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The 212 Best New York City Movies, Ranked – Rotten Tomatoes

We’re giving love to New York City, baby: the Big Apple, the Greatest City on Earth, the Concrete Jungle Where Dreams Are Made (Oh), and the inspiration for some of the best movies ever made – period. Godfather? Check. Goodfellas? Check. Do the Right Thing? Check. You get the picture.

It’s little wonder that the five boroughs have played background – and often lead – in so many movies. New York is a place overflowing with stories, no matter where you swipe your Metro card. It is, at the southern end of Manhattan, the center of the financial world, where greed has made for great cinema; a short subway ride from that, you’re in the center of global fashion, where the Miranda Priestlys of the world wield their power for high drama and big laughs; zip further north still and you hit the Great White Way, where so many dreams have played out on our screens, from All About Eve to Birdman.

Away from its commercial centers, the city heaves with inspiring communities full of complex and arresting characters, from lovers in Harlem (If Beale Street Could Talk) to bitter divorcees in Park Slope (The Squid and the Whale), from aimless twentysomethings trying to find their way on the other end of the ferry (The King of Staten Island) to tight-knit families in Brooklyn Heights (Moonstruck). It’s also a city known as a place for visitors to wander, wide-eyed, and you’ll meet many fish out of water here, too, from Crocodile Dundee to Giselle, the hapless princess of Disney’s Enchanted.

This collection of the best New York movies includes comedies and dramas, horror flicks and monster movies – hello, Mr. Kong – documentaries and character studies, and plenty of musicals, including new-on-the-block In the Heights, which offers a stunning tour of northern Manhattan’s Washington Heights community and a sharp look at how gentrification is changing it. The guide also includes one or two movies where New York isn’t technically New York (Superman), but in which the essence of the city shines through.

You won’t find movies like Home Alone 2: Lost In New York, Center Stage, or Newsies because – as much as we love them – they didn’t make the cut when paired against our criteria. To make this guide, we gathered an extensive list of movies set in and about New York, and then ranked them by their adjusted Tomatometer, a formula that takes into account their Tomatometer scores but also number of reviews, year of release, and more, to make comparing movies from different eras fairer. (We made an arbitrary rule that each Spider-Man franchise could only have one entry, the film from the series with the highest Tomatometer score; and yes, we know that Rumble in the Bronx was shot in Canada, but still…) The top 212 made the cut, a number chosen because it was the first area code assigned to NYC by AT&T back in 1947.

With all that said, it’s time to explore the five boroughs with our guide to the 212 best New York Movies ever made. Got a favorite? Disagree with the Tomatometer’s ranking? Let us know in the comments.

#212

Adjusted Score: 47.558%

Critics Consensus: An ambitious mix of genres, Vanilla Sky collapses into an incoherent jumble. Cruise’s performance lacks depth, and it’s hard to feel sympathy for his narcissistic character.

Synopsis: A remake of the Spanish film Open Your Eyes (1997), this thriller from director Cameron Crowe bears one of several… [More]

#211

Adjusted Score: 49.239%

Critics Consensus: Kids isn’t afraid to test viewers’ limits, but the point of its nearly non-stop provocation is likely to be lost in all the repellent characters and unpleasant imagery.

Synopsis: Telly is a New York teen who has a goal to de-flower as many virgins as he can. When one… [More]

#210

Adjusted Score: 50.029%

Critics Consensus: Scatter My Ashes At Bergdorf’s is a fun documentary which ultimately doubles as an infomercial for the Manhattan store.

Synopsis: It’s the most mythic of all American emporiums and the scene of many an ultimate fashion fantasy. Now audiences get… [More]

#209

Adjusted Score: 50.406%

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Synopsis: This avant-garde art film by Andy Warhol is considered a classic. Filmed in the late ’60s, it presents an honest,… [More]

#208

Adjusted Score: 51.254%

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Synopsis: In the wake of such Satanic-themed thrillers as Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist and The Omen comes The Sentinel. When New… [More]

#207

Adjusted Score: 51.757%

Critics Consensus: Fans of the stage musical may forgive Rent its flaws, but weak direction, inescapable staginess and an irritating faux-boho pretension prevent the film from connecting on screen.

