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New York Movies - (1970s - 1980s)

Updated on January 23, 2015

Longing for Gotham City? Love going to the Movies?

#2 Lens in Our Series on New York

There are probably a few people like me out there, who get homesick, and need to see a great movie set in New York City. There's some kind of magic about New York, and it even transpires onto film. If you need to get lost in "the City", here you go.

Enjoy! Please email me if you have other titles to add!

Saturday Night Fever - The Legend

Saturday Night Fever - The Legend
Saturday Night Fever - The Legend

Godspell

Godspell
Godspell

1970's - The ones you MUST see

The Godfather Collection (The Godfather / The Godfather: Part II / The Godfather: Part III)
The Godfather Collection (The Godfather / The Godfather: Part II / The Godfather: Part III)

(1972) Francis Ford Coppola took some of the deep background from the life of Mafia chief Vito Corleone--the patriarch of Mario Puzo's bestselling novel The Godfather--and built around it a stunning sequel to his Oscar-winning, 1972 hit film. Robert De Niro plays Vito as a young Sicilian immigrant in turn-of-the-century New York City's Little Italy.

 
The French Connection I & II
The French Connection I & II

(1971) Tagline: A $32,000,000 chase turns into the American thriller of the year! Plot Outline: A pair of NYC cops in the Narcotics Bureau stumble onto a drug smuggling job with a French connection.

 
Saturday Night Fever (30th Anniversary Special Collector's Edition)
Saturday Night Fever (30th Anniversary Special Collector's Edition)

(1977) My two cents: I think it goes without saying that you MUST see this film. It not only defined a generation, it defined a phenomenom (disco), and the irony is that it was all based on a farcical, supposedly "non-fiction" article about teens in Brooklyn and disco music. Trivia: John Travolta originally wanted his disco suit to be black until it was pointed out that in the darkened disco, his co-star's red dress would make her easier to see than him.

 
Godspell
Godspell

(1973) Teaser: Godspell isn't really about the "Age of Aquarius," nor does it adopt a dark or operatic tone towards its subject matter, the Gospel according to Matthew. The mood is, instead, upbeat and uplifting.

 
Taxi Driver (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
Taxi Driver (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)

(1976) Trivia: De Niro's famous "You talkin' to me?" lines were entirely improvised. The screenplay details for that scene consisted only of "Travis looks in the mirror".

 

Saturday Night Fever

Saturday Night Fever
Saturday Night Fever

More great 1970s

The Out-Of-Towners
The Out-Of-Towners

(1970) Teaser: Film adaptation of Neil Simon's curious comedy about a pair of non-New Yorkers (Jack Lemmon and Sandy Dennis) having a hellish visit to the Big Apple on the eve of a job interview for Lemmon's character.

 
Klute
Klute

(1971) Jane Fonda came into her own with this Oscar-winning performance as an insecure high-class call girl who can't make it as a legitimate actress or model yet can't give up her addiction. She loves the control too much. But when she's stalked by a killer, she's forced to confront the darker aspects of her nature and profession.

 
The Lords of Flatbush
The Lords of Flatbush

(1974) Trivia: Sylvester Stallone stated that his payment for his role was 25 free t-shirts. Teaser: The movie itself is noteworthy mostly for the pre-stardom appearances of Stallone and Winkler, and a strong costarring role for that most ubiquitous of '70s actresses, Susan Blakely. Despite its amateurish style, muddy sound quality, and rambling scenes that have casual appeal but minimal narrative momentum, the movie is blessed with laid-back authenticity, recognizing the value of awkward pauses and jumpy rhythms of conversation.

 
Dog Day Afternoon (Two-Disc Special Edition)
Dog Day Afternoon (Two-Disc Special Edition)

(1975) Tag line: "Oh my God; Pacino at his absolute best."

 
Annie Hall
Annie Hall

(1977) Quote:

Alvy Singer: A relationship, I think, is like a shark. You know? It has to constantly move forward or it dies. And I think what we got on our hands is a dead shark.

 

Bio: I am an Animal/building/tree hugger. Feng Shui Consultant, Interior Designer & Historic Preservationist. I am also a DJ at Flying_Roundhouse

The Lords of Flatbush

The Lords of Flatbush
The Lords of Flatbush

Still more 1970s gems

The Stepford Wives (1975)
The Stepford Wives (1975)

(1975) Quote:

Dale Coba: I like to see women doing small domestic chores.

Joanna Eberhart: You came to the right town.

