Where was Bullitt filmed?
San Francisco (USA)
Hotels/Motels, Mansions, Retro, Buildings/Offices, Airport
Building Dated/Retro, Gothic/Victorian
Peter Yates' classic action thriller Bullitt, released in 1968 and starring Steve McQueen as Lt. Frank Bullitt, follows a San Francisco cop's mission to guard mafia informant Johnny Ross (Pat Renella) before he testifies against his former colleagues. However, when two hired hitmen attack their hideaway and fatally injure Ross, instead of capturing him alive as intended by the Mob bosses, it sparks an inquisitive desire within Bullitt.
Unsatisfied with simply accepting failure or writing off the incident as bad luck, Bullitt takes it upon himself to investigate what happened that fateful night. Senator Walter Chalmers (Robert Vaughn) is determined to end the investigation, yet it's up to Bullitt alone to ensure justice is served and uncover who leaked their location.
From its intense car chase scene, which has been hailed as one of the most incredible action sequences ever seen on film, to its moody atmosphere, taut story, and stellar performances, Bullitt has found its place in the vault of celebrated must-watch classic films. McQueen also shared the screen with notable stars like Robert Duvall and Jacqueline Bisset.
Set in San Francisco, it is considered one of the earliest Cowboy cop flicks to make its way on the big screen. McQueen’s memorable portrayal of Bullitt left a lasting impact and set him as Trope Maker for generations to come!
The film was nominated for multiple awards at the 41st Academy Awards ceremony, including Best Film Editing (which it won). It also received five BAFTA Awards nominations for Best Supporting Actor (Robert Vaughn), Best Cinematography (William A. Fraker), Best Direction (Peter Yates), Best Film Editing, and Best Sound Track.
Billed as a cult classic car chase thriller, Bullitt is still considered one of the greatest police action films of all time. Most of the Bullittt scenes were filmed on location in San Francisco, California, and surrounding areas.
On a crisp April morning in San Francisco, the city renowned for its picturesque mountainous streets and stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge, filming commenced producing what would be remembered as one of the most exhilarating car chase scenes seen on our screens. The backdrop of these locations offers viewers a unique and diverse setting, from iconic landmarks such as Lombard Street and Coit Tower to lesser-known spots with gorgeous views like Twin Peaks and Baker Beach.
As viewers follow Steve McQueen on his mission throughout San Francisco, they get a taste of both historic cobblestone streets and postcard-worthy vistas. Visiting the filming locations of Bullitt would be a worthwhile experience for any film enthusiast or a tourist looking to explore San Francisco’s hidden gems.
With every corner you turn, you can relive some of your favorite moments from this classic film, whether it's driving through Chinatown or simply standing atop Corbett Heights, taking in sweeping panoramic views that appear in Bullitt’s opening shot.
Johnny Ross entered the hotel scene in Bullitt
Mark Hopkins Hotel, Nob Hill, 999 California St, San Francisco, CA 94108, USA
When Johnny Ross (Felice Orlandi) makes it to San Francisco, he hops in a cab and heads straight for the Mark Hopkins Hotel on Nob Hill. But when he arrives there expecting news of some sort at the front desk, his surprise is palpable as there isn't anything waiting for him. Disappointed and confused, he spins around, and we get a peek into one of California's most grand hotel lobbies before Ross exits the scene.
The scene was filmed on location in San Francisco using actual buildings and streets for maximum authenticity. In particular, the Mark Hopkins Hotel standing atop Nob Hill provided the setting, and it is one of San Francisco’s most iconic landmarks. It is easily recognizable from its grand entrance at 999 California Street, surrounded by beautiful gardens and flags of all nations.
From its vantage point, you can take in the stunning views of downtown San Francisco, including the Coit Tower and Transamerica Pyramid. Even more impressive is its grand lobby filled with Jacaranda-wood paneling, Italian marble flooring, French tapestries, and mirrored walls reflecting ornate crystal chandeliers, all original parts that were present when McQueen shot his famous scene there more than 50 years ago!
