View of the Golden Gate Bridge

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April 27, 2016

Movies Featuring the Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge has been ready for its close-up since the day it opened back in 1937. Since then, the bridge has appeared in two dozen films in roles ranging from cameos to star-turns. It has been a drop-dead gorgeous backdrop for silver-screen romances, a staging ground for thrilling smack-downs and a featured player in science fiction and disaster epics.

When it was just four years old, in 1941, the baby bridge made a brief appearance in moody black and white in director John Huston’s crime classic “The Maltese Falcon,’’ starring the legendary Humphrey Bogart as the definitive hard-boiled San Francisco private detective Sam Spade.

Since then, the bridge’s screen appearances have been luminous, heart-pounding and spectacular. Kim Novak pauses outside Fort Point in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 psychological thriller “Vertigo’’ with the great bridge looming overhead, before Jimmy Stewart’s bewildered detective Scotty has to fish Novak’s apparently suicidal Madeleine out of the Bay. Twenty years later, Christopher Reeve carries out an airborne rescue in “Superman: The Movie,’’ as the Man of Steel saves an imperiled group of teens just as their school bus is about to slip off the ‘quake-damaged span.

The Golden Gate Bridge went global even before globalization became an everyday word. In 1985 British super spy James Bond tethers a threatening airship atop one of the bridge’s signature towers in “A View to a Kill.’’ As Roger Moore’s suave agent 007 grapples with arch-villain Max Zorin on the tower, the bridge traffic streams by and the waters churn sickeningly 500 feet below.

More recent flicks include “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” in 2011 where Caesar, a hyper-intelligent chimp, leads a revolution of apes and an epic fight scene on the bridge pits apes against the California Highway Patrol. Audiences also watched in shock as a giant tsunami hurdled an enormous freighter at the span in the 2015 disaster film, “San Andreas,” and flooded much of the city. On a more romantic note, the Golden Gate Bridge is featured in “Going the Distance” a 2010 romantic comedy starring Drew Barrymore and Justin Long. 

The bridge has also gone intergalactic on-screen. It figures in several “Star Trek’’ movies. In the 1986 time-travel adventure “Star Trek IV – The Voyage Home,’’ there’s a catch-in-the-throat moment when a captured Klingon Bird of Prey starship flies under the cloud-shrouded span to land in 1980s San Francisco from the year 2286. William Shatner’s James T. Kirk and Leonard Nimoy’s Mister Spock ride a bus across the bridge to Sausalito, seeking help in finding a rare humpback whale. In the 21st century “Star Trek’’ flicks, Starfleet Command runs the galaxy from its HQ right near the bridge. When it comes to the movies, the Golden Gate Bridge is out of this world.


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