The Patterson–Gimlin film is an American short motion picture that the filmmakers have said was a Bigfoot. The footage was shot in 1967 in Northern California, and has since been subjected to many attempts to authenticate or debunk it.
The footage was filmed alongside Bluff Creek, a tributary of the Klamath River, about 25 logging-road miles (40 km) northwest of Orleans, California, in Del Norte County on the Six Rivers National Forest.
The filmmakers were Roger Patterson (1933–1972) and Robert "Bob" Gimlin (born 1931).
As their stories went, in the early afternoon of Friday, October 20, 1967, Patterson and Gimlin were riding generally northeast (upstream) on horseback along the east bank of Bluff Creek. At sometime between 1:15 and 1:40 p.m., they "came to an overturned tree with a large root system at a turn in the creek, almost as high as a room".
When they rounded it, "there was a logjam—a 'crow's nest'—left over from the flood of '64," and then they spotted the figure behind it nearly simultaneously. It was either "crouching beside the creek to their left" or "standing" there, on the opposite bank. Gimlin later described himself as in a mild state of shock after first seeing the figure.
The film shows what Patterson and Gimlin claimed was a large, hairy, bipedal, apelike figure with short, "silvery brown" or "dark reddish-brown" or "black" hair covering most of its body, including its prominent breasts. The figure in the film generally matches the descriptions of Bigfoot offered by others who claim to have seen one.
Patterson estimated he was about 25 feet (7.6 m) away from the creature at his closest. Patterson said that his horse reared upon sensing the figure, and he spent about 20 seconds extricating himself from the saddle, controlling his horse, getting around to its other side, and getting his camera from a saddlebag before he could run toward the figure while operating his camera.
The figure had walked away from them to a distance of about 120 feet (37 m) before Patterson began to run after it. The resulting film (about 59.5 seconds long at 16 frames per second) is initially quite shaky until Patterson got about 80 feet (24 m) from the figure. At that point, the figure glanced over its right shoulder at the men and Patterson fell to his knees; on Krantz's map this corresponds to frame 264. To researcher John Green, Patterson would later characterize the creature's expression as one of "contempt and disgust ... you know how it is when the umpire tells you 'one more word and you're out of the game.' That's the way it felt."
Shortly after this point the steady, middle portion of the film begins, containing the famous look-back frame 352. Patterson said, "it turned a total of I think three times," the other times therefore being before the filming began and/or while he was running with his finger off the trigger. Shortly after glancing over its shoulder on film, the creature disappeared behind a grove of trees for 14 seconds, then reappeared in the film's final 15 seconds after Patterson moved 10 feet (3 m) to a better vantage point, fading into the trees again and being lost to view at a distance of 265 feet (81 m) as the reel of film ran out.