Make it There: New York City in Cinema

A compilation featuring the most filmed city in the world.
By  · Published on June 22nd, 2017

A compilation featuring the most filmed city in the world.

I visited The Big Apple for the first time as a freshman in college and was stunned at how well I seemed to know the place. Everywhere I went it seemed I had been there before: 5th Avenue, Central Park, Yankee Stadium, Ellis Island, Manhattan, even generic places like the subway, coffee shops, and news kiosks.

The reason all these places and indeed this whole city felt so familiar to me was that in a very real sense I had been there before: onscreen.

No city in the history of the world has been on film more often than New York City, not even Hollywood, a place so linked with the filmmaking industry it’s a catch-all synonym for it. Maybe it’s the cinematic grandeur of New York’s skyline, or the varied architecture as you move through the boroughs, or the varied cultures as you do the same. Maybe it’s the way the city never sleeps, or the character that comes from a neon galaxy on the eastern seaboard defiantly shining back at the stars. Or maybe it’s because so many people go there seeking to realize their dreams that the aura of the place just exudes fantasy.

Whatever the reason, you can’t flip five channels or scroll through as many movies on Netflix without finding something set in New York City, and in a new compilation by editor Sergio Rojo, 73 of the finest cinematic examples (listed below the embed) have been thrown together into a moving mosaic – literally and figuratively – of the Cultural Capital of the World.

Even if you’ve never been to New York City you’ve been to New York City. These are some of the films that have been your guides.

The Apartment (1960)
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
West Side Story (1961)
Planet of the Apes (1968)
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
The Godfather (1972)
Taxi Driver (1976)
Saturday Night Fever (1977)
Annie Hall (1977)
The Warriors (1979)
Hair (1979)
Manhattan (1979)
Fame (1980)
Escape from New York (1981)
Tootsie (1982)
Annie (1982)
Once Upon A Time in America (1984)
Ghostbusters (1984)
Crocodile Dundee (1986)
Wall Street (1987)
Big (1988)
Oliver and Company (1988)
When Harry met Sally (1989)
Ghostbusters 2 (1989)
Ghost (1990)
Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990)
Teen Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)
Léon: the Professional (1994)
Men in Black (1997)
Godzilla (1998)
Being John Malkovich (1999)
Stuart Little (1999)
Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
American Psycho (2000)
Vanilla Sky (2001)
Serendipity (2001)
Gangs of New York (2002)
Phone Booth (2002)
Daredevil (2003)
The Terminal (2004)
The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
Hellboy (2004)
Rent (2005)
King Kong (2005)
Madagascar (2005)
The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
Night at the Museum (2006)
I Am Legend (2007)
Across the Universe (2007)
Enchanted (2007)
Cloverfield (2008)
27 Dresses (2008)
Bolt (2008)
Precious (2009)
Watchmen (2009)
Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010)
Black Swan (2010)
Devil (2010)
Eat, Pray, Love (2010)
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (2010)
Shame (2011)
The Avengers (2012)
The Great Gatsby (2013)
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)
Begin Again (2014)
Birdman (2014)
Brooklyn (2015)
The Walk (2015)
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)
Collateral Beauty (2016)
The Secret Life of Pets (2016)


Novelist, Screenwriter, Video Essayist