The 25 Best Movies Set in New York City

New York City has long been the film industry's favorite city. Los Angeles beats the Big Apple by the sheer number of movies shot on location, but it's no secret the filmmakers have a longstanding love affair with New York. Its elements—from buildings and bridges to yellow cabs and subways—function as supporting characters in film, whether the Empire State Building in King Kong or the Checker Cab in Taxi Driver. On a grander scale, the city itself enjoys a leading role in dozens of fan favorites from The Godfather to Sleepless in Seattle.

Stacker curated a list of the 25 best movies set in New York City. To do so, we came up with a "Stacker score" that is weighted evenly between IMDb and Metacritic film scores. To qualify, the film had to primarily take place in one of the five boroughs of New York City, have a Metascore, and have at least 5,000 votes on IMDb. Ties were broken by Metascore and further ties were broken by IMDb votes. The forthcoming list represents the films with the top 25 Stacker scores, with No. 1 representing the top film.

This list includes films from some of the greatest directors and actors in film history. Together these movies have received multiple Oscars and other major awards. They are based on bestsellers, real-life stories, and fantastic fictional tales. Whether gothic horror, an animated feature, or rowdy romantic comedy, these cinematic gems focus on films that show the wonder of one of the greatest cities in the world.

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Requiem for a Dream
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25. 'Requiem for a Dream' (2000)

- Director: Darren Aronofsky
- Stacker score: 79
- Metascore: 68
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 102 minutes

Based on the 1978 novel by Hubert Selby Jr., Requiem for a Dream is a graphic portrayal of addiction. The movie, starring Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, and Marlon Wayans, follows the lives of four New Yorkers struggling with heroin and diet pill addiction. The film drew serious energy from various Brooklyn locations, including Brighton Beach and Coney Island, along with the Atlantic Ocean itself. The city also provided inspiration for actors, with Jared Leto claiming he spent time with heroin users in Brooklyn to prepare for his role.

24. 'All That Jazz' (1979)

- Director: Bob Fosse
- Stacker score: 78.6
- Metascore: 72
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 123 minutes

This semi-autobiographical film is based on parts of Bob Fosse's life and career as a philandering, drug-using choreographer, dancer, and director. Starring Roy Scheider and Jessica Lange, All That Jazz was filmed at Kaufman Astoria Studios, the Palace Theater, and Pace University. The film was reportedly one of director Stanley Kubrick's favorites.

23. 'The Wolf of Wall Street' (2013)

- Director: Martin Scorsese
- Stacker score: 81.8
- Metascore: 75
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 180 minutes

This film was based on Jordan Belfort's career ascent, corresponding life of excess and indulgence, and criminal fall. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio in his fifth collaborative effort with director Martin Scorsese, the film was nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Motion Picture of the Year. Filmed in various locations throughout New York City including Trump Tower, The Wolf of Wall Street also included locations in Italy, California, and Nevada.

22. 'Black Swan' (2010)

- Director: Darren Aronofsky
- Stacker score: 82.8
- Metascore: 79
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 108 minutes

Black Swan follows a dancer (Natalie Portman)with a New York City ballet company as she vies for the role of a lifetime in Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake under the direction of Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel). Leroy's company is based at Lincoln Center, on Columbus Avenue between West 63rd and 64th streets. The twisted film also stars Mila Kunis and Winona Ryder. Director Darren Aronofsky insisted the genre of the film was psychological horror and it was in fact one of six horror films to be nominated for an Oscar.

21. 'My Man Godfrey' (1936)

- Director: Gregory La Cava
- Stacker score: 84.4
- Metascore: 82
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 94 minutes

A wealthy socialite played by Carole Lombard hires a mysterious vagrant (William Powell) as the family butler, and soon she falls in love. My Man Godfrey was nominated for six Academy Awards. While the film takes place in New York, it was actually filmed at Universal Studios in California.

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Manhattan
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20. 'Manhattan' (1979)

- Director: Woody Allen
- Stacker score: 84.4
- Metascore: 83
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 96 minutes

Manhattan, from New York director Woody Allen, features a middle-aged writer caught in a complicated romantic entanglement with not only a teenage girl but his best friend's mistress. While the film has become a signature Allen film and a homage to New York City, it is also problematic in its depiction of the romance between an older man and a much younger girl.

