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Best Places For Film Geeks And Film Buffs In San Francisco

From the silent movies to the talkies to the color-action movies of the new century, movies have absorbed Americans since their debut over 100 years ago. Film has grown to become an enormous cultural force, and an economically important industry in California. Many of us have loved and cherished movies throughout our lives, and continue to be fans of films both old and new. Read on for a collection of San Francisco's best movie-themed activities, theaters and events for the film buff.
Scene from Vertigo
Scene from Vertigo (credit:

"Vertigo" Filming Locations

Alfred Hitchcock's 1958 thriller "Vertigo," starring Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak, was set and primarily filmed in San Francisco. Many locations in the city and across the Bay Area were used for shooting during the movie's filming, including Lombard Street, Nob Hill and Union Square. Two of the most notable are Fort Point and the Palace of the Legion of Honor, both of which can be visited today. Fort Point, where one of the characters in the film famously jumps into the sea, is located below one end of the Golden Gate Bridge. It was originally built as a fort in the Civil War era and is now a national historic site. The Palace of the Legion of Honor, in Golden Gate Park, is still an art museum, just like it was when one of the movie's characters visited it. The building was originally built for the Panama-Pacific Exposition held in San Francisco in 1915.

Fort Point National Historic Site
End of Marine Drive on the Presidio of San Francisco
San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 556-1693

Palace of the Legion of Honor
100 34th Ave
San Francisco, CA 94121
(415) 750-3600

Related: Bay Area's 10 Must-See Museums For Kids

Yoda Fountain
The Yoda Fountain at Lucasfilm Ltd. in San Francisco (Photo credit by Paul Sakuma/AP Photo)

Yoda Statue
1 Letterman Drive
San Francisco, CA 94129

George Lucas and Lucasfilm shot to prominence with the popularity of the first Star Wars trilogy, which began with "Star Wars" in 1977. Lucasfilm is still headquartered in the San Francisco area, and one quirky monument to that fact can be found in the Presidio. A life-size statue of Yoda, the sage figure from "Star Wars," can be found near a fountain at the Letterman Digital Arts Center. If you visit during the week, the Lucasfilm lobby is open to visitors upon request and features additional "Star Wars" memorabilia.

Film Night in the Park
(credit: Film Night in the Park/Facebook)

Summer Films in San Francisco Parks
Dolores Park, 20th St and Dolores St, San Francisco
Washington Square Park, Union St and Columbus Ave, San Francisco
Union Square, Geary St and Powell St, San Francisco
Dates and times will be posted at

There's nothing like seeing a movie outside with hundreds of your friends and neighbors. This collective experience can be enjoyed in San Francisco's Union Square, Dolores Park and Washington Square Park on Friday and Saturday nights during the summer. The 2013 schedule will post soon." See old classics, new releases and documentaries with the lineup for this summer.

Disney Family Museum

Walt Disney Family Museum
104 Montgomery Street
San Francisco, CA 94129
(415) 345-6800

Among the many treasures that have moved to the Presidio since it is no longer an active military base, is the Walt Disney Family Museum. It features many artifacts from Walt Disney's life, documentation of early Disney films and cartoons and a variety of Disney-related items. Browse the various galleries to see the evolution of this powerhouse and the big names that contributed throughout the growth. If you are a fan of Walt Disney or Disney movies (and who isn't), this is a must visit.


Roxie Theater
3117 16th St
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 863-1087

The Roxie Theater is San Francisco's oldest continually-operating movie theater, having opened in 1909 as the C.H. Brown Theatre. For several decades, the Roxie has focused on independent and arthouse films as well as foreign films and documentaries. Many of San Francisco's film festivals, including Indiefest and Frameline, are screened at the Roxie. In addition, the Roxie hosts Roxie Releasing, a small film-distribution company. The Roxie is a non-profit and donations are appreciated. If you're an ultimate film buff, a yearly membership that gives you free access to all of the theater's films and events is available. The idiosyncratic slate of movies to be screened at the Roxie is kept up to date on the website.

Related: Best Summertime Theater Activities For Kids In San Francisco

Laura Tarwater-Scharp is a freelance writer, editor and historian. Originally from the Midwest, she has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for over a decade. Her work can be found at

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