San Francisco Movie Quotes

13 min read

“San Francisco Movie Quotes” is a collection that celebrates the beauty and charm of San Francisco through the power of memorable movie lines. This captivating compilation shares both the plot and characters of various films set in this iconic city, while also highlighting a selection of unforgettable quotes that have become ingrained in popular culture. From heartwarming romances to thrilling adventures, this product offers a delightful journey through the cinematic history of San Francisco, allowing readers to reminisce about beloved movies and rediscover the magic of this vibrant city all over again.

San Francisco Movie Quotes

1. San Francisco (1936)

1.1 Plot

In the film “San Francisco,” set in the year 1906, the story revolves around a love triangle between a powerful saloon owner, Blackie Norton (Clark Gable), a talented and virtuous singer, Mary Blake (Jeanette MacDonald), and a wealthy and influential socialite, Jack Burley (Jack Holt). As the city of San Francisco goes through a period of rapid growth and change, the characters find themselves caught in the midst of a devastating earthquake that tests their bonds and forces them to confront their true desires and priorities.

1.2 Characters

  • Blackie Norton (Clark Gable): The charming and charismatic owner of the notorious Paradise Club. He is known for his generosity, street smarts, and loyalty to his friends.
  • Mary Blake (Jeanette MacDonald): A talented singer from Bensonville who dreams of making it big in the entertainment industry. She finds herself torn between her love for Blackie and her aspirations for a better life.
  • Jack Burley (Jack Holt): A wealthy and influential socialite who becomes infatuated with Mary. He represents the allure of a more refined and luxurious lifestyle.

1.3 Memorable Quotes

  • Blackie Norton: “When the earthquake starts, don’t let anybody get out of this building. That’s the order. We stay right here.”
  • Mary Blake: “I’ve found a place where my kind of singing and my kind of life can make sense.”
  • Jack Burley: “You’re a great artist, Mary. And that’s something to be grateful for – and proud of.”

2. Vertigo (1958)

2.1 Plot

Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” follows the story of retired detective John “Scottie” Ferguson (James Stewart), who is hired to investigate the strange behavior of a wealthy friend’s wife, Madeleine (Kim Novak). As Scottie uncovers the truth behind Madeleine’s mysterious actions, he becomes dangerously obsessed with her, leading to a shocking twist and a profound exploration of love, loss, and obsession.

2.2 Characters

  • John “Scottie” Ferguson (James Stewart): A former detective suffering from acrophobia, Scottie is haunted by his past experiences. He becomes entangled in a complex web of deception and desire as he delves deeper into the enigmatic Madeleine’s world.
  • Madeleine Elster/Judy Barton (Kim Novak): The enigmatic and troubled woman whom Scottie is tasked with investigating. Her duality adds a layer of ambiguity and suspense to the story.
  • Midge Wood (Barbara Bel Geddes): Scottie’s loyal and supportive friend, who harbors unrequited love for him.

2.3 Memorable Quotes

  • Scottie Ferguson: “Only one is a wanderer. Two together are always going somewhere.”
  • Madeleine Elster: “Oh, Scottie, do you believe that someone out of the past – someone dead – can enter and take possession of a living being?”
  • Scottie Ferguson: “It’s the first time I ever made a mistake like that. It’s the last time.”

3. Dirty Harry (1971)

3.1 Plot

In “Dirty Harry,” the iconic Clint Eastwood portrays Inspector Harry Callahan, a tough and unorthodox San Francisco police detective on the hunt for the ruthless serial killer known as Scorpio (Andrew Robinson). As Harry battles against Scorpio’s sadistic acts and the limitations of the legal system, he faces a moral dilemma of using unconventional and violent methods to bring the murderer to justice.

3.2 Characters

  • Inspector Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood): A no-nonsense, rule-bending police detective. His relentless pursuit of justice often puts him at odds with the bureaucratic system.
  • Scorpio (Andrew Robinson): The disturbing and sadistic serial killer who terrorizes the city, leaving behind a trail of brutal murders.
  • Chico Gonzalez (Reni Santoni): Harry’s loyal and determined partner, who wrestles with the ethical dilemmas and risks associated with Harry’s methods.

3.3 Memorable Quotes

  • Harry Callahan: “I know what you’re thinking. ‘Did he fire six shots or only five?’ Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I’ve kinda lost track myself. But being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya, punk?”
  • Scorpio: “I’m gonna make this city so sick and tired of me that when I’ve gone, nobody will ever take my place.”
  • Harry Callahan: “Well, I’m all broken up about that man’s rights.”

San Francisco Movie Quotes

4. The Rock (1996)

4.1 Plot

“The Rock” takes viewers on an action-packed journey as a rogue group of U.S. Marines, under the command of renegade General Francis Hummel (Ed Harris), seizes control of Alcatraz Island and threatens to launch deadly missiles on San Francisco. To reclaim the island and save innocent lives, the FBI enlists the help of a former British intelligence officer, John Mason (Sean Connery), and an inexperienced chemical weapons specialist, Stanley Goodspeed (Nicolas Cage).