19. 'Network' (1976)

- Director: Sidney Lumet
- Stacker score: 85.4
- Metascore: 83
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 121 minutes

Veteran newsman Howard Beale's fall from grace is documented in this film about the cutthroat world of network television news. Network stars Faye Dunaway, Willian Holden, and Peter Finch, and was nominated for 10 Oscars and won four. While the film is set in New York City and was partially filmed there, scenes showing the control room and news studio were shot at CFTO-TV Studios in Canada.

18. 'Dog Day Afternoon' (1975)

- Director: Sidney Lumet
- Stacker score: 86.5
- Metascore: 86
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 125 minutes

Dog Day Afternoon was based on a true story about a bank robbery at a Chase Manhattan bank in Brooklyn. One of the robbers, played by Al Pacino, was stealing the money for his wife's sex-change operation. Director Sidney Lumet wanted locations to be authentic; rather than film in a studio setting, he found a warehouse in Brooklyn in which to shoot the bank's interior scenes.

17. 'Hannah and Her Sisters' (1986)

- Director: Woody Allen
- Stacker score: 88
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 107 minutes

Hannah and Her Sisters follows the romantic goings-on of three sisters from a show business family, all of whom have ties to sister Hannah's ex- and current husbands (Woody Allen and Michael Caine, respectively). Several New York City locations were featured in the film, including the nightclub CBGB, the Carlyle Hotel, and Columbia University. Many scenes were filmed in Mia Farrow's apartment, where her family members were careful to avoid interrupting the production as they carried on with their day-to-day activities.

The Hustler
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16. 'The Hustler' (1961)

- Director: Robert Rossen
- Stacker score: 88.5
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 134 minutes

"Fast" Eddie Felson (Paul Newman) must figure out if the cost of becoming a big-time pool hustler is worth it, in this classic film that spawned a sequel 25 years after it was released. Jackie Gleason won his only Oscar nomination for his role as Minnesota Fats.

15. 'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' (2018)

- Directors: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman
- Stacker score: 89.1
- Metascore: 87
- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Runtime: 117 minutes

Spider-men band together from across dimensions to save the world from a threat to all their realities in this well-received film. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was one of creator Stan Lee's final voice-acting cameos. The film won an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film.

14. 'Raging Bull' (1980)

- Director: Martin Scorsese
- Stacker score: 89.1
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 129 minutes

The life of volatile boxer Jake LaMotta is documented in this Oscar-award-winning film starring Robert De Niro as LaMotta. The film was based on the book of the same name by Jake LaMotta. Famed New York City nightspot Webster Hall served as the location for the fictional nightclub, Chester Palace.

13. 'Annie Hall' (1977)

- Director: Woody Allen
- Stacker score: 89.6
- Metascore: 92
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 93 minutes

A neurotic, twice-divorced Jewish standup comedian (Woody Allen) reflects not only his most recent failed relationship with Annie Hall (Diane Keaton) but what events led to making him who he is in this film that won four Academy Awards. Sigourney Weaver had her acting debut in a non-speaking role late in the film.

12. 'Whiplash' (2014)

- Director: Damien Chazelle
- Stacker score: 90.1
- Metascore: 88
- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Runtime: 106 minutes

A talented young drummer (Miles Teller) enrolls at the competitive Shaffer Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of an intense instructor who believes in pushing students to the very edge to get them to be their best. The film also stars J.K. Simmons and Paul Reiser and won critical praise along with three Oscars. It is believed that the fictional conservatory in the film is based on another New York City college, Juilliard School.

Do The Right Thing
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11. 'Do the Right Thing' (1989)

- Director: Spike Lee
- Stacker score: 90.1
- Metascore: 93
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 120 minutes

The heat of summer brings bigotry and hatred to a boiling point in Brooklyn in this comedy-drama. Shot on location in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, Do the Right Thing is often cited as one of director Spike Lee's best films. The film also marked comedian Martin Lawrence's feature film debut.

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10. 'Rosemary's Baby' (1968)

- Director: Roman Polanski
- Stacker score: 91.7
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 137 minutes

Based on the Ira Levin novel of the same name, Rosemary's Baby is a supernatural drama that follows Rosemary (Mia Farrow) and her struggling actor husband (John Cassavetes) as the young couple moves into a New York City apartment building with an interesting history. When Rosemary becomes pregnant, she realizes something may be wrong with her baby. The film, like many other horror movies, is rumored to be cursed. The city plays an integral role in the movie's uneasy feel, as the building (The Dakota) gives off creepy, Gothic vibes.

