12 Movies Featuring the Golden Gate Bridge or the destruction the Golden Gate Bridge
Major cities and their iconic structures have served as the backdrop for movies throughout the decades. The Golden Gate Bridge, and indeed San Francisco as a whole, is notorious for being the shining star in many movies across history. Whether it be sci-fi, romantic comedies, or high-octane action movies, the Golden Gate Bridge is the perfect setting for what memorable movies do best: destruction, death, and even falling in love.
Since its opening in 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge has appeared in over two dozen films in a variety of settings. The art deco giant has been in more movies than any other bridge in the world. Because the Golden Gate is such an iconic landmark, it is a natural inclusion for major scenes in memorable movies.
From romantic comedies to heart-stopping disaster flicks to science fiction epics, here are some of the most popular movies that give the Golden Gate Bridge center stage in a major way.
A stop-motion masterpiece by the legendary Ray Harryhausen, It Came from Beneath the Sea is a classic black and white film that features sea monsters slithering up the bridge. A giant octopus ends up destroying a large portion of the bridge, all done meticulously in a stop-motion style. For fans of early animation in movies, this is a great example straight out of the 1950s that features the iconic Golden Gate Bridge.
The destruction of the bridge is a key plot point where Superman is able to show off his super-power skills in saving a bus of children. After being struck by an earthquake, the bridge begins to crumble and sends a school bus full of innocent children into a panic. Of course, Superman shows up and saves the day (he has an entire movie named after him, after all). For the limited special effects available during the 1970s, the bridge destruction looks pretty darn real.
Roger Moore’s James Bond era was punctuated with a climactic scene involving the Golden Gate Bridge. The villain, played by Christopher Walken, flew a zeppelin over the bridge in an attempt to kill Bond and his love interest, actress Tanya Roberts. The scene saw her dangling precariously from high on one of the cables as Bond tried to save her. True to form, it was an ambitious maneuver indicative of a great Bond film.
Star Trek (the 1980s)
Not to be snubbed by intergalactic movies, the Star Trek franchise decided to use the bridge in several of its movies. In Star Trek – the Voyage Home, there’s a nail-biting moment in which the Klingon Bird of Prey starship land in San Francisco in the year 2286, where the bridge can clearly be seen as Captain Kirk and Spock ride a bus across the Golden Gate in an effort to seek out a rare humpback whale. In later Star Trek movies, Starfleet Command runs the galaxy from its headquarters right near the bridge, providing an out-of-this-world atmosphere.
In what many sci-fi enthusiasts believe to be one of the most convoluted movie plots ever, The Core tells the story of a team of scientists who need to drill a hole in the center of the planet in an effort to trigger a series of explosions to jump-start the rotation of the earth’s core. It features quite a stunning scene where the bridge gets the brunt of the damage, bending the iconic landmark apart like taffy.
NBC televised a two-part mini-series that focused on a series of catastrophic earthquakes along the West Coast of the U.S. The scene with the Golden Gate Bridge is dramatic in that the bridge waves to and fro like a flimsy plastic ruler. The structure finally gives way, along with a few innocent vehicles, until the bridge collapses and the cars fall into the bay.
Sir Ian McKellen as Magento is not messing around in this third installment of the X-Men franchise. Metal-bending mutants display their other-worldly powers when they lift the bridge and move it to Alcatraz, the famous island landmark housing the now-defunct prison of the same name. The sequence is important to the final act and even features the bridge in the promotional posters for the film.
The Golden Gate is featured in movies that aren’t just thrillers, sci-fi, or horror. Going the Distance is a romantic comedy featuring Drew Barrymore. Barrymore plays Erin, a graduate school intern who interviews for a position at the San Francisco Chronicle. The bridge can be seen in background shots throughout the movie given that it’s set in San Francisco.
This movie has an explosive final scene on the Golden Gate Bridge and is considered by many to be an ingenious use of the grandeur of the bridge on the big screen. The leader of the apes, Caesar, leads the ape revolution across the bridge with a massive battle sequence between the apes and the California Highway Patrol. The bridge literally represents the divide between the worlds of humans and primates. The attention to detail with the graphics that went into its production makes for a superlative blockbuster.
Pacific Rim is a brilliantly modern take on the classic monster movie. Featuring robots, monsters, and other sci-fi elements, the destruction of the Golden Gate Bridge seems imminent in this expertly crafted film. While the entire city of San Francisco gets completely destroyed, producers made it a point to demonstrate how one of the film’s larger-than-life creatures can demolish the bridge within seconds. For action movie enthusiasts, Pacific Rim checks off every box.
Everyone’s favorite murderous pre-historic sea monster makes a splash (and a huge mess) on the Golden Gate Bridge. The 2014 film does a good job of building suspense and setting the scene: birds flying away, an imminent storm brewing, etc. The military shoots at Godzilla, clearly upsetting him and causing him to destroy anything in his path, which just so happens to be the Golden Gate Bridge.
Thanks to the lead role played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, this exciting disaster film has what some may say are underwhelming special effects. But San Andreas still has some notable “so-bad-it’s-good” moments, with some humor thrown into the mix. The Golden Gate Bridge sequence demonstrates this perfectly and solidifies the notion that this movie does not take itself too seriously.
Want to visit and drive over the Golden Gate Bridge?
The Golden Gate Bridge stands tall and proud despite being repeatedly destroyed on the big screen. San Francisco Jeep Tours can take you across the bridge during any one of our fully guided jeep tours. Whether you want to see the highlights of San Francisco (Golden Gate being one of them) or want to get out of the city for the day, you can squeeze in some stellar views of the Golden Gate Bridge from the backseat of our open-top convertible jeeps.
Want to know more about the Golden Gate Bridge? Check out more scoop about Golden Gate Bridge info to plan your perfect visit.
- Golden Gate Bridge – Information on access, parking, weather, photo locations, and more
- Top 7 Spots for Photos of the Golden Gate Bridge
- 25 Fun and Interesting Facts About the Golden Gate Bridge
- 10 Cool Ways to Visit the Golden Gate Bridge
- History of the Golden Gate Bridge
- Everything You Want to Know About the Golden Gate Bridge’s Paint Color – Fun Facts, FAQ and more
Book a San Francisco sightseeing tour and explore the Golden Gate Bridge
San Francisco Jeep Tours include routes and stops that offer great views and historical context for those itching to see the bridge. San Francisco Jeep City Tour, Sunset and City Lights San Francisco Jeep Tours and the Full Day Combo City and Muir Woods tour travel to different locations around San Francisco that offer incredible views of the bridge.