Via public transportation from downtown San Francisco, take a bus at Market St & 3rd St. The hotel courtyard entrance is just a few steps away from the stop, after ascending two blocks on Powell Street past Union Square.
Frank Bullitt meets District Attorney Walter Chalmers scene in Bullitt
Chalmer's Residence, 2700 Vallejo Street at Divisadero, Pacific Heights, San Francisco, CA, USA
Lieutenant Bullitt is invited to District Attorney Walter Chalmer's residence for a reception. On the home's terrace, DA Chalmers entrusts Bullitt with an important task: guarding star witness Johnny Ross until the hearings on mob activities commence.
Nestled at 2700 Vallejo Street, in the affluent Pacific Heights district, lies the luxurious residence of politician Chalmers (Robert Vaughn). Greedy and determined to win his election, he has invested much into creating a star witness for his cause.
Just around the neighborhood, 2930 was famously home to writer Catherine Tramell in Basic Instinct and corner-cutting electrician Simmons in The Towering Inferno. The picturesque topiary garden plus the Red Sun flag planted on 2700's lawn reveals that it now belongs to none other than the Japanese Consul General.
To get to the Bullitt filming location, drive on Franklin Street until you reach 2700 Vallejo Street at the corner nearest Van Ness avenue. Whether by car or on foot, you'll quickly recognize this stately structure with its classic brick façade and white marble steps leading up to a large wooden door - unchanged since its appearance in the film.
Cathy's office scene in Bullitt
1620 Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94111, USA
As Bullitt steps into Cathy’s (Jacqueline Bisset) San Francisco office, you can almost feel his confidence exuding from behind the raincoat casually draped over his shoulder. His smooth entrance is received with a smile and warm greeting by an awaiting receptionist, capturing the laid-back atmosphere of San Francisco at this time.
In the heart of San Francisco, at 1620 Montgomery Street Suite 320, is Theodore Brown and Partners' ancestral office. A timeless tribute to Lawrence Halprin's masterful design, from F.D.R. Memorial to Sea Ranch and Ghirardelli Square, his work has brought life to many beloved landmarks that have stood the test of time. This once-convertible space has been modernized with cozy elements that elevate its alluring atmosphere further!
To locate 1620 Montgomery Street, Suite 320, from Civic Center in downtown San Francisco, proceed straight on Van Ness Ave and turn right onto Broadway. Eventually, you will hit Sansome Street, where the destination is located, easily identifiable as it's situated on the left side of your journey.
Alternatively, take BART or Muni Metro underground trains, both stop close by at Embarcadero Station, then take a short walk northbound along Embarcadero N until you reach Montgomery Street on your left side (approximately 20 min).
Coffee Cantata scene in Bullitt
2026 Union St, San Francisco, CA 94123, USA
Bullitt and Cathy meet up with a group of friends at a cozy cafe in the Cow Hollow district of San Francisco. The restaurant's exterior has changed since the Bullitt production team filmed at the premises, but it still looks very similar to how it appeared in 1968.
The interior accurately reflects the atmosphere of a classic San Franciscan cafe, with its dimly lit, wood-paneled walls, red color, and vintage decor. In the scene, a jazz quartet is playing in the back corner, next to a coffee bar, while several tables host lively conversations among Bullitt and his friends. At the front of the cafe, there is also a pastry counter with delicious treats.
After Betelnut, a beloved restaurant closed its doors in late 2016, Flores swooped in and established itself as the go-to spot for Mexican food and drinks. Located at 2026 Union Street in San Francisco's Cow Hollow district, just north of Allyne Park, from downtown San Francisco, Muni Metro lines, either 10 or 39, from any number of downtown stations like Van Ness AvePowell Street Station, or Montgomery Station, can get you to the address.
Chalmers and Bennett talk at the Church scene in Bullitt
Grace Cathedral, 1100 California St, San Francisco, CA 94108, USA
The church scene in Bullitt takes place at the Grace Cathedral, on the corner of Taylor and California Streets in San Francisco's Nob Hill neighborhood. It is a landmark structure, and sprawling Gothic Revival architectural marvel, that was completed in 1964. It now stands as the third-largest Episcopal church in America.
