News & Features » Features

Where Was It Filmed?

Our resident tourist guide visits the North Bay locations used in famous—and not so famous—Hollywood movies

by , , , , , and


Page 2 of 5


'Stop or My Mom Will Shoot'

If you've ever wanted to see Sylvester Stallone in nothing but a dress shirt and giant cloth diaper, 'Stop or My Mom Will Shoot' is for you. If you're a Sonoma County resident and you find that mental image more confusingly horrific than Justin Bieber fathering a child, there's another reason to watch this D-grade classic: it was filmed at the Santa Rosa Air Center.

Posing as the Brunswick Air Strip, this one-hanger landing field off Wright Road sets the film's climactic showdown, in which Stallone chases a cargo plane down the runway in a detached semi. He finally grounds the plane, but things look bleak until his frail mother (Estelle Getty) saves the day with a stolen gun, a wicker handbag and the line "Nobody hurts my baby!"

The final scenes of Stop or My Mom Will Shoot were shot over a period of several weeks, though by the film's 1992 release, the small airport had closed. It was built in the early '40s as a Naval auxiliary landing field where fighters, bombers and torpedo pilots were trained, and transitioned to a civilian airport in the mid-'60s, eventually ceasing operations in '91. It's now an empty field, with some barracks doubling as artist studios, near Wright Road at Finley Avenue.

Of course, if panoramic sweeps of the Santa Rosa hills shot from a speeding semi aren't your thing, this cult flick is a treasure trove of other Stallonian nuggets. You can listen to him refer to love as "the feeling stuff." You can revel in the classic wit of lines like "I give you an inch and you take an entire New Jersey turnpike." You can watch him shake a terrier named Pixie. And there's always that diaper—complete with a giant safety pin and strategically draped flap—that will haunt you for the rest of your days.—Rachel Dovey


'True Crime'

Seen from a ferry boat on San Francisco Bay and beautifully lit by the setting sun, the view of San Quentin prison makes one wonder at the value of this astounding piece of Marin County property. Thus opens 'True Crime,' a 1999 murder mystery set in the greater Bay Area, which focuses on a San Quentin death-row murder case. Produced and directed by Clint Eastwood, the film follows the downward arc of Steve Everett (Eastwood), a has-been Oakland Tribune journalist and serial womanizer.

Viewers find a 69-year-old Everett at Petaluma's Washoe House (2840 Stony Point Road), trying to work his magic on a 23-year-old co-worker, Michelle (Mary McCormack). An exterior shot of the 1859 roadhouse appears to be taken from across the street, the neon sign rosily glowing through the rain and fog. Inside, Everett and Michelle are enjoying drinks, sitting at the far end of the brightly lit bar, which in reality is quite dim. You can park your buns in the same seat as Clint; just turn the corner of the bar so you're seated facing the door. In the movie, a white Stroh's sign hangs over the door; it's now replaced with a green and white Beck's sign.

Everett, unsuccessfully making a pass at Michelle, watches her weave her way out the door to her car, illegal in today's world. Michelle turns right onto Roblar Road, guns the engine while playing with the radio and crashes on "Dead Man's Curve," a non-existent feature of this road. After Michelle's death, Everett picks up the case she was working on, and returns to the Washoe House.

The hundreds of dollars pinned to the ceiling are unchanged since the movie's filming, according to waitress Addie Clementino, who has worked there for 29 years. Clementino adds that Eastwood found the location when he stopped in one day with a few of his Bohemian Grove friends. Although she waited on Eastwood during subsequent visits, Clementino and the staff weren't allowed to work during filming. They were, however, paid for their time off.—Suzanne Daly



This horror classic is a treasure chest of local scenery, but due to conservative concerns over the violent nature of the film, as mentioned, 'Scream' (1996) couldn't be filmed at Santa Rosa High School. Its replacement as the film's Woodsboro High was the Sonoma Community Center at 276 E. Napa St. in Sonoma, still standing and looking exactly the same. Interestingly, in Craven's cameo scene as a janitor, there's a hanging banner in the hall reading "Panthers," the mascot for Santa Rosa High School. Other hallway scenes were filmed at the abandoned Yeager & Kirk lumberyard on Santa Rosa Avenue, now demolished.

