From the post-war confusion and modern revival to the high quality images and tangled opinions, our cities have been portrayed in many movies as living and breathing characters. Because of its countless representations on the silver screen, New York occupies a massive part of our cultural imagination. So here’s our selection – so far – of movies that make you travel with your eyes and mind:
King Kong (1933) – directed by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack, staring Robert Armstrong, Bruce Cabot
“Why, the whole world will pay to see this.”
Depending on how you watch the movie, it can be either a morality tale, an uncommon love story or a wicked look at race in America. The image of King Kong wrapped around the Empire State Building and fighting off the planes is one of the most iconic in film history.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) – directed by Blake Edwards, staring Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard
„No matter where you run, you just end up running into yourself.”
One of the classics you simply cannot stop watching again and again, as the years pass and you find yourself craving for a little piece of another century. New York is the land where every dream comes true, Holly finds true love and one stray cat gets a loving family.
Chelsea Girls (1966) – directed by Andy Warhol and Paul Morrissey, staring Brigit Berlin, Randy Borscheidt, Ari Boulogne
“In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.”
This experimental underground film is presented in split screen, with twelve vignettes (totalling over six hours of screen time) and with a final run time of 210 minutes. All the action is centred on the Chelsea Hotel in NY and all the “factory superstars” that lived there.
Manhattan (1979) – directed by Woody Allen, staring Woody Allen and Diane Keaton
“He adored New York City. For him, it was a metaphor for the decay of contemporary culture.”
In full bloom of the freedom of thought revolution, here we are in the middle of a friendship which soon becomes too much to handle. There is no social rule and everybody seems to do their best in searching for happiness and meaning. New York is their home and partner, but also their biggest fear, as no one can survive there too long without a purpose.
The Great Gatsby (2013) – directed by Baz Luhrmann, staring Leonardo DiCaprio an Carey Mulligan
“I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.”
New York is regarded from the outsider’s perspective, with all its 1920’s decay and perpetual fascination. The fracture between the social classes, together with the opulence and pseudo-manners of the American Dreamers, build the image of a paradise where nobody is truly happy.
You can find more NEW YORK movies following this link: