Video: Chattanooga’s downtown featured in scenes from 1969 film “The Rain People”

Authored By Sean Phipps

A 1969 film directed by Francis Ford Coppola featured shots of Chattanooga during an Armed Forces Day parade.

Sam Hall, the founder of Deep Zoom Chattanooga, compiled the high-resolution clips after seeing several “blurry, weird” clips on YouTube and other video sites.

About 2-minutes and 44 seconds of Chattanooga footage was used in the film. A majority of the clips were shot during the parade near the main intersection of M.L. King Boulevard and Market Street.

Hall was able to source the material from an original DVD. Only the Chattanooga-shot portion of the film are included in the above compilation.

“You’ll notice that instead of the Krystal Building you see the remains of Union Station,” Hall said. “Everything looks rundown because it was before Chattanooga’s resurgence. In one shot, you can see the Golden Gateway development.”

“The Rain People” starred Shirley Knight, James Caan and Robert Duvall. According to, the film won The Golden Shell award at the 1969 San Sebastian Film Festival. George Lucas, who would later create “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones,” was an aide on the film.

The plot follows Knight’s character in a “meandering journey across the U.S.” during a break in her marriage and the beginning of pregnancy. She meets James Caan’s character and must make a decision to return to her husband or explore a relationship with Caan (“Killer” in the film). Knight’s character also becomes romantically involved with Robert Duvall’s character, a highway patrolman named Gordon.

Watch the trailer for the film below:

Hall said the idea for the video came to him after seeing high-definition screenshot online.

“I think one of the take-aways is anybody who has access to actual film or film negatives should donate it to be scanned,” he said. “This video is a low-res version of what exists.”

Hall, along with members of Picnooga, is seeking historic photos to scan for publication and archiving purposes. They are specifically looking for locations (i.e., shots of Chattanooga, historic sites, attractions and homes) as opposed to family photos.

Items can be scanned and returned at no cost to the donor.

Contact Picnooga to donate your collections.