Top 20 Movies Shot in Central Park
Today, one of the most popular locations to shoot movies is Central Park in the heart of New York City. This scenic spot has been the venue for close to a hundred different movies since 1908, making it one of the most common settings for films in the entire United States. Wondering what famous films were shot in this glistening location? Read on through to find out the top 20 movies shot in Central Park.
Top 20 Central Park Movies
20. Maid in Manhattan (5 IMDb) – When a simple hotel maid finds herself in the posh serviced apartment of one of the hotel’s high-profile socialite guests, she just can’t help but try on a few of the expensive garments she finds in the closet. As fate would have it, a case of mistaken identity has her spending a romantic night with one of the political figures currently staying at the hotel as well. The two hit it off and come together to create a beautiful relationship despite being world’s apart. The film wouldn’t be complete without a Central Park scene, of course The Mall, where the two main characters sat on one of the benches.
19. Mr. Popper’s Penguins (6 IMDb) – This movie is one of the most interesting decisions comedian Jim Carrey ever decided to make, and though it wasn’t exactly a smashing success by any stretch of the imagination it has become a beloved family film that really features New York in a positive light. The plot is kind of crazy (Carrey’s character receives a penguin as part of his late father’s last wishes), and though the physical comedy is still there, Carrey kind of struggles with a performance that many consider “mailed in”. This picture was shot on Heckscher Softball Field and whole movie about iconic restaurant Tavern on The Green.
18. 13 Going on 30 (6.1 IMDb) – Bullied by her supposed friends, a young girl locks herself up in a storage cabinet and makes the wish of a lifetime. She opens her eyes and finds herself a top executive at a fashion magazine, skipping seventeen years of her life. The young lady’s wish to become a thriving 30 year old working woman came true, and now she needs to navigate the adult world of New York City with her young mind and 80’s mentality. Central Park makes numerous appearances throughout this Central Park movie and adds a touch of authenticity to the film. Jenna was eating ice cream by Conservatory Water.
17. 27 Dresses (6.2 IMDb) – There’s nothing more painful than hearing the words “Always the bridesmaid, never the bride”, but with a knack for putting others before herself, Jane is barely phased by constantly being a bridesmaid. The main character in this film has been the right hand for 27 different brides in her lifetime, and is now faced with the horrible question – when will it be her turn to walk down the aisle? She soon finds herself falling in love with one of the most unlikely men in her circle, and watches as her dreams finally come true. This movie was set and shot in New York City and uses The Bethesda Fountain and Boathouse restaurant as one of the main locations for the important events that happen in Jane’s life.
16. Spider-Man 3 (6.3 IMDb) – Among the most popular superhero movies to date is Spiderman. Staying true to the settings used in the comic book, movie makers decided to shoot the Spider-Man movies in New York locations. Spider-Man 3 was shot predominantly in New York with a vast number of the scenes featuring appearances on Bow Bridge. This managed to improve the authenticity of this Central Park movie, making viewers and audiences truly feel like Peter Parker was a true to life character.
15. Night at the Museum (6.4 IMDb) – What could be more interesting than a day trip to the museum? A night at the museum. When a first time museum security guard stays overnight at the Museum of Natural History, he soon discovers that those lifeless statues and displays aren’t all as lifeless as they seem when an ancient Egyptian curse is released. The models inside come to life and re-enact the time they were once alive, leaving the hapless security guard to restore the museum back to the way it was and resolve the curse. Couple scenes were shot by The Lake.
14. Big Daddy (6.5 IMDb) – Sonny Koufax (played by Adam Sandler) is a man that has spent his entire life doing everything in anything possible to duck and avoid responsibility at every turn. However, when he finds his life falling apart – his girlfriend leaves him for a much older man with a five-year plan – he decides to take advantage of a unique set of circumstances that have put him in charge of a five-year-old boy in order to impress her. Along the way Sonny learns what it is to be responsible, how to be a father, and how to make sure that every day is spent with those that you care most about. There is one particular scene by the Harlem Meer involving sticks and rollerblades that will have you don’t over in laughter! On this picture Sonny uses little Julian to score a date with Layla.
13. Friends with benefits (6.6 IMDb) – There’s just something about Central Park that makes it a perfect setting for many of the most romantic scenes in the history of cinematography, and this film (starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis) really takes advantage of all the romance that Central Park has to offer. Timberlake plays director from Los Angeles and a recent transplant to New York City, whereas Kunis plays the new friend and then shares allotted, and with Timberlake’s character – including the jaded view on relationships. Sparks fire, feelings get hurt, and in the end these to find out that love really does deserve a second chance. Dylan and Jamie decide to do the experiment in Central Park Mall.
12. Home Alone 2 (6.7 IMDb) – Easily one of the most iconic of all the Central Park movies, and certainly one of the most iconic American Christmas movies ever, this is a favorite for the entire family and likely always will be. Young Kevin McAllister has been left home alone once again, but this time he is in New York City over the holiday season and making the most of the opportunity. New York is prominently featured in this film, but the movie spends a lot of time in Central Park. This is where Kevin evades the “Sticky Bandits” on The Bethesda Fountain, this is where Kevin meets the “Bird Lady” by Gapstow Bridge steps away from The Plaza Hotel.
11. Serendipity (6.8 IMDb) – Another of those movies in Central Park that will tug at your heartstrings, serendipity showcases John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale as two star-crossed lovers that must confront the realities of destiny and the truth behind whether or not fate can really keep people together. Meeting in their early 20s but then split up for 10 years – and with 3000 miles between them – John tries to rekindle the love at first sight that he felt with Sarah, all the while showing her that destiny and fate are on their side. At the end of the film, Jonathan and Sara meet up on Wollman Ice Skating rink.
