25 Popular Movies and TV Shows Based in New York and Their Film Locations

New York City has consistently been a top choice for filmmakers, with its renowned landmarks, bustling streets, and iconic skyline, the city that never sleeps offers a dynamic and varied backdrop for numerous movies and TV shows.

This article will take you through well-known movies and TV shows set in New York City, providing details about their filming locations.

While exploring the list, you’ll come across iconic locations as well as attractive scenery.

1. Cloverfield – Statue of Liberty

In the popular film Cloverfield, New York City becomes the stage for a terrifying battle between its residents and a massive, city-destroying monster.

Cloverfield
Photo credits: Paramount Pictures

Directed by Matt Reeves, Cloverfield takes you right into the heart of the action by immersing you in this realistic, gritty representation of New York City.

The Statue of Liberty plays a significant role, symbolizing the shocking and unexpected attack.

The movie skillfully combines the giant monster movie genre with found footage, resulting in a unique and suspenseful experience.

They successfully captured the essence of the damaged Statue of Liberty, creating a visual that’s both haunting and mesmerizing.

2. The Day After Tomorrow

In the film The Day After Tomorrow, you can explore New York City facing catastrophic climate shifts resulting in unimaginable weather events.

The Day after Tomorrow
Photo Credits: Twentieth Century Fox.

Starring Dennis Quaid and Jake Gyllenhaal, this thrilling 2004 movie showcases a variety of NYC locations in a unique light.

Some of the key locations featured in the movie include:

  • The Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island creates a chilling scene where the monument gets flooded and frozen.
  • Battery Park and the Financial District in Manhattan, where storm surges and rapidly dropping temperatures lead to devastation.
  • The New York Public Library at 5th Avenue and 42nd Street serves as a refuge for some survivors, including Jake Gyllenhaal’s character.
  • The iconic Empire State Building at 350 5th Avenue and West 34th Street, serves as a backdrop to the freezing city.

The movie’s visual effects team cleverly turned the bustling city into a frozen wasteland using a blend of CGI, practical effects, and real locations.

3. Godzilla – Chrysler Building

Godzilla, the 1998 film, marked a significant moment in the evolution of the iconic monster, as it was the first major American adaptation of the Japanese Godzilla franchise.

Godzilla
Photo Credits: Sony TriStar Pictures, Inc.

Directed by Roland Emmerich and starring Matthew Broderick, Jean Reno, and Maria Pitillo, the movie presented a reimagined version of Godzilla, distinct from its Japanese counterpart.

One iconic location that comes to mind is the Chrysler Building. This stunning Art Deco skyscraper has been featured prominently in the 1998 film Godzilla.

The Chrysler Building showcases its impressive architecture, which can be seen in the movie. Its conspicuous stainless-steel spire and decorative gargoyles make it an unforgettable sight.

4. I Am Legend – Brooklyn Bridge

I Am Legend is a post-apocalyptic science fiction movie released in 2007, starring Will Smith as the main character, Dr. Robert Neville.

I am Legend
Photo Credits: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

The film is an adaptation of the 1954 novel of the same name by Richard Matheson.

One of the most iconic and visually striking scenes in “I Am Legend” is set on the Brooklyn Bridge, which plays a crucial role in the movie’s narrative.

The Brooklyn Bridge is depicted as a symbol of the last remnants of humanity’s efforts to contain the spread of a devastating virus that has turned much of the world’s population into vampire-like creatures.

5. Men In Black – World’s Fair, Queens

Men in Black is a science fiction action comedy film that was first released in 1997. Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld and based on the comic book series of the same name by Lowell Cunningham.

Men in Black
Photo Credits: Columbia Pictures

The film stars Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones as two agents of a secret organization known as the Men in Black (MIB). Where they confront the villainous alien at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair site in Queens.

This famous location, known as Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, served as the backdrop for the thrilling climax of the film.

The most recognizable structures at the park are the Unisphere and the Towers of the New York State Pavilion, which were depicted as hidden spaceships that the alien antagonist, Edgar the Bug, attempted to use for escape.

