Pick The Next NYC Movie For A Then & Now Comparison!

To date, Scouting NY has done full then-and-now movie comparisons of Ghostbusters, Taxi Driver, Rosemary’s Baby, Annie Hall, The Godfather, North by Northwest, The Apartment, The Warriors, Pickup on South Street and Eyes Wide Shut (sort of!).


I open it up to the floor: what movie would you like to see covered next?

Leave your vote in the comments, and don’t be afraid to say why you think it’s a good choice. Most compelling suggestion wins!*


*Unless you donate $500 to my film fund, in which case you can just pick the next movie 🙂

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  1. I’m obliged to vote for my very favorite New York City film, the 1974 classic The Taking of Pelham 123.

  2. I think “Saturday Night Fever” would be a great choice as it was shot on location in the Bay Ridge/Bensonhurst area of Brooklyn. Although, I believe the disco has been torn down, many sights still exist including the house, the dance studio, Lenny’s Pizza, Kelly’s Tavern and the hardware store where Tony worked.

  3. I think Saturday Night Fever would be a great choice. Another suggestion would be Goodfellas.

  4. “The Freshman” was quite a love song to NYC…

  5. Goodfellas. My mother actually watched them film the scene where Deniro beats up the phone booth outside the diner.

  6. Three Days of the Condor. (I would also second the earlier vote for the Taking of Pelham 123, the original)

  7. The Muppets Take Manhattan!

  8. I agree with the original “Taking of Pelham 123” If you can get into today’s Subway Control Center, it would be awesome! (Just saw the movie again this weekend, the microphones in front of everyone’s control station is just so iconic of the day. And the fact that the suspects were in the system on index cards… What else can I say?) I’m sure the subway tunnels look the same 🙂

  9. Serpico would be a good one as iirc it has a lot of outdoor scenes.

  10. Would take crossing the Hudson but On the Waterfront would be amazing.

  11. I’d second “Taking of Pelham 123,” and also suggest “The French Connection” and, going back a bit, “Sweet Smell of Success.” I think all the interiors were studio shots, but cinematographer James Wong Howe did amazing things with Times Square locations.

  12. Love Taking of Pelham 123, but I think these movies might offer a really interesting contrast between the then and now: Cruising, The Landlord, Desperately Seeking Susan, and After Hours.

  13. Crossing Delancey: Uptown, lower East side, storefronts.

  14. Beat Street (1984) would be an interesting offbeat choice.

  15. Goodfellas! Love that movie!

  16. Do The Right Thing. Would be especially relevant due to Spike Lee’s recent comments on gentrification in Brooklyn!

  17. Sweet Smell of Success (1957)!

  18. As someone who grew up taking the 6 train, I have to add a vote for The Taking of Pelham 123.

    But you know what else would be cool? The Brother From Another Planet.

  19. What about The Naked City?

    Awesome postwar movie, and lots of shots all over town.

  20. The French Connection

  21. I would love to see you do a comparison of the NYC from “Prisoner of Second Avenue” with Jack Lemmon and Anne Bancroft. It was kind of hilarious because even the Upper East Side looks so run down.
    Another movie- Odd Couple- big fan of Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon- and old New York- Time Square was so dark.

  22. Marty (1955)

  23. desperately seeking susan. fame.

  24. Definitely French Connection… and maybe Escape from New York and Breakfast at Tiffany’s (I think they both shot exteriors in NYC)

  25. I’d also like to see Do The Right Thing

  26. The Seven-Ups. Roy Scheider, great NYC location shots, and the most geographically bizarre chase scene ever.

    • I agree! They filmed everywhere. The chase scene is great, but really a copy of the chase scene from Bullitt. The bad guy driver is the same in both movies too.

  27. Brewster’s Millions

  28. After Hours! Such a brilliant, underrated black comedy. My favourite Scorsese? Probably.
    Also interesting location-wise, because I have a feeling a lot of the locations in SoHo might have changed the past 30 years.

  29. Arthur is one of the better NYC movies. Many great shots of sites that still exist (the Plaza, Central Park, St. Barts,) and some that don’t (e.g. Playland, Te-Amo bodegas, a GM building without a stupid Apple cube, etc.) I still haven’t placed the diner that Liza Minelli works in or the bar that Arthur drinks in just prior to the wedding.

  30. Goodfellas!!!!!!!!!!

  31. JUICE, the 1992 Harlem-set (and filmed I think) film starring Tupac and Omar Epps !!

  32. The Panic in Needle Park

  33. New Jack City…

    or Juice.

  34. Lost Weekend, Gumball Rally, Godspell, French Connection, or The Seven Ups would be awesome.

  35. dang, I feel old now.

  36. Saturday Night Fever.

  37. Hannah and Her Sisters, Serpico, After Hours.

    They all felt so New York to me. Unfortunately I haven’t been back for over 20 years.

  38. Bringing out the dead – because most people wouldn’t even think about that

  39. I would love Godspell as well. It may not be the most popular movie, but the whole movie was Locations so it would be super cool to see how they changed. I would also love to just know where some of them are.

  40. I came to suggest Panic In Needle Park but someone beat me to it. It might be a short post, though, so maybe you could pair it with Dog Day Afternoon, which would also be pretty short.

  41. alot of these are good but die hard with a vengeance covers so much of the city and a lot of the city looks so much different than 20 years ago

  42. My first pick would be On The Waterfront. It’s regarded as a great, classic movie and it is older than many suggestions. I believe it would be interesting to see the changes to the waterfront, parks and neighborhoods since the movie was filmed.

    My second choice would be The Seven Ups. I believe it offers a variety of locations throughout the boroughs.

  43. For gritty, old NYC I’d have to agree with those who recommend After Hours or Cruising. Desperately Seeking Susan is great, but the Old East Village is a familiar site, whereas the contrast between the SoHo of After Hours and the Meat Packing District of Cruising is much more obvious and has much more to say about how the city has changed. The protests surrounding the filming of Cruising in particular makes its scouting a part of NYC’s history. Party Girl, aka Parker Posey’s most under-appreciated role, takes the viewer through punk/club kid NYC as well as its older landmarks since so much is set in a Library.

    Or, go a different route than the cliched 70s/80s and explore the slick, turn-of-the-millenium NYC that Kubrick attempted to fake with Eyes Wide Shut. Unfaithful, Cruel Intentions, and Single White Female are three options that do this wonderfully. Unfaithful is partially set in the suburbs, but captures SoHo the way Felicity did. Cruel Intentions was the original Gossip Girl, set in the Upper East Side, and and Single White Female is centered on an apartment that any New York would, ironically, kill to live in.

  44. The French Connection, lots of outside business shots and following the chase scene would be an amazing photo trip in itself

  45. My main vote goes for The Seven-Ups. I know those locations have drastically changed. I believe the climax of the movie is now the parking lot of Co-op City. My next vote goes to Goodfellas.

    • I second The Seven-Ups! Great NY & Manhattan locations (Tracey Towers still under construction then!) and it brings back memories of growing up in Co-op City back then.

  46. I’ll add my vote for After Hours. And… On the Waterfront. And… The Prisoner of Second Avenue. And… Ah, don’t make me chose…there are too many great options!

  47. How about “Die Hard With A Vengeance”? Even though it is only 20 years old, much has changed (e.g. the aqueduct is almost finished, the original Yankee Stadium is no longer around). AND it was abount a scavenger hunt set in NYC. What better material do you need for a before and after?

    I’ll put in a vote for After Hours too. Loved the movie.

  48. The Fisher King!

    As a kid, the Fisher King was the first movie I ever saw that really made New York City so prominent a locale that it became one of the movie characters (reinforced by the characters frequent singing of Sinatra’s NYC-centric hit, “How About You”). It suggested a magic-based subculture within the city, right under everyone’s noses, and remains one of my two favorite NYC movies of the era (second only to Ghostbusters!)

  49. The original Maniac would be an awesome Then & Now story (with locations in NYC and Brooklyn)


  50. ‘Hair’ because it’s a great film with great locations!

  51. Couple more suggestions somewhat off the beaten path: The Wanderers (1979), 1990: The Bronx Warriors (1982) and Vigilante (1983).

  52. On the Waterfront is a great suggestion but I was also thinking of You’ve Got Mail. It would be interesting – or deptressing – to see how much the UWS has changed.

  53. I vote Serpico – there are some scenes shot in Williamsburg and Greenpoint that would be cool to compare to today. For everyone saying On the Waterfront, I’m 99% sure most of it was shot in Hoboken, not NYC

  54. Martin Goldberg

    The French Connection.

    I want to see ‘old’ Brooklyn..

  55. Martin Goldberg

    On The Waterfront was shot in Hoboken, for the most part…

  56. How about Network? One of my all time favorite movies…

  57. By interest ascending:
    “HOME ALONE 2”

  58. By interest ascending:

    “HOME ALONE 2”

  59. “Heaven Help Us” or “The French Connection”

  60. The Pope of Greenwich Village. One of my favorite films. I already know a few of the locations so I can help if you need it. Not that you need it, of course.

  61. Oh, wait! Wait!

    How about…

    Natalie Wood & Steve McQueen…
    asphalt park next to FDR Drive
    A secret meeting in a downtown produce market? in TriBeCa?
    A stripper’s Greenwich Village apartment
    A cattle call of musicians in some mid-town place…
    An upholstery factory
    A back-alley abortionists secret location
    an amusement park somewhere
    And an exact address for the protagonist’s apartment, even.