10. Elf (6.9 IMDb) – Another of those incredibly special Christmas movies that was an instant classic the moment that it was released, this is one of the best Central Park movies to ever be released – especially since so many of the most important scenes of the movie were shot directly in the park. Many scenes shot in Central Park, but the most famous episode where Buddy the Elf shows his snowball fighting skills to his brother Michael hiding behind the rock by Pinebank Arch.
9. Enchanted (7.1 IMDb) – Who doesn’t love a happy ending? Enchanted is one of many fairytale films that has captured the hearts of millions of audiences across the globe. What makes this particular Central Park movie an outstanding film is that it crosses the border between animation and live action, following the story of a princess who pops out of the fairytale realm and falls in love with a divorce attorney who lives in New York. Needless to say, the two hit it off and become the center of attention during one of the most memorable Central Park movies in history. The Bethesda Fountain, Bow Bridge, Columbus Circle, The Lake and many other Central Park’s spots were featured in this movie.
8. Wall Street (7.4 IMDb) – here’s something about working Wall Street that is seen as a lucrative and profitable endeavor. For a lot of people, those who hold positions in Wall Street are among the richest of the rich, and this movie just goes to prove that. This particular Central Park movie follows the story of a man who is consumed by greed after meeting success as a stock broker on Wall Street. The big question of loyalties comes into light later on, and the man soon finds himself having to confront a big decision – money or family. Final scene was shot on the Sheep Meadow and Tavern on The Green.
7. August Rush (7.5 IMDb) – Maybe a Central Park movie that really didn’t get the critical acclaim that it likely deserved, and a movie that perhaps didn’t live up to the lofty expectations that its truly special cast forced upon it, August Rush still features some of the most beautiful sweeping shots of Central Park we’ve ever seen. A young orphan runs away from his orphanage and begins to search the city for his birth parents. Along the way he encounters the Wizard (played by Robin Williams), and earns the nickname “August Rush”. Later on he finds that his parents have been searching for him just as hard as he was searching for them, and in a spirited climax it will be tough to find anyone that isn’t touched by the message this film portrays. August Rush and Wizard strolling next to Chess & Checkers House. Another episode in the movie when August Rush conduct the New York Philharmonic in Great Lawn.
6. When Harry Met Sally… (7.6 IMDb) – Easily one of the most famous and beloved romantic comedies in the history of cinema, this movie absolutely oozes New York culture and everything that it is to be a single 20/30 something in New York City. Harry and Sally start off the film by arguing about whether or not it’s possible for men and women to be platonic friends, and then 10 years later they find out just how challenging and this really is. Even though the deli scene is probably the most memorable in the movie (“I’ll have what she’s having”), there are plenty of scenes shot in Central Park that make this a pretty special Central Park movie. Boathouse restaurant, where Sally and her friends had a lunch. Another episode: Harry and Sally had a stroll in Central Park.
5. Kramer vs. Kramer (7.7 IMDb) – This Dustin Hoffman Central Park movie follows Manhattan advertising man Ted Kramer as he tries to pick up the pieces of his life after both winning the largest advertising account of his career and learning that his wife is going to leave him and they are young son – both of which happen on the exact same day! The single father loses his job but establishes a lasting and powerful relationship with his son, and meets the woman of his dreams (a fellow single parent) along the way. Kramer Sr. taught Kramer Jr. how to ride bicycle along The Mall.
4. Breakfast at Tiffany’s (7.8 IMDb) – This American classic Central Park movie follows the life of a woman named Holly Golightly, a character concocted by the famous novelist Truman Capote. The film is based on a 1958 book of the same title, and gives audiences a look into the experiences of a young woman who finds herself pining for much better things in the heart of New York City. Golightly wants to become a much more successful woman and strives to achieve her dream by battling it out and toughing up through the challenges of New York City. By the Bandshell, Paul learns about Holly’s past from Doc.
3. Ghostbusters (7.9 IMDb) – Who doesn’t remember this classic? Ghostbusters has been considered one of the best Central Park movies in the history of film because of its unique story and amazing cinematography and effects. Large chunks of the movie were shot in Central Park which has helped turn it into the film icon it is today. Ghostbusters follows the story of a group of ghost exterminators on a mission to save New York City from the onslaught of supernatural entities that threaten the lives of innocent civilians. The building that used in the movie is not exist. But building located behind Tavern on The Green has some similarities.
2. The Avengers (8.1 IMDb) – Probably one of the most popular super hero movies to date is The Avengers. This 2012 Central Park movie follows the story of a group of super heroes fighting to regain control over a powerful commodity that has fallen into the wrong hands. The Avengers have to race against time in order to defeat Loki and redeem the Tesseract, or otherwise watch the entire world crumble. As out of this world as the movie’s story might seem, a lot of the scenes were actually shot in New York City. As for Central Park, last episode was shot on the top of Bethesda Terrace.
1. Léon: The Professional (8.6 IMDb) – This is the Central Park movie that introduced the world to Natalie Portman and launched one of the most celebrated Hollywood careers of any actress in film history. Natalie plays Matilda, a 12-year-old girl that has experienced an incredible amount of pain and has seen the darkest parts of life while living as an orphan in New York City. Her family has been murdered by crooked DEA agents and she turns to her neighbor (a professional hitman) to exact revenge. This is an action-packed drama with family and fatherhood at its core. Léon taught Mathilda how to shot with a sniper rifle from rooftop of skyscraper by Columbus Circle.
If you would like to see all this movie spots and same time experience Central Park please check out our Central Park Film Sites Tour