“I’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse: go to New York” 

It is impossible to not think of New York when speaking of cinema, impossible not to think of that scene in The Godfather where Vito Corleone is shot, to imagine Travis Bickle’s cab going around the Big Apple, or the neurotic Alvy Singer flirting all over the city with Annie Hall. 

New York is the second most important city in the world of the big screen city. The great filmmakers of the twentieth century were inspired by this city to portray their filmic vision with everything the city has to offer: its beautiful places, majestic avenues, various neighborhoods and cultures, and the intense heartbeat from the city of skyscrapers.

A huge variety of movies have been filmed in the city, but those who remain in our memory are the ones we have admired for its great story, perfect execution, recognition from the Academy, setting aside its popularity. 

Below is a list of the most iconic films of the Big Apple:





-King Kong (1933, Dir: Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack) (1976, Dir: John Guillermin, 2 Oscar Nominations) (2005, Dir: Peter Jackson 3 Oscars): In New York, in 1933, an ambitious movie producer forces its production and ship crew to travel to mysterious Skull Island, where they encounter Kong, a giant ape who immediately falls in love with the protagonist Ann Darrow.

-West Side Story (1961): A musical that tells the story of two young people from rival gangs who fall in love. Dir: Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise 10 Oscars.

-The Godfather (1972): The aging patriarch of an organized crime dynasty transfers the control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant son. Dir: Francis Ford Coppola 3 Oscars.

-Taxi Driver (1976): A veteran of the Vietnam War who is mentally unstable works as a taxi driver at night in New York City where the perceived decadence and sleaze feeds his urge for violent action, trying to save a preteen prostitute in the process. Dir: Martin Scorsese, 4 Oscar nominations.

Annie Hall (1977): The neurotic comedian Alvy Singer falls in love with the naive Annie Hall. Dir: Woody Allen, 4 Oscars. 

-Manhattan (1979): A newly divorced newyorker who dates a high school student will find love again with the mistress of his best friend. Dir: Woody Allen, 2 Oscar nominations.

-Raging Bull (1980): The adventure of a self-destructive boxer through life, along the violence and temper that leads him to the top in the ring which destroys his outside world. Dir: Martin Scorsese, 2 Oscars. 

-Goodfellas (1990): Henry Hill and his friends make their way in the mafia. Dir: Martin Scorsese, 1 Oscar.

-The Wolf Of Wall Street (2013): Based in the true story of Jordan Belfort, since his beginnings, managing to be a wealthy stock broker who lives a great life; until his fall which involves a crime, corruption and even the Federal Government Dir: Martin Scorsese, 5 Oscar nominations ( to the printing of this edition)

As discussed in the previous article, we can not leave aside the most famous and renowned Newyorker directors of the city, due to the fact that they bear the weight of such works of art:




Stanley Kubrick

Probably one of the most interestingly crazy filmmakers. His fondness for chess was a source of solutions to certain problems of misunderstanding in communication with the actor and even served as inspiration for artistic and cinematic decor in some of his films. If there were one word to define Kubrick’s film work it would be: violence. Examples are “Clockwork Orange” and “The Shining”. 

In 1968 he won the Oscar for Best Visual Effects for his film “2001: A Space Odyssey”, which portrays the idea that Kubrick had of futurism.


Woody Allen

One of the most proactive and concurrent filmmakers  from the last 40 years. Sarcasm, irony and romance are words that characterize his work. He is also famous for its big nose and glasses. 

His multifaces is worthy of attention. Allen writes, acts and directs, and makes the three things great. 

Oscar Award 4 times. One for “Midnight In Paris”, “Hannah And Her Sisters” respectively, and 2 for “Annie Hall.” 

A curious fact is that Woody has been 37 years doing one film per year, and counting.




Martin Scorsese

Blood, mafia and opera. This American-Italian director is characterized by establishing  the parameter of mafia genere in the cinematographic world. Scorsese has managed to portray on the big screen the world of crime organized by disciplinary codes from Italy. Beyond the success and popularity he has had, his carree is long and solid, Scorsese has only won 1 Oscar in the year 2007 for “The Departed”.

Has a surgical touch when it comes to the mix of sadistic blood and the loudness of  Italian opera, producing a peculiar visual effect. 

New York is and will always be the second most important city in the film world after Hollywood, but the most important factor is to show a city as such. 

 The pavement of New York has felt the footsteps of a couple walking on the side of the Hudson River, the hot blood cover after a shootout between gangsters, the explosion of a bench made by the nemesis of a superhero, the rims of its classic yellow cabs... but above all, it has felt the legs of the tripod holding the camera that films all this.


Text: Juan y Daniel Lecanda ± Photo: DOVAVA / TOP MOVIES / ROSS OCAPA/ chicago reader