    And … did I mention STEVE MCQUEEN?!

    Yes, it’s the amazing film from 1963, “Love with the Proper Stranger”.

    And I’m not sure if this is even possible, but it’d be AMAZING to find the locations for the *original* ending, which was very dark and would have created a sea change. They changed the original ending with one “happy” shot that brought the whole thing to a different conclusion.

    Had they gone with the controversial first ending, it’d have been a landmark film. As it is, it’s just a fantastic film.

  62. Barefoot in the Park
    After Hours (I also saw several nights of filming in SOHO & Hudson Square)
    Pelham 123

  63. New Jack City
    The Fisher King

  64. Gangs of New York

  65. I’ll throw out a dark horse with The Wiz. More interesting would be Marathon Man.

  66. Shaft (1971)

    Perfectly captured the city in that era.

  67. How about West Side Story?

  68. Oh, AFTER HOURS definitely!

  69. A Bronx Tale

  70. Gotta agree with:
    After Hours
    Desperately Seeking Susan

    also adding:

  71. haha, yeah, BASKETCASE!

  72. The last 10 seconds of “FAIL SAFE.”

  73. Seems like nobody mentioned Carlito’s Way! And second choice would be Panic In Needle Park, to show NY’s real grit of that day.

  74. I really wanted to say Hannah and Her Sisters, which is such a time capsule of 1986 Manhattan, but someone brought up Marty, which would be awesome.

    Talk about “New York, you’ve changed,” even if it takes place in basically one neighborhood. I’m just not sure if there’s enough material, as much of Marty takes place indoors and simply references parts of the neighborhood (i.e. Marty went to Theodore Roosevelt High School a few blocks from his mother’s house), but it’s worth some sort of then & now.

  75. Once Upon A Time In America.

  76. Hanna and her Sisters. Or any NYC-Long Island, Woody Allen film.

  77. I’m between French Connection and Serpico as they are both true stories. So you can do 3 way comparison of book-film-locations. Everybody loves a 3 way!

  78. If we are mnetioning Woody Allen NYC motifs, why not “Manhattan”. It was written to show off New York!

  79. Go home and get your shine box! Goodfellas!

    On the Waterfront would be cool too.

  80. Splash 🙂 That could be cool – bits of touristy stuff, bits of the docs etc

  81. Coming to america…

  82. As an Australian watching your site, I’d go for Godspell as well. Mainly because it’s about the only New York movie I can specifically remember the locations to.

  83. The Hot Rock
    The Producers

  84. And King Kong (1976)

  85. Either “Saturday Night Fever” or the original “The Taking of Pelham 123” would be great. I lean towards the former just because I think Brooklyn might not have changed as radically.

  86. Trading Places? Don’t know how much of it was actually filmed in nyc. It’s a classic though

  87. The Lords of Flatbush would have my vote

  88. forget Desperately Seeking Susan and focus on Susan Seidelman’s Smithereens! The drastic comparison to downtown between then and now is astounding. Speaking of downtown, Downtown ’81 could be an awesome choice!

  89. How bout a Tom Hanks Theme:

    You’ve Got Mail
    Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
    The Terminal (just JFK?)
    Sleepless in Seattle (Just ESB?)
    Bonfire of the Vanities

  90. So many great ones. I’ll add two of my favorite films:
    On the Town

  91. No one has said Three Days of the Condor yet, or On the Town. Sea of Love was a dreadful film with great shots of NY. I also must second ask those who have said Godspell, which was a love letter to NYC.

    Also Working Girl, Tootsie, and When Harry Met Sally.

  92. Whoops! I see someone best me to On the Town, so I’ll replace it with Donny Brasco.

  93. Howzabout “My Favorite Year”? And yes, “On The Town”? Especially ironic in light of Frank Sinatra’s character consulting an out-of-date tour book.

  94. Couldn’t help myself; thought of some others on the way home last night with a Brooklyn theme:

    Last Exit in Brooklyn
    Radio Days
    Requiem for a Dream

  95. I vote for Prizzi’s Honor. My wife saw Jack Nicholson and Kathleen Turner filming in New York

  96. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986). There’s a great architectural tour scene in which Sam Watterston points out his favorite NYC buildings. But I really like seeing all the 1980s views of Soho before it became gentrified. Where’s the bookstore Michael Caine visits? Where’s the record store where Woody runs in to Dianne Wiest? Great NYC views just like any Woody movie.

  97. I’d like to see Kids or Coming To America.

  98. On the Waterfront, A Bronx Tale, King Kong, The French Connection, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Shaft, Desperately Seeking Susan, or how about Paris is Burning, I’d love to see if those halls are still around!

  99. The Outsiders. The Eyes of Laura Mars. An Unmarried Woman.