Cinematic San Francisco: Inside Out

This Friday, San Francisco hits the big screen again in the new Pixar/Disney feature, Inside Out. The story focuses on 11-year old Riley and her parents, who have just moved from Minnesota to San Francisco. Riley's emotions  ("Fear", "Sadness", "Joy", "Disgust", and "Anger") become main characters in the film as she deals with all the changes in her life.

Inside Out may be animated, but the film captures San Francisco well. While working on the film, Pixar interns brought the studio over 4,000 digital photos of the city. As a result, many of the film's scenes set in San Francisco are instantly recognizable.

Lombard Street according to Pixar  for Inside Out
Lombard Street postcard (1976) from the San Francisco History Center Postcard Collection, SFPL.

Although not named in the film, Riley's school looks a lot like James Lick Middle School.

Riley's school in Inside Out (Pixar)
James Lick Middle School - currently under construction (2015) L. Weddle
Artistic rendering of James Lick Junior High, from the 1981 James Lick Pirates yearbook
Courtesy of the San Francisco Public Library.

The indoor ice rink that Riley goes to does not exist in real life. However, the Walt Disney Family Museum happens to be located very near the rink's made-up location in the Presidio.

Inside Out's indoor ice rink in the Presidio (Pixar)
"Armed Forces Day Exhibits" at the Presidio May 17, 1962,
from the San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection, SFPL.

It takes a while for Riley to adjust to her new surroundings. Perhaps a trip to the library could have sped up the process. The San Francisco History Center has a couple of city guidebooks just for kids:

Reading those guidebooks would definitely count if Riley decided to join the San Francisco Public Library's summer reading program, "Summer Stride". She could check out all the events happening on the library's second floor, including the opening of the new teen center, The Mix.

For more kids films set in San Francisco, check out these titles:

Coming Soon: Terminator: Genysis
Previous "Cinematic San Francisco" posts: San AndreasAt the Oscars, Noir City, Big Eyes


  1. So cute! Great film post. Gotta check out the library!

  2. AMAZING. Probably one of the smartest Disney movies I've seen. The characters are fun, the story will leave you crying, and the funny parts are smart. I wish that it came earlier because it's not just that everything would work out. Not everyone is going to end up a princess in a castle or a hero with a medal.

    Watch Inside Out Movie Online Free >>>

  3. The challenge here involves maintaining a believable humanity while also making an entertaining case that humanity is impossible without the proper emotional configuration. And in meeting that challenge, the movie keeps surprising and delighting you.


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