New York Movies

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This past weekend, my family and I were discussing this article whose central conceit is the following question: “But what if you wanted to just pick one: a single movie [set in/about New York] that the whole city could watch together?” And let me tell you, the movies that they chose to answer that question are not the ones that I’d suggest. First, the Times’ suggestions, and then a much better list after the jump. For a Martin Scorsese movie, they chose “New York, New York” – a fine film, sure, but not anywhere as good or capturing of a New York spirit as “Mean Streets,” “Wolf of Wall Street,” “Gangs of New York,” or “The Age of Innocence.” The critics also chose “Crooklyn,” a fine Spike Lee movie, sure, but is it even as good a statement of New York as “Do the Right Thing” or the best post-9/11 movie, 2002’s “25th Hour”? And then they nominated “Desperately Seeking Susan,” which…ok? I mean, is that a movie that, when you see it, you think, “That truly captured the spirit of New York”? And the last nominee? Ang Lee’s “The Wedding Banquet.” I’ll pause here to let you google that movie, because that’s how memorable it was for me. And now for some movies that should have made the list. Note: some of these movies may have just an iconic New York scene, or may not take place entirely within the five boroughs. That said, to me they capture the spirit of the city (in some instances, the spirit at a very particular time), or, have New York as a setting that is integral to the plot. Presented in chronological order from the year of their release, I suggest the following:

  • The Pride of the Yankees (1942)
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945)
  • On the Town (1949)

  • All About Eve (1950)
  • On the Waterfront (1954)
  • Rear Window (1954)
  • Sabrina (1954)
  • Marty (1955)
  • The Seven-Year Itch (1955)

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  • 12 Angry Men (1957)
  • An Affair to Remember (1957)
  • Sweet Smell of Success (1957) (for an amazing parody, skip to 7:28 of the below video)

http://www.simpsonsworld.com/video/221691971633

  • The Apartment (1960)
  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
  • West Side Story (1961)
  • Barefoot in the Park (1966)
  • Funny Girl (1968)
  • The Odd Couple (1968)
  • The Producers (1968)
  • Midnight Cowboy (1969)

  • The Owl and the Pussycat (1970)
  • Shaft (1971)
  • The Godfather (1972)

  • Mean Streets (1973)
  • Serpico (1973)
  • The Godfather Part II (1974)
  • The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)
  • Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
  • Three Days of the Condor (1975)
  • King Kong (1976)
  • Network (1976)
  • Taxi Driver (1976)
  • Annie Hall (1977)

  • Saturday Night Fever (1977)

  • Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
  • Manhattan (1979)
  • The Warriors (1979)
  • Fame (1980)

  • Raging Bull (1980)
  • Arthur (1981)

  • Brooklyn Bridge (1981)
  • Escape from New York (1981)
  • Annie (1982)
  • Sophie’s Choice (1982)

  • Tootsie (1982)
  • Broadway Danny Rose (1984)
  • Ghostbusters (1984)
  • The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984)
  • Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
  • The Pope of Greenwich Village (1984)
  • Romancing the Stone (1984)
  • Splash (1984)
  • An American Tail (1986)
  • She’s Gotta Have It (1986)
  • Sid and Nancy (1986)
  • Radio Days (1987)
  • Wall Street (1987)
  • Big (1988)

  • Coming to America (1988)

  • Working Girl (1988)
  • Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)
  • Do the Right Thing (1989)
  • When Harry Met Sally… (1989)
  • The Freshman (1990)
  • Ghost (1990)
  • Goodfellas (1990)

  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)
  • Jungle Fever (1991)
  • New Jack City (1991)
  • Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)
  • Newsies (1992)

  • Scent of a Woman (1992)
  • Single White Female (1992)
  • The Age of Innocence (1993)
  • A Bronx Tale (1993)
  • Carlito’s Way (1993)
  • Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993)
  • Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993)
  • Six Degrees of Separation (1993)
  • Bullets Over Broadway (1994)
  • It Could Happen to You (1994)