Many scenes of Woodsboro were filmed in Healdsburg, especially in the Healdsburg Plaza, right downtown, and in front of buildings on Center Street. The Woodsboro police station was the old Healdsburg police station at Center and Matheson, which is now Oakville Grocery and looks completely different. The grocery store scene was filmed at Pacific Market, on Town & Country Drive in Santa Rosa, still there and largely the same. And the video store scene was filmed at Bradley Video, in the shopping center at 3080 Marlow Road, which is now closed.

Scenes at Tatum and Dewey's house were filmed at 824 McDonald Ave. in Santa Rosa, which is the most accessible Scream house to view from the street—you can still see the wraparound porch where Neve Campbell sat in the film. Casey's house, where Drew Barrymore is killed, is on Sonoma Mountain Road in Glen Ellen near Enterprise Road, but it's gated and set far back from the road. Sidney's house is at 1820 Calistoga Road, but it, too, is set off from the road and has been remodeled since the film. The final party-scene house is in Tomales, at the very end of a long driveway marked 3871 Tomales-Petaluma Road. Caution: it's a private drive.—Gabe Meline



The 1999 film 'Mumford' begins with an old-timey shot of Tomales and the voiced-over line "I got out of the truck in this two-bit town." But though the idyllic, fictional town of the movie's title is actually a mashup of nearly every Sonoma County city, the West Marin hamlet isn't among them. Instead, Tomales forms the backdrop to a minor character's twisted fantasies, filled with obliging landladies, their even more obliging teenage daughters and nurses who know tricks "they didn't teach in nursing school."

Out of creepdom and in Mumford's "real" setting, a variety of local landmarks can be spied by the watchful resident eye. The main character, a supposed therapist also named Mumford (Loren Dean), and his friend/client, techy wunderkind Skip Skipperton (Jason Lee), sit down for a drink at Old Main Street Saloon in Sebastopol. Mumford goes home to a Petaluma house, eats lunch in Healdsburg, visits a client in Sonoma and routinely hikes up to vantage point overlooking his piecemeal town in Calistoga. Analy High School was used for several scenes in the film, as well.

Dave Wiseman, now a manager at Video Droid, was an extra in the film. You can see him sitting in an alley next to Zooey Deschanel's character in a montage scene near the end of Mumford, wearing a generic shirt (he'd worn one with his band logo on it, to hopefully show it off in the film but was told he had to change). The alley that they're sitting in connects Kentucky and Keller streets in Petaluma, by the Phoenix Theater. In addition to getting $50 for his day of work, he and his friends were given free packs of cigarettes. Deschanel played a chain-smoking, magazine-obsessed high schooler, but in reality, the wide-eyed actress didn't smoke, and she looked unnatural with her cigarettes, Wiseman recalls, so the director told her to watch and learn from the cast of local extras.

Wiseman had another interaction with the now-well-known actress: he asked her out on a date. "She politely said she was too busy," he recalls. "But I asked. She's super-famous now, but she wasn't at the time. For years, every time she'd be in a movie, I'd get more excited, because more people would know who she was when I told the story."—Rachel Dovey


'Thieves' Highway'

Before he was exiled to France on a Hollywood blacklist for alleged communist ties, the great director Jules Dassin filmed 'Thieves' Highway' (1949), a masterful story set inside the fruit-trucking industry. Though most of the film takes place in and around the Ferry Building in San Francisco, key early scenes at an apple orchard were filmed at George F. Ramondo's orchard at 595 Gold Ridge Road in Sebastopol. Ramondo's daughter Cheri Marcucci was only five years old when movie crews visited her home, but she still lives in the area and says that Dassin even borrowed some of Ramondo's trucks for the filming. The property was sold long ago, but go there today and there's still an old apple orchard off the side of the road; it's between Roberts Orchard and Devoto Gardens, both with gated driveways.

In the opening exposition scene of a small town where Richard Conte's character visits his family, locals will notice a familiar structure in the distance—it's the Petaluma Grain Mill on Copeland Street. In the foreground is the old Petaluma Junior High School.

The long trucking episodes in Thieves' Highway feature not only the most incredible tire-changing scene in the history of cinema, but also an epic crash that kills Millard Mitchell and sends apples flying across a field. Long thought to have been filmed on Highway 1 along the Sonoma Coast, the scene was actually shot at a hairpin turn on Highway 29, a mile from Old Faithful Geyser, just north of Calistoga. Take Highway 29 out of town, and right when it crosses Tubbs Lane and hits a tight, 180-degree turn, that's the spot. If you don't want to end up like Mitchell does in the movie, drive slowly.—Gabe Meline

Add a comment