The Swimming Pool

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Dirty Harry opens with Scorpio‘s (Andy Robinson‘s) view of a swimming pool on top of a San Francisco high rise. A young woman (Diana Davidson) in a yellow swimsuit dives into the pool. Scorpio takes aim, fires, the girl gasps, and sinks to the bottom.

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1971 - actress Diana Davidson gets that sinking feeling

1971 – actress Diana Davidson gets that sinking feeling

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In 1971, the rooftop pool was at the Holiday Inn Select Downtown & Spa,  750 Kearny Street, San Francsico, CA 94108. In 2006 Hilton Hotels reopened the Holiday Inn as the Hilton San Francisco Financial District but the rooftop pool was closed.

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2009 - Hilton Financial, formerly the Holiday Inn

2009 – Hilton Financial, formerly the Holiday Inn

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2009 - The Hilton and 555 California taken from Kearny St

2009 – The Hilton and 555 California taken from Kearny St

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The highest level hotel guests can now go to is level 27, which is the level below the pool. There’s no level 28 button in the elevator.

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2009 - highest public floor at the Hilton

2009 – highest public floor at the Hilton Financial

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Hank Donat from MisterSF.com has the following image of the pool taken a few years ago, note 555 California in the distance:

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The rooftop pool at the Hilton

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The Hilton is a delightful place to stay. The staff are friendly and the hotel is well located. With a room on the Bay side of the hotel it’s possible to see Coit Tower, Condor Club, Saints Peter & Paul Church, 555 California, Columbus Avenue and Broadway. Below is a Bay side view of Telegraph Hill I’ve had from the Hilton as the airship Eureka passes by:

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Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill from the Hilton. Zeppelin Airship Eureka from airshipventures.com in the background.

Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill from the Hilton.

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If your room is on the Market side of the hotel then you’ll see 555 California where Scorpio shot from.

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2009 - 555 California viewed from a city-side room of the Hilton

2009 – 555 California viewed from a Market-side room of the Hilton

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Room key wallet from the Hilton Financial
Room key wallet from the Hilton Financial

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17 Responses to The Swimming Pool

  1. Doug says:

    Good site…I was watching this movie and looked for the pool, it took about an hour to figure out it was this building, because there was no pool, I thought it was a fake pool just for the movie, but you helped.

  2. monica says:

    I was looking for this pool on Google Earth, understand now why I couldnt find it. I swimmed in this pool in 1987, fun to see 🙂

    Norway

  3. Harry says:

    This is a great site, always interesting to see these places in the real after so many years. You could be onto something with this idea, how about doing a similar thing for the Lee Marvin classic “Point Blank” – it too was filmed in CA and uses some fascinating locations, in some ways Dirty Harry seems to have been influenced a little by Point Blank, in my view.

  4. this is the greatest cop movie ever…if I were the writer of this blog, I would add the Pauline Kale in “the New Yorker” link because she was the most influential critic (and, in my opinion, the reason why “Magnum Force” sucked! until “the Enforcer” reunited Harry with more of the original story…I might also want to get some Sylvester Stallone interviews on “Cobra” which was not so much a “Dirty Harry ripoff as it was truly a tribute because of his clever use of Andy Robinson in a key role…jpm01609@yahoo

  5. Murray says:

    From an Australian who loves San Francisco, this is a great website!

  6. Chris in VA says:

    Wow! Is there nothing one can’t find on the web?! Just watched the opening “swimming pool” scene in “Dirty Harry” and wondered if I could find the pool,indeed if it still existed, online. After first doing a futile and brief aerial search I simply Googled “Dirty Harry rooftop pool” and BAM! Here I land! Thanks! Enjoyed a trip down memory lane.

  7. John Dedi says:

    Took photograph of pool with wife and friend swiming in 1997. Thanks for pointing out current location. Spent ages looking for it.

  8. BeachBumRAP says:

    Your link to the IMDb site for actress Diana Davidson, the swimmer who got shot in the rooftop pool, shows she was born in Australia in March of 1929. She would have been 42 during the time Dirty Harry was filmed. No way she looked that young at 42. Since it appears she didn’t make any movies outside of Australia, I conclude IMDb made a mistake in identification. None of the other actresses named Diana Davidson fit the bill.

  9. Gerr says:

    I was visiting San Fran with my dad in summer of 72 when I was 11 yrs old. I remember playing in the park across the street from the Holiday Inn, thinking I wish we were staying at this impressive looking hotel. All this time I never knew the pool scene was filmed there. Thanks.

  10. Randy says:

    The pool is now a garden for one of the hotel restaurants.

    • Steven Wells says:

      If I were that hotel owner I’d turn the roof into a Dirty Harry Bar… the barman could ask “if you’d like six shots, or only five” and a drink that would “blow your head clean off” could be called “Do you feel lucky, punk?”.

  11. Steven Wells says:

    Watching it now, they don’t make cop movies like this anymore. Decided to locate the pool – still there after 40 years, what a pity it’s empty and disused. I’ll bet nobody working in that building even knows its history. Movies are such a part of our society, they should have an “Endangered Movie Locations” list for protection. That would be cool.

  12. Tom Ryugo says:

    555 California was always known as the Bank of America building but now it’s owned by Vornado Reality Trust.

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