Drama The Best Drama Movies Set in San Francisco  

Ranker Film
133 votes 19 voters 27 items

List Rules The drama movie must be primarily set in San Francisco.

There have been many outstanding drama films set in San Francisco. The city is very diverse and photogenic, with a number of notable landmarks including -- but not limited to -- the Golden Gate Bridge, the Transamerica Pyramid, and the classic trollies. Filmmakers enjoy making use of its qualities and showing what it has to offer. Drama movies based in San Francisco run the gamut from legal thrillers to biopics, human stories to socially-conscious tales much like Milk. A couple of them are certified classics such as Escape from Alcatraz and The Joy Luck Club.

Vote up the best drama movies set in San Francisco below. If you know of any that aren't included here, add them to the list and let others weigh in. 

list ordered by
1
7 3
Zodiac is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in San Francisco
Robert Downey Jr., Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo
Zodiac is a 2007 American mystery-thriller film directed by David Fincher and based on Robert Graysmith's non-fiction book of the same name. Zodiac tells the story of the manhunt for a person ...more
2
6 2
Vertigo is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in San Francisco
James Stewart, Kim Novak, Alfred Hitchcock
Vertigo is a 1958 American psychological thriller film directed and produced by Alfred Hitchcock. The story was based on the 1954 novel D'entre les morts by Boileau-Narcejac. The screenplay was ...more
3
5 2
Escape from Alcatraz is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in San Francisco
Clint Eastwood, Danny Glover, Patrick McGoohan
Escape from Alcatraz is a 1979 American prison film, directed by Don Siegel and starring Clint Eastwood. It is based on true events. It dramatizes possibly the only successful escape attempt ...more
4
4 2
Mrs. Doubtfire is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in San Francisco
Robin Williams, Pierce Brosnan, Sally Field
Mrs. Doubtfire is a 1993 American comedy film, starring Robin Williams and Sally Field and based on the novel Alias Madame Doubtfire by Anne Fine. It was directed by Chris Columbus and ...more
5
3 1
48 Hrs. is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in San Francisco
cyrusbal2000 added Eddie Murphy, Nick Nolte, Annette O'Toole
48 Hrs. is a 1982 American action comedy film directed by Walter Hill, starring Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy as a cop and convict, respectively, who team up to catch a cop-killer. The title ...more
6
3 1
Dirty Harry is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in San Francisco
cyrusbal2000 added Clint Eastwood, Don Siegel, Andrew Robinson
Dirty Harry is a 1971 American action film produced and directed by Don Siegel, the first in the Dirty Harry series. Clint Eastwood plays the title role, in his first outing as San Francisco ...more
7
4 3
Milk is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in San Francisco
James Franco, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin
Milk is a 2008 American biographical film based on the life of gay rights activist and politician Harvey Milk, who was the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California, ...more
8
4 3
The Conversation is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in San Francisco
Harrison Ford, Robert Duvall, Gene Hackman
The Conversation is a 1974 American psychological thriller film written, produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Gene Hackman with supporting roles by John Cazale, Allen ...more
9
3 2
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in San Francisco
Katharine Hepburn, Sidney Poitier, Spencer Tracy
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner is a 1967 American comedy-drama film produced and directed by Stanley Kramer and written by William Rose. It stars Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier and Katharine ...more
10
3 2
Foul Play is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in San Francisco
cyrusbal2000 added Goldie Hawn, Chevy Chase, Dudley Moore
Foul Play is a 1978 American comic mystery/thriller film written and directed by Colin Higgins, and starring Goldie Hawn, Chevy Chase, Dudley Moore, Burgess Meredith, Eugene Roche, Rachel ...more
11
3 2
The Game is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in San Francisco
Sean Penn, Michael Douglas, Spike Jonze
The Game is a 1997 American mystery thriller film directed by David Fincher, starring Michael Douglas and Sean Penn, and produced by Propaganda Films and PolyGram Filmed Entertainment. It tells ...more
12
3 2
The Joy Luck Club is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in San Francisco
