Where was Doctor Dolittle filmed?
Northern and Southern California
Apartment, Cabins, Beach/Oceanview, Hospitals/Medical, Schools/Colleges
Americana/Anywhere America, Beach House, Beachfront, Resort, School
About Doctor Dolittle
The movie Doctor Dolittle was released in 1998, and an adaption of a movie musical of the same name from 1967. The 1967 movie was not as successful as the 1998 remake with an all-star cast including Eddie Murphy. It was directed by Betty Thomas and written by both Nat Mauldin and Larry Levin. This guide to the locations used for filming contains movie spoilers.
Eddie Murphy plays the main character of John Dolittle, who found that he could talk to animals at the age of five. The early scenes of the movie feature a young Dolittle, talking to his family dog about the reason that dogs sniff each other on the butt.
He learns that dogs do this to say hello, but at school when he tries it with his principal it upsets his father. His father then arranges an exorcism, and while it is happening the family dog attacks the priest. This causes Dolittle to resolve to stop talking to animals altogether.
The film then jumps forward to Dolittle as an adult, married to a woman named Lisa and with two daughters, Charisse and Maya. John works as a doctor and surgeon, and his company is about to be bought by another medical company.
After taking a family vacation, Dolittle returns only to be reintroduced to his gift from childhood. He hits a dog that he hears yell out, and the family Guinea pig Rodney suddenly begins speaking to him. Despite feeling crazy, Dolittle begins to help animals around the city and even adopts the dog he hit earlier in the film. He names the dog Lucky.
Later in the show, he meets a suicidal circus tiger and rescues a hurt owl. Dolittle also performs CPR on a rat, but when Lisa and his friend see this they think he must be crazy. This leads to Dolittle being sent to the mental ward in the same place he works for.
When Dolittle is able to get out, he once again denies his gift, but it also leads him to push Maya away. He sees how this has hurt her and decides to embrace his gift. He breaks into the circus where the tiger Jake is and breaks him out to perform lifesaving surgery.
He is helped by his friend and colleague Gene, who sees him sneaking into the hospital. A party is also going on in the hospital, and everyone ends up watching as Dolittle and Gene perform surgery on the tiger, saving his life. Dolittle accepts his gift after this, deciding not to sell the hospital, and becoming both a doctor and veterinarian.
Doctor Dolittle Locations
The comedy movie Doctor Dolittle was filmed in various cities across both Northern and Southern California. The main city used for filming was San Francisco, which is where the fictional story of Dolittle and his gifts takes place. Fans of the movie can still visit many of the set locations today and enjoy the same sites that Eddie Murphy did decades ago.
The city of Pasadena in Southern California was also used for many of the scenes in Doctor Dolittle. Areas of downtown Los Angeles were used for shots of Jake the tiger out of the circus, though the tiger was added later with the use of special effects. The fictional circus itself, Blossom's Mammoth Circus, was built specifically for the movie in Victorian Park.
The movie Doctor Dolittle features various shots that depict California streets. Market Street, Broadway, Union Street, Green Street, and Lyon Street were the main California streets used in the movie. These streets can still be walked by fans today, though they may look a little different than they did in the film.
Losing the family dog scene in Dr. Dolittle
Van Ness Ave and Market St, San Francisco, CA
The comedy film Doctor Dolittle begins in the year 1968 when a young John Dolittle has learned he can talk with the family dog. In one of the first scenes, the family dog is taken away for attacking a priest who tried to perform an exorcism on Dolittle. His father arranged it after his son began acting strange at school, sniffing his principal’s butt as a way to introduce himself.
However, when the dog tries to protect him and ends up being sent away, Dolittle is effectively scared of his gift. As a response he represses it, convincing himself that he can’t talk to animals. He does not hear any more animals speak until he is an adult. These early scenes, and a few more in the film, are narrated by Lucky, a dog that Dolittle meets as an adult.
After the family dog has been taken away, Lucky can be heard saying, “Just like his dad wanted, John Dolittle grew up to be a normal and regular guy - you know, miserable.”
It then shows a shot of Dolittle running into a small dog in the hallway.
This scares him enough for him to shout out, “Hey, there's a vicious animal in the hallway!”
Like most of the movie, the film shoot location for these early scenes was San Francisco, California. This one was filmed at Van Ness Avenue and Market Street, which can be reached by private vehicle, public transport, or a rideshare app.
Meeting Lucky scene in Dr. Dolittle
McKinley Square, San Francisco, CA
John Dolittle is not reintroduced to his ability to speak with animals until he is an adult, having just gotten back from a family vacation. He has just picked up Rodney, his daughter’s pet Guinea pig, and is taking him back home. However, on the way, he hits a dog. The dog gets up and angrily yells at Dolittle in perfect English.
He calls Dolittle a, “bonehead.”
John Dolittle meets Lucky again and asks him, “How come I can hear you talking?”
Lucky is not much help when it comes to an explanation and tells him, “I dunno. Maybe you're just weird or something.”
This seems to be even more upsetting to Dolittle who then says, “Shut up. You're a dog. DOGS CANNOT TALK.”
Lucky responds with “What the h*ll do you think barking is, an involuntary spasm?”
The scene of Dolittle hitting Lucky and then meeting him again later was filmed in the city of San Francisco near McKinley Square. It is a public area that you can visit at any time by public transportation, rideshare service, or taxi.
