Although the Bronx borough is part of New York City, there are a few reasons why it stands out. Starting with the “the” in its name. And Pelham Bay Park is actually the largest park out of all the five boroughs. It is also the home of the Bronx Bombers AKA the New York Yankees and was the birthplace of hip hop and rap music.
You might be surprised to know that Haagen Dazs was invented in the Bronx. Or that what most NYers (and Bronxites) really consider to be Little Italy is in the Bronx along Arthur Avenue, not in NYC. And the Van Cortlandt Park Golf Course was actually the first public one in the US and the Bronx Zoo is the largest metropolitan zoo.
You might also be surprised to know how many movie scenes have also been done in the “Boogie Down.” Check out the below list of some of the most famous and interesting:
Table of Contents
- Movies filmed in The Bronx
- A Bronx Tale (1993)
- A Beautiful Mind (2001)
- City Island (2009)
- The Adjustment Bureau (2011)
- Gun Hill Road (2011)
- Major League (1989)
- The Exorcist (1973)
- The Pride of the Yankees (1942)
- American Gangster (2007)
- Trading Places (1983)
- Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
- The Departed (2006)
- I Am Legend (2007)
- Serpico (1973)
- Joker (2019)
- Summer of Sam (1999)
- Awakenings (1990)
Movies filmed in The Bronx
A Bronx Tale (1993)
Sometimes movies have a place in their name, which gives an idea of where it is set and also filmed. But sometimes that is misleading. This drama about a young Italian-American boy growing up in the Bronx is the latter case. A majority of the filming was done in Astoria, with only one small scene filmed in Brooklyn and another on City Island.
A Beautiful Mind (2001)
Ron Howard’s fifteenth film behind the camera starred Russell Crowe, Ed Harris, and Jennifer Connelly. This biopic about Nobel Prize-winning mathematician John Nash had locations all over the Northeast, with a few at Fordham University, Manhattan College, and Bronx Community College. It won four Oscars, including Best Picture and Director.
City Island (2009)
Another movie that uses an area of the Bronx in its title; except this one was set and also filmed on City Island. This comedy/drama about a prison guard, his family, and their assortment of familial issues, starred Andy Garcia, Julianna Margulies, and Alan Arkin.
The Adjustment Bureau (2011)
Based on Philip K. Dick’s 1954 sci-fi short story, this film starred Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, and Anthony Mackie. It tells the story of what happens when a man discovers that his whole life has been laid out for him; nothing has ever been by chance. The story was set in NYC, with some scenes were done at Fordham University.
Gun Hill Road (2011)
This drama was about an ex-con returning home after three years in prison and how he adjusts to the new normal of both his own life and that of his family. The story was both set in the Bronx (Gun Hill Road) and also filmed there. The film starred Esai Morales, Judy Reyes, and transgender actress Harmony Santana.
Major League (1989)
With an ensemble cast including Charlie Sheen, Wesley Snipes, and Rene Russo, this sports comedy about the Cleveland Indians was a hit at the box office, bringing in an impressive $75 million. Among the many locations used included Yankee Stadium on East 161 Street. Although there was two subsequent movies, neither did as well as the first.
The Exorcist (1973)
The horror film that made everyone question pea soup for dinner was based on a 1971 novel by William Peter Blatty. It starred Ellen Burstyn as the distraught mother, Max von Sydow and Jason Miller as the priests, and Linda Blair as the girl possessed by a demon. Although set in DC, filming took place all over, including Fordham University.
The Pride of the Yankees (1942)
While there have been a few players on the Yankees who might merit being called “the pride”, this movie was dedicated to legendary first baseman Lou Gehrig, who died from ALS at only 37 years old. Among his many accomplishments included playing 2,130 games in a row. Locations for filming included Pelham Parkway and Yankee Stadium.
American Gangster (2007)
This biopic starring Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington is based on the true story of the criminal Frank Lucas, who used service planes coming out of Vietnam in the late 1960s and early 1970s in order to bring heroin into the US. The film used many locations within the United States and beyond, including a few scenes in the Bronx.
Trading Places (1983)
Director John Landis’s seventh movie, this screwball comedy had Eddie Murphy as a poor hustler who is suddenly a lot less poor when two bored old rich men decide to switch his life with a well-to-do broker (Dan Aykroyd). While most of this movie was filmed in NYC and Philly, there were some scenes done in the Bronx at the 45th Precinct.
Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
Starring Robert De Niro and James Woods, this crime movie was based upon the 1952 novel The Hoods by Harry Grey, and was about a group of Jewish kids from the ghetto who rise through the criminal ranks. Filming was done in various parts of the United States including Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, a National Historic Landmark.
The Departed (2006)
Among the many locations within NY used for filming this Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg, and Jack Nicholson-led crime drama included SUNY Maritime College. As DiCaprio is a Scorsese fan favorite, this was their third movie together. It won several Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay.
I Am Legend (2007)
Set in New York City after a virus has destroyed most of the human race, this thriller starred Will Smith as a virologist for the Army who is immune to the disease and out looking for both survivors and a cure. Though the novel was set in Los Angeles, the movie moved it to NYC, with some shots done at Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx.
Director Sidney Lumet’s nineteenth film, this biopic had Al Pacino in the lead role as Frank Serpico, an NYPD officer who became a whistleblower involved in the Knapp Commission. It was based on 1973 book by Peter Maas. Scenes were done all over New York City, including one at Joyce Kilmer Park in the Bronx.
Joaquin Phoenix took on the role of Arthur Fleck AKA the Joker in this origin movie about his rise to evil within Gotham City. And the scene that was done in the Bronx is not only memorable, but has also become a tourist hotspot. What has come to be known as the “Joker Stairs” is located at 1150 Anderson Avenue in the Bronx.
Summer of Sam (1999)
Named after the serial killer who was on the loose in 1977, this thriller was based on the story of the Son of Sam AKA David Berkowitz. The events occurred in the Bronx borough and filming was done in Manhattan, Queens, and in various areas of the Bronx, such as the Throggs Neck Country Club.
Based upon a 1973 memoir by Oliver Sacks, this drama starred Robin Williams as Dr. Malcolm Sayer, a neurologist who used the drug L-DOPA to wake patients who had been left in a catatonic state from encephalitis lethargica decades ago. The story took place in the Bronx with some filming locations on Gun Hill Road and City Island.
Within its 42 square miles of land exists an impressive 1.5 million people, which is why it ranks as number three in most densely-populated areas. And if it were a city, it would be the ninth largest in the United States. With so much to offer filmmakers, it’s no wonder that the Bronx is chosen time and time again for movies.
And if you think this is impressive, check out the other New York boroughs and New York State as a whole!