Top 10 Best New York Movies of All Time

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Life in New York can be disarmingly cinematic, whether you're taking the Q train over the East River, strolling through a park (any park!) on a great fall day, ... read more...

  1. Martin Scorsese's uncompromising dive into the deepest parts of the human soul, which was just redistributed at a moment when white men's complaints are once again defining the global agenda, feels uncomfortably timely. The anti-hero Travis Bickle, played by Robert De Niro, exhibits characteristics that would later define the archetypal online troll: he is resentful, impulsive, and self-absorbed, referring to himself as "God's lonely man."

    But despite everything, Scorsese and screenwriter Paul Schrader always treat him with the utmost empathy. This man is wounded by combat, baffled by the permissive culture, and driven to make his imprint in a society that seldom even recognizes him. Despite the fact that Travis wears his seclusion with pride, it is nonetheless difficult to deal with.

    Even after forty years, "Taxi Driver" is still essentially flawless. It's difficult to imagine any movie that can develop and maintain a tone of dread mixed with pity, contempt, brutal humor, and a scuzzy edge of New York cool. De Niro's performance is a masterwork in restraint and honesty, while Bernard Herrmann's score is dark and clammy, like the city breathing. This remains one of the cinematic apex achievements when viewed on a large screen.

    Duration: 114 mins

    Year: 1976

    Director:Martin Scorsese

    Cast: Leonard Harris, Albert Brooks, Peter Boyle, Cybill Shepherd, Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese, Steven Prince, Diahnne Abbot, Harvey Keitel, Jodie Foster.

    • The 1957 American film noir drama Sweet Smell of Success, starring Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis, Susan Harrison, and Martin Milner, was directed by Alexander Mackendrick and written by him, Clifford Odets, and Ernest Lehman from Lehman's novelette. James Wong Howe was the photographer for the ominous noir film that was shot on location in New York City. James Hill of Hecht-Hill-Lancaster Productions produced the film, which United Artists distributed. Sam Levene, Barbara Nichols, Joe Frisco, Edith Atwater, David White, and Emile Meyer make up the supporting cast. Elmer Bernstein was responsible for the musical score, which also includes jazz performances by the Chico Hamilton Quintet. The clothes were created by Mary Grant.

      In the movie, Lancaster plays Walter Winchell's powerful and unscrupulous newspaper writer J.J. Hunsecker, who uses his connections to destroy his sister's engagement with a guy he believes is unworthy of her.

      The reputation of Sweet Smell of Success has grown significantly over time, despite a negative preview screening. Film critics now give it high praise, especially for its narrative and photography. The movie was chosen by the Library of Congress in 1993 for inclusion in the United States National Film Registry because it was "culturally, historically, or aesthetically important". Keep reading to discover more best New York movies.

      Duration:96 mins

      Year: 1957

      Director:Alexander Mackendrick

      Cast: Emile Meyer, Susan Harrison, Burt Lancaster, Sam Levene, Martin Milner, Tony Curtis, Barbara Nichols
    • The 1975 American biographical crime drama film Dog Day Afternoon, which was produced by Martin Bregman and Martin Elfand, was directed by Sidney Lumet. Al Pacino, John Cazale, James Broderick, and Charles Durning all appear in the movie. Frank Pierson wrote the script, which was adapted from the P. F. Kluge and Thomas Moore story "The Boys in the Bank" from Life magazine. The documentary covered the heist and hostage crisis that John Wojtowicz and Salvatore Naturile orchestrated in 1972 at a Brooklyn-based Chase Manhattan branch.

      Bregman was alerted to the article by Elfand, who then went on to arrange a contract with Warner Bros and get the rights to use the material. Wojtowicz was the focal point of the robbery tale in the script that Pierson researched and wrote. Lumet and Pacino chose the cast, with Pacino choosing former co-stars from his Off-Broadway productions. Between September and November 1974, the production was filmed, and it was completed three weeks early.

      Dog Day Afternoon
      had a successful theatrical debut on September 21, 1975, both critically and commercially. The movie received seven Golden Globe nominations, six Academy Award nominations, and the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. The Library of Congress designated Dog Day Afternoon as "culturally, historically, or aesthetically important" in 2009, and it was chosen for inclusion in the National Film Registry.

