City Hall

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San Francisco City Hall at 1 Carlton B Goodlett Pl, San Francisco

San Francisco City Hall at 1 Carlton B Goodlett Pl, San Francisco

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San Francisco’s City Hall building features throughout the movie but for a complete perspective start at 01:24:20 as the schoolbus hijack scene fades to flag poles at Civic Centre Park.

In 1971, Lt. Al Bressler steps out onto the Mayor‘s balcony and beckons Harry inside. Look to the left of 01:24:38 and you can see the horizontal flag pole from the Mayor‘s office. There’s also the view of flags lining the fountain pool in Civic Center Park.

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1971 - Mayor's flag pole (left) and view down Civic Center Park

1971 – Mayor’s flag pole (left) and view down Civic Center Park

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1971 - Lt Kessler waits by the flag pole at the Mayor's balcony

1971 – Lt Kessler waits by the flag pole at the Mayor’s balcony

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In the 21st century the City Hall building seems identical but the Civic Center fountain pool has gone, replaced by gravel (see image at the top of this post). The flag pole and the entry door Harry walked through are the same.

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City Hall entry and flag pole in 2009

City Hall entry and flag pole today

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Harry walks through the entrance and enters the rotunda, goes up the stairs and into the Major‘s office.

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1971 - Harry approaches the main hall

1971 – Harry approaches the rotunda

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2009 - interior entrance to main hall

Today – approach to the rotunda

You can also use StreetView to look straight inside the foyer toward the rotunda where Clint Eastwood was filmed:

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By 01:25:12 Harry is crossing the rotunda and climbing the stairway.

1971 - climbing the stairs to the Mayor's office

1971 – climbing the stairs to the Mayor’s office

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2009 - City Hall stairs

Today – City Hall stairs

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2009 - City Hall's dome

Today – City Hall’s rotunda ceiling

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San Francisco City Hall is a beautiful building and many other movies have featured here. Scenes on the steps alone can be seen in Raiders of the Lost Ark (final scene with Indy and Marion) and Milk (Sean Penn). You can see more images from City Hall’s own website here.
Between February and May 2009 local artist Bill Fontana’s sound sculpture Spiralling Echoes could be heard throughout the Rotunda. The sounds included birds, water in the Bay, and cable cars. You can learn more about Spiraling Echoes, and listen to a sample, at Bill Fontana’s own website.
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3 Responses to City Hall

  1. Terry Green says:

    There are many good stories about the stairs. I remember the House of Un-American activities with the SFPD motorcycle dragging demostrators down the stairfs bump bang as their butt hit each step. Or the locking of the local bar which kept so many from the cameras.

  2. lg says:

    lt. bressler not kessler

  3. Brad Larney says:

    I watched them film the scene where Harry pulls up in front of City Hall and walks up the stairs to the Mayor’s office. Very cool to see how the extras and crew worked on the set.
    Clint Eastwood had autographed a Fist Full of Dollars poster “To the crew of Dirty Harry -Clint Eastwood, –and it was hanging in a trailer with electrical gear next to where I was standing and observing with a few others just south of City Hall on the sidewalk. I was hoping to get in the sweep shot. Guys on the crew were very approachable and answered a few questions I had. No idea at the time the film would be so iconic. I was age 16. THANKS!

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