Films on New York

Park Avenue
Money, Power and the American Dream

Documentary 2012 NR 1hr 10m. Documentarian Alex Gibney focuses on the gap between rich and poor by examining New York’s Park Avenue, home to America’s highest concentration of billionaires. Meanwhile, down the street, South Bronx is the poorest congressional district in the U.S.


Romantic Dramnedy 1979 96 min. The life of a divorced television writer dating a teenage girl is further complicated when he falls in love with his best friend’s mistress.


Drama 1990 PG-13 98 minutes. Writer-director Whit Stillman’s witty comedy of manners (which won an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature) pokes gentle fun at a group of upper-class Manhattan preppies who gather regularly to play bridge and engage in intellectual discussion. Led by acerbic cynic Nick (Christopher Eigeman), the coterie adopts “proletariat” Tom Townsend (Edward Clements), who has reservations about his new socialite friends and what they represent.

The Bonfire of the Vanities

Drama 1990 R 125 minute. Brian De Palma directs the film version of Tom Wolfe’s satire about race, politics and greed in 1980s New York. In it, Tom Hanks stars as Sherman McCoy, a wealthy Wall Street investor whose life takes a dark turn when his mistress (Melanie Griffith) hits a black youth with his car. When tabloid journalist Peter Fallow (Bruce Willis) gets wind of the situation, he turns it into front-page news, inciting a racial incident in this game of dog-eat-dog.

The Great Gatsby

Drama 1974 PG 143 minutes. Nominated for two Academy Awards in 1974, this movie brings to life F. Scott Fitzgerald’s wrenching novel. Mia Farrow stars as Daisy Buchanan, the object of mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby’s (Robert Redford) affections. Beyond Gatsby’s grasp, Daisy is married to unfaithful Tom (Bruce Dern), making for a love triangle that ends, as they always seem to do, with broken hearts. The drama unfolds before narrator Nick Carraway’s (Sam Waterston) eyes.

The American Ruling Class

Documentary 2005 NR 89 minutes. This inventive, mildly fictionalized documentary follows noted editor Lewis Lapham as he introduces two Ivy League graduates to America’s elite in an effort to examine the role of class and moneyed privilege in American democracy. With stops at the Pentagon, posh Manhattan parties and more, Lapham encounters luminaries — including James Baker III and Walter Cronkite — who each share their perspectives on America’s ruling class.

Bright Lights, Big City

Dramedy 1988 R 108 minutes. In this downbeat drama based on Jay McInerney’s autobiographical novel, New York City yuppie and aspiring writer Jamie Conway (Michael J. Fox) seeks oblivion in cocaine and the glittery nightclub scene as his life falls apart. With his hard-partying friend Tad Allagash (Kiefer Sutherland) continuing to up the ante, Jamie finds it increasingly difficult to show up at his unfulfilling job as a fact-checker for a literary Manhattan magazine, the New Yorker.

After Hours

Comedy 1985 R 97 minutes. Paul Hackett (Griffin Dunne) embarks on a trip to New York City’s SoHo district in hopes of hooking up with a recent acquaintance, the beautiful Marcy Franklin (Rosanna Arquette). But Paul loses all his money, and just to get back home he must endure a night of kooks, psychotics, punks and an angry mob trying to kill him. The supporting cast includes Linda Fiorentino, Teri Garr, John Heard and Catherine O’Hara, with Martin Scorsese directing.

Greenwich Village:
Music That Defined a Generation

Documentary 2012 NR 1hr 32m. This documentary blends interviews and archival footage to profile the folk music legends who transformed the New York neighborhood in the 1960s.

Wall Street

Drama 1987 R 125 minutes. Enterprising stockbroker Bud Fox falls under the enticing spell of Gordon Gekko, an unscrupulous Wall Street arbitrageur. But when Gekko embroils his protégé in an insider-trading scheme, Fox develops a conscience and decides to turn the tables. See Full Review

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

Drama 2010 PG-13 138 minutes. Trader Jake (Shia LaBeouf) tries to mend the broken relationship between his fiancée, Winnie (Carey Mulligan), and her father, Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas), while avenging the fate of his mentor, Lou (Frank Langella), by getting close to Wall Street’s new megalomaniac, Bretton James (Josh Brolin). Centered on the 2008 financial crisis, director Oliver Stone’s follow-up is a modern-day ode to unfettered capitalism and, of course, greed.