 
The Goodbye Girl
The Goodbye Girl

The Goodbye Girl is a bittersweet comedy about relationships and taking chances. Though it deals with the human condition, what most quickly comes to mind are those wickedly comedic scenes featuring Richard Dreyfuss in an Oscar-winning role. He plays a struggling actor with a sharp tongue who has sublet an apartment from single mom Marcia Mason, a divorce with horrific taste in men, who are always running out on her. She is left high and dry once more, stuck sharing her apartment with Dreyfuss when he hasn't the heart to enforce his lease and toss out mother and daughter.

 
Manhattan
Manhattan

(1979) Teaser: Manhattan, Woody Allen's follow-up to Oscar-winning Annie Hall, is a film of many distinctions: its glorious all-Gershwin score, its breathtakingly elegant black-and-white, widescreen cinematography by Gordon Willis (best-known for shooting the Godfather movies); its deeply shaded performances; and its witty screenplay.

 
Serpico (1973)
Serpico (1973)

Al Pacino became one of the icons of gritty, realistic 1970s filmmaking. Released in 1973, between the first two Godfather movies, this is the true story of Frank Serpico, a long-haired, idealistic, iconoclastic cop who reluctantly goes undercover to investigate dirty colleagues who are on the take. This is one of the definitive Pacino performances, along with his role as Michael Corleone in the Godfather saga, and Sonny the bungling bank robber in Dog Day Afternoon (which reunited him with his Serpico director, Sidney Lumet)--and Pacino was nominated for a best actor Oscar for all of them (although he wouldn't actually win until 1992's Scent of a Woman).

 

Must-see's from the Early 1980's

Escape from New York (Special Edition)
Escape from New York (Special Edition)

(1981) (From Editorial Review): In the future, crime is out of control and New York City is a maximum security prison. Convicts bring down the President's plane in bad old Gotham. All comic-book sensibilities and macho posturing, this is one of writer-director John Carpenter's better brainless escapes.

 
Nighthawks
Nighthawks

(1981) (Borrowed from B.C. Scribe "trekviewer" (Brooklyn Center, MN USA)): A first-rate thriller 'Nighthawks' begins with a bang (literally!) and never lets ups. A top-notch cast, great use of New York City locations and a story that becomes more riveting as it develops further distinguish it.

 
Tootsie - 25th Anniversary Edition
Tootsie - 25th Anniversary Edition

(1982) One of the touchstone movies of the 1980s, Tootsie stars Dustin Hoffman as an out-of-work actor who disguises himself as a dowdy, middle-aged woman to get a part on a hit soap opera.

 
Moscow on the Hudson
Moscow on the Hudson

(1984) On of my favorite movies, ever! Robin Williams in his fuzzy, sensitive mode with bittersweet touches plays a musician in a Russian circus who gets talked into defecting by a pal and does so (though the pal bails on him at the last minute)--in the middle of Bloomingdale's.

 
The Pope of Greenwich Village
The Pope of Greenwich Village

(1984) Picture if you will two cousins, Charlie (Mickey Rourke) and Paulie (Eric Roberts), prowling the mean streets of New York's Little Italy. Charlie is reasonably put-together, a maitre d' at a chic caf who aspires to running his own restaurant someday.

 

The Pope of Greenwich Village

The Pope of Greenwich Village
The Pope of Greenwich Village

Taxi Driver

Taxi Driver
Taxi Driver

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Reader Feedback

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    • Close2Art LM profile image

      Close2Art LM 

      7 years ago

      Taxi driver is my favorite from this era...:)RWJR GREAT LENS

    • profile image

      squidboo 

      10 years ago

      Just swinging by on this sad anniversary (9/11) to give some love to the Big Apple.

    • profile image

      Motocross_Life 

      10 years ago

      Wow. This lens is making want to dust off my Al Pacino movies....

    • profile image

      Ali_Baba 

      10 years ago

      Wow. This was a trip down memory lane! I LOVE the photographs especially. You moved me to watch Saturday Night Fever. Dang! What a great movie!!!!!

    • GramaBarb profile image

      GramaBarb 

      10 years ago from Vancouver

      Thank you for adding my 1959 lens to "What are YOUR favorite movie lenses on Squidoo?" Very nice lens! I have been to NY too - so much to see and do there!!

    • profile image

      squidboo 

      10 years ago

      How totally cool is this? I've only been to New York ONCE, so now I can go there anytime I want. Thanks for putting this together. Peace, Damian.

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