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Brooklyn on film: Classic Brooklyn movie neighborhoods and how they've changed

Brooklyn is now one of the hottest places to live--and for film and television. But how well do the borough's classics hold up against all the changes? From Cher's famous house in "Moonstruck" to the picnics in Prospect Park in "Sophie's Choice," we dissect Brooklyn on film.


Photo Credit: MGM

"Snap out of it!" Has there ever been a more Brooklyn phrase? "Moonstruck," the 1987 movie that won Cher an Academy Award, was filmed in Brooklyn Heights, and Cher's Loretta Castorini lives in a brownstone at 19 Cranberry Street. The occupants of the building, who bought it in 1961, sold the house for $4 million in 2008 -- "100 times" what they paid for it nearly 50 years earlier.

'Saturday Night Fever'

You might have noticed one of the major
Photo Credit: RSO

You might have noticed one of the major stars of "Saturday Night Fever" is the Verrazano–Narrows Bridge. The 1977 classic not only takes place in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn--it was filmed there as well. The Odyssey 2001 nightclub (which was later named Spectrum and became a gay nightclub) has closed, and Six Brothers Hardware and Paints (where Tony worked) has also shut down. You can still visit Shore Promenade Road in Bay Ridge though, and stare at the bridge.

'Sophie's Choice'

Who doesn't recognize the scene where Sophie (Meryl
Photo Credit: ITC

Who doesn't recognize the scene where Sophie (Meryl Streep) and Nathan (Kevin Kline) have a picnic lunch in Prospect Park? The lovely scenes in Prospect Park and Brooklyn Heights seemed quaint in 1982, when the area had long been changing. In fact, one longtime resident told The New York Times in 1982 that "you would need an armed guard" to have a picnic in the park. But those days are long gone now, with Prospect Park being one of Brooklyn's crown jewels.

'Dog Day Afternoon'

This Al Pacino film is based on the
Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

This Al Pacino film is based on the true story of 1972 Brooklyn bank robbery. The exterior of the bank is 285 Prospect Park West in Windsor Terrace, which is now a private apartment block. The block itself has changed little over the years. Since then, the neighborhood has made the rounds in various films ("The Amazing Spider-Man 2" for one) and even music videos. ("Jagged Little Pill," anyone?)

"Do the Right Thing"

Perhaps the classic Brooklyn movie,
Photo Credit: 40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks

Perhaps the classic Brooklyn movie, "Do the Right Thing" takes place in Bed-Stuy in late 1989. Sal's Famous Pizzeria, the heart of the film where racial tensions explode, was filmed in an empty lot at the corner of Stuyvesant and Lexington avenues. Walking through the gentrifying neighborhood (it's mainly filled with brownstones), it's hard to remember what drew Lee to the neighborhood--especially when you consider Lee's recent rant against Brooklyn gentrification. " You can get these really charming historical homes for a lot less than you would in those neighborhoods. Now word is out and people are buying," Citi Habitats real estate agent Kyle McCullers said.

'Dave Chappelle's Block Party'

Dave Chappelle said he wanted to hold his
Photo Credit: Focus Features

Dave Chappelle said he wanted to hold his "block party" in Bed-Stuy because he believed it to be the birthplace of hip-hop. The film follows Chappelle as he tries to throw a concert and party of the century at the Broken Angel House in Bed-Stuy. But even nine years ago can be a long time in New York -- one of the owners died in 2010, and her artist husband, Arthur Wood, couldn't fight foreclosure. The building was completely demolished this spring, and the new owner plans to make condos.


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