New York Movies - (1970s - 1980s)
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.
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Saturday Night Fever - The Legend
1970's - The ones you MUST see
(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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
(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
More great 1970s
(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.
(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.
(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.
(1975) Tag line: "Oh my God; Pacino at his absolute best."
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.
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The Lords of Flatbush
Still more 1970s gems
Dale Coba: I like to see women doing small domestic chores.
Joanna Eberhart: You came to the right town.
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.
(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.
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
(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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
(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
Amazon Spotlight on New York
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