Looking past blockbusters that feature postcard views, here we’ve created a list in no particular order of films really capture a certain view of San Francisco and the greater Bay Area.
Until the End of the World
While not set entirely in San Francisco, this film by German auteur Wim Wenders deserves it’s place. If you’re up for an extended viewing, get your hands on a copy of the five hour long directors cut. It’s definitely worth it. This global journey through apocalyptic landscapes is an unique, dreamy blend of science fiction and film noir. Stars William Hurt, Sam Neill, and Solveig Dommartin. // 1991 / 158 minutes
Nostalgia overdrive! This film is a great look into the Bay Area during the late nineties, with a subtle nod to the longing of sixties culture. As the teen protagonist Cally searches for the mother she never knew, she becomes obsessed with a mysterious woman she envisions her mother to be like. Whether she is chasing a ghost, or a past era- throughout the film, there is a sense that the city is haunted by another time. Stars Cleo Duvall, Daryll Hannah and Eric Roberts. // Available to watch on youtube for free, yay! 1999 / 93 minutes
The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill
Not many can say they are bird lovers, but after a view of this documentary, it may change your mind. There are flocks of South American Parrots soaring over San Francisco and roosting in the trees of Telegraph Hill. But this doc is also about their truly altruistic caregiver and the bond they share. // Watch the digital rental on YouTube. 2003 / 83 minutes
Harold and Maude
With dark humor, and themes of macabre and existentialist nature, this unconventional love story is the ultimate romantic dark comedy. Opposites attract in this case - Harold, a young man obsessed with death and Maude, an elderly woman brimming with hope and life meet and fall in love. With a soundtrack composed by Cat Stevens and iconic view of San Francisco, this is a must watch! Stars Bud Cort and Ruth Gordon. // Available to watch on Amazon Video. 1971 / 91 minutes
The Diary of a Teenage Girl
This intimate view into the life of an artistic, curious and insecure fifteen year old girl navigating adolescence in San Francisco during the 1970’s. and taking the first steps of her sexual awakening You will recognize some great local, not so postcard moments of the city too. Starring newcomer Bel Powley alongside Alexander Skarsgård and Kristen Wiig. // Available to watch on Starz. 2015 / 102 minutes
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Considered one of the greatest film remakes, this film by Philip Kaufman captures what lies at the heart of the sci-fi genre - the human condition. From deep space, spores fall to earth and wreck terror for the residents of San Francisco. Stars Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Jeff Goldblum, and the late, great Leonard Nimoy. // Available on iTunes. 1978 / 115 minutes
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