Francis Ford Coppola
Francis has both filmed movie locations in Santa Rosa and has some of his most prized movie memorabilia at his namesake winery in Sonoma County. Francis Ford Coppola shot Peggy Sue Got Married starring Kathleen Turner, Nicolas Cage, Helen Hunt, and Sofia Coppola at Santa Rosa locations like Santa Rosa High School and the Saturday Afternoon Club.
The award-winning director also displays a large collection of his authentic movie memorabilia spanning five decades. Explore academy awards, Don Corleone’s desk from The Godfather, the original automobile from Tucker, scripts, multiple costumes, and actual props from the movies. While you are there, don’t forget to taste wine from the “Director’s Cut” series.
Alfred Hitchcock loved Sonoma County and filmed many of his movies here and helped make Sonoma County a popular Hollywood movie filming location. His first movie filmed in the area was Shadow of a Doubt in 1943. Did you know there was even a TV remake in 1991, as well as a stout beer from Russian River Brewing Company also named Shadow of a Doubt?
One of Hitchcock's most famous movies is also one of the more popular movie locations to visit when in Sonoma County. The Birds starring Tippi Hedren was filmed at locations you can still see today like Sainte Teresa of Avila Church and the Potter School in Bodega Bay.
Santa Rosa & Railroad Square
Alfred Hitchcock loved filming in Santa Rosa and Sonoma County, and Santa Rosa and Sonoma County loved him back. His 1943 film Shadow of a Doubt featured the train station in Railroad Square.
Over 60 years later, Steve Martin ran through Railroad Square as a backdrop for Cheaper By The Dozen Two. Bandits was filmed at The Flamingo Resort and It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World with Spencer Tracy, Milton Berle, Mickey Rooney, and Jonathan Winters was filmed at the Sonoma County Airport. Mumford with Ted Danson and Martin Short was shot at the Astro Motel and the Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC). Phenomenon starring John Travolta, Robert Duvall, Forrest Whitaker, and Kyra Sedgwick was shot at the Wagon Wheel Inn and the SRJC.
Dramas and Classics
Movies with a small-town feel filmed in Sonoma County include Pleasantville with Tobey Maguire, Jeff Daniels, William H. Macy, and Reese Witherspoon, Inventing The Abbotts with Liv Tyler, Joaquin Phoenix, and Jennifer Connelly, and George Lucas’ classic, American Graffiti with Ron Howard, Richard Dreyfuss, Mackenzie Philips, Harrison Ford, and Suzanne Somers. Other classics include The Goonies with Josh Brolin, Disney’s Pollyanna, and The Candidate with Robert Redford.
Comedies filmed in Sonoma County include The Beverly Hillbillies movie, Mike Meyers’ So I Married an Axe Murderer, Howard The Duck with Lea Thompson and Tim Robbins, Flubber with Robin Williams, The Animal with Rob Schneider, and Stop or My Mom Will Shoot with Sylvester Stallone and Estelle Getty.
Horror and Suspense
Some of the top movies filmed in Sonoma County from the horror and suspense genre include Cujo based on the novel by horror writer Stephen King, Wes Craven’s Scream with Drew Barrymore, Courtney Cox, Neve Campbell, and David Arquette, I Know What You Did Last Summer with Freddy Prinz Jr., Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Geller, and Ryan Phillippe, Basic Instinct with Sharon Stone and Michael Douglas, Flatliners with Kiefer Sutherland, Kevin Bacon, Oliver Platt, Julia Roberts, and William Baldwin, John Carpenter’s The Fog with Hal Holbrook, Janet Leigh, Jamie Lee Curtis, and John Houseman, and Die Hard 2 with Bruce Willis.
Wes Craven planned for Santa Rosa to be more prominently featured in his wildly popular Scream (1996), but the Santa Rosa Board of Education turned down his request to shoot scenes for the bloody slasher film at Santa Rosa High School. He still shot at some locations around the county and included a poke at the school board in the movie’s end credits: "No thanks whatsoever to the Santa Rosa City School District Governing Board.”
There are also films about wine country filmed in wine country including Bottle Shock starring Alan Rickman, Chris Pine, and Bill Pullman and 2020's Wine Country directed by Amy Poehler starring Amy Poehler, Rachel Dratch, Ana Gasteyer, Maya Rudolph, Paula Pell, and Tina Fey.
Major television shows filmed in Sonoma County include, 13 Reasons Why, Guy’s Grocery Games, and multiple locations for Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Jay Leno’s Garage, House Hunters, American Pickers, Telenovela, and Tree House Masters just to name a few.
Commercials and Catalog Shoots
With the great outdoors movies are just the start. The scenery also is inviting for filming commercials and catalogs. Examples of commercials and catalogs shot in Sonoma County include Subaru, VW, L.L Bean, and McDonald's. These shoots take place every year and represent just a small sample.
From small screenings to large venues, Sonoma County is also the hub to showcase international talent and films. Throughout the year our destination hosts festivals of all sizes with many dedicated to specific subject matter.
Check out the Sonoma International Film Festival the Israeli Film Festival (jccsoco.org), the Alexander Valley Film Festival (avfilmsociety.org), Film Fest Petaluma, the Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival (sebastopolmilmfestival.org), the Sonoma County Jewish Film Festival, and the Outwatch Film Festival.