all the way back to 1927.

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1. ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ (2011)

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Golden Gate Bridge
San Francisco, CA
(415) 921-5858
Visit Website

Although not as esteemed as its sequels, this apocalyptic apes versus humans rumble took the series’ first nomination for best visual effects. This was mostly thanks to the motion capture technology that turned Andy Serkis into a chimpanzee revolutionary, but trashing the Golden Gate Bridge probably didn’t hurt.

2. ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’ (1989)

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1 Avenue of the Palms
San Francisco, CA 94130

The supposed Berlin Airport where Indy and his dad Sean Connery (who is actually only 11 years older than costar Harrison Ford) hop a zeppelin to escape Nazi Germany was actually just the Treasure Island Administration Building. The movie won best sound editing. 

3. ‘Superman’ (1978)

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Golden Gate Bridge
San Francisco, CA 94129
(415) 426-5220
Visit Website

Hollywood is so obsessed with destroying the Golden Gate Bridge that there was almost no chance of the span not making this map at least twice. The Man of Steel was on hand to save the day this time, just as Lex Luthor’s earthquake machine was about to send it tumbling into the bay. The movie won best visual effects.

4. ‘Blue Jasmine’ (2013)

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200 Marina Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 831-2700
Visit Website

Cate Blanchett won best actress for this A Streetcar Named Desire by way of the Bay picture from Woody Allen, probably in large part thanks to the scene where she hunkers down in the Marina grass and quietly loses her marbles. 

5. ‘The House On Telegraph Hill’ (1951)

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1541 Montgomery St
San Francisco, CA 94133

Good luck sorting out the plot of this noir thriller about a concentration camp survivor embroiled in high society murder, but at least it makes damn good use of those Telegraph Hill views. The titular house is actually facade built around the famed Julius Castle Restaurant at 1541 Montgomery. The movie won best art direction.

6. ‘The Ten Commandments’ (1957)

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666 Filbert St
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 421-0809
Visit Website

Yep, somehow San Francisco makes an appearance in the greatest Biblical epic of all time, with permits taken out for exterior images of the famed North Beach church at (yes) 666 Filbert. Commandments competed for seven Oscars including best picture, but only won for best visual effects.

7. ‘Innerspace’ (1987)

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Telegraph Hill
San Francisco, CA

Gremlins director Joe Dante has shot only one Oscar-winning movie in his career: 1987’s Innerspace (which took best effects), a flop about a San Francisco pilot (Dennis Quaid) subjected to experimental shrinking tech. The movie shot only a handful of scenes in SF itself, but did include Telegraph Hill views.

8. ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ (1993)

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2640 Steiner St
San Francisco, CA 94115

The Mrs. Doubtfire House on Steiner briefly became a shrine to star Robin Williams after his death in 2014. The movie won best makeup for the effects that turned the rubber-faced Williams into a prim and proper older woman.

9. ‘Fearless’ (1993)

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400 Montgomery St
San Francisco, CA 94111

In this 1993 drama by Peter Weir, Jeff Bridges plays an SF architect whose life is changed when he miraculously survives an airliner disaster. The scene where Bridges deliriously dances on a rooftop was shot at 400 Montgomery. The Academy nominated Rosie Perez for best supporting actress.

10. ‘The Towering Inferno’ (1974)

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555 California St
San Francisco, CA 94104

You’d think San Francisco’s most acclaimed disaster movie would be about an earthquake, but we got a skyscraper fire instead.

Inferno earned nominations for best picture, best cinematography, and best editing. The entrance to the soon-to-be-in-flames tower was filmed on California Street—at the iconic 555 California—but if you pay close attention to the opening shot you’ll see that fictional building is actually closer to the Transamerica Pyramid.

11. ‘The Maltese Falcon’ (1941)

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Stockton St Tunnel
San Francisco, CA 94108

The movie that made Humphrey Bogart a star and arguably the defining old-San Francisco film, Falcon was nominated for best picture. It was up against Citizen Kane but actually lost to How Green Was My Valley instead, which still annoys cinema buffs this day.

A plaque marks the spot in the alley above the Stockton Street tunnel where Sam Spade’s partner, Miles Archer, is murdered, and also spoils the ending of the movie by revealing who the killer is.

12. ‘Flower Drum Song’ (1961)

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Grant Ave & Bush Street
San Francisco, CA 94108

Based on the Broadway musical by Rogers and Hammerstein (which itself was based on a book by San Francisco journalist CY Lee) about immigration, love, and show business in old-school Chinatown, this now mostly overlooked musical got five nominations, including best music. The score includes the maddeningly catchy “I Enjoy Being a Girl.”

