The 20 Most Famous Movies Set in New York

Famous Movies Set in New York

One of the cities that has the title of “most renowned” throughout the globe is New York. It’s the kind of location where dreams come true, and it’s also the setting for many of the most legendary films in cinematic history. The city of New York serves as the backdrop for some of these movies, but in others, like “Spider-Man,” it is such an integral part of the story that it’s impossible to see the action taking place anyplace else. The following is a list of twenty movies that either take place wholly or in part in New York City:

1. 12 Angry Men

In the 1950 movie, “12 Angry Men,” a jury of twelve men is given the responsibility of deciding whether to decry an 18-year-old man of the murder of another person. Reginald Rose first wrote the narrative as a teleplay in 1954, then transformed it into a Broadway play in 1955. Henry Fonda plays the role of Juror #8 in the film adaptation, which Sidney Lumet directed and featured a cast that also includes Lee J. Cobb as Juror #3, Martin Balsam as Juror #10, E.G., Marshall as Juror #1, Ed Begley as Juror #12, Jack Klugman as Juror #9, George Voskovec as Juror #5, and Jack Warden as Juror #7.

The movie’s script was recognized with an Academy Award, while the picture also garnered nominations for Best Picture and Best Director for Sidney Lumet. It is acknowledged as one of the most impactful movies that have ever been created on the concept of serving on a jury, as well as being considered one of the greatest films that have ever been made about the American judicial system.

12 Angry Men

2. Spider-Man

The figure of the identical name, who first appeared in a comic book in 1962, served as the inspiration for the film adaptation in 2002. Tobey Maguire plays the role of Peter Parker, who is bitten by a deadly spider and receives abilities resulting from increased speed, strength, and agility. Tobey Maguire narrates the tale. He assumes the identity of Spider-Man and engages in combat with Adrian Toomes, also known as the Vulture (portrayed by Michael Keaton). Kirsten Dunst plays the role of Mary Jane Watson, while James Franco takes on the role of Harry Osborn in the movie, which Sam Raimi filmed.


3. Saturday Night Fever

In the film Saturday Night Fever, John Travolta plays the role of a youngster from a working-class family who lives in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, with his mother in the film Saturday Night Fever. Throughout the film, he struggles to balance his duties as a son and brother and his ambition to achieve success as a dancer. The novel “Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night,” written by Nik Cohn and first released in 1974, serves as the inspiration for the film adaptation of the same name. Additionally, John Badham directed it, which was released in 1977.

Saturday Night Fever

4. Mean Streets

Mean Streets is an American crime movie released in 1973 and directed and written by Martin Scorsese. In addition, Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel, and David Proval starred in the movie. The movie follows the narrative of Charlie (De Niro), a young guy from Little Italy who becomes engaged in the small-time criminal scene in New York City while working for his buddy Johnny Boy. The film was directed by Martin Scorsese (Keitel). The movie’s plot focuses on how Charlie manages to cope with the repercussions of his actions in this hazardous setting.

Location shooting took place in Little Italy, which is located in Manhattan. In addition, it was shot at The Redhead Piano Bar on Mulberry Street, where Martin Scorcese first met the filmmaker Quentin Tarantino. At the same time, Tarantino was only a teenager and working there as a bartender. The Mean Streets had a cameo appearance by Tarantino, who played the role of a waitress.

Mean Streets

5. Breakfast at Tiffany’s

In the 1961 romantic comedy film Breakfast at Tiffany’s, which starred Audrey Hepburn, Holly Golightly, played by Audrey Hepburn, is an ambitious New York City party girl. Blake Edwards was in charge of the film’s direction, while George Axelrod, who adapted Truman Capote’s 1958 novella of the same name, collaborated on the script. The narrative’s events occur in New York City in the years after the conclusion of World War II and at the beginning of what is known as “the space race” (the 1950s). The story is centered on the character Paul Varjak, played by George Peppard, who develops a love interest in Holly Golightly as she goes about her life as a call girl and party girl. This occurs while Paul is working on a project that involves Holly Golightly.