      Duration:130 mins

      Year: 1975

      Director:Sidney Lumet

      Cast: Al Pacino, John Cazale, Sully Boyar, Penelope Allen, Beulah Garrick, Carol Kane, Charles Durning, James Broderick, Chris Sarandon
    • American romantic comedy-drama Manhattan was released in 1979 and was directed by Woody Allen and produced by Charles H. Joffe from a screenplay by Allen and Marshall Brickman. This movie is now considered to be one of the best New York movies of all time. Despite dating a 17-year-old girl (Mariel Hemingway) and falling in love with his best friend's mistress (Michael Murphy), Allen co-stars as a 42-year-old comedy writer who has been divorced twice (Diane Keaton). Also featured are Meryl Streep and Anne Byrne.

      The 2.35:1 widescreen film Manhattan was Allen's first to be shot in black and white. George Gershwin composed the soundtrack, which includes the movie's inspiration, Rhapsody in Blue. The movie, according to Allen, is a cross between Annie Hall and Interiors. The movie garnered positive reviews and was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen for Allen and Brickman as well as Best Supporting Actress for Hemingway. It was Allen's second-biggest box office success in North America with North American box office receipts of $39.9 million (adjusted for inflation). The National Film Registry was created by the United States Library of Congress in 2001 after deciding that the movie was "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

      Duration: 96 mins

      Year: 1979

      Director: Woody Allen

      Cast: Woody Allen, Mariel Hemingway, Diane Keaton
    • Spike Lee was the producer, writer, and director of the 1989 American comedy-drama film Do the Right Thing. Lee, Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Richard Edson, Giancarlo Esposito, Bill Nunn, John Turturro, and Samuel L. Jackson all star in it. Martin Lawrence and Rosie Perez are making their feature film debuts. The plot centers on the simmering racial conflict between the neighborhood's African-American residents and the Italian-American proprietors of a nearby pizzeria, which leads to tragedy and bloodshed on a steamy July day.

      Aiello's portrayal of Sal, the owner of the pizzeria, got nominated for Best Supporting Actor and Best Original Screenplay at the Academy Awards. The movie was a critical and financial success and received multiple honors. It is frequently ranked among the best movies of all time. The Library of Congress designated the movie as "culturally, historically, or aesthetically important" in 1999, and it was chosen for inclusion in the National Film Registry.

      Duration: 115 mins

      Year: 1989

      Director: Spike Lee

      Cast: Danny Aiello, Ruby Dee, Giancarlo Esposito, John Turturro, Ossie Davis
    • Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack produced the 1933 American pre-Code adventure fantasy horror monster movie King Kong. Cooper and Edgar Wallace came up with the original idea, which James Ashmore Creelman and Ruth Rose adapted into the screenplay. It features Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong, and Bruce Cabot as a gigantic ape named Kong who tries to seduce a lovely young woman. Willis O'Brien created the stop-motion animation, and Max Steiner composed the soundtrack. It is the first installment of the King Kong series.

      On March 2, 1933, King Kong debuted in New York City to rousing acclaim. Since then, Rotten Tomatoes has voted it as the best horror movie of all time and the fifty-sixth greatest movie of all time. It was chosen for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 1991 after being judged to be "culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant." Son of Kong, a hastily produced sequel, was released that same year. Several other movies were filmed in the decades that followed, including two remakes (one each in 1976 and 2005) and a reboot in 2017.

      Duration: 135 mins

      Year: 1933

      Director: John Guillermin

      Cast: Jeff Bridges, Charles Grodin, Jessica Lange, John Randolph, René Auberjonois, Julius Harris, Ed Lauter, John Agar
    • The 1959 American independent drama film Shadows, directed by John Cassavetes, is about racial tensions in New York City at the time of the Beat Generation. Hugh Hurd, Lelia Goldoni, and Ben Carruthers play three mulatto siblings in the movie, although only one of them has a dark enough complexion to be classified as African American. The movie was originally shot in 1957 and released in 1958, but Cassavetes reworked it in 1959 after receiving a negative response. It was advertised as a totally improvised movie, but it was actually heavily rehearsed in 1957 and fully scripted in 1959.

      The movie follows the lives of three outcast siblings for two weeks: two jazz musicians who are struggling brothers; their fair-skinned younger sister; and her three interactions with an older white writer, a shallow white lover, and ultimately a kind young black admirer. Film scholars regard Shadows as a turning point for American independent cinema. The movie received the Critics Award at the Venice Film Festival in 1960.

