California’s entertainment industry is a treasured part of California’s heritage. The video and film arts industry is a growing, thriving business that creates economic growth and provides cultural enrichment to its communities. The Marin Film Resource Office was created in 2007 to help build a viable film community within Marin County. We hope to provide a needed resource to help assist and simplify the filming process for potential filmmakers and location companies in Marin County.
Movies have been a part of Marin County since 1911 when Gilbert Anderson (Broncho Billy), the original cowboy movie star, moved his Essanay Film Company to San Rafael. Since then, George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola and other prominent directors have filmed the Golden Gate’s north side of the bridge.
The nonprofit California Film Institute promotes film by presenting the annual Mill Valley Film Festival, exhibiting film year-round at the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center and by reaching out to underserved communities to build the next generation of filmmakers through CFI Outreach.
Italian Film Festival of Marin County offers top quality Italian cinema.
Latino Film Festival of Marin showcases an unprecedented array of films expressing many views from the Latino world.
Compiled here is a list of some prominent and obscure filmed-in-Marin movies to peruse:
George Lucas’s 1973 American Graffiti’s street scene was shot along part of San Rafael’s Fourth Street and the soc-hop dance scenes are from Mill Valley’s Tam High School.
Don Siegel’s 1971 law-and-order thriller includes Dirty Harry’s famous train trestle scene on Sir Francis Drake Blvd., the Marin Headlands in the Battery Spencer bunker, a foot chase through the old Huchinson quarry works and lastly, what was then swamplands in present day Larkspur Landing.
This 1992 film was shot mostly in San Francisco, but the movie does feature scenes staged in the Marin Headlands and Stinson Beach.
Bandits: (2001) Directed by former Ross resident Barry Levinson. Scenes are in Mill Valley, San Anselmo, Marshall and Tomales
Bartleby: (2001) Marin resident and filmmaker Jonathan Parker shot part of this film in San Rafael
Dark Passage: (1948) Director Delmer Daves, a San Francisco native based this movie in San Quentin, but has scenes along 101 through the Waldo Tunnel
Experiment in Terror: (1962) Scenes were shot in Fairfax at the Town and Country Golf Course
The Fog: (1980) Directed by John Carpenter, this film was shot entirely in West Marin
Gattaca: (1997) Uses the Frank Lloyd Wright building as an Aerospace Corporation.
The Godfather: (1972) Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, has scenes in Ross as well as a drive between Roland Blvd. and Central San Rafael
Hamilton Air Force Base/Hamilton Field has been a favorite film location for period piece landing and take off scenes of Bay Area directors for years. The following movies contain scenes from there:
Indian Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
The Right Stuff (1983)
Radio Flyer (1992)
Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988)
Howard the Duck (1986)
Play it Again, Sam: (1997) Directed by Herbert Ross was filmed in Stinson Beach and through the Waldo Tunnel
Scream: (1996) Wes Craven directed this thriller in parts of Tomales Bay
Star Trek IV: The Journey Home: (1986) uses the swimming pool at College of Marin and Novato’s Fireman’s Fund building for exterior shots.
Information on this page: Film data was gathered from the Pacific Sun with credits to Carol Inkellis, Jabob Shafer, Matthew Stafford and Jason Walsh.