New York Film Locations




Top 10 New York Christmas Films

10. Alfie (Remake)
Starring: Jude Law and Sienna Miller

In Manhattan, the British limousine driver, Alfie (Jude Law) is surrounded by beautiful women, most of them clients, and he lives as a Don Juan, having one night stands with all of them and without any sort of commitment. His girl-friend and single-mother Julie is quite upset with the situation and his best friends are his colleague Marlon and his girlfriend Lonette. Alfie has a brief affair with Lonette, and the consequences of his act forces Alfie to reflect and wonder about his life style.

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otsoNY Comments: Okay, so Alfie is not completely classed as a Christmas film, but there are several references made to the seasonal holiday, and as I've recently discovered, there have been very few Christmas themed films shot in New York, so this is why Alfie has made the list.

9. Miracle on 34th Street
Starring: Maureen O'Hara and John Payne

When Doris Walker frantically recruits a last minute replacement for a drunken Santa for Macy's Christmas parade, he seems just ideal for he job and perhaps for good reason - he says his name is Kris Kringle and that he's the real Santa Claus. She pays him no mind and at the department store, he's proving be popular as well. He seems to be able to speak many languages and knows just what kids would like to have and creates a bit of a sensation when he refers shoppers to other stores rather than Macy's. When Kris has a run-in with the Department store's psychological tester, the man tries to have him committed leading to a court case where Doris' lawyer neighbor Fred Gailey tries to prove in court that Kris is the real Santa Claus.

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otsoNY Comments: Miracle on 34th Street is a 1947 Christmas film written by George Seaton from a story by Valentine Davies, directed by George Seaton and starring Maureen O'Hara, John Payne, Natalie Wood and Edmund Gwenn. It is the story of what takes place in New York City following Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, as people are left wondering whether or not a department store Santa might be the real thing. Because of its Christmas theme, the film has become a perennial Christmas favourite and makes the OTSONY number 9 spot. The film won Academy Awards for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Edmund Gwenn), Best Writing, Original Story (Valentine Davies) and Best Writing, Screenplay. It was also nominated for Best Picture, losing to Gentleman's Agreement. There was of course the remake to this Christmas classic in 1994, but enough said about that... the better!

8. Trading Places
Starring: Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy

Louis Winthorpe III is a successful Philadelphia commodity broker with mansion, manservant and girlfriend to match. Billy Ray Valentine is a hustling beggar. Winthorpe's employers, the elderly Duke brothers, make a bet that by switching the lifestyle of the two Billy Ray will make good and their man will take to a life of crime. Suddenly Louis finds himself uncomprehendingly with no job, no home and only a new acquaintance, glamorous hooker Ophelia, prepared to help him. So at least in one way things could actually be worse.

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otsoNY Comments: Trading Places is a classic in its own right, but unfortunately lacks the presents of New York City to climb any higher than the number 8 position in this chart, leaving it to (almost) the final scene of the film for the main characters to travel to the World Trade Centers in lower Manhattan to take vengeance on the Duke brothers.

7. Noel
Starring: Susan Sarandon, Penélope Cruz and Paul Walker

Christmas Eve in New York, and the lonely divorced publisher, Rose Collins, needs a miracle to improve the health of her mother, interned in a hospital with Alzheimers. She feels sorry for another patient and meets his visitor. Meanwhile, Nina Vasquez breaks her engagement with her beloved fiancé Mike due to his suffocating jealousy, but misses him. Mike is stalked by a stranger, bartender Artie Venzuela. The poor Jules arranges to spend Christmas Eve in the hospital, where he spent the best Christmas of his life when he was a teenager. The lives of some of these characters cross with others along the night.

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otsoNY Comments: Okay, so I've given this film 5 stars, and yet it has only reached number 7 in the chart. In my opinion, this is the perfect Christmas film and should have been a clear winner, but unfortunately, none of it (apart from some brief library footage) was actually shot in New York City. Once again, Canada stepped up and took the place of the Big Apple much like it did in the creepy Christmas thriller, P2.

6. Elf
Starring: Will Ferrell and James Caan

Buddy was a baby in an orphanage who stowed away in Santa's sack and ended up at the North Pole. Later, as an adult human who happened to be raised by elves, Santa allows him to go to New York City to find his birth father, Walter Hobbs. Hobbs, on Santa's naughty list for being a heartless jerk, had no idea that Buddy was even born. Buddy, meanwhile, experiences the delights of New York City (and human culture) as only an elf can. When Walter's relationship with Buddy interferes with his job, he is forced to reevaluate his priorities.

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otsoNY Comments: Although I've never consider this film to be a classic, it does process a Christmas theme and feature quite a few New York locations and as a result Elf charts at number 6.

