Downtown

Downtown

21 Episodes

Selected from our New York Stories series.

From tenement housing to artists’ lofts, lower Manhattan has long been a crucible for New York’s sense of identity.

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Downtown
  • The Immigrant

    Episode 1

    Directed by Charles Chaplin • 1917 • United States

    AU REVOIR LES ENFANTS features a screening of Charlie Chaplin’s 1917 film THE IMMIGRANT, which features Chaplin’s Little Tramp as an immigrant sailing for the United States. Director Louis Malle chose this film because “it was an evocation of fr...

  • On the Bowery

    Episode 2

    Directed by Lionel Rogosin • 1956 • United States
    Starring Ray Salyer, Gorman Hendricks, Frank Matthews

    Lionel Rogosin’s landmark of American neorealism chronicles three days in the drinking life of Ray Salyer, a part-time railroad worker adrift on New York’s skid row, the Bowery. When the film ...

  • Shadows

    Episode 3

    Directed by John Cassavetes • 1959 • United States
    Starring Lelia Goldoni, Anthony Ray, Hugh Hurd

    John Cassavetes’s directorial debut revolves around a romance in New York City between Lelia (Lelia Goldoni), a light- skinned black woman, and Tony (Anthony Ray), a white man. The relationship is p...

  • Putney Swope

    Episode 4

    Directed by Robert Downey Sr. • 1969 • United States
    Starring Arnold Johnson, Laura Greene, Buddy Butler

    The most popular film by Robert Downey Sr. is this offbeat classic about the antics that ensue after Putney Swope (Arnold Johnson, his voice dubbed by a gravelly Downey), the token black man ...

  • The Angel Levine

    Episode 5

    Directed by Ján Kadár • 1970 • United States
    Starring Zero Mostel, Harry Belafonte, Ida Kaminska

    Ján Kadár, codirector of the Oscar-winning Czechoslovak New Wave touchstone THE SHOP ON MAIN STREET, made his Hollywood debut with this unique, long-overlooked adaptation of a Bernard Malamud story, ...

  • Ciao! Manhattan

    Episode 6

    Directed by John Palmer and David Weisman • 1972 • United States
    Starring Edie Sedgwick, Wesley Hayes, Isabel Jewell

    Warhol superstar and icon of sixties bohemia Edie Sedgwick delivers her final performance in this semiautobiographical look at the price of fame. Fiction and documentary—including...

  • The Taking of Pelham One Two Three

    Episode 7

    Directed by Joseph Sargent • 1974 • United States
    Starring Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw, Martin Balsam

    One of the definitive cinematic time capsules of New York in the good-bad old days of the 1970s, this crackling urban-jungle thriller begins when a quartet of gunmen in trench coats—led by the c...

  • News from Home

    Episode 8

    Directed by Chantal Akerman • 1976 • United States

    Letters from Chantal Akerman's mother are read over a series of elegantly composed shots of 1976 New York, where our (unseen) filmmaker and protagonist has relocated. Akerman's unforgettable time capsule of the city is also a gorgeous meditati...

  • Permanent Vacation

    Episode 9

    Directed by Jim Jarmusch • 1980 • United States
    Starring Chris Parker, Sara Driver, John Lurie

    Jim Jarmusch’s first feature displays the first hints of the deadpan, minimalist-cool style that he would refine in his breakthrough STRANGER THAN PARADISE. Young, alienated hipster Aloysius Christophe...

  • Smithereens

    Episode 10

    Directed by Susan Seidelman • 1982 • United States

    Susan Seidelman established her distinctive vision of New York City with this debut feature, the lo-fi original for her vibrant portraits of women reinventing themselves. After escaping New Jersey, the quintessentially punk Wren (Susan Berman)...

  • Stranger Than Paradise

    Episode 11

    Directed by Jim Jarmusch • 1984 • United States, Germany
    Starring John Lurie, Richard Edson, Eszter Balint

    With this breakout film, Jim Jarmusch established himself as one of the most exciting voices in the burgeoning independent-film scene, a road-movie poet with an affinity for Americana at it...

  • Old Enough

    Episode 12

    Directed by Marisa Silver • 1984 • United States
    Starring Sarah Boyd, Rainbow Harvest, Neill Barry

    Director Marisa Silver received the 1984 Sundance Grand Jury Prize for this strikingly sensitive and naturalistic look at female coming of age across socioeconomic lines. Set on Manhattan’s Lower E...

  • After Hours

    Episode 13

    Directed by Martin Scorsese • 1985 • United States
    Starring Griffin Dunne, Rosanna Arquette, Verna Bloom

    When an uptown New Yorker meets a downtown girl, he’s inadvertently drawn into a vortex of unhinged, malevolent, and paranoid misadventures in Martin Scorsese’s black-comic wild ride. Paul Ha...

  • Sidewalk Stories

    Episode 14

    Directed by Charles Lane • 1989 • United States
    Starring Charles Lane, Nicole Alysia, Tom Alpern

    An unsung miracle of American independent filmmaking, SIDEWALK STORIES reworks Charlie Chaplin’s slapstick classic THE KID for 1980s New York. Writer-director Charles Lane casts himself as a modern-d...

  • King of New York

    Episode 15

    Directed by Abel Ferrara • 1990 • United States
    Starring Christopher Walken, Laurence Fishburne, David Caruso

    Renegade director Abel Ferrara—working in collaboration with his regular screenwriter Nicholas St. John—brings his murky moral worldview and eye for pulp imagery to this kinetic, stylish...

  • Rhythm Thief

    Episode 16

    Directed by Matthew Harrison • 1994 • United States
    Starring Jason Andrews, Eddie Daniels, Kevin Corrigan

    Shot guerrilla-style in a whirlwind eleven days for just $11,000, Matthew Harrison’s edgy, invigorating indie follows Simon (Jason Andrews), a small-time hustler who ekes out a living sellin...

  • The Daytrippers

    Episode 17

    Directed by Greg Mottola • 1996 • United States
    Starring Parker Posey, Hope Davis, Liev Schreiber

    With its droll humor and bittersweet emotional heft, the feature debut of writer-director Greg Mottola announced the arrival of an unassumingly sharp-witted new talent on the 1990s indie film scene....

  • Downtown 81

    Episode 18

    Directed by Edo Bertoglio • 2000 • United States
    Starring Jean Michel Basquiat, Anna Schroeder, Giorgio Gomelsky

    In 1981, writer and Warhol associate Glenn O’Brien, Swiss photographer Edo Bertoglio, and Jean-Michel Basquiat, a graffiti innovator and noise-music artist who’d just begun to exhibit...

  • In the Cut

    Episode 19

    Directed by Jane Campion • 2003 • United States, United Kingdom
    Starring Meg Ryan, Mark Ruffalo, Jennifer Jason Leigh

    Directed by Academy Award nominee Jane Campion from the best-selling book by Susanna Moore, IN THE CUT stars Meg Ryan as Frannie Avery, a romance-wary creative-writing teacher wh...

  • Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child

    Episode 20

    Directed by Tamra Davis • 2010 • United States

    The brief but bright-burning life of influential artist Jean-Michel Basquiat is vividly recounted in this illuminating documentary directed by the superstar painter’s friend Tamra Davis. Set against the vibrant creative backdrop of New York City in ...

  • Frances Ha

    Episode 21

    Directed by Noah Baumbach • 2013 • United States
    Starring Greta Gerwig, Mickey Sumner

    Greta Gerwig is radiant as Frances, a woman in her late twenties in contemporary New York trying to sort out her ambitions, her finances, and, above all, her intimate but shifting bond with her best friend, Sop...