13. ‘Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner?’ (1967)

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555 Sutter St
San Francisco, CA 94102

A landmark film about race that still surprises modern audiences, Guess Who netted best actress for Katherine Hepburn as well as best original screenplay.

Unfortunately, all of the San Francisco scenes are long shots that used doubles. Just one quick exterior shot clues us in that Hepburn’s art gallery is on Sutter Street.

14. ‘The Birds’ (1963)

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Maiden Ln
San Francisco, CA 94108

Hitchcock’s weird thriller about killer birds overrunning Northern California is mostly set in Bodega Bay but opens in Union Square, where Tippi Hedren nips into a Maiden Lane pet shop and Hitch himself sneaks in his obligatory director cameo. The movie won best visual effects, even though it should have been nominated for more.

15. ‘The Conversation’ (1974)

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Union Square
San Francisco, CA 94108

This startling thriller about a professional snoop (Gene Hackman) who eavesdrops on a grisly murder plot earned Francis Ford Coppola a nomination for best picture, but it lost to Coppola’s other Oscar-nominated film that year, The Godfather Part II.

You’d barely recognize Union Square in the famous opening scene in which Hackman can’t seem to shake a pursuing mime.

16. ‘The Jazz Singer’ (1927)

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430 Mason St
San Francisco, CA 94102

A true cinema landmark about the son of Jewish immigrants pursuing fame, music, an American identity, and, unfortunately, blackface, The Jazz Singer ended the era of silent movies and ushered in the talkies.

One scene was shot at Coffee Dan’s, a genuine San Francisco speakeasy and the city’s hottest jazz club.

The movie was awarded a “special award” Oscar for breaking film’s sound barrier.

17. ‘All About Eve’ (1950)

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445 Geary St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 358-1220
Visit Website

This timeless drama about fame and fandom gone too far was nominated in 14 categories (a record at the time) and won six, including best picture and best director.

Marilyn Monroe, then largely an unknown, appears as an empty-headed young actress in a scene shot at the Curran Theater. You can also see the film’s star, Bette Davis as Margo Channing, enter the Curran from Geary Street.

18. ‘Interview With the Vampire’ (1994)

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725 Market St
San Francisco, CA 94103

This sleek and sultry adaptation of the Anne Rice book won best art direction and best original score. Most of the action is set in New Orleans and Paris, but the frame story is pure San Francisco.


The building where the titular interview unfolds, at Golden Gate and Taylor, is dubbed the St. Martin Hotel in the movie, but no such establishment ever existed. 

19. ‘American Graffiti’ (1973)

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1050 Van Ness Ave
San Francisco, CA 94109

Before Star Wars, George Lucas was most acclaimed for this coming-of-age story about goodhearted but rebellious teens on an all-night spree of fast cars and young love. Mel’s Drive-In, site of the famous diner scene, is no longer with us. Lucas was nominated for best director and best picture.

20. ‘Vertigo’ (1958)

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100 34th Ave
San Francisco, CA 94121
(415) 750-3600
Visit Website

Cited not only as possibly the greatest San Francisco movie of all time but perhaps even Hitchcock’s best, the Academy nominated Vertigo only for best art direction and best sound, and lost both.

We could do an entire map just of Hitch’s many loving shots of city landmarks, but the startling white beauty of the Legion of Honor takes the cake.

21. ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ (1981)

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1 Dr Carlton B Goodlett Pl
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 554-4000
Visit Website

Indiana Jones’ original adventure lost the contest for best picture but took home best editing, visual effects, and art direction.

Indy and Marion are supposedly in Washington DC for the final scene, but actually that’s just good old San Francisco City Hall, in arguably the most beautiful shot of the grand staircase ever framed.

22. ‘Steve Jobs’ (2015)

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301 Van Ness Ave
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 621-6600
Visit Website

This three-part biopic examines the life of the late tech mogul in three critical eras, and with three different dramatic styles. The high drama middle chapter shot in the War Memorial Opera House borrows some opera tricks of its own, with its urgent musical score.

Michael Fassbender went up for best actor for his portrayal of Jobs, and the Academy nominated Kate Winslet best supporting actress.

23. ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ (1993)

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398 7th St
San Francisco, CA 94103

Even lifelong fans may not realize that Henry Selick’s lovably odd 1993 stop-motion classic was shot 100 percent in San Francisco at Skellington Studios, an unmarked warehouse on Seventh Street that served as everything from sound stages to creature shop.

