Best Drama Movies Set In New York City


To make a great movie, the venue is as important as the storyline. The more original and lively the background is, the more attention it grabs. And what better place to use as a backdrop than the most popular city in the world? New York is considered to be one of the best cities in the world. From amazing skyscrapers to beautiful roads, it is home to a lot of spectacular places.

The colorful streets and the sky-high buildings give this city its signature modern look. All of this, not only attracts tourists from all over the world but also creates a beautiful background for the movies.

Although a lot of movies have been shot in the vicinity of this city, the drama action films catch our attention the most. It’s amazing how the filmmakers have utilized different places according to the requirement of the project. In the following drama movies, you can appreciate the creative use of the different aspects of New York City:

Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

The list of drama films is incomplete without mentioning the all-time famous Dog Day Afternoon starring Al Pacino. It is a story of a man who is struggling to collect money for the treatment of his lover.

At last, he tries to rob a bank in order to get the money, but it doesn’t go as planned. What will happen to him? To find the answer, you will have to watch this amazing film.

Wall Street (1987)

Made in the direction of Oliver Stone, this movie is all about revenge and moral values. A stockbroker, bud, starts working for his idol but then turns his back on him after realizing that he is not the kind of person that he imagined in the first place.

The movie is about the course of events that happen when Bud comes up with several strategies to bankrupt his evil idol, Gordon.

Network (1976)

This movie revolves around the life of a news reporter who is about to get retired. When he got to know this, he tried to shoot himself on live TV. And when it didn’t work out, he turned his regular modest show into a rather loud and whiny one.

Surprisingly, his changed behavior led to an increase in the ratings of the channel. Soon, his retirement gets canceled, and he is offered a new show that he leads in his new style.

The most famous New York locations shown in the movie include UBS Building at 1350 6th Avenue, Manhattan; 6th Avenue (between West 51st Street and West 52nd Street), Manhattan; Congregation Rodeph Sholom at 7 West 83rd Street, Manhattan; and The Sea Spray Inn near Ocean Avenue, East Hampton, New York.

Taxi Driver (1976)

The director, Martin Scorsese, has beautifully packed the elements of adventure, drama, and thrill in this amazing movie starring Robert De Niro. He is an ex-marine officer who drives a cab around the city of New York. But he cannot get rid of his patriotism. So, he started missions to clean the city out of corruption. Throughout the movie, he faces a lot of hurdles to get success.

Taxi Driver was released in 1976. However, it still manages to be one of the best drama movies that the American film industry ever produced.

Melinda and Melinda (2004)

Melinda and Melinda, written and directed by Woody Allen, is a perfect blend of comedy and drama. It revolves around the life of a girl, Melinda, after she crashed a party. The movie tells two versions of her story that are packed with moments of suspense and sudden laughter cracks. It was released in 2004 but is still considered to be one of the greatest drama movies of all time.

Some of the movie’s filming locations include Pastis at 9th Avenue and Little W. 12th Street (now closed); 87 Crosby St, SoHo; 131 Prince St, Soho, and Lennox Hill Hospital.

Fame (1980)

Directed by Kevin Tancharoen, this movie is packed with the elements of drama and fun. It is based on the theme of musicals. Hence, the songs that this movie featured are partially responsible for all the attention it grabbed.

The storyline of this film revolves around a bunch of students who use their music to get admission to the most prestigious school in New York. The struggles that they face and the hurdles they cross are portrayed amazingly in this movie.

Prince of the City

The combination of drama and crime in this movie is exemplary. It is about a corrupt officer who is asked to investigate to debunk bad cops of the New York Police Department (NYPD). He accepts the offer, but only with the condition that he will not betray his fellow officers. But as he continues to investigate, he faces challenges in keeping his promise. Will he turn his back on his friends? Watch the movie to find out.

Hustlers (2019)

Released in the year 2019, this movie is based on an article that was published in the New York magazine. It starred a few big names of the screen like Jennifer Lopez and Elaine Goldsmith.

