Blood Alley movie cover Movie Locations Guide

Where was Blood Alley filmed?

1955

About Blood Alley

In the opening Blood Alley film scene, Captain Tom Wilder, an American Merchant Marine, is captured and placed in prison when his boat is overtaken by Chinese Communists. He spends two years in jail and then escapes through a clever bribe and a disguise. A Chinese gentleman brings Wilder to Chiku Shan but does not share the details of his prison escape.

Mr. Tso, the village’s leader, informs Wilder that he has a new task: he will need to assist almost 200 Chiku Shan villagers from Red China to Hong Kong’s English port. To fulfill his mission, he will need to commandeer an old riverboat. Relying on old knowledge of the coast of China, Wilder must draw a map and navigate the coastline with only a magnetic compass of questionable functionality as his guide. To help the villagers escape Red China, he will have only their courage and limited resources to draw on.

Having been plotting their escape for greater than a year, the villagers have been methodically increasing the channel’s bottom with stones to prevent the Red Chinese from stopping their escape. They put a snare in place that will cause the ship to run aground, allowing the villagers to flee. The Communist Feng family accompanies them, so they will not be punished for the villagers’ mass exodus.

Amongst the villagers is Tack, a chief engineer trained by the U.S. Navy. Tack and Wilder steal the boat and bring it to Chiku Shan and begin stocking it with firewood, boiler water, and food.

The villagers enact their plan successfully. They travel down the coast, moving past the People’s Liberation Army Navy ship with ease. They take cover behind reeds found along the shoreline, sailing only during the evening hours.

The Feng family adds poison to the villagers’ food and water. When those attempts fail, they try to commandeer the ship when a storm arises.

The villagers run short of wood and water and have no choice but to dock at the Graveyard of Ships in Honghai Bay. Wilder demands that the wrecked ships be mined for their wood and water be bottled for the boiler and drinking. A heavy wooden beam snaps and detaches the sternwheel causing two paddles to break off. Wilder must remain in the Graveyard longer to repair the ship.

The Fengs are cast aside but return to the boat when the Red Chinese vessel starts shooting at the ships in the Graveyard. Power boats set out from the harbor to look for the ferry.

Chiku Shan vanishes into a marsh. The villagers painstakingly row through the marsh until they finally glimpse the unobstructed sea. Tack stokes the boiler, and the crew begins their voyage toward Hong Kong.

City Locations

Northern California: Colusa, Tuttles Pond, Sacramento River; China Camp State Park, San Rafael; Stockton

Location Types

American, House, Beach/Oceanview, Buildings/Offices, Police/Jaila

Location Styles

Americana/Anywhere America, Beachfront, Boat Style, Cabin

Blood Alley Locations

Filmed in 1955, Blood Alley was a Cold War movie shot in Northern California. This film was produced by its star John Wayne who also cast legendary actress Lauren Bacall.

The filming locations for Blood Alley are found in Northern California, primarily in the cities of Colusa, San Rafael, and Stockton.

Consider yourself to be a true history buff? If so, why not plan a trip to visit the filming locations for Blood Alley? The film sets for this Cold War epic drama that is sure to entertain and inspire.

Fun Fact:

Many were surprised when Lauren Bacall accepted a role in Blood Alley since she was a well-known left-wing Democrat, and the film promoted a decidedly right-wing agenda.

Wilder meets the elders and Kathy Grainger scene in Blood Alley

Point San Pablo Yacht Harbor, 1900 Stenmark Drive, Richmond CA

After being assisted in his successful prison break, Wilder is asleep in the boat as he travels with a Chinese gentleman down the river to Chiku Shan. The site that greets him is a small village with many boats moored in the port. He climbs off the boat and is greeted by several of the city’s elders and later meets Kathy Grainger. This conversation ensues.

Tso: Welcome to our humble village, eminent brother! We trust your journey has been without a wayward incident. We are the elders, Mr. Sing, Mr. Han, and this unworthy who serves as headman called Tso.

A woman approaches.

Cathy: Did I spell your name right, Captain Wilder? I’m Cathy Grainger. I wrote the note.

Wilder: Oh, yes, I remember. Thank you.

Tso: Come, there is food and a soft bed awaiting our illustrious guest.

Cathy: It’s lovely here. You’ll like it.

Wilder: Am I staying long?

Cathy: None of us are.

To visit this Blood Alley filming location, you have several public transportation options available to you. You can take bus lines 72, 72 R, or 74, travel by train on route CC or board the BART lines Orange or Red.

Wilder questions his role in Chiku Shan scene in Blood Alley S

acramento River, Sacramento, California

understand why he has been brought to this village and what his role will be. He and Cathy engage in this discussion.

Wilder: Look what’s going on? What am I doing here?

Cathy: You’re one of God’s footsteps.

Wilder: What?

Cathy: That’s one of Mr. Tso’s ways of saying a miracle.

Wilder: A miracle? Me?

