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Ed Waffle

Films set in New York City

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The Guardian recently ran a travel article on movies set in New York City. While rating the ten best of anything is odd that is how Guardian does list type pieces like this. The article is here

My list of movies that I thought of while reading the article. I stopped at 12:

My Man Godfrey 1936

On the Town 1949

Breakfast at Tiffany's 1961

Last exit to Brooklyn 1990

West Side Story 1961

The French Connection 1971

Dog Day Afternoon 1975

After Hours 1985

Working Girl 1989

Do the Right Thing 1989

King of New York 1990

Last Days of Disco 1998

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Thanks for the link, Ed. There are so many New York movies. It might be hard to compile one list that wouldn't be too unwieldy. The link you provided lists some of the best known such films.

There is a distinction between “set in New York City” and “shot in New York City.” Probably the movie most successful at evoking the city atmosphere while not actually shooting there is “The Clock” directed by Vincente Minnelli, with Judy Garland and Robert Walker.

I also like “The Pope of Greenwich Village” – very enjoyable “city” movie with great performances.

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My favorite NYC movie is Taxi Driver, in which the city almost becomes another character in Travis's descent to madness.

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The Hecht-Hill-Lancaster movies like "Sweet Smell of Success" really conveyed the feeling of New York to me before I knew anything about New York — other than it was "fifteen times bigger" than San Francisco as schoolmate described it to me. Also "On the Waterfront" gets New York, and among the "set in" films, "The Seven Year Inch."

Regarding "Manhattan": without Gordon Willis' photography, it's a much different - less romantic, smaller - film.

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I find Manhattan's New Yorkness to be overblown, somewhat like the overstated orchestrations used for the Gershwin soundtrack - despite Allen's genuine passion for the city. Odd movie, especially in retrospect after the Soon-Yi scandal.

"On the Waterfront" is a good choice, Quiggin.

I also think of a more recent movie, "In America."

The director Joan Micklin Silver holds the interesting distinction of making a very good and beautifully detailed New York movie, "Hester Street," and following up later with a hopelessly meretricious one, "Crossing Delancey."

I also like the Little Italy of The Godfather, Part II, although it's not a New York picture.

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Some not yet named are 'I Can Get It for You Wholesale', with Susan Hayward wonderful; 'The Apartment', a beautiful poetic film, never quite surpassed in its peculiar way, esp. the bar with 'Mrs. McDougal' on Xmas Eve; 'Broadway Melody of 1929', which has beautiful vintage photography that has quality 'Great White Way' electricity; 'Gloria', with Gena Rowlands just plain formidable--nobody ever equalled her 'Take a walk..' at Port Authority; 'Miracle on 34th Street', which is flawless; and 'Days of Wine and Roses'. There are scores of marvelous NYC movies, though. 'Sweet Smell of Success', though, is definitely one of the greatest.

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