      Duration: 81 mins

      Year: 1959

      Director: John Cassavetes
      Cast: Hugh Hurd, Dennis Sallas, Ben Carruthers, David Pokitellow, Lelia Goldoni, Tom Allen, Rupert Crosse, Anthony Ray
    • The 1949 Technicolor musical On the Town features lyrics and music by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, with a screenplay by Leonard Bernstein and Roger Edens. Although many changes were made to the script and score from the original stage version, it is an adaptation of the 1944 Broadway stage musical of the same name (which was itself an adaptation of the Jerome Robbins ballet titled Fancy Free). For example, most of Bernstein's score was dropped in favor of new songs by Edens, who disliked Bernstein's music for being too complex and too operatic for film audiences. Bernstein decided to avoid the movie as a result.

      Gene Kelly, who also choreographed the movie, and Stanley Donen made their directorial debuts. The movie stars Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Betty Garrett, Ann Miller, Jules Munshin, and Vera-Ellen, and it was directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen. As a result of Gene Kelly's insistence that some scenes be filmed in New York City, including at Columbus Circle, the American Museum of Natural History, the Brooklyn Bridge, and Rockefeller Center, it is notable for combining studio and location filming. It was produced by the Arthur Freed unit at MGM.

      The movie became popular right away, winning the Oscar for Best Music-Scoring of a Musical Picture and receiving a Golden Globe nomination for Best Cinematography. The Writers Guild of America Award for Best Written American Musical was awarded to screenwriters Comden and Green.

      Duration: 98 mins

      Year: 1949

      Director: Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly
      Cast: Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Jules Munshin, Betty Garrett, Ann Miller, Vera-Ellen, Florence Bates, Alice Pearce, George Meader
    • William Friedkin directed the 1971 American crime action thriller The French Connection. Ernest Tidyman developed Robin Moore's 1969 novel of the same name for the cinema. It describes the pursuit of wealthy French heroin importer Alain Charnier by NYPD detectives Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle and Buddy "Cloudy" Russo, whose real-life counterparts were Narcotics Detectives Eddie Egan and Sonny Grosso. Gene Hackman plays Popeye in the movie, Roy Scheider plays Cloudy, and Fernando Rey plays Charnier. Also included are Tony Lo Bianco and Marcel Bozzuffi.

      In addition to being nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor (Hackman), Best Director, Best Film Editing, and Best Adapted Screenplay at the 44th Academy Awards, the movie also received nods for Best Supporting Actor (Scheider), Best Cinematography, and Best Sound Mixing. It also received eight nominations. For his script, Tidyman was also nominated for a Golden Globe, a Writers Guild of America Award, and an Edgar Award. In 1975, French Connection II was released, with Hackman and Rey returning to their original roles. The French Connection, regarded as one of the greatest movies ever filmed, was included in the American Film Institute's list of the top American movies in 1998 and again in 2007. The movie was chosen by the Library of Congress in 2005 for inclusion in the United States National Film Registry because it was "culturally, historically, or aesthetically important".

      Duration: 104 mins

      Year: 1971
      Director: William Friedkin
      Cast: Roy Scheider, Gene Hackman, Frédéric de Pasquale, Fernando Rey, Marcel Bozzuffi, Tony Lo Bianco
    • The 1977 American dance drama film Saturday Night Fever was produced by Robert Stigwood and directed by John Badham. Tony Manero, a young Italian-American from the New York borough of Brooklyn, is portrayed by John Travolta in the film. Manero, who struggles with social tensions and disillusionment and feels stuck in his working-class ethnic neighborhood, spends his weekends dancing and drinking at a nearby discothèque. The tale is based on "Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night," a largely fictitious piece by music critic Nik Cohn that was initially released in a June 1976 edition of New York magazine. The soundtrack to the movie includes songs from the Bee Gees and numerous more well-known disco musicians.

      A major critical and commercial success, Saturday Night Fever had a tremendous effect on popular culture of the late 1970s. With the assistance of the movie, disco music became more widely known throughout the world, and Travolta, who was already well-known for his part in the TV sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter, became a household figure. His performance earned him a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor, making him the fifth-youngest nominee in the category. The movie highlights several facets of the disco era's music, dance, and subcultures, such as symphony-orchestrated songs, haute couture fashions, pre-AIDS sexual promiscuity, and beautiful choreography. One of the best-selling soundtracks in history is the one for the movie Saturday Night Fever, which includes disco tunes by the Bee Gees. John Travolta reprised his role of Tony Manero in Staying Alive in 1983, which was panned by critics despite being successful at the box office.

      Duration: 104 mins
      Year: 1977
      Director: William Friedkin
      Cast: Roy Scheider, Gene Hackman, Frédéric de Pasquale, Fernando Rey, Marcel Bozzuffi, Tony Lo Bianco

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