The Wolf of Wall Street

Docudrama 2013 R. Martin Scorcese’s high-rolling Wall Street drama is based on the memoirs of stockbroker Jordan Belfort, whose giddy career — involving audacious scams and confrontations with the FBI and other agencies — ended in federal prison. See Full Review

Boiler Room

Docudrama 2000 R 120 minutes. Underground casino operator and college dropout Seth Davis (Giovanni Ribisi) becomes too involved in a sham New York brokerage firm and decides to go straight after his stern father (Ron Rifkin) rescinds all contact with him. Eager to make an honest living, win his father’s approval and the love of kindly Abbie (Nia Long), Seth risks everything when he turns his back on his greedy, hard-partying colleagues. Ben Affleck and Vin Diesel co-star.The film is based on interviews the writer conducted with numerous brokers over a two-year period, and is inspired by the firmStratrton Oakmont and the life of Jordan Belfort, whose autobiography was later adapted into Martin Scorsese’s 2013 film The Wolf of Wall Street, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Belfort.

Money, Power and Wall Street

Documentary Frontline 2012 Apr12 NR. Get the inside story of struggles to rescue a shattered economy, exploring the key decisions, the missed opportunities and the uneasy partnership between government and Wall Street that influences the fortunes of millions of people around the world. Link to View This FRONTLINE Story for Free (Listed by Date 2012 Apr12):

The Pit

Documentary 2011 NR 1hr 1m. Wading directly into the chaos on the floor of the New York Board of Trade, this documentary explores the cutthroat world of commodities trading.

Assault on Wall Street

Drama 2013 R 1hr 38m. Jim’s an average New Yorker with a well-paying job and a loving family, but when the economy crashes, he loses everything. Filled with rage, Jim snaps and goes to extreme lengths to seek revenge over what’s been taken from him.

Wall Street Warriors

Documentary Series 2006 NR 4 discs. From hardened veterans to fresh-faced newbies, the wizards of Wall Street get their due in this documentary series that shines a light on the floor of the American Stock Exchange — and the hungry financial investors who keep it jumping. In a cutthroat world where fortunes can turn on a dime, these savvy traders must keep all their wits about them to successfully navigate the shark-infested waters of high finance. Cameras roll as 10 Wall Street wheelers and dealers battle it out on the American Stock Exchange, then jet off in limos to swanky restaurants, spectacular office spaces, mansions and polo fields in the Hamptons in this documentary series. The six-part program chronicles the fast-paced lives of these financial big shots, offering a rare look at one of the most high-stress jobs in the world and the frenzied hub of American capitalism.

The Madoff Affair

Documentary Frontline 2009 NR 60 minutes. Sentenced to 150 years in federal prison, Bernie Madoff perpetrated the largest financial fraud in history. Following a timeline dating back to the 1960s, Frontline takes you inside the web of deception that snagged investors for $65 billion. In the mid-1960s, Bernard Madoff tapped money from Jewish businessmen at exclusive country clubs with the promise of steady guaranteed returns on their investments. He then set his sights on Europe and Latin America, brokering deals with powerful hedge fund managers and feeder funds from Buenos Aires to Geneva. Billions of dollars were channeled to Madoff’s investment firm, and his feeders became fabulously wealthy. The competition wondered how the man could produce such steady returns in good times and bad. There were allegations that Madoff was “front-running” or operating a Ponzi scheme, which the SEC investigated several times over the last two decades. But Madoff remained untouched until Dec. 11, 2008, when he admitted it was all “one big lie.” Frontline producers Martin Smith and Marcela Gaviria unravel the story behind the world’s first truly global Ponzi scheme — a deception that lasted longer, reached wider and cut deeper than any other business scandal in history.

Scam of the Century!

Documentary CNBC 2008 PG 43 minutes. As the far-reaching, devastating scandal unfolds, CNBC delves into the mind of Bernie Madoff and explores how the alleged scheme worked. Who were the victims in the multibillion-dollar scam?

Giuliani Time

Documentary 2005 NR1hr 58m. Rudy Giuliani catapulted to international fame (that had even Queen Elizabeth fawning over him) upon helming the post-9/11 relief effort. The former mayor of New York City is also credited with cleaning up the streets of the Big Apple during the 1990s. But Kevin Keating’s exposé tells a different story — one of First Amendment transgressions and police brutality — through interviews with legal experts, activists and even the homeless.

Man on Wire

Documentary 2008 PG-13 94 minutes. . Philippe Petit captured the world’s attention in 1974 when he walked across a high wire between New York’s Twin Towers. This Oscar winner for Best Documentary explores the preparations that went into the stunt as well as the event and its aftermath. See Full Review


Documentary 2002 NR 130 minutes. This heartfelt documentary was created by award-winning French filmmakers Jules and Gedeon Naudet, who simply set out to make a movie about a rookie NYC fireman and ended up filming the tragic event that changed our lives forever. The program includes additional footage and interviews with the heroic firefighters, rescue workers and the Naudet brothers, providing exclusive insight to their extraordinary firsthand experience of the day’s events. See Full Review

9/11: Day That Changed the World

Documentary 2011 TV-PG 1hr 32m. Looking back at one of America’s greatest tragedies 10 years later, this somber TV documentary focuses on the first 18 hours of the 9/11 disaster.

