Depending on who you ask, you’ll get a different answer to the question of which city takes the crown of being the most popular on film. Among the countless categories from action to romcom, horror to comic book movies, New York City and Los Angeles are neck and neck in the race to be the most filmed cities in the world. So, when it comes to popularity, we won’t even begin the debate!
NYC is legendary in many ways and for many reasons that have been documented on film and TV for decades. In celebration of the new year, we’ve compiled a list of classic movies that take place in The Big Apple that are having an anniversary in 2024.
Here are some NYC-based movies turning 50, 40, 30, 20, and 10 years old this year!
1. The Godfather Part II (50 years)
The Godfather Part II is a 1974 crime film directed by Francis Ford Coppola that explores the story of the Corleone crime family It focuses on the early life of Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro) and the rise of his son Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) as the new family patriarch. The film also depicts Michael’s efforts to expand the family’s influence and the challenges he faces. In the movie you’ll get glimpses of Little Italy, where the Corleones have strong ties. The film spans various locations in the city, portraying the family’s complex dynamics and interactions.
2. Ghostbusters (40 years)
Ghostbusters is a classic comedy directed by Ivan Reitman in 1984. It follows a group of eccentric parapsychologists (Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson and Harold Ramis) who start a ghost-catching business in New York City. They become known as the Ghostbusters, battling supernatural entities that threaten the city. The film captures various recognizable locations, offering a fun paranormal twist to the cityscape. Some notable places featured in the movie include the iconic firehouse at 14 North Moore Street, which serves as the Ghostbusters’ headquarters. The final battle against the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man takes place near Columbus Circle.
3. The Muppets Take Manhattan (40 years)
The Muppets Take Manhattan is a 1984 musical comedy film featuring the Muppets, directed by Frank Oz. The storyline revolves around the Muppets as they graduate from college and aspire to take their musical to Broadway. The film showcases their adventures and challenges in the city. The movie include Central Park, where the Muppets perform, and the fictional restaurant Sardi’s, a famous Broadway landmark. The film captures the vibrant spirit of Manhattan, incorporating both real and fictional elements into the Muppets’ journey to achieve their Broadway dreams.
4. Supergirl (40 years)
Supergirl is a superhero movie based on the DC Comics’ Supergirl. The story follows Kara Zor-El, Superman’s cousin, who comes to Earth to retrieve the Omegahedron, a power source that has fallen into the wrong hands. Kara assumes the superhero identity of Supergirl to thwart the villain’s plans. Supergirl takes place in various NYC locations although the movie’s primary setting isn’t New York City. Instead, much of the film takes place in a fictional community called Midvale.
5. Ghostbusters II (35 years)
Ghostbusters II is the 1989 sequel to the original Ghostbusters film. The story is set in New York City five years after the events of the first movie. The team had disbanded, but when supernatural activity starts to surge again, they reunite to save the city from a new paranormal threat. The sequel includes the Manhattan Museum of Art, where much of the action takes place and the Statue of Liberty also plays a significant role in the film’s climax.
6. When Harry Met Sally… (35 years)
When Harry Met Sally… might be NYC’s most iconic romantic comedy. The film explores the evolving relationship between Harry Burns (Billy Crystal) and Sally Albright (Meg Ryan) over a span of 12 years. The movie delves into the question of whether men and women can be friends without romantic complications. Some locations featured in the film include Katz’s Delicatessen, where the famous “I’ll have what she’s having” scene takes place. The characters also navigate through various parts of Manhattan, showcasing the city’s charm as a backdrop to their unfolding love story.
7. Look Who’s Talking (35 years)
Look Who’s Talking is a 1989 romantic comedy film directed by Amy Heckerling. The movie follows the romantic relationship between Mollie Jensen (Kirstie Alley) and James Ubriacco (John Travolta), but with a unique twist— their baby, Mikey, provides a humorous and insightful commentary (voiced by Bruce Willis) on their lives. The film’s focus is primarily on the characters and their relationships, while the city serves as a backdrop to their unfolding story.
8. Miracle on 34th Street (30 years)
Miracle on 34th Street is a classic 1994 Christmas movie about Kris Kringle, who claims to be the real Santa Claus and the legal proceedings that ensue when he is institutionalized as insane. A young lawyer and a little girl work to prove Kringle’s true identity. The film is set against the backdrop of New York City during the holiday season, with several notable places featured; Macy’s at 34th Street and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The courthouse scenes were filmed at the New York County Courthouse in Manhattan. The movie captures the festive spirit of NYC during Christmas.
9. Cruel Intentions (25 years)
Cruel Intentions is a 1999 teen drama film that doubles as a modern-day adaptation of Pierre Choderlos de Laclos’s 1782 novel “Les Liaisons Dangereuses”. The film explores themes of seduction, betrayal, and the consequences of deceit within this privileged social setting of affluent New York City locations and upscale private schools.
10. Sleepy Hollow (25 years)
Sleepy Hollow is a 1999 horror film directed by Tim Burton. It’s a loose adaptation of Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. The film follows Ichabod Crane (Johnny Depp), a constable sent to investigate a series of beheadings in the small town of Sleepy Hollow, believed to be the work of the supernatural figure, the Headless Horseman. Majority of the film is set in the eerie and atmospheric Sleepy Hollow, just an hour outside of NYC. The story briefly involves Ichabod Crane traveling from the city to investigate the mysterious murders.
11. End of Days (25 years)
End of Days is a 1999 supernatural action horror film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as Jericho Cane, a former police officer turned security guard who becomes involved in a battle against Satan in New York City. Various places in New York City are featured including iconic landmarks like St. Patrick’s Cathedral, where significant movie events occur. The city serves as a dramatic backdrop to the apocalyptic events unfolding as Jericho Cane tries to prevent Satan’s plan to bring about the end of days.
12. The Terminal (20 years)
The Terminal is a 2004 comedy-drama film directed by Steven Spielberg. The story revolves around Viktor Navorski (Tom Hanks), a man from the fictional Eastern European country of Krakozhia who finds himself stranded at JFK International Airport when his homeland undergoes a political upheaval, leaving him without a valid passport or visa. The majority of the film takes place at JFK, where Viktor creates a temporary life for himself while facing challenges and forming connections with airport staff and other travelers.
13. Spider-Man 2 (20 years)
Spider-Man 2 is a 2004 superhero film directed by Sam Raimi. The movie follows Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) as he struggles to maintain a dual life as the superhero Spider-Man and a regular college student. Meanwhile, Dr. Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina) transforms into the villainous Doctor Octopus. The film captures various iconic locations, including Times Square and the elevated train sequence that becomes a pivotal action scene. The movie showcases the vibrant energy of NYC while integrating the city’s architecture and landmarks into Spider-Man’s web-swinging adventures.
14. John Wick (15 years)
John Wick is a 2014 action thriller film that follows John Wick (Keanu Reeves) a retired hitman seeking vengeance for the killing of his dog, a gift from his late wife, and the theft of his car. The movie is known for its intense action sequences and stylized violence. While the movie is set in various locations, including New York City, it doesn’t heavily emphasize specific landmarks or places in the city. However, the urban landscape of New York provides a gritty and atmospheric backdrop to John Wick’s relentless pursuit of justice.