  • Miracle on 34th Street (1994)
  • Quiz Show (1994)
  • The Scout (1994)
  • The Basketball Diaries (1995)
  • Clockers (1995)
  • Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995)
  • Hackers (1995)
  • Kids (1995)

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  • Mighty Aphrodite (1995)
  • Rumble in the Bronx (1995)
  • The Usual Suspects (1995)
  • City Hall (1996)
  • Daylight (1996)
  • The First Wives Club (1996)
  • She’s the One (1996)
  • Sleepers (1996)
  • As Good as It Gets (1997)
  • Donnie Brasco (1997)

  • Men in Black (1997)
  • 54 (1998)
  • Celebrity (1998)
  • Godzilla (1998)
  • Pi (1998)
  • Rounders (1998)

  • You’ve Got Mail (1998)
  • 200 Cigarettes (1999)
  • Analyze This (1999)
  • Black and White (1999)

  • Bringing Out the Dead (1999)
  • Cruel Intentions (1999)
  • For Love of the Game (1999)
  • Summer of Sam (1999)
  • American Psycho (2000)
  • Autumn in New York (2000)
  • Boiler Room (2000)

  • Coyote Ugly (2000)
  • The Family Man (2000)
  • Finding Forrester (2000)
  • Keeping the Faith (2000)
  • Requiem for a Dream (2000)
  • 61* (2001)
  • Serendipity (2001)
  • Sidewalks of New York (2001)
  • Vanilla Sky (2001)
  • Zoolander (2001)
  • 25th Hour (2002)

  • Catch Me If You Can (2002)
  • Changing Lanes (2002)
  • City by the Sea (2002)
  • Gangs of New York (2002)
  • Igby Goes Down (2002)
  • Panic Room (2002)
  • Phone Booth (2002)
  • Roger Dodger (2002)
  • Spider-Man (2002)
  • Down with Love (2003)
  • Elf (2003)

  • In America (2003)
  • 13 Going on 30 (2004)
  • Alfie (2004)
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
  • National Treasure (2004)
  • Spider-Man 2 (2004)
  • Cinderella Man (2005)
  • Hitch (2005)
  • In Good Company (2005)

  • Rent (2005)
  • The Squid and the Whale (2005)

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  • The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
  • Inside Man (2006)
  • Night at the Museum (2006)
  • The Pink Panther (2006)
  • World Trade Center (2006)
  • American Gangster (2007)
  • Bee Movie (2007)
  • The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

  • Enchanted (2007)

  • I Am Legend (2007)
  • Reign Over Me (2007)
  • 27 Dresses (2008)
  • Cloverfield (2008)
  • Definitely, Maybe (2008)
  • Ghost Town (2008)
  • Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (2008)
  • Pride and Glory (2008)
  • The Visitor (2008)
  • Fighting (2009)
  • Julie & Julia (2009)
  • New York, I Love You (2009)

  • Notorious (2009)
  • Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009)
  • Black Swan (2010)
  • Date Night (2010)

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  • happythankyoumoreplease (2010)
  • The Other Guys (2010)
  • Remember Me (2010)

  • The Adjustment Bureau (2011)
  • Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011)
  • Friends with Benefits (2011)
  • Limitless (2011)
  • Margin Call (2011)
  • Mr. Popper’s Penguins (2011)
  • Shame (2011)
  • Tower Heist (2011)
  • 2 Days in New York (2012)
  • The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
  • The Avengers (2012)

  • Premium Rush (2012)
  • American Hustle (2013)
  • Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013)
  • Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
  • Now You See Me (2013)
  • The Great Gatsby (2013)
  • The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)
  • The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
  • A Most Violent Year (2014)
  • That Awkward Moment (2014)
  • Top Five (2014)
  • Sleeping with Other People (2015)

  • The Big Short (2015)
  • The Intern (2015)
  • The Night Before (2015)

  • Trainwreck (2015)
  • The Walk (2015)
  • Sully (2016)
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)
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What did I miss? Let me know in the comments!

 

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