New York City is a great place for a movie locations vacation. I don’t know about you but I often fall in love with a location that I’ve seen in a film and want to take a movie locations vacation to that destination as a result. I probably first fell in love with New York City through watching TV shows that were set in Manhattan when I was a kid. So much so, that I decided to move to the Big Apple after I graduated from college and lived there for eight years.
It was wonderful living in New York and the entire city is used as a back lot for so many films. I call Los Angeles home now, but I do get back to New York on business once in a while. On my last visit there, I took an organized tour of all the fun TV and movie locations around the city with New York's TV and Movie Tours.
This is a great way to see all those locations you've grown to love in about four to five hours and you'll see so much more than if you do a self-guided tour on your own.
If you're planning a trip to New York, you might want to watch some of these movies and book one of the New York hotels that are featured in these flicks like the Plaza Hotel. There are so many more movies than the ones I'm featuring here, but I've chosen some I particularly like because of how they've captured the town I called home during the mid-eighties and into the early nineties. A couple may be off your radar for a couple of reasons: they weren't big hits or they're "before your time," but nonetheless, I think these movies capture the Big Apple on the big screen in a magical way and will inspire you to book a trip there to see it for yourself.
The Movie: Ghost Town (2008)
The Premise: With a bit of a new spin on The Sixth Sense's "I see dead people," Bertram Pincus, played by Ricky Gervais, is a British dentist now practicing in New York City. He discovers that he has the annoying ability to see ghosts after he has a near death experience and actually flatlines for seven minutes during a common medical procedure. Pincus, a man whose people skills leave much to be desired, then finds himself the unwilling participant meddling in his neighbors life. The movie also stars Greg Kinnear and Tea Leone.
I was expecting this movie to be funny, and it was, but it was also more of a romantic comedy than anything else. What I absolutely adored was how the film gorgeously captured New York City with many of the locations in my blog on Five Must See NYC Places including the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I confess that I'm a big Ricky Gervais fan, too, and was so anticipating this movie's release, I went to see it on opening night. I can't imagine watching this movie and not wanting to book a flight to the Big Apple.
Movie Trailer: Ghost Town
The Movie: The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
The Premise: Jason Bourne is the ultimate secret agent and this installment of the exciting Bourne series takes Jason back to New York City where he dodges a ruthless CIA official and his agents from a new assassination program while searching for the origins of his life as a trained killer.
Not since The French Connection was filmed in this city have such complicated car chases been skillfully executed by a team of stunt specialists.
Movie Trailer: The Bourne Ultimatum
The Movie: Enchanted (2007)
The Premise: A classic Disney fairytale collides with modern-day New York City in a story about a fairytale princess who is sent to our world by an evil queen. Soon after her arrival, Princess Giselle begins to change her views on life and love after meeting a handsome lawyer. Can a storybook view of romance survive in the real world?
Movie Trailer: Enchanted
Here I am in Times Square where the Princess finds herself suddenly dumped into a world very different from her world of make believe. Although I was hardly dumped in Times Square, but I do remember first stepping off the bus on my first day of a college internship located at 1500 Broadway.
Times Square was a very different and dangerous place then and considered a red light district. The area has since been cleaned up, has seen a dramatic transformation and it is not recognizable as the Times Square I first saw. It's now closed to traffic and is a nice place to hang out for both tourists and New Yorkers. This is also the location where you will meet the bus for New York's TV and Movie Tours.
The Movie: You've Got Mail (1998)
The Premise: This film was a remake of a 1930's film, Shop Around the Corner, starring James Stewart. Set in New York City and starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan as two business rivals who hate each other when they keep meeting at various professional functions, they don't realize they're falling in love over the internet through a series of emails since they have "Fictional Names" in their email addresses.
Movie Trailer: You've Got Mail
The Movie: Working Girl (1988)
The Premise: Working Girl is a romantic comedy about a Staten Island-raised secretary, Tess McGill (played by Melanie Griffith), working in the mergers and acquisitions department of a Wall Street investment bank. When her boss, Katharine Parker (played by Sigourney Weaver), breaks her leg skiing, Tess uses Parker's absence and connections, including her errant beau Jack Trainer (played by Harrison Ford), to promote her own ideas for a lucrative merger deal. A young Alec Baldwin plays Melanie Griffith's on screen boyfriend in this film.
Movie Trailer: Working Girl
This movie uses iconic New York City locations and features some memorable shots of the World Trade Center, Staten Island Ferry, and Park Avenue. I temped as a secretary when I first moved to New York for many Wall Street firms so this film evokes other memories for me as well. It also has a fabulous theme song, Let the River Flow, by Carly Simon.
The Movie: Ghostbusters (1984)
The Premise: Three parapsychology scientists set up shop in an old firehouse as a unique ghost removal service after getting fired from positions at a university in New York City where they studied the occult. These Ghostbusters specialize in trapping pesky ghosts, spirits,, and poltergeists and are called on to save the Big Apple when they stumble upon a gateway to another dimension that will unleash incredible evil upon the city.
Movie Trailer: Ghostbusters
The location of the Ghostbusters Firehouse was one of the stops for a photo opportunity on the New York's TV and Movie Tour. If you've never seen this movie, it is a must see before your trip to New York City. Who can forget the huge Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man walking down Central Park West and inflicting terror on the citizens of the city.
Also, 55 Central Park West (between 65th and 66th Streets) is the site of the Art Deco apartment building where Sigourney Weaver's character lives in the film. I used to live just a few blocks away from this landmark building and some of its famous real life resident's have included the legendary Ginger Rogers and Rudy Vallee. More recently, Calvin Klein and Donna Karan called this address "home."
The Movie: Godspell (1973)
The Premise: Godspell is also known as Godspell: A Musical Based on the Gospel According to St. Matthew is set in New York City in the 1970's and was made into a movie based as an adaptation of the Off-Broadway musical Godspell. The film stars Victor Garber (of Alias fame) and the Gospel of Matthew is brought to life through wonderful songs based on many of the parables taught by Jesus. I don't think you'll find a more entertaining version of this book in the New Testament and with exception of a few creative decisions, is actually quite genuine in its modern day interpretation.
Movie Trailer: Ghostbusters
This movie is worth watching for the Big Apple locations alone which include the Brooklyn Bridge, Lincoln Center, Central Park and a very memorable scene shot on top of the World Trade Center. I'll never forget my first visit to New York City in the summer of 1983, just ten years after this Godspell was filmed in the city at these locations. Walking through Central Park and seeing the Bandshell and the Fountain where two memorable scenes in this movie took place made it very exciting.
There are several movies that I did not include but are great inspirations for a New York City movie locations vacation including The Devil Loves Prada, Wall Street, Moonstruck, Dog Day Afternoon, The French Connection, Marathon Man, Kramer vs. Kramer, and so many more. If it's in your budget, you'll want to stay at one of the New York hotels featured in these movies.
I hope you've enjoyed this fun film trailer tour of New York City's movie locations vacation ideas to plan your visit to the Big Apple and feel free to add your own.
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About Marianne Schwab
TV Travel Show Producer
For over twenty years, TV Travel Show Producer, Marianne Schwab, has been collecting money saving travel tips as a travel producer for high profile television programs. She has flown all over the world and produced live television productions on location from Caesar's Palace on the Vegas Strip to the beautiful island of Oahu. Read more