5. When Harry Met Sally
Starring: Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan

Harry Burns and Sally Albright meet when she gives him a ride to New York after they both graduate from the University of Chicago. The film jumps through their lives as they both search for love, but fail, bumping into each other time and time again. Finally a close friendship blooms btw them, and they both like having a friend of the opposite sex. But then they are confronted with the problem: "Can a man and a woman be friends, without sex getting in the way?"

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otsoNY Comments: With a storyline that spans over 15 years, the holiday season is often seen in this romantic comedy starring two of Hollywood's greatest actors, Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan. A classic from the 1980s.

4. Home Alone II
Starring: Macaulay Culkin

Kevin McCallister and his family are taking a vacation to Florida. At the airport Kevin loses his family and accidentally gets on a plane to New York City. After enjoying himself there for a while, he runs into his old enemies, Harry and Marv, who have escaped from prison. After finding out they are planning to shoplift in a toy store, he sets up a plan to put them behind bars once again. He sets up traps in an old house, and engulfs the duo with them. Afterwards, he is reunited by his family.

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otsoNY Comments: Home Alone 2 has a similiar plot to the first film, nevertheless it is a very good sequel with twice as much fun and entertainment. Once again, Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern give wonderful performances as does Macaulay Culkin. With armfuls of New York locations including Central Park, the Plaza Hotel and the Rockefeller Center, this film has the perfect ingredients for a Christmas classic.

3. Scrooged
Starring: Bill Murray

Frank Cross runs a US TV station which is planning a live adaptation of Dickens' Christmas Carol. Frank's childhood wasn't a particularly pleasant one, and so he doesn't really appreciate the Christmas spirit. With the help of the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, Frank realises he must change.

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otsoNY Comments: Like all great Christmas records; Wham's "Last Christmas", Frankie Goes to Hollywood and the breath-taking "Power of Love" and not forgetting Band Aid with "Do They Know its Christmas", this season classic was originally released in the good old 1980's and has lasted the test of time. With references to Charles Dickens' novella, "A Christmas Carol", this film has Ebeneezer Scrooge transformed from cold-hearted businessman into yuppie TV executive, and made almost likeable despite his obnoxious behaviour by Bill Murray, on sardonic and sarcastic form. This film is so good that I don't even mind the fact that it finishes up with a sing-along song.

2. Serendipity
Starring: John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale

Jonathan Trager and Sara Thomas met while shopping for gloves in New York. Though buying for their respective lovers, the magic was right and a night of Christmas shopping turned into romance. Jon wanted to explore things further but Sara wasn't sure their love was meant to be. They decided to test fate by splitting up and seeing if destiny brought them back together... Many years later, having lost each other that night, both are engaged to be married. Still, neither can shake the need to give fate one last chance to reunite them.

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otsoNY Comments: This charming romantic comedy has all the right ingredients and serves up a bouillabaisse of schmaltzy romance and slapstick fun. Since I have always wondered about fate and destiny, it was not for one moment, hard for me to embrace this film as it signifies the importance of saying what you feel and feeling what you say. All to often in life people pass each other by and subsequently end up alone, all because of being too afraid to feel or say something. Put simply... Serendipity is a beautful film and a timeless classic.

1. The Family Man
Starring: Nicolas Cage and Téa Leoni

Jack Campbell, a successful and talented businessman, is happily living his single life. He has everything, or so he thinks. One day he wakes up in a new life where he didn't leave his college girlfriend for a London trip. He is married to Kate, lives in Jersey and has two kids. He, of course, desperately wants his life back for which he has worked 13 years for. He is President of P. K. Lassiter Investment House and not a tire salesman at Big Ed's. He drives a Ferrari and not a mini-van that never starts. And most importantly he doesn't wake up in the morning with kids jumping on the bed. After a bad start, day by day he's more confident in his new life and starts to see what he's been missing. Turns out money's good to have but that's not everything.

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otsoNY Comments: The Family Man is the number one New York Christmas film. With slight comparisons to Sliding Doors in the way the story works and the concept of life altering decisions The Family Man is very entertaining, charming and heart-warming, not to mention subtly amusing throughout. Nicolas Cage and Téa Leoni make a great on-screen couple and the story is definitely intriguing enough to make for compulsive viewing. The film also features a breathtaking Danny Elfman score that hauntingly evokes the magic of Christmas, and I have to wonder why this film received such a negative reception when it was released. How could anyone watch the Family Man and not be moved by the imagery, the dialog, or the humour? It's sadly a commonplace to overlook any film that dares to wax nostalgic or take the viewer a plain where optimistic or elevated ideology prevails. As such, many beautifully crafted films have been carelessly cast aside, and Family Man seems to be one such example. In my opinion, The Family Man totally deserves to be number one in this chart and will certainly outlive its critics and hopefully take its place among the classics that have been crafted over the past 30 years.



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