New York City: Where Great Films are Shot

Over the weekend I watched Taxi Driver for the first time since the mid-1980s.  I was amazed how much of the plot I had forgotten, to say nothing of the actors in the film.  I had not forgotten, however, how much setting the film in New York “made sense.”  And that got me to thinking what were the best films in which that city was more than just a generic urban location.  So I posted the following on Facebook:

Top movies in which NYC is more than a location (alphabetical order). What am I missing?

Do the Right Thing
Dog Day Afternoon
Gangs of New York
Midnight Cowboy
On the Waterfront
Saturday Night Fever
Summer of Sam
Taxi Driver

I received a request for clarification:

Phil Paolino: By “more than a location,” do you mean could not reasonably have been set anywhere else? Or that NYC contributed a certain element that would have been missing if set elsewhere? Or just hard to conceive taking place anywhere else, but could have been done? All of the above? The Godfather would probably fall into the first, maybe After Hours, the second, and Mean Streets the third?

Will Moore: Phil, I am thinking not necessarily NYC becoming a character, but fitting into at least one of the three categories you describe.

In any case, here is the list (in alpha order).  Have you seen most of them?  Do they all belong?  You be the judge.

42nd Street
All that Jazz
An Affair to Remember
Annie Hall
Barefoot in the Park
Beat street
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Brighton Beach Memoirs
The Brother from Another Planet
Citizen Kane
Coming to America
Die Hard with a Vengeance
Escape from New York
Fatal Attraction
The French Connection
Funny Girl
Goodbye Girl
Guys and Dolls
The Jazz Singer
King Kong
Kramer vs. Kramer
Looking for Mr. Goodbar
Mean Streets
New Jack City
Panic in Needle Park
The Pope of Greenwich Village
The Producers (1968)
Rear Window
Rosemary’s Baby
The Seven Ups
Sex in the City (No endorsement implied)
The Shadow
She’s gotta have it
The Siege
Son of Sam
Soylent Green
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three
Three Days of the Condor
West Side Story
Wild style

One final observation: 20 males posted suggestions, 0 females did.  This surprised me, but when I shared that with my ex she rolled her eyes at me.  Males dig lists more than females?

Thanks to the following for posting: John Ahlquist, David Backer, Painted Bird, David Carter, Terrence Chapman, Bill Clark, Christian Davenport, Cullen Hendrix, Darren Hunter, David Leblang, George Miller, Jeff Mondak, Phil Paolino, Mark Quigley, Ron Rapoport, Carmine Scavo, Gary Segura, John Tures, Dan Vitkus, Chris Zorn

About Will H. Moore

I am a political science professor who also contributes to Political Violence @ a Glance and sometimes to Mobilizing Ideas . Twitter: @WilHMoo
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