Breakfast at Tiffany's

6. A Miracle on 34th Street

This is the perfect movie for you if you are one of those folks who would rather stay indoors and watch Christmas movies than enjoy the holiday itself. In the movie “Miracle on 34th Street,” which came out in 1947, Maureen O’Hara and John Payne play workers at Macy’s who are entrusted with persuading a youngster that Santa Claus is honest. The lone nomination it received was for Best Picture, but it won five more awards, one of which was Best Supporting Actress (Natalie Wood).

A Miracle on 34th Street

7. King Kong (1933)

King Kong (1933) is a 1933 American pre-Code monster film directed by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack. The picture is based on an original narrative that Cooper and Edgar Wallace wrote. Fay Wray and Bruce Cabot feature in the picture as Ann Darrow, who locals kidnap on Skull Island. Once there, she discovers King Kong, a massive ape that the people had nurtured as one of their own and treated like one of their family members.

King Kong was created and released by RKO Pictures to favorable reviews from critics but dismal returns at the box office owing to expensive production expenses; until its re-release in 1952, which led to more economic success, it was considered a box office failure. Since then, it has gone on to become one of the most well-known films directed by Merian C. Cooper and a timeless classic of the Hollywood film industry; in 2008, it was voted the number one greatest movie ever made in a poll conducted by Empire magazine titled “The 500 Greatest Movies Of All Time,” and the American Film Institute (AFI) named it the number two film on their list of 100 Years…100 Thrills, behind Jaws. Based on a public vote, the American Film Institute (AFI) placed King Kong at number one among all horror movies in 2005, while fans ranked it twenty among all drama films.


8. Taxi Driver

Taxi Driver is one of the most well-known films directed by Martin Scorsese, and it was awarded the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. In addition to that, it was put forth for consideration for four Academy Awards, one of which was for Best Director. In the movie “Cab Driver,” released in 1976, Robert De Niro plays the role of a Vietnam War veteran who gets a job driving a taxi and begins experiencing hallucinations about protecting Jodie Foster from a group of pimps and rapists. By providing viewers with a glimpse of what New York looked like thirty years ago, this iconic film about the city demonstrates how drastically the city has evolved over time.

Taxi Driver

9. Wall Street

Oliver Stone is responsible for directing and co-writing the screenplay for the 1987 American drama film Wall Street, which also stars Michael Douglas, Charlie Sheen, and Daryl Hannah. The movie’s main character is a young stockbroker named Bud Fox, played by Sheen. He becomes engaged with Gordon Gekko, played by Douglas, a rich corporate raider who is infamous for blue-collar layoffs and other unethical activities.

In this all-time great film directed by Oliver Stone, Gordon Gekko, a Wall Street trader, uses greed, dishonesty, and insider trading as his method of operation. When Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen), played by Charlie Sheen, takes a position as an assistant to Jake Moore (Martin Sheen), played by Gekko’s lawyer, he rapidly discovers that there is more than one way to become wealthy fast on Wall Street: all you need is inside knowledge. Following Fox’s participation in several insider trading operations, FBI agent Patrick Denham (played by Dennis Franz) and his colleague Sam Weinberg begin to tail him (William Hurt).

Wall Street

10. Do the Right Thing

The picture that Spike Lee made in 1989 would go on to become one of the movies that had the greatest cultural influence on New York City throughout its entire existence. Do the Right Thing events occur on a single day in Brooklyn, New York, during which local people and their African American neighbors experience heightened racial tensions. The investigation that Lee conducted into social instability in New York City was revolutionary when it was first published, and it remains pertinent to this day.

Do the Right Thing

11. The Godfather Part II

Francis Ford Coppola directed the first “The Godfather” movie and helmed the follow-up “The Godfather Part II” in 1972. In the film, Al Pacino played the role of Michael Corleone, Robert De Niro took on the role of Vito Corleone, Diane Keaton took on the role of Kay Adams-Corleone, and Talia Shire played the role of Connie Corleone. It also included James Caan as Santino ‘Sonny’ Corleone, Robert Duvall as Tom Hagen, and John Cazale as Fredo Corleone (in his last performance before passing away). Francis Ford Coppola took home the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, while Norman Foster took home the award for Best Adapted Score. The film also won Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Robert De Niro).