Synopsis: In New York’s East Village, a group of bohemians struggle to express themselves through their art and strive for success… [More]

#206

Adjusted Score: 55.223%

Critics Consensus: Spike Lee offers intense visuals but his storytelling feels crowded and overambitious.

Synopsis: New York City’s infamous summer of 1977 was a scene of disco divas and the culture clash between fashionable patrons… [More]

#205

Adjusted Score: 55.816%

Critics Consensus: Sex and the City loses steam in the transition to the big screen, but will still thrill fans of the show.

Synopsis: The hit cable series Sex and the City catwalks its way onto the big screen in this feature-film continuation that… [More]

#204

Adjusted Score: 55.947%

Critics Consensus: Despite the rich source material, The Producers has a stale, stagy feel more suited to the theater than the big screen.

Synopsis: After transforming his first motion picture into a smash Broadway musical, Mel Brooks brings the story of two would-be theatrical… [More]

#203

Adjusted Score: 56.235%

Critics Consensus: Single White Female benefits from a pair of outstanding leads, neither of whom are well served by a storyline that wavers between thrillingly tense and utterly ridiculous.

Synopsis: After advertising for a new roommate, Allison finds herself living with Hedra, an initially shy woman who soon exhibits strange,… [More]

#202

Adjusted Score: 57.155%

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Synopsis: In this horror comedy, the gruesome death of his girlfriend Elizabeth (Patty Mullen) in a lawn mower accident inspires hobby… [More]

#201

Adjusted Score: 57.261%

Critics Consensus: King Kong represents a significant visual upgrade over the original, but falls short of its classic predecessor in virtually every other respect.

Synopsis: Famed producer Dino De Laurentiis tries to steal the thunder from Jaws, then the top-grossing film of all-time, in this… [More]

#200

Adjusted Score: 57.347%

Critics Consensus: Stylish yet hollow, The Hunger is a well-cast vampire thriller that mistakes erotic moments for a satisfying story.

Synopsis: The exquisitely beautiful Catherine Deneuve plays Miriam, a centuries-old vampire capable of bestowing the gift of immortality on her lovers… [More]

#199

Adjusted Score: 58.912%

Critics Consensus: John Huston proves an odd choice to direct, miring Annie in a sluggish, stagebound mess of an adaptation, but the kids are cute and the songs are memorable.

Synopsis: This family classic is adapted from the Broadway musical, which was based on the comic strip Little Orphan Annie. During… [More]

#198

Adjusted Score: 59.997%

Critics Consensus: While certainly ambitious — and every bit as visually dazzling as one might expect — Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby emphasizes visual splendor at the expense of its source material’s vibrant heart.

Synopsis: “The Great Gatsby” follows Fitzgerald-like, would-be writer Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) as he leaves the Midwest and comes to New… [More]

#197

Adjusted Score: 60.262%

Critics Consensus: It’s lifted by affable performances from its impeccable cast, and it’s often charming — but Morning Glory is also inconsistent and derivative.

Synopsis: A new romantic comedy set in the hilarious and dysfunctional world of morning television. When hard-working TV producer Becky Fuller… [More]

#196

Adjusted Score: 61.665%

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Synopsis: The 1947 holiday classic Miracle on 34th Street is transplanted to the 1990s with few changes in this family-oriented remake…. [More]

#195

Adjusted Score: 61.865%

Critics Consensus: Stiff performances fail to produce any tension onscreen.

Synopsis: William Shakespeare’s classic tale is brought to the screen for the third time in ten years in this modernized interpretation…. [More]

#194

Adjusted Score: 62.355%

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Synopsis: The Beastie Boys let their fans do the shooting as they take the stage of Madison Square Garden for the… [More]

#193

Adjusted Score: 62.362%

Critics Consensus: Light and charming, Serendipity could benefit from less contrivances.

