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Life’s a movie: UC Berkeley edition

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APRIL 21, 2023

If you’re looking for a way to celebrate Cal Day, you should watch a movie that features UC Berkeley! From Disney originals to Netflix rom-coms to movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, UC Berkeley has had some legendary references in films. Here are some of the most notable ones!

High School Musical 3: Senior Year

One of the most popular references is when the beloved Troy Bolton decides to go to UC Berkeley to study theater and play basketball at the end of the “High School Musical” series. While he becomes a Bear, his high school sweetheart Gabriella attends Stanford, which makes for an exciting college rivalry in their relationship.

To All the Boys: Always and Forever

Main character Lara Jean had planned on attending UC Berkeley after her boyfriend Peter decided to go to Stanford so that they could be close by. But after taking a class trip to New York, she ends up loving New York, and eventually chooses to study English literature at NYU while maintaining a long-distance relationship with Peter.

Ant-Man and the Wasp

After S.H.I.E.L.D. disbanded, Dr. Bill Foster went on to serve as a biochemistry professor at UC Berkeley, where he was later paid a visit by Scott Lang, Hope van Dyne and Hank Pym. UC Berkeley was one of the film’s actual filming locations, with parts of campus making an appearance.

21 Jump Street

As he mentions many times throughout the movie, popular kid Eric was supposed to go to UC Berkeley, until he got arrested for drug dealing at his high school. He even inspired undercover cop Schmidt to apply to UC Berkeley as well.

Monsters University

This one isn’t a direct reference, but many of the buildings and locations featured in Monsters University resemble our very own buildings! From Sather Gate to the Greek Theatre to the Campanile, it seems that Pixar was inspired by UC Berkeley when designing the MU campus.

The Kissing Booth 3

In the “Kissing Booth” trilogy, main character Elle struggles to decide between attending UC Berkeley with her childhood best friend Lee and going to Harvard with her boyfriend Noah. Instead of choosing one over the other, she actually ends up pursuing her own dreams of studying video game design at USC.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Superhero Shang-Chi’s best friend from high school, Katy, was mentioned to have earned an honors degree from Berkeley. There are also many scenes set in the Bay Area, as both Shang-Chi and Katy live in San Francisco.

It’s always nice to see our school featured in Hollywood films, even if we’ve been portrayed as the backup option in a few too many cases. Let’s hope to see even more UC Berkeley references in movies in the future, and hopefully more positive ones! As always, go Bears!

Contact Caitlin Wang at 


APRIL 21, 2023