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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Top Ten Best Movies About NYC

As with any relationship, sometimes you just need a moment to rekindle the romance. If the sticky summer weather and the fresh aggregation of tourist foot traffic has you wishing you were elsewhere, any of these films will remind you why we heart NY.

Manhattan, 1979 (dir. Woody Allen)

Nothing can rouse your New York sentiment like the grand opening of Woody Allen’s cinematic ode to his favorite city, “Manhattan.” As black-and-white images of Manhattan’s most iconic landmarks play in sequence to the sounds of George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” you can’t help but fall in love with New York all over again. And cue the fireworks.

Do the Right Thing, 1989 (dir. Spike Lee)

In this brilliant interpretation of racial tensions in Brooklyn’s Bensonhurst neighborhood, Spike Lee likens the strained relations between the area’s African American and Italian communities to a heat wave about to break. With a colorful opening dance sequence reminiscent of the sweeping intro to “Manhattan,” one can’t help but think if he was influenced by Allen’s style.

Taxi Driver, 1976 (dir. Martin Scorsese)

No one can capture the gritty, criminal underbelly of New York City’s mean streets like NYC native, Martin Scorsese. Known for its famous line, “You talkin’ to me?” the film follows a disturbed Vietnam veteran turned taxi cab driver played by Robert DeNiro.

Wall Street, 1987 (dir. Oliver Stone)

Oliver Stone’s interpretation of the ruthlessness of Wall Street is right on the money. In the aftermath of a financial crisis brought on by behavior similar to what's portrayed on-screen (shady business deals, anyone?), the 1980s film takes on an eerie relevance today. Michael Douglas will reprise his role as greedy broker Gordon Gekko in “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” slated for release September 2010.

Age of Innocence, 1993 (dir. Martin Scorsese)

Scorsese's adaptation of Edith Wharton's classic novel takes us back to the time of 19th century New York high society. Daniel Day Lewis is Newland Archer, an elite young lawyer who pushes social boundaries when he falls for his fiance's cousin, Countess Olenska (played by Michelle Pheiffer). Great pick for a rainy day.

Moscow on the Hudson, 1984 (dir. Paul Mazursky)

A feel-good comedy starring Robin Williams, the film follows a Russian clown trying to make it in New York City. Local or not, we can all relate to the challenge to succeed in a city like ours.

New York Stories, 1989 (dir. Woody Allen, Francis Ford Coppola, and Martin Scorsese)

New York Stories, "One City. Three Stories Tall," is a collection of three films from renowned filmmakers (and self-proclaimed New York City lovers) Woody Allen, Francis Ford Coppola, and Martin Scorsese. Though each director choses a different tale to tell, they come together in that each offers a slice of life that is so characteristically New York.

King of New York, 1990 (dir. Abel Ferrara)

In this modern-day twist on "Robin Hood," Christopher Walken plays Frank White, a former drug lord who returns from prison determined to exterminate his competition and distribute his profits among New York City's lower class.

Mean Streets, 1973 (dir. Martin Scorsese)

Yet another great film about New York from Martin Scorsese, “Mean Streets” is set against the background of Manhattan’s Little Italy. Stars such on-screen tough guys as Harvey Keitel and Robert DeNiro.

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, 1992 (dir. Chris Columbus)

It may be a children’s movie, but "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York" is an NYC-film no-brainer. Come on, who wouldn’t want to be a kid lost in New York City, set up in a swanky suite at the Plaza, with unlimited funds?

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