Talking to Rodney scene in Dr. Dolittle
Highway 101, San Francisco, CA
The first time that Dolittle ever hears Rodney talk is right after he hits Lucky with the car. This is one of the more comedic scenes of the movie as Dolittle starts to get worried about why he is suddenly hearing animals talk again. After realizing that Dolittle has heard him speak, Rodney also seems to be a bit concerned.
He tells the doctor, “Okay, let's chill. Let's just chill.”
However, Dolittle has been thoroughly freaked out by the previous interactions and grabs Rodney’s cage to take it out of the car.
As this is happening Rodney asks him, “Uh, what are you doing, switching sides?”
Dolittle proceeds to strap the cage to the top of his car and continues driving down the road. Rodney continues to try and talk to the doctor, but he turns up the radio in an attempt to drown him out.
From the top of the car, Rodney says, “Come on, Doc! I'm getting whisker-whipped up here! Hey - this is cruel to animals!”
Dolittle tells him, “One more word, and I'm letting you out! I'll leave you in the wild! With the REAL animals! See how much talk you do when squirrels are kickin' your *ss in!”
This sequence was shot in San Francisco on Highway 101. Although there is really nothing specific to see on this highway, it is a particularly beautiful stretch of road. It runs along the San Francisco Bay so you get some scenic views along the way. Take some time to stop at one of the local parks like San Bruno Mountain State and County Park while you are there.
Rat CPR scene in Dr. Dolittle
Union Street, San Francisco, CA
One of the funniest scenes in Doctor Dolittle happens when John Dolittle attempts to perform CPR on an injured rat.
He is alerted about this by another rat and asks, “You know how to do CPR?”
The rat tells him, “CPR? I can't even spell it!”
Dolittle then proceeds to perform CPR on the rodent. After a few moments, he passes gas and appears to be completely fine. However, Dolittle’s wife and his friend witness this and think Dolittle must be crazy. This causes him to be admitted into the mental ward of his own office.
He also runs into the rat he rescued who tells him, “That's yesterday's news. Take a hike. You want gratitude? Get a hamster!”
This scene was filmed in a San Francisco building on Union Street, which acted as Dolittle’s practice throughout the movie. This building is located near Webster street, and not that far from many of the other locations used for filming.
Heart to heart with Maya scene in Dr. Dolittle
The Dolittle home, 2100 Green St, San Francisco, CA
Even though Doctor Dolittle is a comedy movie, there are plenty of emotional and heartfelt scenes as well. One of these comes toward the end of the film after Dolittle has left the mental ward and begun repressing his gift again. This also makes him unintentionally push away his youngest daughter, Maya, who admits to her grandfather that she was having a good time imagining her father as someone who could communicate with animals. During this conversation, Dolittle overhears her and decides to sit down with his daughter for a heart-to-heart conversation.
He tells Maya, “I didn't say you were crazy, you're special and crazy, a lot of great people in history were crazy.”
He then goes on to say, “Some of the greatest people in history. Albert Einstein, he came in with that wild hair and everybody thought he was crazy. And Muhammad Ali, he came out saying what rounds he was going to beat people in, going ‘I'm the greatest!’, everybody thought he was crazy. And Joan of Arc, she heard voices.”
This conversation is what inspires Dolittle to lean into his gift and use it for something good. This scene was filmed in San Francisco at 2100 Green Street. The house was used as the Dolittle home for the entirety of the movie.
Saving Jake scene in Dr. Dolittle
John’s practice, 2107 Union Street, San Francisco, CA
Doctor Dolittle reunites with Lucky at the end of the film, after pushing him away to the mental ward. Once the two have made up they set out to rescue Jake, the suicidal tiger from the circus. The animal has a great cerebral vein which could be fatal, but Dolittle is the only one that knows this. They break Jake out of the circus and take him to the Dolittle practice to perform the surgery needed to save his life.
As the tiger lies on the operating table to wait, he asks, “Have you ever done this operation before?”
Dolittle tells them, “Yeah, once in medical school. But it was to a cadaver. But my professor told me I did such a good job that, had my patient not been dead, he would've lived.”
With the help of his friend, he begins to do the surgery. At the same time a party is going on in the clinic, and pretty soon everyone in attendance is watching the procedure. Dolittle’s dad is also there, and he reveals to Lisa that his son really can talk to animals. Lisa goes into the operating room to help keep Jake calm. The tiger seems to say something as she does this, and she asks her husband what it was.
Dolittle tells her, “He said he's afraid.”
In the end, the tiger is saved.
This scene was shot at 2107 Union Street in San Francisco. Located in the Marina District, you can visit some of the attractions nearby while you are nearby. The Palace of Fine Arts, the Presidio of San Francisco, and the Aquarium of the Bay are just a few places to enjoy.
Doctor Dolittle is a family comedy that first hit theaters in 1998. It became a franchise, with multiple sequels following. The story of Doctor Dolittle came from children's books that started in the 1920s. The first adaptation was filmed in 1967 as both a comedy and musical, but it did not see the same success as the 1998 adaptation.
The movie follows John Dolittle, played by Eddie Murphy, as he struggles with accepting his special ability to talk to animals. He began to deny his ability as a child after a traumatic experience, but in adulthood this gift resurfaces. Throughout the movie he struggles with this, feeling crazy but helping animals around the city. Eventually, Dolittle fully accepts his gift and turns his practice into a doctor’s office and a veterinarian’s office.