Podcast | What Hollywood saw in Seattle

The Emerald City has played many film roles, from gritty city to rom-com backdrop. Knute Berger reviews our cinematic history.

A man carrying a guitar case walking on the sidewalk

Matt Dillon strolls down a Capitol Hill street in “Singles,” 1992. (Warner Brothers)

When a film is shot in a city, it is often a big deal. There are lots of trucks, lots of crew and lots of traffic disruption. It’s big business, and for the latter decades of the 20th century it was business that was often done in Seattle.

Tugboat Annie, the first Hollywood film shot in the Emerald City, came to town in the 1930s. But it wasn’t until the early ’60s that Seattle really became a destination for directors and actors. It started with the Elvis Presley vehicle It Happened at the World’s Fair and continued with The Parallax View and Scorchy in the ’70s up to Singles and Sleepless in Seattle in the ’90s.

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Crosscut's resident historian Knute Berger reviewed this filmography in a recent episode of his Mossback's Northwest video series, but there is much more to explore. 

For this episode of the Mossback podcast, Berger and co-host Stephen Hegg talk about the movies made in and about Seattle, why Hollywood came to the city to make them and what these films tell us about how people outside of Western Washington see the city.


About the Hosts

Knute Berger

Knute Berger

Knute “Mossback” Berger is Crosscut's Editor-at-Large.

Stephen Hegg

Stephen Hegg

Stephen is formerly a senior video producer at Crosscut and KCTS 9. He specialized in arts and culture.