For a city that never sleeps, New York sure does look good on film.
Which made picking our five all-time favorite movies starring NYC difficult (imagine cutting Big, Ghostbusters, and God of Love). Here’s our list of what dreams are made of.
Coming to America (1988)
Sexual Chocolate. Don’t get it? Stop reading and rent Eddie Murphy’s richest comedic performance immediately. The gist: A lovelorn African prince moves to a crap apartment in Queens with sidekick Arsenio Hall. But what you need to know is that Murphy also plays a greasy soul singer, a barber, and an ornery Jewish man who mistakes a lion hide for velvet.
The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
Wes Anderson’s quirky cult hit changed the comedy landscape for good and is proof there’s more to Gwyneth than Goop(y eyeliner). Also, we love Anjelica Huston, the Wilson bros, Bill Murray, and Ben Stiller for red track suit’s sake. Take note: Tenenbaum costumes will always be relevant.
The Visitor (2007)
Blink and you might have missed it, but this indie drama is one of the more elegant films to address NYC post 9/11, prejudice, and immigration. A widower college professor returns to the city to find a shady broker has rented his apartment to an illegal immigrant couple. He slowly finds himself — and perhaps love — but don’t expect a happy ending.
Gangs of New York (2002)
Martin Scorsese’s 1860s epic features Daniel Day-Lewis as a sociopathic butcher, Leonardo DiCaprio as an Irishman’s vengeful son, and NYC as the center of the universe (some things never change).The opening snowy rumble and costumes will catch your attention; the gritty social tension, corrupt politics, and squalid violence will keep you hooked for two-plus hours.
The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984)
We strongly suspect it was Jim Henson who planted the “must move to New York” seed in our head. Sure, it’s a kids’ movie, but watching Kermit, Miss Piggy, and company answer the call of the Great White Way is just as hilarious for adults.
American Psycho (2000)
This makes six, but who’s counting? Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman, naked save for tennies and a chainsaw, is what Wall Street should have been.
Agree to disagree? Tell us what NYC-based flicks we missed on Twitter.
Photo: Paramount / Courtesy of Everett Collection