Synopsis: On a bustling shopping day in the winter of 1990, Jonathon Trager meets Sara Thomas. Two strangers amid the masses… [More]

#192

Adjusted Score: 62.97%

Critics Consensus: The First Purge should satisfy fans of the franchise and filmgoers in the mood for violent vicarious thrills, even if its subtextual reach exceeds its grasp.

Synopsis: Behind every tradition lies a revolution. Next Independence Day, witness the rise of our country’s 12 hours of annual lawlessness…. [More]

#191

Adjusted Score: 63.601%

Critics Consensus: Die Hard with a Vengeance benefits from Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson’s barbed interplay, but clatters to a bombastic finish in a vain effort to cover for an overall lack of fresh ideas.

Synopsis: Bruce Willis returns as misfit cop John McClane in the third film in the Die Hard series. McClane has fallen… [More]

#190

Adjusted Score: 64.221%

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Synopsis: A young New Yorker becomes enthralled to the will of an evil disembodied brain in this cult horror-comedy. With the… [More]

#189

Adjusted Score: 64.452%

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Synopsis: An American college student in Rome and his sister in New York investigate a series of killings in both locations… [More]

#188

Adjusted Score: 66.007%

Critics Consensus: Mimic finds director Guillermo del Toro struggling to inject his unique sensibilities into a studio picture – and delivering just enough genre thrills to recommend.

Synopsis: While one would imagine that the average New Yorker would be used to dealing with bugs after years of apartment… [More]

#187

Adjusted Score: 66.01%

Critics Consensus: Though it is ultimately somewhat undone by its own lofty ambitions, The Devil’s Advocate is a mostly effective blend of supernatural thrills and character exploration.

Synopsis: Supernatural forces hover over the courtroom in this devilish drama adapted from the novel by Andrew Neiderman. Attorney Kevin Lomax… [More]

#186

Adjusted Score: 66.62%

Critics Consensus: Martin Scorsese’s technical virtuosity and Liza Minelli’s magnetic presence are on full display in New York, New York, although this ambitious musical’s blend of swooning style and hard-bitten realism makes for a queasy mixture.

Synopsis: Set primarily in post-WWII New York City, Martin Scorsese’s extravagant romantic musical is about a jazz saxophonist and a pop… [More]

#185

Adjusted Score: 68.885%

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Synopsis: Jeffrey Wright is superb in this biopic as Jean-Michel Basquiat, the artist who rose from homelessness to fame and fortune,… [More]

#184

Adjusted Score: 70.053%

Critics Consensus: Money Monster’s strong cast and solidly written story ride a timely wave of socioeconomic anger that’s powerful enough to overcome an occasionally muddled approach to its worthy themes.

Synopsis: Lee Gates is a bombastic TV personality whose popular financial network show has made him the money wiz of Wall… [More]

#183

Adjusted Score: 69.175%

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Synopsis: This docudrama celebrates the colorful lives of teens who live in the South Bronx. There they are seen break dancing,… [More]

#182

Adjusted Score: 69.928%

Critics Consensus: Although the plot leaves a lot to be desired, 13 Going on 30 will tug at your inner teenager’s heartstrings thanks in large part to a dazzling performance from Jennifer Garner.

Synopsis: Thirteen-year-old Jenna (Shana Dowdeswell) has had enough with the trials of adolescence. In addition to being saddled with a devoted-but-nerdy… [More]

#181

Adjusted Score: 70.455%

Critics Consensus: Death Wish is undeniably exploitation fare — and also undeniably effective.

Synopsis: In this explosive story of revenge and urban violence, Charles Bronson plays Paul Kersey, a bleeding-heart liberal who has a… [More]

#180

Adjusted Score: 70.863%

Critics Consensus: With a charismatic lead, this new Shaft knows how to push the right buttons.

Synopsis: This action drama puts a new spin on Shaft, one of the key “blaxploitation” films of the 1970s. John Shaft… [More]

#179

Adjusted Score: 70.967%

Critics Consensus: Critics say Stuart Little is charming with kids and adults for its humor and visual effects.