6. Ghostbusters – Hook & Ladder Company 8 Fire Station & 55 Central Park West

Ghostbusters is a classic movie that has left its mark on New York City’s landscape. One of the most famous locations in the film is the Hook & Ladder Company 8 Fire Station.

Ghostbusters
Photo Credits: Columbia Pictures

Situated at 14 North Moore Street in the Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan, this firehouse served as the exterior of the Ghostbusters’ headquarters. Still an active fire station today, it boasts a long and storied history.

The firehouse itself is an impressive Beaux-Arts structure, built in 1903. It is not uncommon to see fans stopping by for photos or to catch a glimpse of the fire station’s interior.

Beyond the firehouse, another key filming location in Ghostbusters is the building at 55 Central Park West. This is where the character Dana Barrett, played by Sigourney Weaver, lived.

7. Sleepless In Seattle – Empire State Building & The Rockefeller Centre

Sleepless in Seattle makes excellent use of New York’s stunning environments to showcase love and a sense of destiny.

Sleepless in Seattle
Photo Credits: TriStar Pictures

In this classic rom-com, two iconic New York locations are featured prominently – the Empire State Building and the Rockefeller Center.

In Sleepless in Seattle, the Empire State Building plays a crucial role for the characters played by Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.

Just a few blocks away from the Empire State Building lies the beautiful Rockefeller Centre. In the film, Meg Ryan’s character gets cozy in the area as she traces the footsteps of her pen pal, Tom Hanks.

8. Spider-Man: Swinging Through Queens

Spider-Man is a landmark superhero film directed by Sam Raimi and released in 2002.  The iconic movie where filmed in Queens, New York.

Spider-Man
Photo Credits: Columbia Pictures

Starting with Peter Parker’s humble abode, you can find his house in the Forest Hills neighborhood. Located on 69th Road in Queens, this charming area truly brings Peter’s life in Queens to reality.

The Midtown High School, where Peter and his friends studied, was filmed at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Astoria. This renowned performing arts school served as the perfect backdrop for Peter’s academic journey.

Another noted location is the New York Public Library. This historic institution is featured in multiple Spider-Man movies, as Peter frequently visits the library to further his studies.

9. The Wolf of Wall Street: Power and Greed

The Wolf of Wall Street, directed by the legendary Martin Scorsese, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort and Jonah Hill as Donnie Azoff, the movie takes you on a wild ride through the rollercoaster world of Wall Street.

The Wolf of Wall Street
Photo Credits: Red Granite Pictures

You can step into the mesmerizing world of New York City’s financial district through various film locations used in this film. Here are a few notable ones you can check out:

  • New York Stock Exchange: Jordan Belfort’s speech was filmed right outside the iconic NYSE. Located at 11 Wall Street, it’s an essential site in the financial world and a place where power and greed come to life.
  • The Oak Room: Situated at 10 Central Park South, this elegant venue was transformed into the restaurant in which Belfort and his associates indulged in decadent meals and lavish parties.
  • The Milan Condominium: Located at 300 E 55th St, this high-rise residential building was used to portray Belfort’s luxurious penthouse.
  • Stone Street: Found in the heart of the financial district, this cobblestone street was home to Belfort’s first brokerage firm.

It remains a significant film for its bold storytelling, memorable performances, and unflinching look at one of the most scandalous chapters in the history of American finance.

10. 25th Hour – Ground Zero

25th Hour, directed by Spike Lee, this movie, starring Edward Norton, was filmed in a post-9/11 New York and captures the essence and atmosphere of the city during that period.

25th Hour
Photo Credits: Touchstone Pictures

One of the most unforgettable scenes in “25th Hour” is the Ground Zero sequence. Shot just a few months after the World Trade Center attacks, this scene is both powerful and thoughtful.

The filmmakers managed to obtain the necessary permissions to film this emotional site. You can pay your respects and learn more about the tragic events by visiting the “9/11 Memorial and Museum”.

Another key location you can visit is the Morningside Park. Monty and his friends go there for a stroll and make one of their important stops on their unforgettable day.

