Seattle Movies

There have been lots of Seattle movies over the years. Hollywood has been producing movies filmed in Seattle ever since the city's debut in Tugboat Annie in 1933.

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The scenic beauty of it's natural surroundings, instantly recognizable structures like the Space Needle, and a vibrant arts culture have made the Emerald City a popular place to film.

I love it when I see a place that I've lived or someplace I have visited in a movie! It's fun when you can say "been there, seen that" especially if the movie is a good one.

The city's Office of Film and Music puts out a map of over 80 film locations around town called "Reel Life in Seattle". You can pick up a copy at major downtown hotels, the public library, the Nordstrom concierge desk, and the Convention Center. If you're a movie buff, you'll want to have this map of Seattle movies locations on hand when you visit.

Note: Movies are included on this list because they were filmed in or set in Seattle. I make no judgments on the content or subject matter of the movies other than locations. So please use viewer discretion!

Sleepless in Seattle (1993)

Athenian in Sleepless in Seattle

This has to be the most well-known of all Seattle movies. The house boat where Tom Hanks' character lived is docked off Westlake Avenue on Lake Union. The tour guides on Ride the Ducks Seattle point out the house as you cruise around the lake. There's also a map on the Space Needle observation deck that pinpoints the area on Lake Union where the house boat sits. The restaurant where Tom Hanks and friend sat at the bar is the Athenian in Pike Place Market. It first opened around 1909.

Chronicle (2012)

Newly released, this movie is about three Seattle-based high school friends who gain superpowers after discovering a glowing object in a cave.

Battle in Seattle (2008)

In 1999, the World Trade Organization Conference was held here. Thousands of activists arrived in town to protest peacefully, but it escalated into a full-scale riot by the end of the week.

Harry and the Hendersons (1987)

The Hendersons live in the Seattle neighborhood of Wallingford.

10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

The Fremont Troll

The opening scene is shot from Kerry Park where lots of photographers take those beautiful photos of the downtown skyline behind the Space Needle. The fictional Padua High School in this movie is Stadium High School in Tacoma, just south of Seattle. Katarina and Patrick paddleboat on Lake Union, and play paintball at Gas Works Park. Bianca and Cameron walk around the Fremont Troll. The prom scenes were filmed at the Century Ballroom and the Paramount Theater. I wish my prom had been held in such a gorgeous venue! I like Seattle movies where it never rains and is always sunny!

Firewall (2006)

It seems to be always raining in this movie set in Seattle and starring Harrison Ford. One scene features Ford driving through the Interstate-90 tunnel.

The Ring (2002)

Scenes include 5th Avenue and Stewart Street in Seattle, Deception Pass bridge from Whidbey Island to Fidalgo Island, and the Washington State Ferry that runs between Port Townsend and Keystone on Whidbey Island. Most of the indoor scenes were filmed in Los Angeles.

It Happened at the World's Fair (1963)


An Elvis Presley movie in which Seattle Center, site of the 1962 World's Fair, plays a major role. Elvis rides the Seattle Monorail to the fair, admires a futuristic car and is pursued through the fountains at what is now the Pacific Science Center, and rides the elevator up to the top of the Space Needle. He dines (and sings of course) at the top in the revolving restaurant. Also seen in this movie is Mt. Rainier. A lot of Seattle Center still looks very much the same as it did in this movie.

The Slender Thread (1965)

Sydney Poitier and Anne Bancroft star in this film that features the University of Washington, the Seattle waterfront, and a house on Lakeview Boulevard. This is a good look back at 1960's Seattle.

Disclosure (1994)

Michael Douglas rode the ferry home, and "DigiCom" was housed in a historic building in Pioneer Square.

The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989)

Jeff Bridges strolled through Pike Place Market and there are some nice skyline shots.

The Parallax View (1974)

The Space Needle is the site of an assassination in this Seattle movie starring Warren Beatty.

Prefontaine (1997)

Husky Stadium

The University of Washington Husky Stadium is the scene of the 1972 Olympic Games in this movie about Steve Prefontaine, an internationally acclaimed track star who died in a car accident at the age of 24. He was a popular athlete, won 120 of the 153 races that he ran, and helped inspire the running craze of the 1970s.

Trouble in Mind (1986)

This movie takes place in fictional "Rain City". It took a lot of creativity to come up with that! Although apparently "Rain City" was a favorite nickname for Seattle back in the 1940s. The Seattle Asian Art Museum makes an appearance as the bad guy's mansion.

Cinderella Liberty (1973)

A young James Caan plays a US Navy sailor who takes a brief leave in Seattle. Shows some 1970s skyline shots and a very seedy 1st Avenue the way it used to be. It has since been cleaned up and revitalized, thank goodness!

Black Widow (1987)

A rainy Seattle, with scenes of Elliott Bay and the ferries. The bright, sunshine scenes in the movie were filmed in Hawaii. This is a pshychological thriller starring Debra Winger and Theresa Russell.

Say Anything (1989)

Waiting for the Interurban

The Ballard, Fremont, and Wallingford neighborhoods are featured in this film. They drive by the "Waiting for the Interurban" sculpture on N. 34th St. in Fremont and Dick's Drive-In in Wallingford. The giant coffee pot is Bob's Java Jive which is actually located in Tacoma. The characters supposedly first meet at Bel-Square, but the shopping center that you actually see in the movie is Westlake Center downtown.

McQ (1974)

All the outdoor scenes shot on location in 1970's Seattle. The car chases feature John Wayne in an early 1970's Trans Am in the streets of Seattle.

Assassins (1995)

Sylvester Stallone and Antonio Banderas do a high-speed chase through the city and underneath the Alaskan Way Viaduct, an elevated highway that runs along the waterfront.

Seven Hours to Judgment (1988)

Pioneer Square and a chase scene through underground Seattle!

Life, or Something Like It (2002)

You'll see the Bookstore Bar and Cafe, Icon Grill, Alki Beach, Kerry Park, and Safeco Field in this movie starring Angelina Jolie.

Dogfight (1991)

This movie shows scenes in the Moore Theatre, Moore Hotel, Paramount Theatre, Sorrento Hotel, the neighborhoods of Ballard and the International District, and the Waterfront Trolley.

Little Buddha (1993)

The Seattle Art Museum, Queen Anne, and the Monorail make appearances in this movie.

Love Happens (2009)

Expiration Date (2006)

Bustin' Loose (1981)

The Changeling (1980)

War Games (1983)

Another Stakeout (1993)

88 Minutes (2007)

This is by no means an exhaustive list! But hopefully you'll enjoy some of these Seattle movies and get a glimpse of the Emerald City on the big screen.

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