Dream with the Fishes movie cover Movie Locations Guide

Where was Dream with the Fishes filmed?


City Locations

San Francisco (USA), Oakland (USA), Windsor (USA), La Honda (USA)

Location Types

Beach/Oceanview, House

Location Styles

Americana, Modern Building

About Dream with the Fishes

Nick (Brad Hunt), a heroin addict with only weeks left to live, strikes an agreement with Terry (David Arquette) who is struggling with his own issues. The two embark on a journey aimed at helping them fulfill their dreams, but as they along the way, they find themselves hindered by the reality of life.

Arquette and Hunt also shared the screen with Cathy Moriarty, Kathryn Erbe, and Patrick McGaw in the 1997 independent flic. Producer Mitchell Stein, writer-director Finn Taylor, music supervisor Charles Raggio, and director of photography Barry Stone deserve equal recognition for their contribution to creating the cinematic masterpiece.

Stone, the D.o.P, who previously worked on Rude, Paris, France, and Pale Saints, crafted an original process never before seen, which he said paid off in spades. Taylor expressed that modern film stocks had a too real and clean feel to them, instead preferring the mythic distance gained from older stock films such as The Last Detail and other ‘70s classics.

To that end, the duo aimed for high-contrast colors as well as darker shadows to soften any dark areas seen on the screen. Achieving this result required using unusual stocks when filming and then manipulating the contrast levels during the interpositive stage.

For the two main sections of the movie, Stone envisioned a distinct feel; San Francisco was to be portrayed as a bustling city with a grungy ambiance, and the Pescadero area appeared brighter. As Nick and Terry set out on the open road, this marked a new start in their lives, so this was a vision that needed to be brought to life on screen.

When Terry returned to San Francisco after Nick’s death, the dark and gritty mood remained. But when Terry chose to make a fresh start by confessing his secret love to the woman he had been spying on, there was an intentional shift in tone back to one of clarity and brightness. To represent this change, they even created an interpositive that moved from one film stock into another.

Dream with the Fishes Locations

Filmed over the span of 26 days, Dream With the Fishes is the debut feature of screenwriter Finn Taylor. His Bay Area roots served as inspiration for selecting San Francisco, Oakland, and Pescadero as backdrops for his unique story. He wanted to break free from the large-scale landscape of LA that had been overly explored in other films.

Producer Johnny Wow and Bay Area producer Mitchell Stein faced the challenge of managing more than fifty locations on a tight timeline. Despite the amount of work and long hours, Wow remarked, “this was a labor of love for everyone involved.”

Shot in Northern California, Dream with the Fishes follows an ill drug addict's journey to self-discovery with various iconic landmarks such as bays, redwood forests, and rocky coastlines being featured throughout the movie set on the Russian River.

A trip to these locations would certainly be worthwhile for any fan of the film. Travelers can expect to be treated to breathtaking sceneries that were featured on screen while also exploring alluring attractions such as historic small towns, local wineries, craft breweries, lush parks, and stunning beaches.

Market scene in Dream with the Fishes

Windsor, California, USA

After a small fight with Liz (Kathryn Erbe), Nick (Brad Hunt) goes to Jack’s Market to rob it, but Terry (David Arquette) interferes by coming in. Terry gets the strongest whiskey, gives $50, and goes out.

The Dream with the Fishes scene featuring Jack's Market was filmed in Windsor, California. Located in Sonoma County, this charming town provides an ideal backdrop for the movie - with its stunning redwood forests, riverbanks, and small-town charm.

Monte Rio is especially known for its rich history, serving as a popular tourist destination throughout the 1900s, and it continues to be a beloved spot for travelers to this day. To get to Windsor, California, USA, there are several travel options.

For train travelers, Amtrak serves nearby cities including Petaluma and Rohnert Park. There are also many bus companies that offer transportation from San Francisco and surrounding areas with various stops along the way. Those driving can access Windsor through U.S. Route 101 which runs parallel to the city's north side.