It is a story of a bunch of strippers who are rendered jobless because of the profit-cutting of their club. The girls then come up with a scheme to steal from their regular rich customers.

With well-balanced drama and comedy, this movie definitely lightens its viewers’ mood.

King of New York (1990)

King of New York is a drama-thriller film based on the story of an ex-convict who tries to make amends in order to satisfy his conscience. He decides to share his money with the poor of the city. But, no matter how hard he works, he cannot fit into the streets he used to rule once.

A little fun-fact about this film: the scenes of the Plaza Hotel are produced by Donald Trump. That too, on the condition that Christopher Walken would take a picture with Ivana Trump, who is supposedly a big fan of the actor.

All that Jazz (1979)

Drug addict, Joe Gideon, is living his ideal life by working for a musical program as a theater director and choreographer. But his life takes a 180 degree turn when he gets a heart attack because of drug abuse and excessive sex.

The movie then follows his story of recovery. But, will he be able to get back on his feet? Find out by watching this amazing drama.

Kids (1995)

This one is a dramatic coming-of-age piece by Larry Clark, starring Leo Fitzpatrick as the main character. The movie is about the teen life of a boy named Telly (played by Leo), who tests positive for HIV.

He made a pact with himself to sleep with as many virgin girls as possible. That too, without telling them about his medical condition. But, one of his victims, Jennie, made her goal to protect other girls from this maniac.

Will Jennie get successful? Watch and find out!

Serpico (1973)

Based on the real events, this is an action-packed crime drama movie of one and only, Al Pacino. It is a story of a cop who is extremely against the system of corruption. He is unlike all his fellow cops and refuses to be a part of any kind of crooked activity.

The movie follows his life journey as he starts a case against the foul activity of the police department. Even though he manages to get the investigation started, he becomes a target of his superiors.

The film was shot in four of the five boroughs of New York City, and a total of 104 locations were used. Discover more of New York’s Artistic films and plays. 

The Goldfinch (2019)

Inspired by the famous 2013 novel of the same name, The Goldfinch is an American drama film that was released in the year 2019. Made by the director John Crawley, this movie does not disappoint its viewers. It is based on the life story of a young boy, whose mother died in the horrible bombing of the Metropolitan Museum of New York. It is all about how he copes with the trauma as he comes up with different ways to get rid of his depression.

The filming began in New York City in 2018 but later moved to Albuquerque for the rest of production in April 2018.

The Pretenders (2018)

Released in 2019 in the U.S by Cleopatra Entertainment, this dramatic film is directed by James Franco. It is based on the story of two best friends. It features a unique love triangle when the two friends fall in love with a beautiful yet very mysterious actress. What will happen when both of them tries to win her? Watch and find out.

Killerman (2019)

Killerman is a wonderful drama thriller written and directed by Malik Bader. It follows the adventure of a money launderer, Moe, who lives in New York City. One day, he wakes up with no memory of his past that leaves him confused.

Now, he has to find out the answers about his life before the cops catch him.

The Sound of Silence (2019)

Directed by the expert of drama movies, Michael Tyburski, this masterpiece was released in the year 2019. The storyline follows the life of a house tuner that adjusts the sound systems of people’s homes.

He is a master of tunes and sets the sound of every house according to the mood and living styles of the owner. His goal is to bring happiness and calmness in the life of his clients through his talent.

But he faces a challenge when he comes across a client whose mood he cannot change.

After the Wedding (2019)

After the Wedding, directed by Bart Freundlich, is a well-balanced combination of mystery and drama. The focus of the movie is on how the co-owner of an orphanage in South India, ends up in New York City. She came to collect funds for her program. However, instead of getting the funds, she has to deal with a lot of drama as she tries to arrange the charity from the family of her ex. Will she be successful, or her efforts of flying across the other corner of the world go in vain? Find out!


If you are a fan of the drama genre and want to see some of the best dramatic movies filmed in New York City, you will love watching all these flicks.

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