Harold and Maude movie cover Movie Locations Guide

Where was Harold and Maude filmed?

1971

About Harold and Maude

The film Harold and Maude is a dark comedy, produced by Colin Higgins and directed by Hal Ashby. Even though this movie was not very popular when it first was released in 1971, it has grown a cult following in the decades that followed. In the year 2000, it was ranked 45 out of the top 100 funny movies by the American Film Institute.

Harold and Maude, the movie revolves around the unconventional relationship between 19-year-old Harold and 79-year-old Maude. Harold is obsessed with the idea of death and has a hobby of attending funerals whether he knows the deceased or not. He also pretends to attempt suicide for fun and has a hearse as his car. Harold’s mother doesn’t like the way her son acts and attempts to change him by getting him a new car and sending him to a psychoanalyst. His mother also sets up blind dates in hopes of finding someone for her son.

Early in the movie, Harold meets Maude when he is once again at the funeral of a stranger. He learns Maude attends funerals for fun too, and they quickly start an unlikely friendship. Even though Maude does enjoy going to funerals, her overall outlook on life is pretty opposite to Harold’s. Maude is no stranger to law-breaking, and she even lives in an old railroad car.

Despite their differences, Harold is drawn to Maude, and she is drawn to him. As the two get closer, Harold’s mom still sets him up with girls his age, but Harold does everything to scare them away. His mother resorts to sending Harold to his uncle in order to get him to join the military. Maude shows up to get him out, pretending to be a protester. The two stage a scene where Harold pretends to kill Maude, successfully getting him to return home.

In the movie Harold and Maude, the friendship between these two different people takes a turn for the romantic. Harold decides he wants to marry Maude, despite the fact that everyone else in his life is against it. However, what Harold doesn’t know is Maude plans to kill herself on her 80th birthday. During her surprise party, she reveals to Harold she has taken enough sleeping pills to kill herself. After Maude dies, a scene shows Harold’s car flying off a cliff, but he is seen still standing on the cliffside, alive and dressed in bright clothes.

City Locations

Southern California

Location Types

American, House, NatureScapes, Automotive, Hotels/Motels

Location Styles

Americana/Anywhere America, Dated/50's-60's-70's Building, Dilapidated/Neglected, Federal Building

Harold and Maude Locations

The dark comedy movie Harold and Maude was filmed throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Locations in this region were used to represent the fictional settings of this movie. The two cemeteries used for the various funeral scenes were Golden Gate National Cemetery and Holy Cross Cemetery.

The decommissioned railroad car that Maude lives in was also parked in San Francisco during the filming of the movie. It was parked on Oyster Point Boulevard. Several streets in San Francisco were used for scenes where the characters are found outside. On the west coast of the city are the Sutro Bath ruins, which were also used for filming. These ruins depict the area where Harold’s uncle lives, and where he is sent to join the military.

Rose Court Mansion, found in Hillsborough, California, was also used for the scenes of Harold at his uncle’s. Fans of the movie can walk the San Francisco streets found in the film even today. The two cemeteries, Sutro Bath ruins, and Rose Court Mansion used for filming are also still standing. Fans of the movie Harold and Maude can visit most of the locations in California that were used throughout filming.

Meeting Maude for the first time scene in Harold and Maude

Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery, 1500 Mission Road, Colma, California

One of the first scenes in the comedy Harold and Maude shows Harold meeting the old woman for the first time. This happens when he decides to go to the funeral Mass being held for a stranger. Harold goes to funerals for fun, especially if he does not know the person being buried, and when he runs into Maude, he finds out she likes to do the same. Not only does she like to go to funerals, but she also enjoys stealing cars for fun.

When Harold learns about this other hobby of hers, he asks, “You hop in any car you want and just drive off?”

Maude tells him she doesn’t just pick any random car but is actually careful in the vehicle she chooses to steal. She tells Harold she likes to have variety in that sense.

When Harold tells Maude this is upsetting people, her response is, “Well, if some people get upset because they feel they have a hold on some things, I'm merely acting as a gentle reminder: here today, gone tomorrow, so don't get attached to things. Now, with that in mind, I'm not against collecting things.”

The first meeting of Harold and Maude was filmed at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery, near San Francisco, California.

One of the early scenes before this shows Harold explaining to his psychiatrist that he goes to funerals for fun.

After asking what makes him fulfilled and satisfied, Harold’s response is, “I go to funerals.”