4.2 Characters

  • John Patrick Mason (Sean Connery): A former British spy, imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit, who possesses valuable knowledge about Alcatraz that proves crucial in the mission to take back the island.
  • Stanley Goodspeed (Nicolas Cage): A chemist with the FBI who reluctantly finds himself on the front lines of the mission to neutralize the threat on Alcatraz.
  • General Francis Hummel (Ed Harris): A decorated military veteran who launches his own desperate plan to hold the city hostage in order to bring attention to the plight of fallen soldiers.

4.3 Memorable Quotes

  • John Mason: “This is not about terrorism, this is about justice. It’s about reminding you people of something you find politically inconvenient. It’s about what the public deserves to know.”
  • Stanley Goodspeed: “I’m sorry, was that ‘Goodspeed’ or ‘Waste of Space’?”
  • General Hummel: “I’ll do my best to save you for when this is all over, if you promise to return the favor.”

5. Bullitt (1968)

5.1 Plot

“Bullitt” follows San Francisco police detective Frank Bullitt (Steve McQueen) as he investigates a high-profile murder witness protection case that takes an unexpected turn. As the case unfolds, Bullitt finds himself embroiled in a dangerous game of cat and mouse, navigating the seedy underbelly of the city’s criminal underworld to bring the culprits to justice.

5.2 Characters

  • Frank Bullitt (Steve McQueen): A tough and determined police detective known for his relentless pursuit of justice. He becomes consumed by the pursuit of the truth behind the murder case, risking his own life in the process.
  • Johnny Ross (Pat Renella): A key witness who inadvertently becomes entangled in a deadly conspiracy, leading to the murder of his police protection detail.
  • Delgetti (Don Gordon): Bullitt’s loyal partner, who offers unwavering support and plays a crucial role in uncovering the truth.

5.3 Memorable Quotes

  • Frank Bullitt: “Well, I’ll tell ya, has it ever occurred to you that maybe you’re too damn obvious to be of use to anybody?”
  • Frank Bullitt: “All right, Delgetti. Get somebody on the phone and trace that call!” Delgetti: “Oh, we didn’t have time, Frank. We were so busy just tryin’ to get you.”
  • Frank Bullitt: “We’ll play it cool. We’ll play it slow. We’ll play it any way you want. Just the way I like it. You’re clean.”

6. Milk (2008)

6.1 Plot

Based on the true story of Harvey Milk, an openly gay activist and politician, “Milk” explores his impactful journey as he becomes California’s first openly gay elected official. The film chronicles the challenges and triumphs of Harvey Milk (Sean Penn) as he fights for LGBTQ+ rights and equality in San Francisco, highlighting his political career, personal relationships, and tragic assassination.

6.2 Characters

  • Harvey Milk (Sean Penn): A charismatic and determined activist who becomes a voice for the LGBTQ+ community in San Francisco. He faces bigotry, discrimination, and death threats as he tirelessly fights for equality and representation.
  • Dan White (Josh Brolin): A conservative city supervisor who clashes with Milk politically and eventually assassinates him. His actions shocked the nation and sparked a renewed call for LGBTQ+ rights.
  • Scott Smith (James Franco): Milk’s supportive partner and campaign manager, who plays a vital role in his personal and political life.

6.3 Memorable Quotes

  • Harvey Milk: “All men are created equal. No matter how hard you try, you cannot erase those words.”
  • Harvey Milk: “I’m here to recruit you. I want to recruit you for the fight to preserve your democracy.”
  • Harvey Milk: “Without hope, life is not worth living. You’ve got to give them hope.”

7. Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)

7.1 Plot

“Mrs. Doubtfire” tells the story of Daniel Hillard (Robin Williams), a loving but irresponsible father who transforms himself into the likable and dedicated housekeeper, Mrs. Doubtfire, in order to spend more time with his children after a bitter divorce. The film captures the challenges and humorous situations that arise as Daniel struggles to balance his double life.

7.2 Characters

  • Daniel Hillard/Mrs. Doubtfire (Robin Williams): A loving father and talented voice actor who goes to great lengths to maintain his relationship with his children in the wake of his divorce.
  • Miranda Hillard (Sally Field): Daniel’s ex-wife, who initially sees Mrs. Doubtfire as the perfect nanny but unwittingly becomes close to her disguised ex-husband.
  • Lydia Hillard (Lisa Jakub), Chris Hillard (Matthew Lawrence), and Natalie Hillard (Mara Wilson): Daniel and Miranda’s children who play a central role in the film, torn between their parents’ separation and their love for both.

7.3 Memorable Quotes

  • Mrs. Doubtfire: “Hello! I’m Mrs. Doubtfire. I’ve come to take care of you.”
  • Daniel Hillard: “I hope you don’t mind me being this manner of furry, but I’m really a funny stick.”
  • Mrs. Doubtfire: “Help is on the way, dear!”

