Too many movies to count are set in beautiful, iconic New York City. At the risk of starting an Internet comment fight over what we should and should not have included, we decided to rank our top 10 favorites:
10. When Harry Met Sally (1989)
Rob Reiner and Nora Ephron capture quintessential Manhattan romance in this classic film—from Shakespeare & Co., to Katz’s Deli, to Central Park. In this movie, the city has as much personality as the lead characters.
9. Do The Right Thing (1989)
Spike Lee was inspired to write this screenplay by an incident which occurred in 1986, when three black men were chased out of a pizzeria by a gang of white youths, and one of the black men was hit by a car and died. Lee said he wanted to depict a realistic state of race relations at the time, and the end result is powerful.
8. Rear Window (1954)
This Hitchcock masterpiece captures a microcosm of Manhattan and the people that lives in its close quarters, revealing how flimsy privacy can be in a city like this. That’s not to mention the mystery and suspense which make Hitchcock so great.
7. Sweet Smell Of Success (1957)
This film is anything but sweet, but it sure is juicy. It’s a delicious story about the cutthroat world of tabloid journalism, and what better setting for that plot than New York City?
6. Working Girl (1988)
A film about the American dream—it tells the story of a woman succeeding in a male-dominated industry, and the hoops she has to jump through to get there. All young New Yorkers struggling to advance their careers can sympathize with the protagonist of this movie.
5. West Side Story (1961)
It began as a hit on Broadway, and the movie version transcended its original form. The streets of New York City are the perfect backdrop for this post-war update on Romeo and Juliet.
4. On The Town (1949)
This musical seems quaint to a modern day audience, but when it came out in 1949, many thought it was too racy. The message is clear: New York City is way ahead of the rest of the world, and that’s just the way we like it.
3. Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961)
Of course, how could we not include Audrey Hepburn’s performance in this classic film? We included the novel on our list of the best books about NYC, and the film, though it softens the heroine, touches us just as much.
2. American Psycho (2000)
American Psycho was also on our book list, and Mary Harron’s film adaptation perfectly understands the wicked satire and critique of consumer culture that the original author intended. The film captures the ugliness of the ultra-rich—a theme which remains very relevant.
1. Taxi Driver (1976)
“You talking to me?” Taxi Driver speaks to us because we all have to fend off the feeling of isolation in this city, even surrounded by 8 million people. The film is incredibly real, partially because it was shot in the summer during a blistering heatwave and a garbage collector strike, and partially because of the winning combination of Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro. They deliver.