11. The Way We Were – Pulitzer Fountain

The Way We Were, New York City has been the scenery for countless movies and television shows. One popular location is the Pulitzer Fountain which was featured in this film in 1973.

The Way We Were
Photo Credits: Columbia Pictures

This beautiful fountain, located in Manhattan’s Grand Army Plaza, was a gift from publisher Joseph Pulitzer.

The fountain has been an important landmark since its unveiling in 1916, and it’s easy to see why filmmakers have chosen it as a setting.

In the film, Robert Redford and Barbra Streisand share a memorable scene at this fountain. The Pulitzer Fountain provides not only a historical experience but also an emotional connection to this classic film.

12. Night At The Museum – American Museum of Natural History

Night at the Museum is a popular comedy film that was released in 2006. Directed by Shawn Levy, it is based on the 1993 children’s book of the same name by Croatian illustrator Milan Trenc.

Night at the Museum
Photo Credits: Twentieth Century Fox

The movie stars Ben Stiller as Larry Daley, a down-on-his-luck divorced father who, in a bid to stay close to his son, takes a job as a night guard at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

The museum showcases numerous exhibits that were featured in the movies. Some of the lovable characters from the films are inspired by real-life displays in the museum.

For instance, the T-Rex skeleton that comes to life in the movies is based on the Tyrannosaurus rex fossil housed in the museum’s Fossil Halls.

13. Die Hard With A Vengeance – Central Park

Die Hard with a Vengeance is the third installment in the “Die Hard” film series, starring Bruce Willis as the iconic protagonist, John McClane. Released in 1995, the film was directed by John McTiernan, who also directed the first “Die Hard” movie.

Die Hard with a Vengeance
Photo Credits: Twentieth Century Fox and Cinergi Pictures Entertainment

The movie represents a shift in setting and tone from its predecessors, taking place in New York City, rather than the confined spaces of the previous films. One of the most iconic locations featured in the film is Central Park.

Several Central Park landmarks are prominently showcased:

  • Bethesda Fountain: Iconic and instantly recognizable, this fountain is a gathering point for tourists and New Yorkers alike.
  • 72nd Street: A bustling promenade filled with people, lined with trees, and often bustling with various street performers.
  • Tompkins Square Park: Located on the East Village side of the park, this historic location plays host to various events, giving it a quintessentially New York vibe.

The film’s blend of action, humor, and character development set a standard for action thrillers in the 1990s and influenced many subsequent films in the genre.

14. Saturday Night Fever – Verrazano Narrows Bridge

Saturday Night Fever is a renowned film from 1977, known for its portrayal of the disco era in the United States. It stars John Travolta as Tony Manero, a young man whose weekends are spent at the local Brooklyn discotheque.

Saturday Night Fever
Photo Credits: Paramount Pictures

One memorable location from the movie is the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, where a pivotal scene is set.

The Verrazano Narrows Bridge connects Staten Island to Brooklyn and leaves an indelible mark on the movie itself.

The bridge symbolizes the possibility of a better life beyond their current surroundings.

15. The Bourne Ultimatum – East River

The Bourne Ultimatum, released in 2007, is the third film in the Bourne series, following “The Bourne Identity” and “The Bourne Supremacy.”

The Bourne Ultimatum
Photo Credits: Universal Pictures

Directed by Paul Greengrass and starring Matt Damon as Jason Bourne, the film continues the thrilling saga of the former CIA assassin suffering from psychogenic amnesia.

When watching The Bourne Ultimatum, you’ll notice many famous New York City landmarks. One iconic location in the movie is the East River.

This prominent waterway is not only a significant part of Manhattan’s geography, but it also provides a stunning backdrop for some of the film’s most thrilling scenes.

Another memorable scene involving the East River is the climactic fight between Bourne and Paz played by Édgar Ramírez.

The scene occurs on the rooftop of the Manhattan Traffic Control Center, which offers an incredible view of the river and its surroundings.

16. Vanilla Sky – Times Square

Vanilla Sky is a 2001 American science fiction psychological thriller film directed by Cameron Crowe.