Terry attempts suicide scene in Dream with the Fishes

Pier 39, The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94133, United States

After buying whiskey, Terry (David Arquette) goes to the bridge with the aim of ending his life. He takes a photo of his wife out of his pocket and looks around the city. Nick (Brad Hunt) just happens to pass by smoking cigarettes and stands near Terry. Even though Terry asks to not try to talk him out of it, they end up engaging in conversation.

Pier 39 in San Francisco is situated along The Embarcadero, and it offers stunning views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. There’s plenty to do in the area, from strolling down the boardwalk and enjoying live music to sampling some delicious seafood at one of the many restaurants and taking a spin on the carousel.

Getting to Pier 39 via the Embarcadero is possible either by walking, biking, Muni transit, or driving. On foot, walk southeast on The Embarcadero from North Point St and the pier will be on your right. If you decide to explore the city on a bike rental, there is nearby access to the San Francisco Bay Trail along Fisherman’s Wharf where you can easily ride your way to the pier.

Another option is to take a Muni bus heading to routes 28 19th Avenue/Hutchinson Street and 30 Stockton Street to get you within close proximity of the pier. When driving into town, take CA-80 W toward San Francisco followed by I-480 W and I-280 N will lead you right up to Fisherman’s Wharf and The Embarcadero for Pier 39.

Nick invites Terry to his house scene in Dream with the Fishes

Oakland, California, USA

After a small conversation on the bridge, Terry (David Arquette) agrees to go to Nick's (Brad Hunt) house. He meets Liz (Kathryn Erbe) there, who is tattooing herself. Liz asks Nick, “who is it,” and when she hears that Terry tried to commit suicide she just says “Join the club.” Terry then tries to make conversation with Liz.

Oakland is home to a variety of stunning filming locations that have been featured in films, TV shows, and other media. With its unique neighborhoods and rich culture, this dynamic Bay Area city continues to be a hotspot for creative projects and inspiring stories.

Oakland is located in the East Bay region of California, just south of Berkeley and north of San Leandro. It's easily accessible by car via the I-880 or other freeways leading to Oakland and the surrounding cities.

If you’re coming from outside the East Bay, a convenient option is to take one of several buses that operate between Oakland and San Francisco or other nearby cities. Additionally, Amtrak has several daily trains providing access to and from Oakland along its Capitol Corridor line.

Terry taking pills scene in Dream with the Fishes

San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA

After Nick gives Terry pills, they go to his apartment. Nick asks if he can stay and watch because he has never seen how people go about taking their own lives. They start talking, and Terry shares about his wife Michelle who died in a car crash.

The San Francisco Bay Area is unlike anywhere else in the world. With its stunning landscape, vibrant culture, and innovative spirit, it has become a destination for visitors from all over the world. Both locals and visitors can explore landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge or pay a visit to famous tech campuses like Googleplex.

The Bay Area is easily accessible by air via the various airports located throughout the metropolitan area. Additionally, San Francisco International Airport is only a few miles south of the city, providing direct connections to other major cities both domestically and internationally.

Traveling by car is also an option, with two major roadways connecting from the east and west of California, including Interstate 80 and Highway 101. A scenic option is traveling by train with Amtrak which takes you directly to the heart of San Francisco.


Desperation can often lead to unforeseen clarity is one of the biggest take homes from watching Dream with the Fishes. At the start of the movie, Terry (David Arquette) is standing on a bridge ready to end his life when Nick (Brad Hunt), a stick-up man, interrupts him and requests his watch only commenting "since you're going to be dead in a few minutes anyway, what use will it be to you?”

That particular scene arises from the ironic fact that earlier in the movie we find out that Terry is a voyeur whose favorite hobby is spying on Nick and Liz (Kathryn Erbe) with binoculars. From this unexpected encounter, Dream With the Fishes develops into an enigmatic road trip, with two buddies setting off into a drug-filled counterculture reminiscent of 70s films.

Taylor stated that the movie is autobiographical, loosely based on his own experiences. He spent six years traveling with a friend and at the age of 19, contemplated suicide, and attempted to rob a drug store.