Top Ten: Movies Set In New York

by Christopher Misch

New York, New York. The city that never sleeps. The city that dreams are made of. So many great films have centred their characters within this concrete jungle. Some found love, while others hate. Some had their dreams attained, while others dashed away. New York, New York. A city so nice, they named it twice. This week’s Top Ten Tuesday looks at films set in The Big Apple. Not filmed in the there, but set there. So, throw on your New York Yankee’s ball cap and get in that old fashioned New York state of mind, and have a gander at the Top Ten Films set in New York City.

>> My Selections

1. 25th Hour (Lee, 2002)

2. Manhattan (Allen, 1979)

3. Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941)

4. Rear Window (Hitchcock, 1954)

5. The Age of Innocence (Scorsese, 1993)

6. Pickup on South Street (Fuller, 1953)

7. Do the Right Thing (Lee, 1989)

8. Eyes Wide Shut (Kubrick, 1999)

9. Gangs of New York (Scorsese, 2002)

10. Synecdoche, New York (Kaufman, 2004)

>>Your Selections

1. Taxi Driver (Scorsese, 1976) 52%

2. Manhattan (Allen, 1979) 33%

3. The Godfather (Coppola, 1974) 29%

4. Ghost Busters (Reitman, 1984) 29%

5. Gangs of New York (Scorsese, 2002) 29%

6. Rosemary’s Baby (Polanski,1968) 24%

7. King Kong (Cooper, 1933) 24%

8. Sweet Smell of Success (Mackendrick/Schoedsack, 1933) 24%

9. The Warriors (Hill, 1979) 24%

10. Do the Right Thing (Lee, 1989) 19%

Christopher Misch

I've always loved movies, but it wasn't until under the tutelage of Professor Garry Leonard at the University of Toronto that my passion for the industry became an understanding of an art form. With a specific fascination in both the western genre and Asian cinema in general, I am of the view that good movies are either enlightening or entertaining, and if you are truly lucky they are both.
  • Vakeesh Velummylum

    Well at least 3 of the films on my list made yours. I really didn’t expect that all!

  • Christopher Misch

    Yes, good to see some over lap. Even if it’s only three of them.

  • Steve Blank

    Only 3 of my selections are present above, but I would have put Citizen Kane and Rear Window had I thought of them. I am suprised to see neither American Psycho or The Producers (1968).

  • Christopher Misch

    I think a lot of people forgot that Citizen Kane and Rear Window both took place in New York.

  • Christopher Misch

    I’m surprised American Psycho didn’t make the list to be honest. I know that film has quite the following.

  • Paolo Miguel Kagaoan

    None of Lumet’s films made it? For shame. I also can’t believe I forgot about “The Age of Innocence.” I love loving that movie, partly because it pisses off the “Raging Bull” fans.

  • Christopher Misch

    @Fulmer To come up with my selections, I put equal emphasis on both the film being set in New York and the quality of film. The reason why say 25th Hour ranks higher than both Rear Window and Kane. The environment of New York (the people, the physical landscape) play more of a role in Spike Lee’s film than in the others, but the others still are set in New York and therefore in my selection process deserve to be included.

  • Christopher Misch

    The Age of Innocence is actually my favourite Scorsese, in fact.

  • Christopher Misch

    @FilmSamurai I’ve actually never seen The Warriors. Doesn’t really look like something that would interest me though.

  • Ania_O

    American Psycho is probably in my Top 20 of all time but every time I watch it, I’m reminded that it was in fact shot in Toronto as evidenced by the club scene in Pheonix and TD Centre in end. Killer soundtrack.

  • Christopher Misch

    I had no idea American Psycho was shot in Toronto.

  • Anonymous

    Excellent choices. In keeping with the Scorsese love (no surprise really), what about MEAN STREETS? I also love LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN, which no on seems to talk about, but I think makes great use of its New York setting

  • Christopher Misch

    Mean Streets has never really grown on me. Found it merely to be alright. No where near one of my favourite Scorses’s or one of my favourite films set in New York.

  • Steve Blank

    Someone else who like Lucky Number Slevin? I thought I was the only one.

  • Hari Keshan

    When I discussed this list with you initially, I really thought you were going to put some movies that were “out there” However, this list impresses me but at the same times leaves some question marks and disappointments. Eyes Wide Shut (Huge fan of the film) should not be on this list, because although it was set in New York, it really did not explore and expose the identity of the city and incorporate it into the film. However, you hit the nail on the head with 25th Hour and Do The Right Thing. Your exemptions of The Godfather, Taxi Driver, King Kong and even Home Alone 2 can be left up to debate, something which I am sure you are hoping to have.

    My biggest gripe with your list is the refusal and disrespect that was shown to “King of New York” perhaps Christopher Walkens’ greatest role (yes I said that) I have urged you to watch this film many times over as I feel it deserves a place in your top ten or at least an honorable mention.

    Here is a few movies, that I feel should have been on your list. Now you may look at it and say well its somewhat a bias list or focuses more towards the “gangster” genre however, sometimes the films itself need to bring out the city more than the characters.

    here are a few films I feel perhaps should have made the list.

    Home Alone 2
    A Bronx Tale
    Once Upon a Time in America
    King of New York

    I am hoping this post can create some healthy discussion and debate amongst the Next Projection community. Looking forward to hearing the responses.

    BTW a Shout out to Gangs of New York!!


  • Vakeesh Velummylum

    I can agree with you on some of your points Hari. I however completely disagree with you on Eyes Wide Shut. New York is not just a landscape but a distinct culture. I believe Eyes Wide Shut encapsulated those cultural and social intricacies of the ‘elite’ niche of New York. As i am sure Christoph would agree.

  • Christopher Misch

    I believe Eyes Wide Shut definitely deserves to be listed among the best films set in New York; not just in terms of overall quality, but also in terms of unearthing an identity of the city that isn’t explored in films.

    Home Alone 2 is a film that I would of loved to include, as a sort of nostalgic favourite.

    Are you referring to the original King Kong or Jackson’s remake? I actually prefer the remake.

    I do know how much you love King of New York, and sadly I have not seen it yet, despite having your copy of the film for years.

    I was happy to see Gangs present on both lists. Something I did not expect, actually.

    I don’t really have any disagreements with the films you mentioned, beside the idea that New York movies are often associated with Gang/Mob movies and to have a list compiled of simply just those does an injustice to all the others. Another reason why, Eyes Wide Shut deserves a mention.

  • Hari Keshan

    So why is a film such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles not present either on the list? was it considered?

    I am loving this debate/discussion hopefully others can join in as well.

  • Christopher Misch

    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was considered by some, but not by me.

  • Christopher Misch

    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was considered by some, but not by me.

  • Christopher Misch

    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was considered by some, but not by me.

  • Christopher Misch

    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was considered by some, but not by me.

  • Hamza Khan

    I’m with you 100% on the selection of Home Alone 2. If Chris’s intention was to compile a list of films that not only feature New York as a backdrop but also meaningfully interact with it in way that the city becomes a character in its own right, then Home Alone 2 should rank fairly high on the list.

  • Hamza Khan

    I agree with this selection as well; in the 3rd film, where they are transported to Japan, you may agree that the look and feel of the New York setting is sorely missed. I think that’s a testament to how integral the New York “character” is to the story. I would’ve wanted to see TMNT on the list as well.

  • rtm

    I could’ve sworn I submitted my picks, but not sure what happened to it. Oh well…

  • Christopher Misch

    It appears, you were overruled haha.

blog comments powered by Disqus