Synopsis: He’s clever, enthusiastic, a ‘can do’ guy with attitude-and he’s a mouse. Combining live-action with groundbreaking visual effects technology by… [More]

#178

Adjusted Score: 71.212%

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Synopsis: In this musical, Charity Hope Valentine is an incurable optimist, despite her job at a seedy dance joint. Charity never… [More]

#177

Adjusted Score: 71.858%

Critics Consensus: Although the central romance arguably suffocates the heart of the drama, a moving performance by Nick Nolte and Barbra Streisand’s deft direction give The Prince of Tides a soulful edge.

Synopsis: Nick Nolte stars as Tom Wingo, a football coach grappling with his family’s tragic history with the help of psychiatrist… [More]

#176

Adjusted Score: 72.061%

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Synopsis: Gitl arrives in New York with her son to join her husband Jake, but whereas Jake has completely embraced America,… [More]

#175

Q (1982) 71%

Adjusted Score: 72.912%

Critics Consensus: Q’s campy charms may be lost on audiences who want their monsters frightening, but a game cast and lovingly retrograde visual effects give this kaiju romp some majesty.

Synopsis: “Q” stands for Quetzalcoatl, the legendary Aztec flying serpent. The pesky, four-clawed aerial lizard has been uprooted from its Mexican… [More]

#174

Adjusted Score: 72.93%

Critics Consensus: Exquisitely animated, An American Tail is a sweet, melancholy, immigrants story.

Synopsis: An American Tail is a beautifully rendered animated flim that tells an overly familiar story in terms children can easily… [More]

#173

Adjusted Score: 73.026%

Critics Consensus: An uneasy blend of action and comedy, Date Night doesn’t quite live up to the talents of its two leads, but Steve Carell and Tina Fey still manage to shine through most of the movie’s flaws.

Synopsis: Steve Carell and Tina Fey star in director Shawn Levy’s comedy about a couple whose routine date night becomes anything… [More]

#172

Adjusted Score: 73.346%

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Synopsis: A New York detective investigates a series of murders committed by random New Yorkers who claim that “God told them… [More]

#171

Adjusted Score: 73.561%

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Synopsis: Writer/director Brian DePalma’s sequel to his 1968 counter-culture comedy “Greetings” is an even wilder attack on the insanity of bourgeois… [More]

#170

Adjusted Score: 74.059%

Critics Consensus: Much like its well-meaning but clueless protagonist, Adam occasionally seems to be in over its head — but its good intentions make those fumbles easier to forgive.

Synopsis: Awkward, self-conscious Adam Freeman (Nicholas Alexander) has just finished his junior year of high school in 2006. When his cool… [More]

#169

Adjusted Score: 74.188%

Critics Consensus: Scrooged gets by with Bill Murray and a dash of holiday spirit, although it’s hampered by a markedly conflicted tone and an undercurrent of mean-spiritedness.

Synopsis: A darkly comic and surreal contemporization of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, this effects-heavy Bill Murray holiday vehicle from 1988… [More]

#168

Adjusted Score: 74.235%

Critics Consensus: If it falls short of the deadly satire of Bret Easton Ellis’s novel, American Psycho still finds its own blend of horror and humor, thanks in part to a fittingly creepy performance by Christian Bale.

Synopsis: Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) is a Wall Street yuppie, obsessed with success, status and style, with a stunning fiancée (Reese… [More]

#167

Adjusted Score: 74.658%

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Synopsis: Urban comedy-drama spanning nine years in the life of a gay man in New York, centering around the loves in… [More]

#166

Adjusted Score: 74.714%

Critics Consensus: Great chemistry between the leads made this a warm and charming delight.

Synopsis: The film tells of Kathleen Kelly, who owns a children’s bookstore in New York. It is a small but profitable… [More]

#165

Adjusted Score: 75.227%

Critics Consensus: King of New York covers familiar narrative ground with impressive style — and leaves plenty of room for its talented cast to deliver gripping performances.

Synopsis: Upon his release from prison, ruthless drug kingpin Frank White moves to regains control of his criminal empire. This character-driven… [More]

#164

Adjusted Score: 75.239%

Critics Consensus: Although its script is uneven, Neil Burger directs Limitless with plenty of visual panache, and Bradley Cooper makes for a charismatic star.

