This blog explores the history of Phoenix, Arizona and a little bit of Los Angeles and San Francisco, California

The Gauntlet, Clint Eastwood in Phoenix, Arizona in 1977


If you're like me, you really enjoy movies that are shot in locations in cities that you know. Phoenix, Arizona is my favorite city, so a movie like "The Gauntlet", which is from 1977, really gets my attention.

When I first started seeing this movie, on TV, I would wait patiently through all of the story, acting, etc. to see the scenes that show downtown Phoenix. Of course, it's just a movie, but if you look carefully, past all of the shooting, etc., it can be a good view of what Phoenix looked like in the 1970s.

In the most important scene in the Gauntlet, Clint Eastwood's character is driving a bus to deliver Sondra Locke's character to the Phoenix police headquarters. Yeah, as often as I've seen that movie, I really have no idea what it's all about, sorry! And, as you can see from the movie poster above, the bus gets shot up with about a million bullets, and gives a good opportunity to see the buildings on Monroe in the 1970s.

Driving up the steps of the Civic Plaza in 1977, 2nd Street and Adams. St. Mary's Church is in the background.

In the movie, Phoenix Symphony Hall is used as the Phoenix police headquarters. Well, the exterior, anyway. So the bus travels east along Monroe and then ends up on the steps of the Civic Plaza, just north of Symphony Hall, on 2nd Street and Adams. Yeah, I know it's not quite right, but it's just a movie, and Monroe had tall buildings that the stunt men could stand on, and shoot from. At the time, Adams dead-ended at an open plaza with steps leading up to it.


By the way, you can see the difference that the new Civic Plaza was making to the look of downtown Phoenix in the 1970s. In the opening scene, the camera pans from what used to be right across the street, between 3rd and 5th Street on Washington, which was pretty awful, to the beautiful, new, shiny Civic Building just to the north. This movie shows the beginning of the renaissance of downtown Phoenix, which really started picking up momentum in the '80s and '90s and continues to this day. And it shows a whole lot of shooting at a bus, too!

Looking down at Monroe in the 1970s.

Patricia Castro, wife of Governor Raul Castro, with Clint and Sondra


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