A screen grab from the Men In Balck film where Will Smith acts as Agent J. Photo: Youtube

The iconic skyline, the yellow cabs, the glamour and the grime; New York has been immortalised in celluloid for decades. From romcoms and trips down fantasy lane to comedies and gangster flicks this cinematic city is showcased in an enormous number of films. If you’re planning a trip to the Big Apple, and we at Trafalgar believe you should, here is our pick of ten movies you must watch before you visit New York.


West Side Story (1961)

American gang, the Jets come to blows with Puerto Rican gang, the Sharks resulting in a rather messy turf war. A musical tale of love and gang rivalry, West Side Story takes inspiration from Romeo and Juliet, remaining Shakespeare’s classic on the streets of Manhattan.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)

The look that launched a thousand trends, Audrey Hepburn’s chic turn as a sweet but naive socialite, Holly Golightly made her an enduring style icon. Taking its name from the Fifth Avenue jeweller, Breakfast at Tiffany’s follows Golightly’s exploits as she falls for a writer who moves into her Upper East Side building.

Taxi Driver (1976)

“You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me!?” NYC cabbie, Travis Bickle’s oft-quoted line cemented Robert De Niro’s status as a bona fide superstar. This dark Scorsese movie reveals New York’s seedy underbelly before its 1980s clean-up as Vietnam veteran Bickle loses the plot, going on a rampage across town.

Saturday Night Fever (1977)

Paint store worker Tony Manero lives for the weekends where he gets to strut his stuff in the local discotheque. This is the movie that shows the world John Travolta can disco-boogie, Saturday Night Fever was shot at authentic locations across Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Wall Street (1987)

“Greed is good” was Gordon Gekko’s mantra in this tale of 1980s banking excess. Set on the banking centre of Wall Street, the movie follows unscrupulous stockbrokers who’ll do anything it takes to stay at the top.

When Harry Met Sally (1989)

Famous for that deli scene (“I’ll have what she’s having”) When Harry Met Sally is a feel-good flick about male and female platonic friendship. It captures plenty of iconic New York landmarks like Katz Delicatessen, Washington Square, JFK Airport, and Central Park’s Loeb Boathouse.

Men in Black (1997)

“The galaxy is on Orion’s belt!” says a dying alien. It’s the nineties and alien refugees live in secret on Earth, disguised as humans. Agent’s J and K are the Men in Black, a secret agency that polices aliens and protects the Earth from intergalactic threats.  They have to save the human race from complete annihilation when the said galaxy ends up in the wrong hands.

Zoolander (2001)

A dim-witted but lovable male model Derek Zoolander and his arch rival Hansel get wound up in a plot to assassinate the Malaysian Prime Minister with hilarious consequences (remember the infamous ‘Walk Off’?).

The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

Revealing the inner workings of a Times Square-based glossy fashion magazine, The Devil Wears Prada stars Meryl Streep as fearsome editor, Miranda Priestly, and Anne Hathaway as her much put-upon assistant, Andy.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)

Set in 1926 New York this JK Rowling Harry Potter spinoff is a fantasy film about a ‘magizoologist’, Newt Scalamander, and his search to recapture his crop of fantastic beasts that are loose in the city.