Nightmare was the first animated movie ever to be nominated for best visual effects. Note that the best animated feature category didn’t exist at the time.

24. ‘The Disaster Artist’ (2017)

Copy Link
(415) 831-2700
Visit Website

Yes, a movie recreating the proverbial worst movie ever made was itself acclaimed enough to earn a nomination for best adapted screenplay.

The original The Room shot illegally without permits in a variety of San Francisco locations, and also painstakingly (but unconvincingly) recreated many SF locales on sound stages for reasons that make sense only to the movie’s director.

25. ‘Milk’ (2008)

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429 Castro St
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 621-6120
Visit Website

Sean Penn took best actor for his humane portrayal of slain city supervisor and gay rights icon Harvey Milk. There are plenty of beautiful San Francisco locations to see (including gorgeous City Hall interiors), but the Castro, where the movie had its red carpet premiere, is the heart of the film. 

26. ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ (2014)

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This far more acclaimed sequel to the 2011 film shot most of its San Francisco scenes in New Orleans, but the city did manage to lure a little of the monkey business to town for a handful of key shoots in real SF locations.

27. ‘Bullitt’ (1968)

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3400 Cesar Chavez St
San Francisco, CA 94110

The greatest car chase scene of all time was shot on half a dozen streets, mostly in the Mission and Bernal Heights. Any real life San Francisco driver will tell you that by rights Frank Bullitt should have spent that entire scene stuck in traffic, but that probably wouldn’t have netted an Oscar for best editing.

28. ‘The Graduate’ (1967)

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Sloat Blvd & Great Hwy
San Francisco, CA 94132
(415) 753-7080
Visit Website

The movie that put Dustin Hoffman on the map, made Anne Bancroft’s legs landmarks in their own right, and earned a best director Oscar for Mike Nichols. Fans were heartbroken when the monkey enclosure (a WPA project from the 1930s) that appears in the zoo scene was torn down due to earthquake damage from the 1989 Loma Prieta temblor.

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1. ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ (2011)

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, CA

Although not as esteemed as its sequels, this apocalyptic apes versus humans rumble took the series’ first nomination for best visual effects. This was mostly thanks to the motion capture technology that turned Andy Serkis into a chimpanzee revolutionary, but trashing the Golden Gate Bridge probably didn’t hurt.

Golden Gate Bridge
San Francisco, CA

2. ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’ (1989)

1 Avenue of the Palms, San Francisco, CA 94130

The supposed Berlin Airport where Indy and his dad Sean Connery (who is actually only 11 years older than costar Harrison Ford) hop a zeppelin to escape Nazi Germany was actually just the Treasure Island Administration Building. The movie won best sound editing. 

1 Avenue of the Palms
San Francisco, CA 94130

3. ‘Superman’ (1978)

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, CA 94129

Hollywood is so obsessed with destroying the Golden Gate Bridge that there was almost no chance of the span not making this map at least twice. The Man of Steel was on hand to save the day this time, just as Lex Luthor’s earthquake machine was about to send it tumbling into the bay. The movie won best visual effects.

Golden Gate Bridge
San Francisco, CA 94129

4. ‘Blue Jasmine’ (2013)

200 Marina Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94123

Cate Blanchett won best actress for this A Streetcar Named Desire by way of the Bay picture from Woody Allen, probably in large part thanks to the scene where she hunkers down in the Marina grass and quietly loses her marbles. 

200 Marina Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94123

5. ‘The House On Telegraph Hill’ (1951)

1541 Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94133

Good luck sorting out the plot of this noir thriller about a concentration camp survivor embroiled in high society murder, but at least it makes damn good use of those Telegraph Hill views. The titular house is actually facade built around the famed Julius Castle Restaurant at 1541 Montgomery. The movie won best art direction.

1541 Montgomery St
San Francisco, CA 94133

6. ‘The Ten Commandments’ (1957)

666 Filbert St, San Francisco, CA 94133

Yep, somehow San Francisco makes an appearance in the greatest Biblical epic of all time, with permits taken out for exterior images of the famed North Beach church at (yes) 666 Filbert. Commandments competed for seven Oscars including best picture, but only won for best visual effects.

666 Filbert St
San Francisco, CA 94133

7. ‘Innerspace’ (1987)

Telegraph Hill, San Francisco, CA

Gremlins director Joe Dante has shot only one Oscar-winning movie in his career: 1987’s Innerspace (which took best effects), a flop about a San Francisco pilot (Dennis Quaid) subjected to experimental shrinking tech. The movie shot only a handful of scenes in SF itself, but did include Telegraph Hill views.