Ming-Na Wen, Andrew McCarthy, Vivian Wu
The Joy Luck Club is a 1993 American film about the relationships between Chinese-American women and their Chinese mothers. Directed by Wayne Wang, the film is based on the eponymous 1989 novel ...more
13
3 2
They call me MISTER Tibbs is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in San Francisco
Sidney Poitier, Ed Asner, Martin Landau
They Call Me Mister Tibbs!, stylized with emphasis on "Mister", is a 1970 film, a sequel to 1967's In the Heat of the Night. The title was taken from a line in the first film. Sidney ...more
14
2 1
The Last Black Man in San Fran... is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in San Francisco
Jimmie Fails, Jonathan Majors, Danny Glover
The Last Black Man in San Francisco is a 2019 American drama film, directed by Joe Talbot. A young man searches for home in the changing city that seems to have left him behind.
15
2 2
The Graduate is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in San Francisco
Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, Richard Dreyfuss
The Graduate is a 1967 American comedy-drama film directed by Mike Nichols. It is based on the 1963 novel The Graduate by Charles Webb, who wrote it shortly after graduating from Williams ...more
16
2 2
The Presidio is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in San Francisco
Meg Ryan, Sean Connery, Mark Harmon
The Presidio is a 1988 American mystery film, directed by Peter Hyams, starring Sean Connery and Mark Harmon. Hyams also photographed. The score was composed by Bruce Broughton.
17
1 2
House of Sand and Fog is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in San Francisco
Jennifer Connelly, Ben Kingsley, Kim Dickens
House of Sand and Fog is a 2003 American drama film directed by Vadim Perelman. The screenplay by Perelman and Shawn Lawrence Otto is based on the novel of the same name by Andre Dubus III. The ...more
18
1 2
Dark Passage is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in San Francisco
Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart, Agnes Moorehead
Dark Passage is a Warner Bros. film noir directed by Delmer Daves and starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. The film is based on the novel of the same name by David Goodis. It was the ...more
19
1 2
Blue Jasmine is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in San Francisco
Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, Louis C.K.
Blue Jasmine is a 2013 American dark comedy-drama film written and directed by Woody Allen. It tells the story of a rich Manhattan socialite who falls into hard times and has to move in to her ...more
20
1 2
The Maltese Falcon is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in San Francisco
Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre, Mary Astor
The Maltese Falcon is a 1941 Warner Bros. film noir based on the novel of the same name by Dashiell Hammett. Directed by John Huston, the film stars Humphrey Bogart as private investigator Sam ...more
21
1 2
The House on Telegraph Hill is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in San Francisco
Richard Basehart, William Lundigan, Valentina Cortese
The House on Telegraph Hill is a 1951 American film noir directed by Robert Wise, and starring Richard Basehart, Valentina Cortese, and William Lundigan. Parts of the film were filmed on ...more
22
1 2
The Towering Inferno is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in San Francisco
cyrusbal2000 added O. J. Simpson, Paul Newman, Faye Dunaway
The Towering Inferno is a 1974 American action drama disaster film produced by Irwin Allen featuring an all-star cast led by Steve McQueen and Paul Newman. The picture was directed by John ...more
23
2 4
The Pursuit of Happyness is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in San Francisco
Will Smith, Thandie Newton, Jaden Smith
The Pursuit of Happyness is a 2006 American biographical drama film based on Chris Gardner's nearly one-year struggle with homelessness. Directed by Gabriele Muccino, the film features Will ...more
24
1 3
Basic Instinct is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in San Francisco
Sharon Stone, Michael Douglas, Jeanne Tripplehorn
Basic Instinct is a 1992 French-American neo-noir erotic thriller film directed by Paul Verhoeven and written by Joe Eszterhas, and starring Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone. The film is about a ...more
25
0 3
Birdman of Alcatraz is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in San Francisco
Burt Lancaster, Telly Savalas, Karl Malden
Birdman of Alcatraz is a 1962 film starring Burt Lancaster and directed by John Frankenheimer. It is a largely fictionalized version of the life of Robert Stroud, a federal prison inmate known ...more