The Sacramento River is the site where this scene was shot. Some of the surrounding area that resembles a small village was constructed specifically for the filming of this movie. To get to the Sacramento River, you can take bus line 56.

Wilder prepares a map for the villagers escape scene in Blood Alley

Hotel Stockton, 133 E. Weber Ave, Stockton, California

Wilder is hard at work preparing a map that will help him guide the villagers from Chiku Shan to safety. He puts his work aside for a time and calls to Susu. Cathy appears at the bottom of the stairs, pretending to be Susu. The two share this conversation in one of the funniest scenes in Blood Alley.

Wilder: Susu! Susu!

Cathy {pretending to be Susu}: Want you very number one wash, Ama?

Wilder: Tell Mr. Tso, him catchy very number one ferryboat captain.

Cathy: That won’t be necessary. I already have.

This scene is filmed in one of the hotel rooms in the famed Hotel Stockton. Though this building is no longer set up as a film set, it has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. The area is also now home to several sets of apartment buildings known as the Hotel Stockton Apartments. Bus service is available directly to the grounds of this former Blood Alley production location.

Cathy tells Wilder about an impending raid scene in Blood Alley

China Camp State Park, 101 Peacock Gap Trail, San Rafael, CA

The Red Chinese descend upon the village in a destroyer with their red flag proudly waving in the breeze. The villagers panic and attempt to run to safety. Cathy runs to Wilder’s room and knocks on his door, attempting to wake him up from a deep slumber.

She says to him, “Captain Wilder, Captain Wilder! Wake up! Captain Wilder!” The conversation continues.

Wilder: I’m awake!

Cathy: There are soldiers in the lagoon. This house will be one of the first they search. Please hurry. Mr. Tso is waiting outside.

Wilder: You know what will happen if they find me?

Cathy: I know what they’ll do to the village.

Wilder: Makes me kind of a one-man plague, doesn’t it?

Wilder hurries through the courtyard and outside just as the Red Chinese army begins to advance into the village. He takes refuge inside an elementary school with Tao.

Bus route 122 will take you within walking distance of this beloved natural space that provides the ideal backdrop for several Blood Alley scenes.

Cathy warns Wilder that the Fengs may have poisoned the villagers’ food and water scene in Blood Alley

Hotel Stockton, 133 E. Weber Ave, Stockton, California

A man roasts an animal on a spit while the villagers hungrily look on, waiting for their dinner. A group of children swirl their chopsticks in their bowls as they anxiously look forward to their meal in the saloon. Cathy goes to find Wilder in his room above the saloon and tells him he needs to come to investigate what is going on. She suspects the Fengs have poisoned the villagers’ food. This dialogue takes place in one of the best scenes in Blood Alley.

Cathy: You better come down to the saloon.

Wilder: Can’t it wait?

Cathy: They think our food has been poisoned.

A man speaks to the villagers in Chinese, trying to force them to eat the rice that has been prepared for their supper. As Wilder approaches, this conversation takes place.

Cook: Their bellies are empty, Captain. But none of them will touch it. The rice, the soup, they may have poisoned everything.

Wilder approaches one of the Feng children and tells him, “Eat it, comrade, it will make you big and strong.” The boy turns his head away and refuses the food. “Or dead, huh?”

To visit this Blood Alley film set that is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, take bus lines 375, 40, or 555.

Wilder tries to find out who poisoned the food scene in Blood Alley

Belvedere Island, California, USA

The villagers sit in the saloon with Cathy and Wilder trying to get to the bottom of the mystery of the poisoned food. The room is largely silent with no one daring to move or to speak. Wilder commands a young boy to come to him. His mother grabs him to her, holding him tightly, but Wilder tells the boy to come again, and he obeys. Cathy speaks sharply to Wilder, questioning his next move. The following conversation continues.

Cathy: Tom!

Wilder: Stay out of this.

He hands the boy the food and speaks to him in Chinese, telling him to eat it. The boy turns to look at his mother who shakes her head no.

Wilder tells him to eat the food and tries to force it into the boy’s mouth. The mother races to her son and takes the dish from his hands while all of the villagers stare at her with contempt. She throws the food in the face of the man who poisoned the food supply. Wilder grabs the man and begins shoving rice in his face, saying, “He’ll test it for us!”

One of the most interesting action scenes in Blood Alley, this film set is located on an island with sets built specifically for the footage to be shot here. To get to Belvedere Island, you will need to take the TF ferry.

Conclusion

An adventure film that details activities that occurred during the Cold War, Blood Alley has become a classic war movie that is beloved worldwide, not least of all because of its lead actors: John Wayne and Lauren Bacall. A film whose backdrop includes some of the most scenic places in Northern California, Blood Alley transports you back to Chiku Shan with its quaint yet poor villages, stagnant rivers, and lush mountainous terrain.

Are you among John Wayne’s biggest fans? If so, don’t miss your chance to visit the Blood Alley filming locations. You’re sure to have a memorable time!