Vanilla Sky
Photo Credits: Paramount Pictures

It is an English-language adaptation of Alejandro Amen’s 1997 Spanish film “Open Your Eyes,” and stars Tom Cruise, Penelope Cruz (who also starred in the original), and Cameron Diaz.

Tom Cruise portrays David Aames, a wealthy New York media magnate who inherits his fortune from his father. The movie encapsulates the essence of New York City and features a pivotal scene in the heart of Times Square.

The movie used this location to create a surreal, dream-like atmosphere, leaving a lasting impression on viewers.

Visiting Times Square yourself, you can experience the vibrant, lively atmosphere that the movie Vanilla Sky sought to capture.

17. All About Eve – Broadway

All About Eve is a 1950 American drama film written and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, and produced by Darryl F. Zanuck. It is based on the 1946 short story “The Wisdom of Eve” by Mary Orr.

All About Eve
Photo Credits: Twentieth Century Fox

The film stars Bette Davis as Margo Channing, a highly regarded but aging Broadway star.

Anne Baxter plays Eve Harrington, an ambitious young fan who insinuates herself into Channing’s life, ultimately threatening her career and her relationships.

Set in the heart of New York City’s bustling theater district, All About Eve captures the charm and allure of the Broadway scene.

As you watch the story unravel, you’ll be treated to some of New York City’s most famous Broadway landmarks. One such location is the iconic Shubert Theatre, situated at 225 West 44th Street.

Another notable location featured in the film is the famed Sardi’s restaurant, located at 234 West 44th Street.

18. Birdman – Also Broadway

Birdman is a critically acclaimed film released in 2014, directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu.

Birdman
Photo Credits: Fox Searchlight

The film is notable for its unique cinematography, appearing as if it’s shot in a single continuous take, and for its exploration of complex themes such as art, fame, and the human psyche.

It’s a perfect example of New York City’s bustling Broadway scene. The film showcases various locations within the city, making you feel like you are right there in the midst of the action.

One significant location in Birdman is the St. James Theatre, situated at 246 West 44th Street. A majority of the story unfolds in this historic theater.

Another memorable scene takes place on 43rd Street, between 8th and 9th Avenue. In this sequence, Riggan experiences an intense moment with his Birdman alter ego after waking up from a night of drinking.

19. Breakfast At Tiffany’s – Tiffany & Company

Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a classic American film released in 1961, directed by Blake Edwards and based on the novella of the same name by Truman Capote.

Breakfast at Tiffany's
Photo Credits: Paramount Pictures

The film is often remembered for its iconic lead performance by Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly, a young, vivacious, and enigmatic woman living in New York City.

At the beginning of the movie, you can see Holly enjoying a pastry while gazing at the beautiful jewelry displayed in Tiffany’s window.

The scenes are shot right in front of the real Tiffany & Company on Fifth Avenue and 57th Street in Manhattan.

With its prestigious reputation, the luxury jewelry store is synonymous with elegance and sophistication.

20. Home Alone 2: Lost In New York – The Plaza Hotel

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York is a beloved family comedy film that was released in 1992 as a sequel to the original “Home Alone” movie. Directed by Chris Columbus and written by John Hughes.

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
Photo Credits: Twentieth Century Fox

The film stars Macaulay Culkin as Kevin McCallister, a young boy who accidentally gets separated from his family during the Christmas holidays and ends up alone in New York City.

One of the most iconic and memorable movie locations in New York City is the famous Plaza Hotel. The Plaza is a beautiful and historic hotel, located right at the corner of Central Park and Fifth Avenue.

This prime location puts it right in the heart of the city and makes it the perfect spot for Kevin’s adventure. As you stroll around the hotel’s vicinity, you’ll recognize many of the famous scenes from the movie.

21. When Harry Met Sally – Katz’s Deli

When Harry Met Sally is a classic romantic comedy film released in 1989, directed by Rob Reiner and written by Nora Ephron. The movie stars Billy Crystal as Harry Burns and Meg Ryan as Sally Albright.

When Harry Met Sally
Photo Credits: Castle Rock Entertainment and Nelson Entertainment

One of the most memorable scenes from the classic romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally takes place in Katz’s Deli.

