This year marks the 50th anniversary of the master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” filmed in Bodega Bay. So many filmmakers including the illustrious George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola and Wes Craven have all brought camera & crew to the Santa Rosa area forever sealing our claim to movie magic fame. As you drive through the area take a peek at these notorious locations transformed for the big screen.
In 1943’s “Shadow of a Doubt” Alfred Hitchcock’s personal favorite, he filmed at Santa Rosa Railroad Depot, NWP Engine #140, Old Courthouse Square, the old ivy-covered public library and McDonald Avenue in a thriller about a young woman who suspects her uncle of being the infamous Merry Widow serial killer. In 1963 Alfred Hitchcock came back to shoot “The Birds” where Tippi Hedren and hundreds of birds created a chilling thrill ride about what would happen if birds ever got tired of humans in breathtaking scenes in and around Bodega Bay.
In 1972 Robert Redford shot “The Candidate” with a big rally scene at Santa Rosa’s Howarth Park in addition to other parts of town (identified as San Diego in the film). In the 1973 classic “American Graffiti” a young director George Lucas (before “Star Wars”) famously turned Petaluma into a generic American small town where teenagers came out to play. The young cast became hugely famous including; Richard Dreyfuss, Harrison Ford and Ron Howard. The film was nominated for five Oscars.
The 1986 cult classic “Peggy Sue Got Married” was lovingly crafted by director Francis Ford Coppola in Santa Rosa. This was long before he established his winery in Geyserville and stared Kathleen Turner and Nicolas Cage. Look for Santa Rosa High School and Petaluma’s D Street along with other sites. Turner won an Oscar for Best Actress for her role. Coppola returned in 1988 to film “Tucker: The Man and His Dream” a true story about a visionary car designer, played by Jeff Bridges. Locations include a home in Sonoma and the Petaluma Speedway.
Worth renting for the stunning vineyard shots “A Walk in the Clouds” (1995) stars Keanu Reeves and (winery patriarch) Anthony Quinn. The story is set in Napa Valley, but the scenes were shot at Sonoma County locations, including Haywood’s Winery.
1996’s “Phenomenon” starring the fabulous John Travolta shot many scenes at the venerable Wagon Wheel Inn in Santa Rosa. Also in 1996, “Scream” Director Wes Craven, creator of “Nightmare on Elm Street” came here for his popular teen-slasher favorite, shooting on McDonald Avenue and at the Bradley Video Store on Marlow Road.
Steve Martin cracked us up in 2003’s “Cheaper by the Dozen” filmed at Santa Rosa’s Railroad Square area. Based on the true story of California wines’ historic victory over French wines; the infamous movie “Bottle Shock” (2008) staring Bill Pullman and Alan Rickman focused on Chateau Montelena, a historic cabernet and chardonnay producer in Calistoga and included shoots throughout Sonoma county.
To pick up a fun map of ALL the many movies filmed here pop-in and visit our Welcome Center. While there you’ll also find one-of-a-kind keepsakes from life here in Santa Rosa. Located at 9 Fourth Street in historic Railroad Square; open daily, (707) 577-8674 or firstname.lastname@example.org.