6 San Francisco-set action movies to rent or buy now

Looking to kick back with an action-packed flick? Here are six options that are set and at least partially filmed in our own fair City by the Bay, ranging from car chase classics to monstrous mayhem.

Bullitt (1968)


The plot: "Steve McQueen stars as Lt. Frank Bullitt in the role that made him a superstar as the hard-bitten police detective assigned to protect the star witness in a Congressional investigation. But when the witness is murdered, Bullitt mercilessly tracks a trail of lies and corruption that leads all the way to the halls of power in Washington."

The local setting: Grace Cathedral, SFO, and other local landmarks feature prominently in this SF-set classic, and its notorious car chase was filmed on Fillmore Street, between Broadway and Vallejo.
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Dirty Harry (1971)


The plot: "Dirty Harry is the gritty and suspenseful film that follows the story of Inspector Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood), who earns the moniker 'Dirty Harry' for his reputation of handling the dirtiest homicidal cases. The City by the Bay faces the terror of a serial killer known as Scorpio (Andrew Robinson), who viciously snipes at innocent victims and demands ransom through notes left at the scene of the crime."

The local setting: The film traverses many areas of SF, from Chinatown to Civic Center, and includes an iconic scene at Kezar Stadium.
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Escape From Alcatraz (1979)


The plot: "Superstar Clint Eastwood and director Don Siegal re-team for their fifth film in this fascinating account of the only three men ever to escape f rom the infamous maximum security prison at Alcatraz. In 29 years, the seemingly impenetrable federal penitentiary, which housed Al Capone and 'Birdman' Robert Stroud, was only broken once- by three men never heard of again."

The local setting: Much of the movie was shot on location on Alcatraz Island, and the production invested in extensive renovations which helped preserve the prison as a tourist destination.
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The Rock (1996)


The plot: "Psychotically disgruntled war hero (Ed Harris) seizes the island prison of Alcatraz and threatens to wage chemical warfare against nearby San Francisco unless the government publicly recognizes the men who were killed under Harris's top-secret command. Nicolas Cage plays the biochemist who teams up with the only man ever to have escaped from Alcatraz (Sean Connery) in an attempt to foil Harris's terrorist scheme."

The local setting: In addition to using Alcatraz as a filming location, this blockbuster also features a scene at the Palace of Fine Arts, and a cable car crash filmed in Russian Hill.
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Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)


The plot: "Sort of redoing 1972's Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, the film follows the events set in motion when a bereaved scientist (James Franco) attempts to create a cure for Alzheimer's, resulting in a supernaturally intelligent chimp named Caesar. The old bit about science tampering in God's domain quickly applies."

The local setting: Though the SF-set film was made mostly in Vancouver, the apes can be seen traversing Twin Peaks, on a rescue mission to the San Francisco Zoo, and wreaking havoc in a climactic action sequence set on the Golden Gate Bridge.
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Godzilla (2014)


The plot: "In this gritty, realistic sci-fi action epic, Godzilla returns to its roots as one of the world's most recognized monsters. Directed by Gareth Edwards and featuring an all-star international cast, this spectacular adventure pits Godzilla against malevolent creatures that, bolstered by humanity's scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence."

The local setting: Like Rise of the Planet of the Apes, most of the "San Francisco" scenes are shot in Vancouver (where, like the former film, the production makes use of a Golden Gate Bridge set). But there are plenty of CGI thrills to be had when Godzilla makes landfall in San Francisco.
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