From Times Square to the Brooklyn Bridge, New York City locations have long served as iconic settings for motion pictures. But which movies capture the spirit of the city rather than use the metropolis as a generic urban backdrop? Woody Allen's "Manhattan" is an obvious choice, as is Spike Lee's "Do The Right Thing." But there are others you might not think of immediately.
We've searched Netflix to find nine you can stream right now.
American Psycho (2000)
Part of the reason this movie works so well is its attention to details that evoke American power represented by Wall Street. High-end restaurants where reservations are hard to get, luxury apartments, sharp-edged office spaces — all of which become facets of a type of American psychosis that the movie portrays in darkly comic terms.
(Credit: Universal Studios)
There may be no film that better portrays the urban town feel of some Brooklyn neighborhoods like “Smoke.” Based on a Paul Auster book, it centers on a cigar shop and the characters that frequent it. The movie is set in Park Slope and, according to the Wall Street Journal, the storefront that served as the cigar shop was in a building at 16th Street and Prospect Park West.
The Fisher King (1991)
Since Robin Williams’ death, people have been reintroduced to the charms of “The Fisher King.” In the film, directed by Terry Gilliam, Williams plays a homeless man whose wife was brutally murdered in front of him. Haunted by the death, he is convinced he is on a mission to find the Holy Grail. Jeff Bridges, a former shock jock, sets out to help him. Pivotal scenes occur in Central Park, Midtown Manhattan and at Grand Central Terminal.
(Credit: Columbia Pictures)
King of New York (1990)
An irreplaceable Christopher Walken stars as a drug kingpin in this evocative gangster movie from Abel Ferrara. New York City is unmistakable throughout — watch out for cameos from the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge as well as Times Square.
(Credit: King of New York)
The movie opens at the New York Public Library. The Ghostbusters take over an old TriBeca firehouse for their headquarters. Spooky stuff happens from Central Park to Washington Square Park. And the Marshmallow Man stomps through Manhattan in the climactic sequence. Watching “Ghostbusters” is like getting a cinematic tour of the city — or at least some of its more noteworthy spots.
(Credit: Sony Pictures)
Wild style (1983)
Now considered a classic, “Wild Style” features a galaxy of hip hop stars in cameo roles, including Grandmaster Flash and Fab 5 Freddy. The movie centers on a graffiti artist in the city’s subways — the filmmakers were even allowed to shoot at the actual train yards.
(Credit: Wild Style)
Any list of movies set in New York City has to include Woody Allen’s “Manhattan.” Part love letter to the metropolis, the black-and-white pic was shot in wide screen, giving each shot of the city a breathtaking quality. Even though critics consider the film among the best Allen has made, the infamously perfectionistic director once told an interviewer that he was so disappointed in it. “I wanted United Artists not to release it,” Allen told Stig Bjorkman. “I wanted to offer them to make one free movie, if they would throw it away.”
Al Pacino has played central roles in some of the most memorable New York City-set films such as “Taxi Driver” and “Scent of a Woman.” Unfortunately, most of those movies aren’t available to stream. In “Serpico,” Pacino portrays real-life whistleblower cop Detective Frank Serpico, who risked his career to expose police corruption in the NYPD. Key scenes of the movie, which was directed by Sidney Lumet, take place in Greenwich Village and in Astoria, Queens.
(Credit: Paramount Pictures)
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Critics have long noted that director Roman Polanski’s use of space in his films is essential to any reading of them. “Rosemary’s Baby,” which was shot partly at the Dakota Hotel at West 72nd Street and Central Park West, is no exception. The Dakota stands in for Rosemary’s apartment, an elegant space that becomes almost claustrophobic as the horror at the core of the story unfolds.
(Credit: Paramount Pictures)