New York movies: Gothamites pick their top five NYC-set films

Actors, directors, writers, critics and movie buffs reveal their favorite New York movies.

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New York movies: Hamlet (2000)

New York movies: Hamlet (2000)


There are 8 million stories in the Naked City; not all of them have inspired New York movies, but more than 100 have. We've weighed in with our picks, so we canvassed a range of cinephiles—including Ethan Hawke, John Turturro and Ira Sachs—for their favorite NYC-set flicks.

We begin with Ethan Hawke, star of Hamlet (2000), No. 92 in our list of the 100 best New York movies.

RECOMMENDED: See all 100 best New York movies

Ethan Hawke; actor, writer and director
1. Broadway Danny Rose (1984) "Manhattan and Annie Hall are great, sure, but this Woody Allen film is my top choice."
2. Dog Day Afternoon (1975) "This is an obvious choice, I know, but this is Sidney Lumet and Al Pacino at their finest."
3. Shadows (1959) "Cassavetes's jazz improv is a knockout. Robert Frank's short film 'Pull My Daisy' is a similar jazz tone poem that is also brilliant."
4. Life Lessons (1989) "Scorsese's contribution to the film New York Stories is among the best short films ever made. Is it better than Raging Bull; Taxi Driver; Goodfellas; New York, New York; Gangs of New York; Mean Streets; etc.? Probably not, but if you haven't seen it, you must."
5. Do the Right Thing (1989) "Spike Lee is another hero of New York cinema. Mo’ Better Blues, He Got Game, She's Gotta Have It and Crooklyn are other fantastic New York films, but this was the game changer."

John Turturro; actor, writer and director
1.  Sweet Smell of Success (1957)
2.  Taxi Driver (1976)
3.  Angels with Dirty Faces (1938)
4.  On the Waterfront (1954)
5.  Broadway Danny Rose (1984)

Ira Sachs, filmmaker
1. News from Home (1977)
2. The World of Henry Orient (1964)
3. Goodfellas (1990)
4. Shadows (1959)
5. "The Museum of Wax" (1987)

Jacob Perlin, director of Cinema Conservancy and founder of Film Desk
1. The Cool World (1964)
2. Fatso (1980)
3. The Clock (1945)
4. Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
5. Perfect Film (1985)

Scott Foundas, associate program director at the Film Society of Lincoln Center
1. The Godfather Part II (1974)
2. Wavelength (1967)
3. Taxi Driver (1976)
4. Broadway Danny Rose (1984)
5. 25th Hour (2002)

Michael Feingold, chief theater critic at The Village Voice
1. Next Stop, Greenwich Village (1976)
2. Manhattan (1979)
3. "A choice of three Sidney Lumet films—I can't decide!—Prince of the City (1981), Dog Day Afternoon (1975), Bye Bye Braverman (1968)"
4. Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933)
5. "Either Easy Living (1937) or Nothing Sacred (1937)"
Runners-up: All About Eve (1950), The Cameraman (1928), Cat People (1982), Cover Girl (1944), Shall We Dance? (1937) and "too many more to count!"

Mike Maggiore, programmer and publicist at Film Forum
1. Goodfellas (1990)
2. Speedy (1928)
3. Sweet Smell of Success (1957)
4. The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)
5. "Under the Brooklyn Bridge" (1955)

Harris Dew, director of programs and promotions at IFC Center
In no particular order:
Speedy (1928)
Wild Style (1983)
Parting Glances (1986)
Our Song (2000)
Sweet Smell of Success (1957)

You might also like
Read an interview with Ethan Hawke
Read an interview with John Turturro
See our picks for the 100 best New York movies

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