New York Stories

New York Stories

38 Episodes

From the fiscal crisis of the 1970s to the September 11 attacks twenty years ago to a global pandemic that swept through America’s largest city, New York has seen its share of troubles over the years—but its resilience and vibrancy remain indomitable. Surveying a century of cinematic history, this panoramic celebration of films set in the five boroughs captures the mix of grime, glamour, and anything-can-happen energy that has made the Big Apple an unforgettable canvas for generations of filmmakers. Swoon-inducing romance (THE CLOCK), street-level desperation (THE PANIC IN NEEDLE PARK), subway snafus (THE TAKING OF PELHAM ONE TWO THREE), creative cool (DOWNTOWN 81), racial tension (DO THE RIGHT THING), queer liberation (PARIS IS BURNING), criminal ambition (THE KING OF NEW YORK), immigrant struggle (MAN PUSH CART), and moral education (MARGARET)—these are just some of the eight million stories that make up life in the world’s most exciting city.

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New York Stories
  • 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...

  • Speedy

    Episode 2

    Directed by Ted Wilde • 1928 • United States
    Starring Harold Lloyd, Ann Christy, Bert Woodruff

    SPEEDY was the last silent feature to star Harold Lloyd—and one of his very best. The slapstick legend reprises his “Glasses Character,” this time as a good-natured but scatterbrained New Yorker who ca...

  • The Naked City

    Episode 3

    Directed by Jules Dassin • 1948 • United States
    Starring Barry Fitzgerald, Howard Duff, Dorothy Hart

    “There are eight million stories in the Naked City,” as the narrator immortally states at the close of this breathtakingly vivid film and this is one of them. Master noir craftsman Jules Dassin a...

  • Little Fugitive

    Episode 4

    Directed by Morris Engel, Ruth Orkin, and Raymond Abrashkin • 1953 • United States
    Starring Richie Andrusco, Richard Brewster, Winifred Cushing

    One of the most influential and enchanting films of the American independent cinema, this charming, stylistically innovative fable poetically captures t...

  • On the Bowery

    Episode 5

    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 6

    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...

  • Symbiopsychotaxiplasm Take One

    Episode 7

    Directed by William Greaves • 1968 • United States
    Starring William Greaves, Patricia Ree Gilbert, Don Fellows

    In his one-of-a-kind fiction/documentary hybrid SYMBIOPSYCHOTAXIPLASM TAKE ONE, director William Greaves presides over a beleaguered film crew in New York’s Central Park, leaving them t...

  • Putney Swope

    Episode 8

    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 French Connection

    Episode 9

    Directed by William Friedkin • 1971 • United States
    Starring Gene Hackman, Fernando Rey, Roy Scheider

    When NYPD detectives Popeye Doyle (Gene Hackman) and Buddy Russo (Roy Scheider) launch a deadly pursuit to bust up a narcotics smuggling ring, they uncover a plot that stretches all the way to F...

  • Ciao! Manhattan

    Episode 10

    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...

  • Sisters

    Episode 11

    Directed by Brian De Palma • 1973 • United States
    Starring Margot Kidder, Jennifer Salt, Charles Durning

    Margot Kidder is Danielle, a beautiful model separated from her Siamese twin, Dominique. When a hotshot reporter (Jennifer Salt) suspects Dominique of a brutal murder, she becomes dangerously...

  • God Told Me To

    Episode 12

    Directed by Larry Cohen • 1976 • United States
    Starring Tony Lo Bianco, Deborah Raffin, Sandy Dennis

    A rooftop sniper guns down fourteen pedestrians on the streets of New York City. A mild-mannered dad takes a shotgun and blows away his wife and children. A cop goes on a sudden shooting spree at...

  • News from Home

    Episode 13

    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...

  • Town Bloody Hall

    Episode 14

    Directed by Chris Hegedus • 1979 • United States
    Starring Norman Mailer, Germaine Greer, Jacqueline Ceballos

    On April 30, 1971, a standing-room-only crowd of New York’s intellectual elite packed the city’s Town Hall theater to see Norman Mailer—fresh from the controversy over his essay “The Pris...

  • Permanent Vacation

    Episode 15

    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...

  • My Dinner with André

    Episode 16

    Directed by Louis Malle • 1981 • United States
    Starring Wallace Shawn, André Gregory

    In this captivating and philosophical film directed by Louis Malle, actor and playwright Wallace Shawn sits down with his friend the theater director André Gregory at a restaurant on New York’s Upper West Side, ...

  • Stations of the Elevated

    Episode 17

    Directed by Manfred Kirchheimer • 1981 • United States

    Shot on lush 16 mm color reversal stock, Manfred Kirchheimer’s city symphony sets vivid images of graffiti-covered elevated subway trains crisscrossing 1970s New York to a commentary-free soundtrack that combines ambient city noise with jazz...

  • Escape from New York

    Episode 18

    Directed by John Carpenter • 1981 • United States
    Starring Kurt Russell, Lee Van Cleef, Isaac Hayes

    It’s the year 1997 and the dystopian hellscape of Manhattan has been turned into a maximum security prison. When the U.S. president’s plane is hijacked and crash lands on the island, it’s up to ha...

  • Smithereens

    Episode 19

    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)...

  • Variety

    Episode 20

    Directed by Bette Gordon • 1983 • United States
    Starring Sandy McLeod, Will Patton, Richard M. Davidson

    The provocative, sexually charged tale of a woman’s journey of self-discovery, Bette Gordon’s independent landmark offers a bold challenge to conventional notions of feminism and pornography. ...

  • Los Sures

    Episode 21

    Directed by Diego Echeverria • 1984 • United States

    Diego Echeverria’s vivid portrait of South Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in the early 1980s captures the challenges the neighborhood faced: poverty, drugs, gang violence, crime, abandoned real estate, racial tension, single-parent homes, and inadequa...

  • Old Enough

    Episode 22

    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...

  • Stranger Than Paradise

    Episode 23

    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...

  • Five Corners

    Episode 24

    Directed by Tony Bill • 1987 • United States

    Tony Bill's ensemble piece, featuring an extraordinary cast (Jodie Foster, John Turturro, Tim Robbins), is an urban romance set against the youthful idealism and the matter-of-fact violence of a working-class Bronx neighborhood in the early '60s. With...