San Francisco in Cinema: Bullitt

1153 Taylor Street. Detail
The streets of San Francisco helped director Peter Yates revolutionize cinema with the original, the mother of all car chases in the 1968 action film Bullitt. Highlights are magic flip-flops between Russian Hill and Potrero Hill, as well as some wild hills on Taylor Street and frequent appearances by the same green VW Beetle. As played by Steve McQueen, Bullitt was a tough cop before Dirty Harry. Assigned to protect a witness, Bullitt soon realizes things are not as they appear in this story of political corruption also starring Robert Vaughn, Robert Duvall, and Jacqueline Bisset. Bullitt is a stylish classic that has held up nicely. Well, except for a scene in which five men stand around a huge fax machine that has an acoustic coupler and carbon paper! Nearly a full minute of screen time goes by as the cops wait in silence for the incoming fax! Surely this was cutting edge police communications equipment in 1968. The license number on Bullitt's green Mustang is JJZ 109. Bullit's was a moss green '67 fastback. Keep your eyes peeled; there are a couple of cars matching Bullit's around town. Det. Lt. Frank Bullitt lived at 1153 Taylor Street and used the corner market across the street at Clay and Taylor. The Robert Vaughn character lived at 2700 Vallejo Street. Bisset and McQueen dine out at the Coffee Cantata restaurant, 2026 Union Street.

In the film's opening sequence, the Bush Street exit of the garage in the 450 Sutter Medical Building represents a fictional location in Chicago. The east side of the building at 645 Bush Street along the Chelsea Street alley remains scarred from cars hitting the wall during the filming of this scene.

Detail I
Detail II
Detail III
Detail IV: 450 Sutter Street

More about Bullitt

Copyright 2001-2003 Hank Donat home