Located at 205 E Houston Street in New York City, this iconic deli has been serving up delicious food since its establishment in 1888.

The deli’s nostalgic ambiance gives you an authentic look at the New York dining scene. The deli itself hasn’t changed much over the years and continues to draw in both tourists and locals alike.

You can enjoy delightful menu items like the classic pastrami sandwich or their tasty matzo ball soup as you take in the history around you.

22. Inside Llewyn Davis – Also Greenwich Village

Inside Llewyn Davis is a film directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, and released in 2013. The movie is a striking depiction of a week in the life of a young folk singer named Llewyn Davis, played by Oscar Isaac.

Inside LLewyn Davis
Photo Credits: CBS Films

Set in 1961 in the Greenwich Village folk scene in New York City, the film paints a vivid picture of the struggling artist’s life.

One of the primary filming locations in Greenwich Village is Washington Square Park.

This symbolic location is featured in several scenes throughout the movie, offering a glimpse into the daily life of Llewyn Davis during his time in the Village.

It’s fascinating to see how the spirit of the folk scene in Greenwich Village during the time of Inside Llewyn Davis still lingers to this day, making it an essential addition to your list of movies and TV shows based in New York.

23. Taxi Driver – Hell’s Kitchen

Taxi Driver is a classic film directed by Martin Scorsese and released in 1976. The movie stars Robert De Niro as Travis Bickle, a mentally unstable Vietnam War veteran who becomes a nighttime taxi driver in New York City.

Taxi Driver
Photo Credits: Columbia Pictures

Set in the at-times seedy and chaotic environment of New York City, particularly in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood, this film showcases both the beauty and ugliness of urban life.

Many locations used in Taxi Driver have since been demolished, but a few treasures remain.

For instance, the Belmore Cafeteria, where Bickle would hang out with fellow taxi drivers, was once located at 28th St and Park Ave South.

One of the most memorable locations in Taxi Driver is the apartment building where Bickle stalks a politician he intends to assassinate.

Situated at 5 Sutton Place, this elegant building still stands today, looking over the East River.

24. Cocktail – Upper East Side

Cocktail is a romantic drama film that was released in 1988. Directed by Roger Donaldson, the movie stars Tom Cruise as the lead character, Brian Flanagan.

Cocktail
Photo Credits: Touchstone Pictures

The film’s narrative centers around Brian Flanagan, a young, ambitious man who moves to New York City in search of success.

With dreams of starting his own business, he quickly realizes that it’s more challenging than he expected. To make ends meet, he starts working as a bartender.

Cocktail showcases various locations throughout the Upper East Side, offering a glimpse into the nightlife of NYC at that time.

Walking along the scenic streets, you might also recognize Dylan’s Candy Bar, an iconic candy store that was featured in the movie.

25. The Warriors – Coney Island

The Warriors is a classic American film released in 1979, directed by Walter Hill. It’s a cult action-thriller based on Sol Yurick’s 1965 novel of the same name, which was, in turn, inspired by an ancient Greek story called “Anabasis” by Xenophon.

 The Warriors
Photo Credits: Paramount Pictures

The movie tells the story of a street gang called The Warriors who find themselves wrongly accused of assassinating a gang leader.

They must navigate through the dangerous streets of New York, trying to safely reach their home base in Coney Island.

“The Warriors” is notable for its atmospheric cinematography, capturing the gritty urban landscape of 1970s New York City.

Popular Movies and TV Shows Based in New York: A Recap

New York City’s diverse vicinities and landmarks have been settings for a myriad of stories, from romantic comedies to action-packed adventures.

The Statue of Liberty holds significant cinematic roles in various films, serving as a powerful symbol of New York City.

In “Cloverfield,” the Statue of Liberty is central to the narrative, representing the abrupt and terrifying attack of a monstrous creature that devastates the city.

Similarly, “The Day After Tomorrow” depicts catastrophic climate changes in New York City, leading to extraordinary weather catastrophes.

From the film locations, you’ll see the city’s vibrant culture and bustling life which underscores why New York remains the perfect setting for storytelling.

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