10 Favorite New York City Movies

Who doesn’t love the movies (okay, don’t answer that)! The point is, like the griping proof of algebra, movies in a way make us feel better by re-depicting the tragedies in other people’s lives. New York City has played the backdrop to some of the most memorable Hollywood movies ever made, where the main protagonist(s) start off on their journey, fall in love, partake in photogenic brawls, shoot-outs, car-chases, sing-alongs, and even battle an army inter galactic reptilian aliens from another dimension.

nyc movies

Thanks to great acting and superb storytelling, the following movies have not only become unforgettable to fans, but have also made the place where all the action takes place famous as well, in this case, that’s New York City. So, without further ado, here’s the list of the top ten famous movies based in New York City.

  1. New York Stories (1989)

This portmanteau film consists of three different short stories from some of Hollywood’s greats. The screen time is divided between the protagonists of Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola and Woody Allen. All three Gotham tales are unique in their own way, making New York Stories a classic staple of New York-based movies.

  1. Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)

Speaking of movies that have become New York staples, who can forget two-time Oscar winning Breakfast at Tiffany’s and the performance of the long-stemmed Audrey Hepburn, who looked perfect no matter what she was wore. Based on the acidic novella by Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany’s remains to be one of the classics when it comes to looking for love in all the wrong places.


Breakfast at Tiffany's
by Trailer screenshot via Commons


  1. Moonstruck (1987)

Starring Nicolas Cage and Cher, Moonstruck is a well done take on New York City, with a great script and some positive performances by the actors. This one definitely earns its spot on your list of the very best New York-based movies.

  1. The French Connection (1971)

In this movie, William Friedkin’s directing is all over the place, from Queens, to Wards Islands and Little Italy, this Gene Hackman starrer offers a glassy sensation of spontaneity while jumping from one smoky setting to the next.

  1. Taxi Driver (1976)

Taxi Driver is one of Scorsese’s best depictions of the city that never sleeps through the eyes of a sleepless taxi driver (Robert De Niro). From runaways, to pushers and prostitutes, this movie gets the disrupted REM cycle of New York City spot on.


  1. The Godfather (1972)

If you haven’t seen Francis Ford Coppola’s crime-family masterpiece, “The Godfather” which rock have you been living under? This movie has some of the most iconic quotes in cinema history, it also has some of the most celebrated Hollywood heavyweights such as, Robert Duvall, James Caan, Diane Keaton, Pacino and Brando. Need we say more!

  1. The Way We Were (1973)

The next year gave us the Robert Redford, Barbara Streisand non-love story, ‘The Way We Were.’ A lovely story told partially in flashbacks, great sets and costumes make it a must-watch.

  1. Tootsie (1982)

If you’ve never seen Dustin Hoffman portray a woman, then you’ve probably never seen this 82 classic, Tootsie. Apart from being a cute love story, this film is also considered comedy gold and features some great shots of New York City.


  1. American Psycho (2000)

Considered a cult classic thriller, American Psycho catapulted Christian Bale’s stardom to new heights, and for good reason. Get ready to fall through the rabbit hole with an American Psycho who plays a Wall Street yuppie during the day and feeds his murderous tendencies in the dark night.

  1. Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)

I know what you’re thinking. It’s a superhero film, but it’s based in New York City. Directed by Joss Whedon, the movie is about a team that’s brought together to save New York City, and the world from an attack by an Asgardian Loki and his extraterrestrial army called the Chitauri. While this is no masterpiece, the film did set several records, including the third highest grossing film of all time. So, there you go!


Some movies that didn’t make it to the list but are great nonetheless, are When Harry Met Sally, Going to America, West Side Story, Sweet Smell of Success, Rear Window and You’ve Got Mail. So, this was our list of the top ten movies that have fed our dreams of New York City through the years, which you can now enjoy in the cinema (next to a noisy eater) or in the comfort of your own home (right beside a flatulent spouse, and a crying toddler).


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