Fahrenheit 9/11

Documentary 2004 R 122 minutes. Michael Moore’s hard-hitting documentary addresses the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, outlining the reasons the United States (and, in turn, thousands of innocent Americans) became a target for hatred and terrorism. The film not only criticizes President George W. Bush’s response to the attacks but also reinforces Moore’s theory that the Bush Administration used the tragic event to push its own political agenda.See Full Review

Dark Days

Documentary 2000 NR 1hr 21m. Documentarian Marc Singer trains his camera on a group of homeless people who live in an abandoned New York City railroad tunnel. At night, they retreat underground, where they have a sense of community that many surface dwellers would envy.

The Central Park Five

Documentary 2012 NR 1hr 58m. This documentary examines the case of five teenagers, all African-American or Latino, who were falsely accused and convicted of the brutal rape of a white woman in 1989. The facts are revealed that the entire police brass, DAs, politicians and especially the NYC media was complicit in railroading these youths. Modern forensics exonerated them with the help the actual perpetrator who eventually confessed. When I heard Ken Burns was involved in producing this film, I immediately wanted to see it. See Full Review

Do the Right Thing

Drama 1989 R 120 minutes. What begins as an uproarious comedy evolves into a provocative, disquieting drama as director Spike Lee chronicles trivial events that bring festering racial tensions to the surface on a sweltering day in a largely black Brooklyn neighborhood.

A Bronx Tale

Drama 1993. In this evocative slice-of-life film, a Bronx boy (Lillo Brancato) grows to adulthood worshipping disparate heroes: his hardworking father (Robert De Niro), who drives a city bus, and the neighborhood mob boss (Chazz Palminteri), who becomes a kind of surrogate dad. Joe Pesci co-stars in De Niro’s debut as a feature film director, adapted from Palminteri’s funny and touching play of the same name.

The Devil Wears Prada

Dramedy 2006. After taking a job in the Big Apple as assistant to powerful fashion magazine editor Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep, in an Oscar-nominated role), small-town girl Andrea Sachs (Anne Hathaway) is thrilled — until the magic wears off, and she’s left feeling battered and used. But at least she looks fabulous, right? Stanley Tucci, Adrian Grenier and Emily Blunt co-star in this big-screen adaption of Lauren Weisbeger’s best-selling novel.

Taxi Driver

Drama. Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese reunite for their second New York movie, capturing the overwhelming loneliness of a disconnected outsider swallowed into the concrete stomach of New York City. This honest depiction of the seedy porn theaters and prostitutes of Manhattan in the 1970’s makes present day Times Square look like Disney Land.

Prince of the City

Docudrama 1981 R 167 minutes. Based on a true story, this gritty police drama from director Sidney Lumet stars Treat Williams as Daniel Ciello, a New York cop who agrees to help the feds expose corruption within the department. Overcome with guilt, Ciello struggles with his betrayal and, before too long, begins to crack under the pressure. Filled with impressive performances, this thriller also stars Bob Balaban, Jerry Orbach and Lance Henriksen.


Docudrama 1973 R 130 minutes. Based on the real-life story of New York City undercover cop Frank Serpico (an honest man who was grievously wounded for refusing to take part in the corruption forced upon him by his peers), this movie ranks among Al Pacino’s greatest film roles. Directed by Sidney Lumet, Serpico is at once an indictment of corrupted authority and a shining testament to one man’s effort to reform the New York City Police Department.

Biography: Frank Serpico

Documentary 2000 NR 50 minutes. An honest cop who slammed into the “Blue Wall of Silence” when he complained of police corruption, Frank Serpico became famous for his integrity — a quality he maintained in the face of great personal danger. This engrossing program chronicles the bravery and perseverance of the remarkable New York officer who risked alienation — and his life — in his dogged efforts to blow the whistle on and clean up corruption within the force.

The Cotton Club

Docudrama 1984 127 min. The Cotton Club was a famous night club in Harlem. The story follows the people that visited the club, those that ran it, and is peppered with the Jazz music that made it so famous.

J. Pierpont Morgan
Emperor of Wall Street

Documentary 1996 TV-PG 44m. An art collector and incomparable financier, J. Pierpont Morgan twice rescued the American economy from the brink of bankruptcy yet was regularly denounced as a robber baron. With his stunning Wall Street success, Morgan amassed one of the country’s biggest fortunes and ultimately exercised as much clout as the president. This absorbing installment of “Biography” profiles the legendary banker and wheeler-dealer via interviews and archival film.


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