9. 'Goodfellas' (1990)

- Director: Martin Scorsese
- Stacker score: 92.2
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Runtime: 146 minutes

Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) gets entangled with the mob while attending high school in New York City and remains connected to the Lucchese crime family for several decades, in this film based on the novel written by Nicholas Pileggi. Goodfellas included several filming locations in New York City, including Manhattan and Queens, along with some shots across the river in New Jersey.

8. 'The Apartment' (1960)

- Director: Billy Wilder
- Stacker score: 92.2
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 125 minutes

The Apartment is a film about an insurance clerk CC Baxter (Jack Lemmon) who attempts to climb the corporate ladder by loaning his Manhattan apartment out to company bigwigs for their romantic trysts. Baxter winds up finding romance himself. The movie, also starring Shirley MacLaine, won five Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director for filmmaker Billy Wilder. New York City filming locations include Baxter's office (2 Broadway at Bowling Green), the Majestic Theatre in Midtown, and the Emerald Inn at its former home on Columbus Avenue. Uncooperative weather convinced Wilder to build a facade of Baxter's apartment building in a West Hollywood lot for exterior shots.

7. 'Taxi Driver' (1976)

- Director: Martin Scorsese
- Stacker score: 92.2
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 114 minutes

Veteran Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) drives a taxi at night and laments about the awful state of New York City while trying to save a teen prostitute and engage a young woman. De Niro studied under Stella Adler and Lee Strasberg and believed in doing whatever was necessary to get into character. To prepare for his role as Travis Bickle, he worked 15-hour days driving a taxi. Filming was done all over New York City, in the midst of a heat wave and garbage strike, including iconic scenes in Hell's Kitchen and Greenwich Village.

6. 'The Godfather: Part II' (1974)

- Director: Francis Ford Coppola
- Stacker score: 93.8
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 9.0
- Runtime: 202 minutes

This follow-up to the original film features not only Vito Corleone's early life in New York City but also Michael's expansion of the Corleone mafia family into the Western United States and Cuba. Filming took place at various locations in New York City, California, Italy, and the Dominican Republic. Robert De Niro immersed himself in the role of young Vito by not only living in Sicily but by spending months learning to speak the language.

All About Eve
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5. 'All About Eve' (1950)

- Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
- Stacker score: 93.8
- Metascore: 98
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 138 minutes

A timid but conniving actress spends her time ingratiating herself into the life of a seasoned Broadway star in this classic film starring Bette Davis and Anne Baxter. Proving to be a true New York City production, filming locations included the famous 21 Club restaurant as well as the John Golden Theatre.

4. 'Sweet Smell of Success' (1957)

- Director: Alexander Mackendrick
- Stacker score: 94.3
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 96 minutes

New York newspaper columnist J.J. Hunsecker meddles in his sister's romantic relationship with a musician by enlisting the help of an unscrupulous press agent played by Tony Curtis in Sweet Smell of Success. Hunsecker was based on famed columnist Walter Winchell, whose own obsessive control over his daughter led to her institutionalization. Times Square serves as a menacing backdrop with its nonstop noise and garish lights, helping to define the mood of the film.

3. 'Citizen Kane' (1941)

- Director: Orson Welles
- Stacker score: 95.3
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 119 minutes

The story of publishing tycoon Charles Foster Kane and his final deathbed word, "Rosebud," this film was loosely based on the life of newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst. Not only were filming locations in New York City, but some shots for Xanadu were filmed at Oheka Castle in Huntington, Long Island.

2. '12 Angry Men' (1957)

- Director: Sidney Lumet
- Stacker score: 96.9
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 9.0
- Runtime: 96 minutes

One man hopes that he can prevent a great injustice, as the members of a jury gather to hash out what really happened in what appears to be an open and shut case, in this film starring Henry Fonda. Filmed both on location at the New York County Courthouse and in a studio at Fox Movietone Studio, 12 Angry Men marked Sidney Lumet's feature directorial debut.

The Godfather
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1. 'The Godfather' (1972)

- Director: Francis Ford Coppola
- Stacker score: 100
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 9.2
- Runtime: 175 minutes

A reluctant son takes control of his crime family when his aging father passes the torch in this legendary film saga that spawned two follow-up films. The Godfather is based on the bestselling novel by Mario Puzo, which spent more than 60 weeks on the bestseller list. The film's casting roster looked like a who's who of acting greats and included Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Diane Keaton, and Robert Duvall.

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