Synopsis: Aspiring author Eddie Morra (Cooper) is suffering from chronic writer’s block, but his life changes instantly when an old friend… [More]

#163

Adjusted Score: 75.259%

Critics Consensus: Despite Hitch’s predictability, Will Smith and Kevin James win praise for their solid, warmhearted performances.

Synopsis: A dating doctor claims that with his services he can match anyone with their soulmate in just three dates. When… [More]

#162

Adjusted Score: 75.362%

Critics Consensus: Gremlins 2 trades the spiky thrills of its predecessor for looney satire, yielding a succession of sporadically clever gags that add some flavor to a recycled plot.

Synopsis: Where the original Gremlins was a horror film spiked with comedy, Gremlins 2: The New Batch is essentially a black… [More]

#161

Adjusted Score: 75.624%

Critics Consensus: Eddie Murphy was in full control at this point, starkly evident in Coming to America’s John Landis’ coasting direction.

Synopsis: Coming to America casts comedian Eddie Murphy as pampered African prince Akeem, who rebels against an arranged marriage and heads… [More]

#160

Adjusted Score: 75.852%

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Synopsis: Young Manhattanites boogie-oogie-oogie, in Whit Stillman’s Proustian exploration of urban manners, discarded innocence and the onset of modern times…. [More]

#159

Adjusted Score: 76.216%

Critics Consensus: Police procedural meets werewolf flick in Wolfen, a creepy creature feature with a surprisingly profound side.

Synopsis: Based on the novel by Whitley Strieber, a wealthy land developer and his wife are viciously murdered in the South… [More]

#158

Adjusted Score: 76.436%

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Synopsis: The life of acclaimed writer Dorothy Parker and her involvement with the legendary Algonquin round-table is chronicled in this bio-pic…. [More]

#157

Adjusted Score: 76.583%

Critics Consensus: A surfeit of ideas contributes to Margaret’s excessive run time, but Anna Paquin does a admirable job of guiding viewers through emotional hell.

Synopsis: Margaret centers on a 17-year-old New York City high-school student who feels certain that she inadvertently played a role in… [More]

#156

Adjusted Score: 77.195%

Critics Consensus: Abel Ferrara’s 1995 horror/suspense experiment blends urban vampire adventure with philosophical analysis to create a smart, idiosyncratic, and undeniably odd take on the genre.

Synopsis: Director Abel Ferrara applies his eccentric vision to the vampire genre with this cerebral “Art” film about graduate philosophy student… [More]

#155

Adjusted Score: 78.36%

Critics Consensus: A personal project that warmly reflects on director Spike Lee’s childhood, Crooklyn is an episodic celebration of family and the indelible facets of one’s hometown.

Synopsis: Spike Lee and his siblings Cinque Lee and Joie Lee co-wrote this nostalgic but unglamorized look at a family growing… [More]

#154

Adjusted Score: 78.483%

Critics Consensus: In the vein of The Catcher in the Rye, Igby Goes Down is scathingly witty and sharply observant.

Synopsis: Meet Igby Slocumb. He’s an angry, rebellious and sarcastic seventeen-year-old at war with the stifling world of “old money” privilege… [More]

#153

Adjusted Score: 79.119%

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Synopsis: The film is a day in the life of a young artist, Jean Michel Basquiat, who needs to raise money… [More]

#152

Adjusted Score: 79.193%

Critics Consensus: Though flawed, the sprawling, messy Gangs of New York is redeemed by impressive production design and Day-Lewis’s electrifying performance.

Synopsis: The violent rise of gangland power in New York City at a time of massive political corruption and the city’s… [More]

#151

Adjusted Score: 79.776%

Critics Consensus: It’s built out of familiar parts, but no matter how formulaic Premium Rush’s storyline might seem, it’s elevated by high-octane action and enjoyable performances.

Synopsis: Dodging speeding cars, crazed cabbies, open doors, and eight million cranky pedestrians is all in a day’s work for Wilee… [More]
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