Telegraph Hill
San Francisco, CA

8. ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ (1993)

2640 Steiner St, San Francisco, CA 94115

The Mrs. Doubtfire House on Steiner briefly became a shrine to star Robin Williams after his death in 2014. The movie won best makeup for the effects that turned the rubber-faced Williams into a prim and proper older woman.

2640 Steiner St
San Francisco, CA 94115

9. ‘Fearless’ (1993)

400 Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94111

In this 1993 drama by Peter Weir, Jeff Bridges plays an SF architect whose life is changed when he miraculously survives an airliner disaster. The scene where Bridges deliriously dances on a rooftop was shot at 400 Montgomery. The Academy nominated Rosie Perez for best supporting actress.

400 Montgomery St
San Francisco, CA 94111

10. ‘The Towering Inferno’ (1974)

555 California St, San Francisco, CA 94104

You’d think San Francisco’s most acclaimed disaster movie would be about an earthquake, but we got a skyscraper fire instead.

Inferno earned nominations for best picture, best cinematography, and best editing. The entrance to the soon-to-be-in-flames tower was filmed on California Street—at the iconic 555 California—but if you pay close attention to the opening shot you’ll see that fictional building is actually closer to the Transamerica Pyramid.

555 California St
San Francisco, CA 94104

11. ‘The Maltese Falcon’ (1941)

Stockton St Tunnel, San Francisco, CA 94108

The movie that made Humphrey Bogart a star and arguably the defining old-San Francisco film, Falcon was nominated for best picture. It was up against Citizen Kane but actually lost to How Green Was My Valley instead, which still annoys cinema buffs this day.

A plaque marks the spot in the alley above the Stockton Street tunnel where Sam Spade’s partner, Miles Archer, is murdered, and also spoils the ending of the movie by revealing who the killer is.

Stockton St Tunnel
San Francisco, CA 94108

12. ‘Flower Drum Song’ (1961)

Grant Ave & Bush Street, San Francisco, CA 94108

Based on the Broadway musical by Rogers and Hammerstein (which itself was based on a book by San Francisco journalist CY Lee) about immigration, love, and show business in old-school Chinatown, this now mostly overlooked musical got five nominations, including best music. The score includes the maddeningly catchy “I Enjoy Being a Girl.”

Grant Ave & Bush Street
San Francisco, CA 94108

13. ‘Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner?’ (1967)

555 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94102

A landmark film about race that still surprises modern audiences, Guess Who netted best actress for Katherine Hepburn as well as best original screenplay.

Unfortunately, all of the San Francisco scenes are long shots that used doubles. Just one quick exterior shot clues us in that Hepburn’s art gallery is on Sutter Street.

555 Sutter St
San Francisco, CA 94102

14. ‘The Birds’ (1963)

Maiden Ln, San Francisco, CA 94108

Hitchcock’s weird thriller about killer birds overrunning Northern California is mostly set in Bodega Bay but opens in Union Square, where Tippi Hedren nips into a Maiden Lane pet shop and Hitch himself sneaks in his obligatory director cameo. The movie won best visual effects, even though it should have been nominated for more.

Maiden Ln
San Francisco, CA 94108

15. ‘The Conversation’ (1974)

Union Square, San Francisco, CA 94108

This startling thriller about a professional snoop (Gene Hackman) who eavesdrops on a grisly murder plot earned Francis Ford Coppola a nomination for best picture, but it lost to Coppola’s other Oscar-nominated film that year, The Godfather Part II.

You’d barely recognize Union Square in the famous opening scene in which Hackman can’t seem to shake a pursuing mime.

Union Square
San Francisco, CA 94108

16. ‘The Jazz Singer’ (1927)

430 Mason St, San Francisco, CA 94102

A true cinema landmark about the son of Jewish immigrants pursuing fame, music, an American identity, and, unfortunately, blackface, The Jazz Singer ended the era of silent movies and ushered in the talkies.

One scene was shot at Coffee Dan’s, a genuine San Francisco speakeasy and the city’s hottest jazz club.

The movie was awarded a “special award” Oscar for breaking film’s sound barrier.

430 Mason St
San Francisco, CA 94102

17. ‘All About Eve’ (1950)

445 Geary St, San Francisco, CA 94102

This timeless drama about fame and fandom gone too far was nominated in 14 categories (a record at the time) and won six, including best picture and best director.

Marilyn Monroe, then largely an unknown, appears as an empty-headed young actress in a scene shot at the Curran Theater. You can also see the film’s star, Bette Davis as Margo Channing, enter the Curran from Geary Street.

