For over a century, New York City has been one of the world’s most important cities for films. Directors such as Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee, and Woody Allen have developed their entire careers on showing New York and its people through film. If you are learning English and want a good idea about American culture, movies based in New York are an excellent resource. There are so many wonderful New York movies we could recommend. Here are just a few of the best New York movies. They show the various cultures of this incredible city and the lives, joys, and struggles of its people.
1. Dog Day Afternoon by Sidney Lumet (1974)
Al Pacino plays a married man who decides to rob a bank to help his lover. The bank robbery goes wrong and he is trapped inside. However, he quickly gains media attention and becomes a hero to the public. Most of the movie was filmed in Park Slope, Brooklyn.
Robert deNiro plays Travis Bickel, a lonely Vietnam veteran who becomes a NYC taxi driver. He is obsessed with a beautiful young woman and frustrated by the problems of living in a modern city. The movie was filmed around Times Square and the East Village and give you a good sense of life in New York during the 1970’s.
3. Hannah and her Sisters by Woody Allen (1986)
This is one of his best, but lesser known films about New York. It tells the story of three sisters who deal with the secrets and lies of their marriages and relationships over two years. Like most of Woody Allen’s best movies, it is both funny and sad at the same time. The movie was filmed all over New York, including the Upper West Side, SoHo, and Columbia University.
4. Do the Right Thing by Spike Lee (1989)
Spike Lee plays a pizza delivery man who comes face to face with racism and violence in his Brooklyn neighborhood. This movie explores the racial tensions that New York, like many American cities, has faced throughout its history. The story is suspenseful and the dialogue is fantastic. The movie was filmed entirely in the neighborhood Bedford-Stuyvesant.
5. Party Girl directed by Daisy von Scherler Mayer (1995)
Parker Posey plays the “queen of the party” who works in a library by day, and organizes huge house parties by night. She falls in love with a falafel vendor from Lebanon and also forms a closer relationship with her godmother. The movie is really funny and gives you a good feeling for life in the Lower East Side of Manhattan before the area was redeveloped.