Scouting Locations: The Top 5 Movies Shot in Sacramento


During the riverboat trend of the 1920s, Sacramento enjoyed what might be considered a SacrmentoLand period, as dozens of Hollywood films were clamoring to use Sacramento locations to shoot Mississippi River stories; those Show Boat, Old Man River, Capn' Andy kinds of menageries. Today, Sacramento still occasionally delights in some of that ghoulishly splendid economy that proliferates from every aspect of Hollywood television and movie production. Listed here are five of the best-known movies to film locally in Sacramento.

Number One: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Sacramento River looks exactly like the Mississippi River when shot from a certain angle don't you know, and subsequently, is a heck of lot closer to Los Angeles than the Arkansas-Missouri-Tennessee border. The film versions of Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn 1919/1939/1960 were all reportedly filmed in Sacramento. One of the most recent versions, produced by Walt Disney, forgot about Sacramento finally, traveling to the actual Mississippi area to film. Earnest Hemingway referred to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as the first American novel. Bidwell-Sacramento River State Park 530.342.5185 is a charming riverine habitat offering wildlife viewing, hiking, and fishing. Aunt Polly is waiting.

Number Two: Memoirs of a Geisha
The passenger station of the California State Railroad Museum in Old Sacramento 111 I St., was chosen to recreate the ancient streets of the entire Geisha district in 2005's Memoirs of a Geisha directed by Rob Marshall and based on the novel by Arthur Gordon. The area's restored locomotives, railroad cars, and Victorian architecture, with its arched doorways and ornate wrought iron balconies, were just relic enough for the purposes of the film. Train ride Tuesday begins at the museum on February 23, 2016 and while there, check out one of the latest exhibits, Fast Tracks: The World of High Speed Rail.

Number Three: The Godfather Part II
In real life, The Godfather II Estate was actually the Kaiser Estate, built by Henry J. Kaiser from San Francisco, who together with five other investors were responsible for the construction of the Hoover Dam. The so nicknamed "Fleur Du Lac" was a completely walled-in compound located on the West Shore of Lake Tahoe. The property that has since been divided, contained a harbor, lighthouse, yacht club, boat house, 16-acre mansion, seventeen large homes, and servants quarters. Short-term vacation home rentals along the Fleur du Lac offer close proximity to nearby Mountain Homewood Ski Resort, waterfront views, chauffer, boat slip, hot tub, hey you just name it. Tahoe Getaways 800.922.4929

Number Four: American Beauty
Sacramento provides the perfect setting for a suburban mid-life crisis in the 1999 DreamWorks production of American Beauty starring Kevin Spacey and Annette Benning. Aerial shots of a tidy, squarish, checkerboard-like neighborhood, as well as scenes depicting Lester Bernham (Spacey) and his neighbors jogging around together in the suburbs, where shot near the Sacramento Capitol. 916.324.0333 Admission is free.

Number Five: Bad Grandpa
Bad Grandpa starring Johnny Knoxville is sort of like Jackass 4, filmed in downtown Sacramento at Discovery Park and at the Bonfare Market gas station on 20th and H St. The film was actually nominated for an Oscar... though it was for Best Make-up and Hairstyling. Enjoy picnics, fishing, and boating along the American River at Discovery Park and maybe watch out for some of these unpredictable members of the senior community. Currently the headline on the Discovery Park website announces RIVERS CAN KILL, so be aware of the danger; American River currents overpower most swimmers, and secondly, be aware of its slightly macabre website.

M.Wilson is a freelance writer and resident of Sacramento. Author of The Fabulous Sutro. Follow her on Twitter @livredoux.