The film provides a striking backdrop to an intense confrontation between Captain Bennett (Brock Peters) and an irate Chalmers. Bullitt's superior within the police force is Captain Bennett, a man of faith who is seen taking his family to Grace Cathedral in Taylor and California.
On the balcony, an agitated Chalmers attempts to get information from Bennett regarding where Bullitt has stashed away their witness, yet disappointingly fails in this endeavor.
Ultimately, he leaves with great annoyance. In this scene, behind them, we get a glimpse of the serene beauty of Huntington Park, which was once home to Collis Huntington's mansion.
The Grace Cathedral is a popular tourist destination that offers incredible views over downtown San Francisco, Alcatraz Island, and even Marin County beyond.
To get to this location from anywhere within San Francisco, hop onto any major MUNI bus line that runs along California Street or take BART to Montgomery Street Station. Then, walk for about 15 minutes until you reach Taylor Street. You will have no problem recognizing Grace Cathedral with its two asymmetrical towers carrying copper crosses at their peak, getting the sky-like antennae reaching heaven.
Bullit's Chase Scene at the Airport scene in Bullitt
San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco, CA 94128, United States
Bullitt discovers that the slain witness wasn't part of the mob after all; instead, it was car salesman Albert Renick (Felice Orlandi), who Johnny Ross (Pat Renella) had enlisted to swap places with him to evade his pursuers. Tracking Ross down, Bullitt finds out he is at San Francisco airport, ready to leave the country under Renick's identity on a Pan Am flight.
Director Peter Yates used hundreds of extras for the airport scenes. The scene focuses on Bullitt’s rush to the Pan Am terminal at the San Francisco airport. Originally opened with just two terminals, Central and South, today the SFO has four distinct terminals: the former South Terminal is now known as Terminal 1, the original Central Terminal was renamed Terminal 2, while Terminals 3 and 4 were added in later years, respectively, during the late 1970s and 2000.
When Ross's plane is already at the departure gate, Bullitt commands it to turn back. As passengers disembark, Ross dives out of the aircraft and onto the tarmac just in time, leaving Bullitt hot on his heels. What ensues is an invigorating car chase across dark runways that rivals any other filmed pursuit sequence ever seen!
The car chase scene is intense, lasting 11 minutes and leaving viewers with their stomachs in their mouths as they witness near-misses and side-swipes. After a loud gunfight, Ross sprints back to the terminal just as Bullitt catches up with him. With onlookers in shock, Bullitt swiftly arrests Ross.
Getting to SFO from downtown San Francisco is relatively easy and convenient. The most direct route, without transferring vehicles, is via the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) trains that run directly from several points every 15 minutes during peak hours. Alternatively, opt for private car services or even public buses like SamTrans buses or Muni Metro buses; these bus lines can be found throughout various neighborhoods downtown, and all go directly to SFO.
Released more than half a century ago, Bullitt has since gained immense popularity for its thrilling chase sequence. Starring the renowned Steve McQueen, who impressively did his driving stunts, the movie follows a heated pursuit through the hills of San Francisco between two gangsters and McQueen’s character.
Each actor's performance was memorable and impactful; McQueen delivered a compelling portrayal of his character that held the audience’s attention throughout the movie. Further, the script was well written to support a great storyline that keeps viewers excited throughout its runtime.
The idea of this movie makes it worth watching; it’s not often you come across a cinematic masterpiece like Bullitt that combines perfectly executed car chases with an underlying story about crime and justice. Bullitt made an undeniable contribution to the movie industry by becoming one of the best thrillers ever released and setting standards for future action movies.
If you’re looking for a heart-pumping classic that never fails to entertain audiences, then Bullitt is definitely worth your time. Its suspenseful storyline and star performances make for an unforgettable viewing experience that will leave you wanting more even after it ends!