The Godfather Part II

12. The French Connection

The French Connection is a film in the genre of crime thrillers that was nominated for ten Academy Awards and ended up winning five of them. It was adapted from a novel written by Robin Moore, who also collaborated on the script for the movie. William Friedkin, who co-wrote the screenplay with Ernest Tidyman, was in charge of directing the movie. Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider, and Tony Lo Bianco are among the actors who have been cast.

The French Connection

13. Annie Hall

The romantic comedy film Annie Hall was released in 1977 and was written and directed by Woody Allen. Allen plays the role of Alvy Singer, who narrates the film and explains how he first developed feelings for Annie Hall (Diane Keaton). Manhattan’s intellectual and cultural life is pitted against the mundane existence of suburban New York City in this video, which compares the two. The film only took home one of the four Oscar nominations it received, despite being up for categories such as Best Picture and Best Director (Woody Allen).

Annie Hall

14. “Dog Day Afternoon”

The film Dog Day Afternoon is inspired by real events. It was released in 1975, and Al Pacino and John Cazale were the leads in the film. The film was directed by Sidney Lumet and received several nominations for accolades, including one for the Academy Award for Best Picture.

Dog Day Afternoon

15. Ghostbusters

Ivan Reitman was the director of the 1984 comedy feature Ghostbusters, which featured Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray. Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis authored the screenplay for the film.

In the movie, three scientists, played by Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Harold Ramis, establish a ghost-catching firm in New York City. Murray plays Peter Venkman, Aykroyd plays Raymond Stantz, and Ramis plays Egon Spengler. As soon as it becomes apparent that these eccentric paranormal investigators need assistance from another dimension to complete their first case, which leads to a showdown with an old evil deity called Gozer who aims to destroy the earth, they enlist Sigourney Weaver’s character Dana Barrett to become their fourth member. Together, they avert the impending doom that would have befallen New York City!


16. Manhattan

Manhattan is a film written by Woody Allen and filmed by him in 1979. Diane Keaton, Michael Murphy, and Mariel Hemingway are among the actors who appear in it. The story takes place in New York City. It concentrates on a formerly married couple who reunite by coincidence at the same location where they originally met and found themselves falling in love all over again. The film received multiple accolades, including the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture—Musical or Comedy, as well as the award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture—Musical or Comedy. It was also nominated for an Academy Award in Best Music Original Score (Keaton) category.


17. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

When it came out, Roman Polanski’s genuine paranormal drama was like a shot of rich, sophisticated blood into a genre where the norm was Vincent Price in a silly cloak. The city itself is mainly responsible for the revolutionary effect of the film: Like the castle of a Transylvanian vampire, The Dakota rises ominously in the distance. A young couple moves in, depicted by Mia Farrow (with her trendy NYC pixie cut) and John Cassavetes. The film subverts expectations by having the always-likable, but inquisitive neighbor (Ruth Gordon) have bad intentions. Countless Black Swans may trace their ancestry back to this crowded nightmare, everything from strange obstetricians to the unexplained night sounds to Farrow’s impromptu trip into real oncoming traffic.

18. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)

This romantic comedy captures the essence of many now-lost New York City institutions and activities, with maybe Woody at his most nave and nourishing. The Carlyle Club, where Bobby Short croons, the CBGB, where punk bands scream; and the old Pageant Books, where intellectuals ogle each other.

19. The Naked City (1948)

Even while Jules Dassin’s docu-noir wasn’t the first to employ real New York City streets as backgrounds, it spread the idea that streets like 57th and Lexington seem more genuine than studio sets. Every New York City-based police drama on television over the last four decades may trace its inspiration to this narrative (one of eight million, based on the introductory narration).

20. My Dinner with Andre (1981)

It’s hard to imagine that a film in which the protagonists spend most of their time chatting to one another over dinner could be as captivating as this one, yet the fact is that it is. Putting up with Andre Gregory’s New Age ramblings might be trying, but the payoff is worth it once Wallace Shawn gets the debate going. You may be surprised to learn that this is a common discussion topic around New York City dinner tables.


This list is perfect for you if you are a movie aficionado who enjoys revisiting the classics in the medium. These are some of the most well-known films ever shot in New York City. They have been nominated for and won some accolades during their careers; hence, if you haven’t seen any of these performances yet, now is the time to do so!

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