34th St. and 5th Ave.
King Kong (1933)
An enormous gorilla goes ape and scales what was then the world’s tallest building.
34th St. and 6th/7th Aves.
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
A Macy’s toy department Santa Claus claims to be the real Kris Kringle and slowly wins over a city of cynics—even a young, skeptical Natalie Wood learns to believe.
On the Waterfront (1954)
Elia Kazan’s Oscar winning tale of mob corruption on the New Jersey docks opens with a shot of the Hoboken piers across the river from Manhattan.
34th St. and 5th Ave.
An Affair to Remember (1957)
The inspiration for the 1993 romantic comedy Sleepless in Seattle, this older affair stars Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr as a lovestruck pair who are both engaged to be married to other people. They test their commitment to each other by meeting again at the top of the Empire State Building six months later.
52nd St. and Lexington Ave.
The Seven-Year Itch (1955)
Marilyn Monroe performs her legendary skirt-blowing scene above a lucky subway grate at 52nd Street and Lexington in Billy Wilder’s comedic romp.
West Side Story (1961)
Inspired by the real-life warring gangs of Hell’s Kitchen, Tony and Maria’s musical tragedy begins with equally dramatic aerial views of the city.
5th Ave. and 56th St.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
Who can forget a pouty Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn) as she stands on the outside looking in at the famous luxury jewelry store?
Midnight Cowboy (1969)
The once seedy streets of Times Square precipitate the unusual friendship between the greasy gimp Ratso Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman) and Texas hustler-for-hire Joe Buck (Jon Voight).
86th St., Brooklyn
The French Connection (1971)
Traffic lights? What traffic lights? Gene Hackman commits a number of moving violations as detective Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle when he chases thugs in a high-speed car chase down Brooklyn’s 86th Street. The scene inspired countless other action sequences and numerous traffic offenses.
The Godfather (1972)
Enough about Tony Soprano and his Jersey boys. As mob boss Don Corleone, the late Marlon Brando makes even getting shot down at a fruit stand in Little Italy look cool.
Park Slope, Brooklyn
Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
A young Al Pacino plays the ne’er do well Brooklyn bank robber in this Sidney Lumet film shot in Park Slope—just a few blocks from the bank where the real-life events took place.
Taxi Driver (1976)
The harsh lights of 42nd Street porn theaters and sidewalks littered with prostitutes and drifters act as an isolating backdrop for Robert DeNiro’s ultimate catharsis in Martin Scorcese’s gritty classic.
Fourth Ave., Brooklyn
Saturday Night Fever (1977)
A well-coifed, John Travolta practices shaking his Brooklyn booty walking down Fourth Avenue in Bay Ridge before steaming up the dance floor.
4th St. and Waverly Pl.
Annie Hall (1977)
In one of his most famous odes to New York, the ever-bumbling Woody Allen pulls some of his not-so-smooth moves on Diane Keaton in Washington Square Park and countless other Manhattan locations.
59th St. & FDR Dr.
One year later, Allen still can’t seem to get it right with Keaton. The city gets a nine-minute introductory montage of the midtown skyline, the Staten Island ferry, Park Avenue, Macy’s, the Guggenheim and the Plaza Hotel. One famous scene even takes place under the Queensborough Bridge.
The Wiz (1978)
This funked-up version of The Wizard of Oz combines fantastic images of The Emerald City with New York. Special effects include Diana Ross’ short afro and Michael Jackson’s natural skin color.
Apparently, the only way to legitimately take over Times Square traffic and dance on the hoods of cars is if you attended New York City High School of the Performing Arts, the school on which the film was based.
32nd St. and 7th Ave.
Escape From New York (1981)
It’s hard to decide what’s more ridiculous—the fact that John Carpenter’s futuristic tale predicts that the entire city of New York will be turned into a maximum security prison for hardcore criminals by 1997—or that Kurt Russell duels in a gladiator-type contest in Madison Square Garden.
The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984)
The success of The Great Muppet Caper obviously gave Kermit and his motley crew of fuzzy friends the confidence to hit the Great White Way and start their own Broadway musical.
Wall Street (1987)
Charlie Sheen is a fresh-faced broker learning about corruption on a lower-Manhattan trading floor from his boss (Michael Douglas). Douglas also delivers one of the most memorable messages of the 1980s: Greed is good; too much hair gel is bad.
5th Ave. & E. 58th St.
A rollicking dance on the giant piano keys at the FAO Schwarz toy store gave Tom Hanks’ character the right pint-sized enthusiasm.
Do the Right Thing (1989)
Racial tensions in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant on the hottest day of the summer come to a full boil with the trashing of a local pizzeria in this Spike Lee film. Rosie Perez also debuts her incredible talent for nagging.
E. Houston and Ludlow St.
When Harry Met Sally (1989)
Probably one of the most memorable moments in recent film occurs in Katz’s Deli when Meg Ryan shows a startled Billy Crystal that certain types of acting come easy for her.
New York Harbor
Independence Day (1996) Sure, the thought of aliens taking over the planet is upsetting, but it’s nothing compared to the disturbing view of the Statue of Liberty face down in the New York Harbor—or of the gargantuan spaceship looming entirely over Manhattan.
Midtown & Forest Hills, Queens
Spider-Man (2002); Spider-Man 2 (2004)
Tobey McGuire plays the superhero from Forest Hills, Queens, who flounders with the girl but glides effortlessly from the skyscrapers of midtown in these big-budget blowouts