Running from the cops scene in Harold and Maude

Dumbarton Bridge, Newark, California

There is a chase scene in Harold and Maude that shows the duo fleeing from a motorcycle officer across a bridge. The bridge that was used for shooting this scene was Dumbarton Bridge.

Before the chase, Maude tells the officer, “Don’t get officious. You're not yourself when you're officious - That is the curse of a government job.”

Harold and Maude make a quick escape from the officer in what fans consider one of the best scenes in the dark comedy movie. The bridge found in the scene, Dumbarton Bridge, does not look the same as it did during the filming of the movie. In 1982, a new bridge was established and built to be wider than the old one. It is found between Union City and Palo Alto in California.

Harold pretends to drown scene in Harold and Maude

400 Beach Street, Santa Cruz, California

In the movie Harold and Maude, there are several scenes where Harold pretends to kill himself. He does this in new ways each time, hoping to get some kind of reaction out of his mother. There is one scene where he pretends to drown in the pool, face down in the water. However, his mother is so used to her son’s antics at this point that she just swims right by him as if she doesn’t even notice him.

When Harold is sent to a psychoanalyst and had to talk about his pretend suicides, the therapist wants to know how many times he has pretended to kill himself.

Harold tells the psychiatrist, “An accurate number would be difficult to gauge.”

When asked for a rough estimate Harold finally offers a number; fifteen.

The psychiatrist asks him, “Were they all done for your mother's benefit?”

Harold’s answer is, “No. No, I would not say ‘benefit.’”

The pool Harold pretends to drown in is at his own home. The location used for Harold and his mother’s home was Rose Court Mansion in Hillsborough, California.

In the flower field scene in Harold and Maude

San Francisco, California

It is during this scene that Maude reveals she would like to be a sunflower if she was a flower.

Maude says, “I should like to change into a sunflower most of all. They’re so tall and simple. What flower would you like to be?”

Harold responds by saying he would like to be one of the smaller white flowers in the field where they sit.

When Maude asks why he chose that flower he says, “Because they’re all alike.”

The old woman responds by telling Harold, “Oooh, but they’re not. Look. See, some are smaller, some are fatter, some grow to the left, some to the right, and some even have lost some petals. All kinds of observable differences.”

Harold’s dating questionnaire scene in Harold and Maude

Rose Court Mansion, 2690 Peralta Oaks Court, Oakland, California

During the movie Harold and Maude, Harold’s mother spends a lot of time trying to get her son to find a girlfriend considered suitable. Of course, Harold scares all of them off in a new way each time. There is a scene where Harold’s mother sits at a desk, reading off the questions on a dating questionnaire.

She fills out the answers for her son while he sits in a chair in front of the desk. As she talks, he pulls out a gun and pretends to shoot himself in the head. Harold’s mother is used to these stunts by now and does not even flinch as she continues with the dating questions.

When his mother walks in with the questionnaire she tells him, “I have here, Harold, the forms sent out by the National Computer Dating Service. It seems to me that as you do not get along with the daughters of my friends this is the best way for you to find a prospective wife.”

Her only response when her son pretends to kill himself is, “Harold! Please!” She then continues with the form.

Maude’s 80th birthday party scene in Harold and Maude

313 Oyster Point Boulevard, South San Francisco, California

During Maude’s 80th birthday party, Harold finds out that Maude has taken enough sleeping pills to kill herself. While Harold didn’t know this, Maude was always planning to go out when she turned 80, and that did not change when she started a relationship with Harold.

During the party, she tells him, “What a fuss this is -- so unnecessary.”

Harold doesn’t want her to die and says, “Don't die, Maude, for Christ’s sake.”

He goes on to say that he loves her, but it does not change that Maude wants to die.

She tells Harold, “Oh, Harold... That's wonderful. Go and love some more.”

The party is held at his house, Rose Court Mansion. However, the party cuts to shots in the back of the ambulance where Harold is upset and asks Maude not to leave him.

Conclusion

While Harold and Maude, a dark comedy written by Colin Higgins, was not popular when it first came out, it is a cult classic today. Higgins wrote it as the thesis for his master’s degree at film school. In addition to the thesis being turned into a full screenplay and movie, it was also adapted into a novel and a play.

The National Film Registry decided to preserve the movie in 1997. In 2012, it was re-released on BluRay as well as DVD. In 2000, Harold and Maude was ranked 45 out of 100 funniest movies ever made by the American Film Institute. The film casts Bud Cort as Harold and Ruth Gordon as Maude. Other stars of this hilarious movie include Vivian Pickles, Cyril Cusack, and Charles Tyner. The entire film was shot in locations across the San Francisco Bay Area.