445 Geary St
San Francisco, CA 94102

18. ‘Interview With the Vampire’ (1994)

725 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94103

This sleek and sultry adaptation of the Anne Rice book won best art direction and best original score. Most of the action is set in New Orleans and Paris, but the frame story is pure San Francisco.


The building where the titular interview unfolds, at Golden Gate and Taylor, is dubbed the St. Martin Hotel in the movie, but no such establishment ever existed. 

725 Market St
San Francisco, CA 94103

19. ‘American Graffiti’ (1973)

1050 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA 94109

Before Star Wars, George Lucas was most acclaimed for this coming-of-age story about goodhearted but rebellious teens on an all-night spree of fast cars and young love. Mel’s Drive-In, site of the famous diner scene, is no longer with us. Lucas was nominated for best director and best picture.

1050 Van Ness Ave
San Francisco, CA 94109

20. ‘Vertigo’ (1958)

100 34th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94121

Cited not only as possibly the greatest San Francisco movie of all time but perhaps even Hitchcock’s best, the Academy nominated Vertigo only for best art direction and best sound, and lost both.

We could do an entire map just of Hitch’s many loving shots of city landmarks, but the startling white beauty of the Legion of Honor takes the cake.

100 34th Ave
San Francisco, CA 94121

21. ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ (1981)

1 Dr Carlton B Goodlett Pl, San Francisco, CA 94102

Indiana Jones’ original adventure lost the contest for best picture but took home best editing, visual effects, and art direction.

Indy and Marion are supposedly in Washington DC for the final scene, but actually that’s just good old San Francisco City Hall, in arguably the most beautiful shot of the grand staircase ever framed.

1 Dr Carlton B Goodlett Pl
San Francisco, CA 94102

22. ‘Steve Jobs’ (2015)

301 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA 94109

This three-part biopic examines the life of the late tech mogul in three critical eras, and with three different dramatic styles. The high drama middle chapter shot in the War Memorial Opera House borrows some opera tricks of its own, with its urgent musical score.

Michael Fassbender went up for best actor for his portrayal of Jobs, and the Academy nominated Kate Winslet best supporting actress.

301 Van Ness Ave
San Francisco, CA 94109

23. ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ (1993)

398 7th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Even lifelong fans may not realize that Henry Selick’s lovably odd 1993 stop-motion classic was shot 100 percent in San Francisco at Skellington Studios, an unmarked warehouse on Seventh Street that served as everything from sound stages to creature shop.

Nightmare was the first animated movie ever to be nominated for best visual effects. Note that the best animated feature category didn’t exist at the time.

398 7th St
San Francisco, CA 94103

24. ‘The Disaster Artist’ (2017)

San Francisco, CA

Yes, a movie recreating the proverbial worst movie ever made was itself acclaimed enough to earn a nomination for best adapted screenplay.

The original The Room shot illegally without permits in a variety of San Francisco locations, and also painstakingly (but unconvincingly) recreated many SF locales on sound stages for reasons that make sense only to the movie’s director.

25. ‘Milk’ (2008)

429 Castro St, San Francisco, CA 94114

Sean Penn took best actor for his humane portrayal of slain city supervisor and gay rights icon Harvey Milk. There are plenty of beautiful San Francisco locations to see (including gorgeous City Hall interiors), but the Castro, where the movie had its red carpet premiere, is the heart of the film. 

429 Castro St
San Francisco, CA 94114

26. ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ (2014)

San Francisco, CA 94110

This far more acclaimed sequel to the 2011 film shot most of its San Francisco scenes in New Orleans, but the city did manage to lure a little of the monkey business to town for a handful of key shoots in real SF locations.

27. ‘Bullitt’ (1968)

3400 Cesar Chavez St, San Francisco, CA 94110

The greatest car chase scene of all time was shot on half a dozen streets, mostly in the Mission and Bernal Heights. Any real life San Francisco driver will tell you that by rights Frank Bullitt should have spent that entire scene stuck in traffic, but that probably wouldn’t have netted an Oscar for best editing.

3400 Cesar Chavez St
San Francisco, CA 94110

28. ‘The Graduate’ (1967)

Sloat Blvd & Great Hwy, San Francisco, CA 94132

The movie that put Dustin Hoffman on the map, made Anne Bancroft’s legs landmarks in their own right, and earned a best director Oscar for Mike Nichols. Fans were heartbroken when the monkey enclosure (a WPA project from the 1930s) that appears in the zoo scene was torn down due to earthquake damage from the 1989 Loma Prieta temblor.

Sloat Blvd & Great Hwy
San Francisco, CA 94132