An alternative journey through SAN FRANCISCO seen from the perspective of DIRTY HARRY filming locations

Swimming Pool

Hilton San Francisco Financial District, 750 Kearny Street, San Francsico, CA 94108, USA


There is something magical about the rooftop swimming pool in Dirty Harry. Only in the United States in a city like San Francisco would architects have the penchant for such extravagance.

We see the swimming pool at the very beginning of the film. A caucasian male with longish hair lurks on the roof of a skyscraper aiming a rifle. Meet the Scorpio Killer. Through his telescopic gunsight we are treated to a girl in a yellow swimsuit about to take a dip in a nearby swimming pool. She rises from a lounger, heads to the edge of the pool, steadies herself and dives in.

As the camera pans away and we realize the pool is actually located on the roof a high-rise building (hotel).

Moments later the rooftop prowler delivers the shot. The slug fizzes into the girl’s back, we hear a popping sound as bone shatters, she gasps, splutters, then floats to the bottom in a mist of crimson.

The very next scene we are introduced to Harold Francis “Dirty Harry” Callahan as he heads up the pool’s steps on his way to inspect the girl’s body. From here he peers up at the Bank of America Center at 555 California, which towers over the pool some four blocks to the south – the only feasible location for the shooter.


Scene-shot (00.01.03): Scorpio's view of the swimming pool from his vantage point atop 555 California moments before pulling the trigger. The barrel and silencer of his rifle can be seen in the bottom left corner.


Completed in 1971, the same year of the film’s release, the hotel was originally named the Holiday Inn Chinatown San Francisco. In 2006 it became the Hilton San Francisco Financial District following a $55 million renovation. It is located at 750 Kearny Street, a few blocks north of the former Bank of America Center (555 California) where Scorpio lurked.

The rooftop pool still exists today, but is apparently no longer in use. I requested permission to go up and see it but was flatly denied by the hotel’s head of security.

Despite repeated appeals along the cheap lines that I’d “travelled thousands of miles especially to see it”, this dribbling, jumped-up goon, obviously ex-military and tooled up with earpiece CIA-style, was so highly strung he couldn’t even say “no” politely or impart any reason why. Perspiring and bong-eyed, he just kept barking out curt refusals, spraying spittle the way an excited neanderthal would at a primeval meat fest.

Scene-shot (00.00.56): The girl in the yellow swimsuit (actress Diana Davidson) prepares to dive into the pool unaware Scorpio has her trained with gunsight cross-hairs.

Scene-shot (00.01.41): The slug slams home into her upper back. The girl gasps in shock, struggles with impending death, then sinks to the bottom.

Scene-shot (00:04:23): From the location atop 555 California Street from where Scorpio fired the fatal shot, Callahan observes the Hilton Financial rooftop pool a few blocks to the north.

Scene-shot (00:01:48): The film's first image of Eastwood as Callahan climbing the steps of the rooftop pool on his way to inspect the body.

Scene-shot (00.02.04): Callahan atop the Hilton Hotel about to inspect the girl’s body.

2 responses

  1. walter

    brilliant film, they dont make them like this anymore

    April 23, 2012 at 22:11

  2. I have stayed at this very hotel and enjoyed that very pool a few years ago. I didn’t know at the time that this pool and location were a part of the film. Thanks for the info. The pool was nice but what was most interesting was the way all the water in the pool would move from side to side. As if motioned from the building swaying in the wind.

    September 8, 2012 at 23:40

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