8. Zodiac (2007)

8.1 Plot

“Zodiac” is based on the true story of the unsolved Zodiac killer case that terrorized the San Francisco Bay Area in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The film follows the lives of reporters Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Paul Avery (Robert Downey Jr.), as well as police detectives Dave Toschi (Mark Ruffalo) and Bill Armstrong (Anthony Edwards), as they become obsessed with capturing the elusive serial killer and enduring the psychological toll of their pursuit.

8.2 Characters

  • Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal): A cartoonist at the San Francisco Chronicle who becomes captivated by the Zodiac killer case and takes it upon himself to uncover the truth.
  • Paul Avery (Robert Downey Jr.): A journalist at the San Francisco Chronicle who plays a crucial role in reporting on the Zodiac case, but becomes consumed by fear and paranoia as the killer taunts him.
  • Dave Toschi (Mark Ruffalo) and Bill Armstrong (Anthony Edwards): Dedicated detectives assigned to the Zodiac case, who struggle to solve the baffling series of murders and decipher Zodiac’s cryptic messages.

8.3 Memorable Quotes

  • Zodiac Killer: “I like killing people because it is so much fun. It is more fun than killing wild game in the forest because man is the most dangerous animal of all.”
  • Robert Graysmith: “I need to stand there, I need to look him in the eye, and I need to know that it’s him.”
  • Dave Toschi: “I’m not a killer. I’m more like a puzzle solver.”

9. Big Trouble in Little China (1986)

9.1 Plot

“Big Trouble in Little China” is a fantastical action-comedy film that follows Jack Burton (Kurt Russell), a truck driver who finds himself caught up in a supernatural battle in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Teaming up with a band of unlikely heroes, including his friend Wang Chi (Dennis Dun), Jack must navigate a world of martial arts, magic, and ancient Chinese legends to rescue Wang’s fiancée and defeat the evil sorcerer, Lo Pan (James Hong).

9.2 Characters

  • Jack Burton (Kurt Russell): A wisecracking and bumbling truck driver who unwittingly becomes a hero in the mystic underworld of Chinatown.
  • Wang Chi (Dennis Dun): Jack’s best friend and the man determined to save his fiancée. He is skilled in martial arts and helps Jack navigate the supernatural challenges they face.
  • Lo Pan (James Hong): An ancient sorcerer who seeks to regain his mortal form through a complex ritual and will stop at nothing to achieve his goal.

9.3 Memorable Quotes

  • Jack Burton: “Just remember what ol’ Jack Burton does when the earth quakes, and the poison arrows fall from the sky, and the pillars of Heaven shake. Yeah, Jack Burton just looks that big ole storm right square in the eye and he says, ‘Give me your best shot, pal. I can take it.'”
  • Wang Chi: “It’s all in the reflexes.”
  • Jack Burton: “I’m a reasonable guy. But I’ve just experienced some very unreasonable things.”

10. The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

10.1 Plot

“The Pursuit of Happyness” is a biographical drama inspired by the true story of Chris Gardner (Will Smith), a struggling salesman who finds himself homeless and caring for his young son, Christopher (Jaden Smith). Despite facing numerous challenges and setbacks, Chris remains unwavering in his pursuit of a better life, determined to provide for his son and create a brighter future.

10.2 Characters

  • Chris Gardner (Will Smith): A determined and resilient salesman turned stockbroker who perseveres through homelessness and hardship in order to provide a better life for his son.
  • Christopher Gardner Jr. (Jaden Smith): Chris’ young son, who serves as both a source of inspiration and a reminder of the importance of never giving up.
  • Linda (Thandie Newton): Chris’ estranged wife, who leaves him to navigate the challenges of homelessness and single parenthood.

10.3 Memorable Quotes

  • Chris Gardner: “You got a dream, you gotta protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they wanna tell you you can’t do it. You want something? Go get it. Period.”
  • Chris Gardner: “You got a dream… You gotta protect it. You want something… Go get it. Period.”
  • Christopher Gardner Jr.: “Hey dad, you wanna hear something funny? There was a man who was drowning, and a boat came, and the man on the boat said ‘Do you need help?’ and the man said ‘God will save me’. Then another boat came and he tried to help him, but he said ‘God will save me’, then he drowned and went to Heaven. Then the man told God, ‘God, why didn’t you save me?’ and God said ‘I sent you two boats, you dummy!'”

In conclusion, these ten films set in San Francisco provide a diverse mix of genres, plots, and characters. From historical dramas like “San Francisco” and “Milk” to thrilling mysteries like “Vertigo” and “Zodiac,” these movies showcase the city’s versatility as a backdrop for compelling storytelling. Whether it’s the resilience of Harry Callahan in “Dirty Harry,” the hilarious antics of Mrs. Doubtfire in “Mrs. Doubtfire,” or the inspiring journey of Chris Gardner in “The Pursuit of Happyness,” these films have all left an indelible mark on both San Francisco’s cinematic history and the hearts of audiences worldwide.

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