Directed by Don Siegel, ‘Dirty Harry’ is an iconic neo-noir action-thriller film that revolves around a psychopathic sniper codenamed Scorpio (Andy Robinson) who kills a woman on a rooftop swimming pool and leaves a note demanding $100,000, or he will kill more people. His threatening letter is found by San Francisco Police Department Inspector Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood), who is assigned to bring down the criminal.
Along with his newbie partner, Chico Gonzalez (Reni Santoni), Harry sets out to track down Scorpio before he can commit more murders. The thrilling chase set across San Franciso features the most prominent locations within the city. Thanks to the eye-catching backdrops and cinematography, the movie keeps the audience hooked. If you are interested to know just where the film was lensed, we have your back!
Dirty Harry Filming Locations
The production of ‘Dirty Harry’ took place in California, primarily in San Francisco, Marin County, and Los Angeles County. Principal photography of the movie began on April 20, 1971, and was completed on June 18, 1971. Let’s look closely into the specifics of places used in the action-thriller.
San Francisco, California
The city of San Francisco in California was utilized to capture several scenes in ‘Dirty Harry.’ The movie’s opening sequence was shot at The Bank of America Building at 555 California Street. The opening scene depicting a pool murder was shot at Holiday Inn Select Downtown Hotel at 750 Kearny Street, Chinatown. The Inn has since been converted into Hilton San Francisco Financial District Hotel. Portsmouth Square in Chinatown was also used as a backdrop in several scenes within the movie.
In one of the scenes, Harry gets off the “K” streetcar and uses a phone booth in front of Mission Dolores Park, located at Dolores Street and 19th Street. The now-closed Fort Mason Tunel, near the park, is where Harry’s mugging scene was captured. The liquor store Scorpio robs was actually located at 148 The Embarcadero; the shop has since been demolished. Not far away is the historic Dante Building, at 1606 Stockton Street, which was used in the movie to lens the scenes where Scorpio scopes for victims.
Grandview Park at 1705 14th Avenue served as the shooting spot for the scenes wherein Scorpio takes a school bus hostage. His commandeering of the vehicle was lensed at 750 Noriega Street. The San Francisco General Hospital Medical Center at 1001 Potrero Avenue, Potrero Hill, served as a filming site for the scene in which Harry visits the hospital to meet Chico and his wife.
Several areas near Washington Square in North Beach were also used to capture scenes for the action film. These include Krausgrill Place, Medau Place, and Jasper Place. The production team also used Sts. Peter and Paul Church at 666 Filbert Street, also located near Washington Square, to film a few scenes in the movie. Strip Clubs such as Big Al’s strip club, 556 Broadway, and Roaring 20’s strip club, 552 Broadway, were also used as backdrops in the movie. The latter is where Harry keeps Scorpio under surveillance.
The Mt. Davidson Cross, atop Mount Davidson at 125 Dalewood Way, is a popular landmark in the city and can be seen in ‘Dirty Harry.’ Alamo Square in Hayes Valley and Marina Green in Marina District were also used for the production of the film.
Other locations in the city that can be seen in the movie include San Francisco City Hall at 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant Street, and Kezar Stadium at 670 Kezar Drive in Golden Gate Park. California Hall at 625 Polk Street, formerly the California Culinary Academy, also appears in the movie. Locations like Forest Hill Station, Lombard Street, and Golden Gate Bridge can also be seen in the backdrop of several scenes in the film.
Marin County, California
Part of the San Francisco Bay Area, Marin County is located near San Francisco, opposite the Golden Gate Bridge. The cast and crew moved to several locations within the county to tape a few scenes of ‘Dirty Harry;’ this includes Hutchinson’s Rock Quarry at 42 Sir Francis Drake Drive, Larkspur, which was used to film the showdown between Harry and Scorpio. The quarry has been repurposed as the Larkspur Landing Shopping Center and Larkspur Shores Apartments near the Larkspur Ferry Terminal.
The scene where a woman’s body is found in a drainage pipe was taped at Battery Spencer on Conzelman Road in Sausalito. Other notable locations in the county that doubled up as backdrops in ‘Dirty Harry’ are the unincorporated community of Greenbrae and the charming city of Mill Valley.
Los Angeles County, California
Los Angeles County in Southern California is home to several film studios. The production team of ‘Dirty Harry’ utilized several of these locations for filming various scenes. The scenes set in the diner and the bank robbery sequence were shot in Universal Studios Hollywood, located at 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City in the San Fernando Valley.
Specifically speaking, the New York Street backlot at the production complex was also utilized as a filming spot for multiple scenes. Another major studio within LA County that served as a shooting location for the action-thriller is the Warner Brothers Burbank Studios at 4000 Warner Boulevard, Burbank.
Read More: Best Neo-Noir Movies of All Time