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50 Greatest New York Movies

Spider-Man (2002)

Marc Webb will have to unravel something special with The Amazing Spider-Man to match the stomach-churning high of seeing Spidey swing into action in Sam Raimi’s film. Watching the webbed one rocket down traffic-choked streets was one of the most thrilling sights the Noughties gave us.

Precious (2009)

Lee Daniels’ no-holds-barred melodrama doesn’t hold back in its depiction of a rundown Harlem, where Claireece ‘Precious’ Jones (Gabourey Sidibe) lives out her miserable life with an abusive mother. The setting has it here, Precious’ abject poverty key to her downtrodden personality. It’ll break your heart.

Tootsie (1982)

New York. Where jobbing actors flock only to find there’s no work. Don’t worry, though – New York is also a place where it’s OK for men to dress up and live as women. That’s what Dustin Hoffman does in this battle of the sexes comedy, which plays up New York’s kooky side while also joyfully celebrating it.

Carlitos Way (1993)

Brian de Palma sure knows how to crank up the tension, and in Carlito’s Way he helms a gob-smacking 30 minute chase sequence in Grand Central Station. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, though, as de Palma gets down and dirty in the filthiest of nightclubs, exposing NY’s dirty underbelly.

Citizen Kane (1941)

Yes, New York, but also the New York Inquirer , which Kane (Orsen Welles) seizes control of and turns into an empire all its own. Meanwhile, Kane runs for the position of governor, and we continue to wonder what the hell ‘Rosebud’ means.

Midnight Cowboy (1968)

“I’m walkin’ here!” Dustin Hoffman accidentally captures a moment of perfect New York-ness. In a now infamous movie goof, Hoffman was shooting a scene on the city streets, only for a cab to nearly knock him down. That’s New York right there.

Escape From New York (1981)

John Carpenter transforms the Big Apple into a dystopian nightmare where criminals are locked up for their evil misdeeds. Utilising the entire city, Carpenter takes us to the World Trade Center and the New York Public Library (now a fortress) while introducing one of the coolest New Yorkers ever – Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell).

The Naked City (1948)

Studio backlots were out and shooting against the real thing was in by 1948. Jules Dassin’s classic crime drama took the notion of using real locations to a soaring high with The Naked City , which used places like the corner of 57th and Lexington to give the crime drama some serious edge.

When Harry Met Sally (1989)

Want to know what life and relationships are like in New York City? Look no further than Rob Reiner’s defining romcom, as smart and snappy as an NY businesswoman. Move over Sex And The City , this is what NY living is really about.

25th Hour (2002)

As per our official review: “Perhaps inevitably for a Spike Lee joint, the biggest fallen hero of all is the battered Big Apple, with a ghostly Ground Zero making a thumping, resonant cameo.” Bet Ed Norton was fuming.