The Ransom Run – Forest Hill Station


Forest Hill Station

First stop after Marina Green is Forest Hill Station. This beautiful MUNI station is the oldest underground station in the USA west of Chicago (source).

Finding the station in 2009 was easy enough but it was challenging to figure out the angle Harry approached the station from.

At 00:47:50 Harry appears to run downhill to a side entry.



A house at the top left corner of 00:47:50, helps identify the perspective. The house is located on the opposite side of the park in nearby Magellan Avenue. Here’s the same view in Spring 2009:

Forest Hill Station and Magellan Avenue house

Forest Hill Station and Magellan Avenue house

The doorway Harry ran through in 1971 has been built over but the archway can still be seen.  An article in the San Francisco Chronicle says the station was remodeled in 1985.

The 1971 entrance to Forest Hill station was built over in 1985

Spring 2009 – Harry’s entrance to Forest Hill station was built over in 1985

The San Francisco Public Library has the following image of Forest Hill Station, taken in 1953, which shows the same entrance Harry used (Source):

Forest Hill Station in 1953

Forest Hill Station in 1953

At 00:48:00 Harry enters the station and walks past a grey door, then the top of the stairway as he heads for the phone.

Entry to the station

Entry to the station

The archway above the original entry is recognisable today (where the “Downtown” sign hangs) as is the stairway Harry runs down to take the K car to Church & 20th (Source):

Inside Forest Hill Station

Inside Forest Hill Station

In 2009, the grey door is brown and the stairs are still there, but if you look closely you’ll see they have different newels (the post at the top of the stairs on either side) and balusters (the framework) (Source):

Brown is the new grey

Brown is the new grey

Entry, stairs and newsstand

Entry, stairs and newsstand

"Downstairs, take the K car, get off at Church & 20th, hurry or you'll blow it."

NEXT    “…downstairs, take the K-Car, hurry or you’ll blow it…”


9 Responses to The Ransom Run – Forest Hill Station

  1. August says:

    Great website! Been to many of these sites over the years just living here, they really make the movie.

  2. ted says:

    how miles was it from Marina by SAFEWAY to Forest Hill Station??? i cant remember for sure, but didnt Harry have to get here on foot.

  3. Tim says:

    Yeah, I just saw Dirty Harry for the first time and I was thinking the same thing. Then he had to run back north from Church & 20th to the Aquatic Park, then all the way back down to Mount Davidson? With those clothes/shoes and heavy bag of cash?

  4. FriscoTim says:

    Awesome work man. I grew up right near forest hills station…I ran down those stairs everyday for years. I’m watching Dirty Harry now, and It was at the ransom scene. I said to myself, “that looks like Forest Hills station”, and low and behold I was right. Thanks to your work. I am a native sf guy, and love sf movies. I can see Mt. Davidson (the cross scene) out my parents window. Thanks for the cool article.

  5. Judy says:

    We had an out-of-town houseguest over Memorial Day Weekend and watched Dirty Harry for the first time (or the first time in 41 years for our Maryland friend). It turned out to be a great choice, all credit to TIVO for suggesting it. We live one MUNI stop from Forest Hill Station, in the shadow of Mt. Davidson, and were exclaiming every time we saw something unusual: that blue wall paint around the tunnel and the SNACK BAR in Forest Hill Station! The truth is that at night, without a car, no one could make the ransom run that Harry made. But so what? Great fun for all.

  6. Roger says:

    If I’m not mistaken, the woman that is reading a book as Clint runs past is his then wife, Maggie Eastwood.

  7. Owen says:

    And the word KYLE is spray-painted in one of the stairwells. Kyle is the name of Eastwood’s son, who would have been about 3 at the time of this movie’s release.

  8. Tim says:

    If I remember correctly, been many years. The guy that ran the snack bar back in the day, in the 60s and early 70s was blind. He was close to it anyway. Made many trips up and down the stairs and in the elevator years ago.
    Justed watched dirty harry, been years. Brought back many memories.

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