Bicentennial Man Locations
Centered in and around San Francisco, the film featured several locations that made audiences know that it was in San Francisco, including the Palace of The Fine Arts as well as the sets on Treasure Island that jutted out showcasing the San Francisco lights.
Many of the inside locations used as film shoot locales were filmed at a studio of the now non-existent company Manex Visual Effects which was located close to San Francisco. However, most of the post-production edits for the movie were done in a studio and not on-set.
With not so many action scenes in Bicentennial Man, the movie had to make use of various scenery locations to create an atmosphere. Because of this, many locations were picturesque and sure to wow viewers who watched Bicentennial Man. Feel free to drop by some of these production locations on your next visit to San Francisco.
Fun Fact: Bicentennial Man’s main setting is set in San Francisco where both the director Chris Columbus and actor Robin Williams lived.
Martin’s family home scene in Bicentennial Man
Fleishhacker Estate, Woodside, California
At the beginning of the movie, the audience is introduced to a version of the future that features robots that perform housekeeping and maintenance. In this scene, the Martin family receives an NDR series robot with the name “Andrew” that is supposed to help them around the house. While the younger daughter Amanda Martin is rather sympathetic to Andrew, Grace the older sister thinks of him as a bother and hates him stating that “It’s not scary, it’s stupid.” When Amanda asks what it is, Grace tells her that it’s an android to which Amanda replies with, “What’s an Andrew?”, misinterpreting what Grace said entirely.
The Martin family house featured around the three-to-four-minute mark was a rather large estate chosen to showcase just how rich the family was. This introductory Bicentennial Man film scene was shot within the Green Gables Estate, also known as the Fleishhacker Estate, located in the city of Woodside.
Since this estate is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this location is well taken care of. You’ll find many ways to get to this filming location. for example, choose to drive here by coming along Cañada Road. Make a turn on Olive Hill Lane to get to the historic estate used to film this movie.
NorthAm Robotics scene in Bicentennial Man
Redwood City, California
With Andrew beginning to display feats that go beyond his advertised programming, including making replicas of figurines out of wood, as well as showing certain emotions, Richard Martin is in awe and decides to take Andrew back to NorthAm Robotics to inquire whether his creativity and ingenuity is part of his programming.
When Dennis Mansky, NorthAm’s CEO, inquires what the big fuss was about, Richard Mark mentions, “Well, what interests me is he shows a number of characteristics like creativity, curiosity, friendship that, frankly, have taken us by surprise.” Dennis Mansky later says that this, “Must be… something in the pathways.” and offers Richard a refund for Andrew which he declines.
One of the larger filming locations used in Bicentennial Man, the NorthAm Robotics headquarters was the headquarters of another company in real life, that being the Oracle Corporation found within Redwood City. Located close to a body of water, the location looks rather futuristic and can be easily reached through the Marine Parkway.
While on the Marine Parkway, make a turn on Oracle Parkway, leading you directly to the buildings used to film the exterior of NorthAm Robotics. Since this location receives a lot of traffic being close to a large artery, it's best to visit the location early or late to avoid the rush hour traffic.
Little Miss’s wedding scene in Bicentennial Man
Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, California
After Andrew becomes a renowned clockmaker, and Richard manages his sizable finances after realizing that robots have no rights, the viewers are transported to a cathedral where Amanda “Little Miss” Martin is getting married. With the pastor saying, “It is my pleasure to present Mr. and Mrs. Frank Charney.”, the bride and groom begin walking down the aisle together. Along with the regular guests, an unusual sight is seen: Andrew in a suit, looking very proud of Amanda.
This elegant filming location used in Bicentennial Man’s production was filmed at the Grace Cathedral, which allowed for high-angle shots thanks to the very high-up ceilings. Since this is a well-known landmark found in San Francisco, you should be able to get here via public transportation as well as through personal vehicles.
To get there through public transportation, take the PH cable car that passes through Hyde Street and then hop off at Washington Street. From there, it becomes a short 4-minute walk all the way to Grace Cathedral.
Baseball park scene in Bicentennial Man
Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California
In search of other NDR models that may be similar to him, Andrew embarks on a quest around America. He visits various locations from South Dakota to Utah and frequently relays his findings to Amanda, but unfortunately only comes across either dismantled robots or robots that aren’t able to function anymore.
However, during his visit to Urbana, Indiana, he spots an NDR model that still works and approaches him. Andrew says, “My last name is Martin.” But to his surprise, the model replies with, “Hey, get off the field!” Upon further analysis, Andrew sees that the NDR model has been reprogrammed which takes away the creativity that Andrew’s looking for.
Although this scene in the baseball park was shown to be in Urbana, Indiana, the actual shooting location for this park was the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Considered to be one of the more popular parks within San Francisco if not the most popular, the Golden Gate Park is easier to reach than other locations and there are multiple ways in which you can do so. The fastest way is through driving and to get to that location, you can drive along the main highway and then make a turn on Veterans Boulevard. If you continue, you go through the Park Presidio Bypass which allows you to see some of the Golden Gate Park.
Portia’s loft scene in Bicentennial Man
Former Manex Visual Effects, Alameda, California
Looking fresh and more humanlike, Andrew returns to Little Miss, albeit twenty years later. Finding her older, he is shocked when he meets her granddaughter Portia who looks very much like her. After some time, he meets Portia in her loft and after some initial reluctance, she eventually accepts him as part of her family. As they chat in her loft, we hear Portia say, “Can I get you anything to drink?” To which Andrew says, “Sorry, I have no stomach.”
Although Manex Visual Effects is no longer a company, they did have a studio located in Alameda. This scene in Portia’s loft was located in their studio and it’s still possible to visit Alameda to this day. One way in which you can get there is traveling on the Park Street Bridge and then driving all the way up north to the Alameda Naval Station, where the studios for the former company Manex Visual Effects were located.
Formal ball scene in Bicentennial Man
San Francisco City Hall, San Francisco, California
Tagging along with Portia to a formal ball, the audience gets to see Andrew in another suit. As the night progresses the viewers get to see Portia dancing on the big floor and as the singer sings, the music plays. She later sees Andrew look at her and says to her current partner, “Charles, why don’t you go get us a drink?” She then walks slowly to Andrew, takes his hand and without another word leads him to the dance floor where she dances with him for the rest of the night.
This scene in Bicentennial man was filmed within the main lobby of the San Francisco City Hall. Interestingly, heat from two of the 10,000-Watt spotlights used in filming triggered the sprinklers which significantly damaged the recently renovated City Hall.
With the City Hall of San Francisco being an important federal building, there are many ways you can get to this location which include both public and private transportation. To get to this famous location, you can drive along Lombard Street to Van Ness Avenue to get to the San Francisco City Hall.
Filled with both comedy and drama, Bicentennial Man gives audiences a glimpse into a future with robots who are rather humanlike and was the basis for other android-based films in the future. With superb acting from Robin Williams combined with the many scenic places utilized throughout the film, it’s clear to see just why Bicentennial Man managed to win the hearts of so many people.