There is a lot to see in a visit to the largest borough. From the Unisphere in Flushing Meadows Park to the Panorama model of NYC at the Queens Museum to the Arthur Ashe Stadium (home of the US Open). Just don’t get lost while traveling around; Queens uses hyphenated addresses that are extremely helpful, once you learn how to use them.
Queens is also home to the NY Mets baseball team at Citi Field. And if you are flying out of NYC or anywhere within a 50-mile radius of it, you are most likely using either JFK or LaGuardia airport, both located in Queens. And don’t forget Belmont Racetrack in Elmont, home to the Belmont Stakes, the final race of the famed Triple Crown series.
With 108 square miles of land, and almost 2.3 million people living on it, with close to 100 different neighborhoods throughout, it’s no wonder that Queens is so diverse. In fact, while NYC is commonly known as the “melting pot”, there are well over 200 different countries that Queens’ residents hail from.
And Queens is also a common location that filmmakers utilize for their settings, or as a location to stand in for those settings. Check out some of the most popular and interesting movies that came to the second most populous of the New York boroughs:
Table of Contents
- Movies That Were Filmed in Queens
- Run All Night (2015)
- Julie and Julia (2009)
- The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
- Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (2007)
- A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints (2006)
- Scrooged (1988)
- 8 Mile (2002)
- My Super Ex-Girlfriend (2006)
- Baby Mama (2008)
- Coming to America (1988)
- Going in Style (2017)
- John Wick (2014)
- 28 Days (2000)
- Goodfellas (1990)
- A Bronx Tale (1993)
- Men in Black (1997)
Movies That Were Filmed in Queens
Run All Night (2015)
Another action thriller with Liam Neeson in the lead, this one co-starred Joel Kinnaman, Common, and Ed Harris. And once again, Neeson plays a character determined to protect a family member. The story took place New York City with locations shot all over the boroughs, including Queens Hospital Center in Jamaica, Woodhaven, and Ridgewood.
Julie and Julia (2009)
Director Nora Ephron’s eighth (and final) film was this biopic about cook Julia Child. Meryl Streep played Julia and Amy Adams Julie, a young cook who takes on the challenge of making all 524 of Child’s recipes from her Mastering the Art of French Cooking book. The movie was set in NYC with some locations done in Astoria and other areas of Queens.
The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
This was the third movie in the Matt Damon-led Bourne series, which was based in part on Robert Ludlum’s 1990 novel. This installment had filming locations done all over the world, including Astoria. It won three Oscars: Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing, and Best Sound Mixing. It was the most profitable movie of the series.
Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (2007)
Director Sidney Lumet’s final film, this thriller starred Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke as brothers who decide to burglarize the jewelry store owned by their parents. One of the film’s most significant scenes was done at Bay Terrace Shopping Center in Bayside.
A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints (2006)
This biopic was based on Dito Montiel’s memoir from 2001 about growing up in Astoria in the 80s. Both Shia LaBeouf and Robert Downey Jr. portray Montiel at different stages of his life, as the film deals with flashbacks and the present day. This movie stayed true to its setting and was filmed in Astoria.
This comedic adaptation of Charles Dickens’ 1843 novella, A Christmas Carol, had Bill Murray in the lead as a top TV exec whose selfishness, grumpiness, and overall lack of regard for anyone else prompts his Christmas Eve ghost visits. The movie was set in NYC, with some locations in Queens, such as Woodside, Long Island City, and Flushing.
8 Mile (2002)
Not technically a biopic, but certainly full of some real-life events and details, this drama starred Eminem in the lead with Mekhi Phifer, Brittany Murphy, and Kim Basinger in supporting roles. While the film was primarily set in Eminem’s home city of Detroit, some scenes were done in Queens. “Lose Yourself” won the Oscar for Best Original Song.
My Super Ex-Girlfriend (2006)
Uma Thurman is not super in that she is great; she is super, as in the superheroine G-Girl. And if you think it’s hard to date a superhero, imagine how hard it is breaking up. Luke Wilson starred in this comedy, with Anna Faris and Eddie Izzard in supporting roles. The film took place in NYC with some scenes filmed in Astoria and Forest Hills.
Baby Mama (2008)
After doctors tell her that she cannot conceive and adoption is not an alternate option, Tina Fey’s Kate hires Amy Poehler’s Angie to be a surrogate. While the story took place in Philadelphia, some scenes were filmed in Long Island City and Woodside. Dax Shepard, Greg Kinnear, and Sigourney Weaver play supporting roles.
Coming to America (1988)
Faced with an arranged marriage and tired of being an extremely wealthy prince in Zamunda, Akeem (Eddie Murphy) and his aide (Arsenio Hall) head to the US (Queens specifically) to pretend to be poor to see how people will really treat them. The movie was shot all over the boroughs including Queens Boulevard, JFK Airport, and Elmhurst.
Going in Style (2017)
Three senior citizens (Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and Alan Arkin) who suddenly find themselves very close to being down and out, decide to rob a bank dressed as members of the Rat Pack. This heist comedy is a remake of a 1979 movie. It took place in Queens with locations in Maspeth, as well other boroughs, and further upstate in Buffalo, NY.
John Wick (2014)
This is the first movie in the Keanu Reeves-led action series about him searching for justice after his home is robbed. The movie was a great success, as were the next two. The fourth movie is set to be released in mid-2022. John Wick was set in NYC, with locations done at Calvary Cemetery in Woodside, Laurel Hill Boulevard, and Maspeth.
28 Days (2000)
Not to be confused with the 2002 Cillian Murphy zombie apocalypse movie 28 Days Later, this film starred Sandra Bullock as an addict, who after a series of drunken disasters, chooses 28 days in rehab instead of going to jail. The film was shot in North Carolina as well as New York, including Flushing Meadows Park (formerly Shea Stadium).
Martin Scorsese’s thirteenth movie, this biopic starred Ray Liotta as Henry Hill. It is based on the 1986 book Wiseguy, which discusses Hill’s life with the Italian mob over a 25-year span. Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci costarred. The movie was filmed all over New York, including Maspeth, Astoria, Richmond Hill, Jackson Heights, and JFK airport.
A Bronx Tale (1993)
The first movie that Bobby D (Robert De Niro) directed through TriBeCa Productions, this crime drama was based on actor Chazz Palminteri’s 1989 play, which was based upon his own upbringing in the Bronx. But don’t be fooled by the name; Bronx locations were few and far between. Main filming locations were done right in Astoria.
Men in Black (1997)
There are many memorable scenes throughout this first installment of the MIB series starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. But some of the most memorable and recognizable ones call Queens their home. Both the alien landing site and the Unisphere destruction scene took place amongst real structures in Flushing Meadows Park.
Not only are there are two big filming studios in Queens, Kaufman Astoria Studios and Silvercup Studios, but many legendary actors like Lucy Liu, Hank Azaria, Adrien Brody, John Leguizamo, Christopher Walken, Susan Sarandon, and tons more, were born there.
The reasons why Queens has routinely been chosen over the years as a perfect filming location and backdrop are obvious. And this list just covers one of the five boroughs. When you factor in the other four and New York State as a whole, the list grows rapidly.