Covid-19 has required some changes for the time being.
For September we are going to try a different format – “Top 10 Corona Culture” – updated info and video especially suited to these difficult times OR NYC related visual info (Instagram and YouTube) OR all the NYC news you need to start your day.
We hope you will come back often to see what’s cooking here.
Today it’s 14 Classic NYCity Films (plus a few more personal faves).
If you want to get in the mood for your visit to NYCity, then make yourself some popcorn and pick up a copy of one of these great films at your local Netflix.
(and if you have seen any of these before, remember Director Robert Altman’s advice:
“It’s better to see a great movie again than an average one the first time. Because even though the movie hasn’t changed, you have. And you’ll see something new..”)
The Naked City (1948)
On the Waterfront (1954)
Sweet Smell Of Success (1957) — “I love this dirty town!”, says Burt Lancaster — and so do we, in one of his signature films — a sour, caustic tale about a twisted gossip columnist, partly modeled on the legendary Walter Winchell. Lancaster is superb, and guess what, so is Tony Curtis.
West Side Story (1961)
Midnight Cowboy (1969) — Two drifters meet in a mutual attempt to survive in, then escape from, Manhattan’s grimy underbelly. Hoffman is incredible as Ratso. The kind they don’t make anymore, this “Cowboy” still packs a hefty wallop.
The French Connection (1971) — Maybe the best cop movie ever, portraying one of the city’s bigger drug busts back in the day. Gene Hackman won as Oscar and became a bankable star with this movie — and it’s easy to see why.
The Godfather (1972)
Mean Streets (1973) — Scorsese’s breakthrough about a conflicted small-time crook and his wacko, self-destructive cousin in Little Italy. Rich in emotion, immediacy, and atmosphere, this film set the pungent, propulsive Scorsese style we’d see again in movies like 1990′s Goodfellas.
The Godfather, Part 2 (1974) — Coppola managed to improve on a masterpiece with this one, which paints on a broader canvas and offers even richer period flavor. And for the price of Brando, we get a young Robert De Niro, who’s equally brilliant.
Annie Hall (1977) — Inveterate New Yorker Woody Allen’s best film ever, with some hilariously dead-on insights about the bi-coastal dilemma: New York vs. Los Angeles. I’m with Woody: give me Gotham every time. This turned Diane Keaton into a star, and it’s still her signature role.
Broadway Danny Rose (1984)
Three Woody Allen films in a row may seem a bit much, but for me Woody is the quintessential NYCity film auteur. Heck, I could have added “Hannah and Her Sisters” (1986), “Crimes and Misdemeanors” (1989), and “Bullets Over Broadway” (1994).
Moonstruck (1987) — This love letter to Brooklyn is full of charm and humanity, though some disagree… worth the price of admission for Vincent Gardenia and Olympia Dukakis alone. And look for an unusual early turn from Nic Cage as a mooning, eccentric baker.
A Bronx Tale (1993)
Half of this list is from the wonderful film critic John Farr.
The other half (films without the write up’s) are my additional personal faves.
Heck, there are just too many great NYCity movies.
Need to make room for these classics:
1910s – Regeneration (1915, Raoul Walsh)
1920s – The Crowd (1928, Dir. King Vidor); Speedy (1928, Ted Wilde)
1930s – Dead End (1937, Dir. William Wyler); King Kong (1933, Merian C. Cooper)
1940s – On The Town (1949, Gene Kelly,)
1950s – Shadows (1959, John Cassavetes); On The Bowery (!956, Lionel Rogosin); Little Fugitive (1953, Ray Ashley,..); Marty (1955, Paddy Chayefsky); Pickup on South Street (1953, Samuel Fuller )
1960s – The Apartment (1960, Dir. Billy Wilder); The Cool World (1964, Shirley Clarke); Rosemary’s Baby (1968, Roman Polansky); Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961, Blake Edwards)
1970s – a Golden Decade for NYCity Films
Hester Street (1975 Dir. Joan Silver); Klute (1971, Alan J. Pakula); Superfly (1972, Gordon Parks); Serpico (1973, Sidney Lumet); The Taking of Pelham1-2-3 (!974, Joseph Sargent); Dog Day Afternoon (1975, Sidney Lumet); Taxi Driver (1976, Martin Scorsese) (great movie but NYCity at its worst); Saturday Night Fever (1977, John Badham); The Warriors (1979, Walter Hill); All That Jazz (1979, Bob Fosse); Shaft (1971, Gordon Parks); Three Days of the Condor (1975, Sydney Pollack); An Unmarried Woman (1978, Paul Mazursky)
1980s—Do The Right Thing (1989, Dir. Spike Lee); Raging Bull (1980, Martin Scorsese); Once Upon a Time in America (1984, Sergio Leone); The Pope of Greenwich Village (1984, Stuart Rosenberg); When Harry Met Sally (1989, Rob Reiner); Ghostbusters (1984, Ivan Reitman); Wall Street (1987, Oliver Stone); Working Girl (1988, Mike Nichols)
1990s – Goodfellas (1990, Martin Scorsese); Metropolitan (1990, Whit Stillman); Kids (1995, Larry Clark); Men in Black (1997, Barry Sonnenfeld)
2000s – Man on Wire (2008, James Marsh); 25th Hour (2002, Spike Lee); Rent (2005, Chris Columbus); The Devil Wears Prada (2006, David Frankel); We Own the Night (2007, James Gray)
2010s – Black Swan (2010, Darren Aronofsky); Margaret (2011, Kenneth Lonergan); Spider-Man into the Spider Verse (2018, Bob Persichetti); Inside Llewyn Davis (2013, Ethan/Joel Cohen); Birdman (2014, Alejandro González Iñárritu); Brooklyn (2015, John Crowley); Frances Ha (2012, Noah Baumbach)
Want to know what some other folks thought were NYCity’s best movies:
We hope you enjoy this change of pace, then please return here October 1, and every day for our daily, hot off the presses event guide with “Only the Best” NYCity event info.
Lower Manhattan – Did you know?
New York City is a city of neighborhoods and no neighborhood has more spectacular sights, nor more important links to American history then Lower Manhattan.
The Gotham Center for New York City History, a research and public education institution, publishes “Gotham” a blog that is endlessly fascinating for scholars (and non-scholars alike) of New York City history. I am most interested in those essays that cover Lower Manhattan. Here are three more that I find especially compelling (o):
Now, how about some other useful information during these trying times.
STAY HOME FOR A BIT LONGER – MASK UP AND STAY SAFE.