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The Empire State Building - on the Screen
A visual tour of the Empire State Building as seen in the movies.
Some quick facts about the building - It took one year and 45 days to build - the official opening was in May 1, 1931.
It cost $41m to build including land property and is currently undergoing a $550m renovation -
The address is 350 Fifth Avenue
The total height of the building including the spire and lightning rod is 1454ft - there are 102 floors - 73 elevators
Don't like elevators? There are 1860 steps from ground floor to 102nd floor. It has 6500 windows
57,000 tons of steel to construct the steel skeleton - total weight 365,000 tons
The spire was originally a mooring mast for airships but after a few attempts it was found to be too dangerous because of strong winds and not enough mooring ropes.
The tallest building in the world for 40 years until the World Trade Center buildings were constructed in 1972.
Skyscraper Souls (1932) directed by Edgar Selwyn and starring Warren William and Maureen O' Sullivan. William plays an unscrupulous businessman who is running out of money financing the building of a New York City skyscraper.
The Empire State Building was only a year old when this movie was released.
King Kong (1933) directed by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack, starring Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong and Bruce Cabot. Nearly 80 years old and still the greatest monster movie of them all. Kong falls for Fay Wray, literally.
New footage of the Empire State Building was added to the film in the 1952 re-release for the scene where Kong grabs a plane and throws it down the side of the building.
Love Affair (1939) directed by Leo McCarey and starring Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer. Dunne and Boyer fall in love on board ship during a cruise from Europe to New York. They arrange to meet again 6 months later on the top floor of the Empire State Building.
Remade in 1957 in colour, stereo sound and Cinemascope as An Affair to Remember starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr.
One of the great MGM musicals, On the Town (1949) directed by Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, starring Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Jules Munshin, Betty Garrett, Ann Miller and Vera-Ellen. Three sailors on 24-hour leave in New York, chase after girls, sing songs, dance a bit and sing some more songs, well it is a musical.
The songs "You're awful" and "On the Town" are sung at the Empire State Building.
An Affair to Remember (1957) directed by Leo McCarey and starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. Grant and Kerr fall in love on board ship during a cruise from Europe to New York. They arrange to meet again 6 months later on the top floor of the Empire... hey didn't I just write this?
A remake of Love Affair (1939) with added chroma and width, have a box of tissues handy.
New York submerged in the George Pal sci-fi classic When Worlds Collide (1951) directed by Rudolph Mate and starring Richard Derr and Barbara Rush. The star Bellus is on a collision course with Earth, mankind is doomed. A giant rocket is built which will save a bunch of people and take them to the planet Zyra an Earth-like planet orbiting Bellus.
Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970) directed by Ted Post and starring James Franciscus, Kim Hunter and Charlton "damn you all to hell!" Heston. Earth 2000 years in the future, Apes rule the planet and man has turned mute and savage. In the ruins of New York City live scarred mutants with psychic ability.
In a final futile attempt to stop more Planet of the Apes sequels being made Heston detonates the Doomsday Bomb incinerating the planet.
Superman II (1981) directed by Richard Lester and starring Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder and Terence Stamp. Refusing to kneel before Zod Superman fights the three Kryptonian criminals in Metropolis. The Empire State Building gets it's spire knocked off during the battle, and Supes being the dutiful hero puts it back again.
Sleepless in Seattle (1993) directed by Nora Ephron and starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. When Tom Hank's wife dies, he moves to Seattle with his son, Jonah. Seeing how sad his father is and how he needs a new woman, Jonah gets him to talk about his wife and women on a radio talk show. Meg Ryan is fascinated by his story and wants to see him, they agree to meet on top of the Empire State Building on Valentine's Day.
Independence Day (1996) directed by Roland Emmerich and starring Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman and Randy Quaid. Alien invaders park their huge spaceships over the major cities of the world. They are not friendly.
Smith and Goldblum fly up to the orbiting alien mothership and plant a virus in their computer system, with Norton anti-virus disabled the aliens lose the war.
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004) directed by Kerry Conran and starring Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow. New York City 1939 and a zeppelin docks with the Empire State Building. A hugely enjoyable and fascinating adventure yarn which was filmed entirely in front of a blue screen, only the actors were real everything else was added in later in post-production.
There is a King Kong injoke during an aerial dogfight in New York City. For a brief moment in the background there is a shot of Kong climbing the Empire State Building. See screenshot above.
The Day After Tomorrow (2004) directed by Roland Emmerich and starring Dennis Quaid and Jake Gyllenhaal. The Earth undergoes massive climate shifts due to global warming. Cyclones hit Los Angeles and a huge tsunami crashes into New York City and as if that wasn't bad enough a sudden deep freeze turns the city to ice.
King Kong (2005) directed by Peter Jackson and starring Naomi Watts, Jack Black and Adrien Brody. A mega-budget remake of the 1933 classic with Oscar-winning state of the art CGI effects.
Andy Serkis in motion control suit 'played' Kong, Serkis had previously brought Gollum brilliantly to life in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy and recently played another ape, Caesar, in Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011). Serkis also plays the ships cook in King Kong.
Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief (2010) directed by Chris Columbus and starring Logan Lerman, Sean Bean, Uma Thurman, Steve Coogan and Pierce Brosnan. A fantasy adventure for kids. Someone has stolen Zeus lightning bolt and he is mighty miffed and wants it back. Percy Jackson turns out to be the son of Zeus and teams up with assorted gods and demi-gods to retrieve the lightning bolt.
The entrance to Olympus, home of the Gods, is situated at the top of the Empire State Building of all places.