The best classic films set in the Bay Area

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SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – The American Film Institute compiled a list of the greatest films of all time twice, once in 1998 and again in 2007, and while the Los Angeles and New York metro areas are very well-represented, only three of the films on the list were set in the San Francisco Bay Area.

11th August 1958: Film star James Stewart (1908 – 1997)and Kim Novak as they appear in Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Vertigo’. (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)


“Vertigo,” No. 9 on the 2007 list, is a 1958 thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak. The plot covers a San Francisco detective who is afraid of heights and is investigating the wife of a friend.

Parts of the film take place and were shot in the City by the Bay. Jimmy Stewart’s character has an apartment at 900 Lombard St. and there’s a rooftop chase that takes place on the 1300 block of Taylor Street in Nob Hill.

Other scenes also feature Bay Area monuments like Mission Dolores, Fort Point, the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, Fort Point, Muir Woods, Coit Tower, Union Square and the Palace of Fine Arts.

FILE – Students walk on the University of California, Berkeley campus in Berkeley, Calif., on Aug. 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

‘The Graduate’

“The Graduate,” No. 17 on the 2007 list, is a 1967 comedy starring Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft. The movie was directed by Mike Nichols.

Filming locations include Channing Way and Dana Street, Moe’s Books at 2476 Telegraph Ave., and Sproul Plaza.

Many scenes supposedly on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley were actually filmed at the University of Southern California, however, because school officials wouldn’t allow filming on campus.

The Graduate Hotel in southside Berkeley isn’t named for the movie per se, but there are posters for the film in every room.

Picture dated from 1948 of legendary US actor, director, producer Humphrey Bogart (1899-1957) beside his wife U.S. actress Lauren Bacall. From 1936 to 1940 Bogart appeared in 28 films, usually as a gangster. 1941 was his landmark year, first in High Sierra and then as Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon. (Photo credit should read CORR/AFP/GettyImages)

‘The Maltese Falcon’

“The Maltese Falcon,” No. 31 on the 2007 list, is a 1941 noir about a private investigator, played by Humphrey Bogart of “Casablanca” fame. It was directed by John Huston and co-starred Mary Astor and Peter Lorre.

The film opens with shots of the ferry building at the Port of San Francisco, and the then-new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. The detective agency where Bogart worked was located at 111 Sutter St.

Bonus: ‘American Graffiti’

“American Graffiti,” No. 62 on the 2007 list, is a 1973 comedy directed by George Lucas and starring Richard Dreyfuss and Ron Howard. While it takes place in Modesto, much of it was filmed in the Bay Area, including in Petaluma, Sonoma, Richmond, Novato and Concord, at a Mel’s Diner in San Francisco, and at Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley.

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