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The Best Drama Movies Set in New York 

Ranker Film
Updated November 5, 2019 139 votes 16 voters 27 items

List Rules The drama movie must be primarily set in New York.

The best drama movies set in New York capture the vitality of the Big Apple. There are approximately 8.6 million people living in the city, and there are at least as many compelling stories to be told onscreen. Some of the drama films taking place in New York are based on true events. Others are fiction but make use of the city's most notable areas, showing life on Broadway and Wall Street. Such locales provide plenty of opportunity to create compelling stories that move audiences.

You get to vote on drama movies based in New York. Vote up the ones that made the biggest impression on you. Add any specific titles that aren't already here, then check back to see how other users are ranking your suggestions. 

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list ordered by
1
Taxi Driver is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in New York
Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Martin Scorsese

Released: 1976

Directed by: Martin Scorsese

Taxi Driver is a 1976 American neo-noir psychological thriller film directed by Martin Scorsese and written by Paul Schrader. Set in New York City soon after the end of the Vietnam War, the film ...more
2
Do the Right Thing is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in New York
Samuel L. Jackson, Martin Lawrence, Spike Lee

Released: 1989

Directed by: Spike Lee

Do the Right Thing is a 1989 American comedy-drama hood film produced, written, and directed by Spike Lee, who also played the part of Mookie in the film. Other members of the cast include Danny ...more
3
Dog Day Afternoon is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in New York
Al Pacino, Carol Kane, Charles Durning

Released: 1975

Directed by: Sidney Lumet

Dog Day Afternoon is a 1975 American drama film directed by Sidney Lumet, written by Frank Pierson, and produced by Martin Bregman and Martin Elfand. The film stars Al Pacino, John Cazale, ...more
4
Midnight Cowboy is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in New York
Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight, Bob Balaban

Released: 1969

Directed by: John Schlesinger

Midnight Cowboy is a 1969 American drama film based on the 1965 novel of the same name by James Leo Herlihy. The script was written by Waldo Salt, directed by John Schlesinger, and stars Jon ...more
5
The Godfather is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in New York
Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall

Released: 1972

Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola

The Godfather is a 1972 American crime film directed by Francis Ford Coppola, based on the novel by Mario Puzo. The aging patriarch (Marlon Brando) of an organized crime dynasty transfers ...more
6
The Wolf of Wall Street ... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in New York
Leonardo DiCaprio, Matthew McConaughey, Margot Robbie

Released: 2013

Directed by: Martin Scorsese

The Wolf of Wall Street is a 2013 American biographical black comedy film directed by Martin Scorsese. The screenplay by Terence Winter is adapted from the eponymous memoir by Jordan Belfort and ...more
7
Saturday Night Fever is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in New York
John Travolta, Fran Drescher, Denny Dillon

Released: 1977

Directed by: John Badham

Saturday Night Fever is a 1977 American drama film directed by John Badham. It stars John Travolta as Tony Manero, a working-class young man who spends his weekends dancing and drinking at a ...more
8
Wall Street is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in New York
Charlie Sheen, Michael Douglas, Martin Sheen

Released: 1987

Directed by: Oliver Stone

Wall Street is a 1987 American drama film, directed and co-written by Oliver Stone, which stars Michael Douglas, Charlie Sheen, Daryl Hannah and Martin Sheen. The film tells the story of Bud ...more
9
All That Jazz is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in New York
Jessica Lange, John Lithgow, Roy Scheider

Released: 1979

Directed by: Bob Fosse

All That Jazz is a 1979 American musical film directed by Bob Fosse. The screenplay by Robert Alan Aurthur and Fosse is a semi-autobiographical fantasy based on aspects of Fosse's life and ...more
10
Fame is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in New York
Debbie Allen, Irene Cara, Meg Tilly

Released: 1980

Directed by: Alan Parker

Fame is a 1980 American musical film conceived and produced by David De Silva and directed by Alan Parker. Its screenplay is by Christopher Gore, its choreography by Louis Falco and musical ...more
11
Network is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in New York
Robert Duvall, Faye Dunaway, William Holden

Released: 1976

Directed by: Sidney Lumet

Network is a 1976 American satirical film written by Paddy Chayefsky and directed by Sidney Lumet, about a fictional television network, UBS, and its struggle with poor ratings. The film stars ...more
12
25th Hour is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in New York
Edward Norton, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Barry Pepper

Released: 2002

Directed by: Spike Lee

25th Hour is a 2002 American drama film directed by Spike Lee, based on the novel by David Benioff. Cornered by the DEA, convicted New York drug dealer Montgomery Brogan (Edward Norton) ...more
13
Carlito's Way is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in New York
Al Pacino, Sean Penn, Viggo Mortensen

Released: 1993

Directed by: Brian De Palma

Carlito's Way is a 1993 American drama film directed by Brian De Palma, based on the novels Carlito's Way and After Hours by Judge Edwin Torres. The film adaptation was scripted by David Koepp. ...more
14
Kids is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in New York
Rosario Dawson, Chloë Sevigny, Harmony Korine

Released: 1995

Directed by: Larry Clark

Kids is a 1995 American drama film written by Harmony Korine and directed by Larry Clark. It features Chloë Sevigny, Leo Fitzpatrick, Justin Pierce, and Rosario Dawson, all in their film ...more
15
King of New York is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in New York
Christopher Walken, Steve Buscemi, Laurence Fishburne

Released: 1990

Directed by: Abel Ferrara

King of New York is a 1990 thriller film, starring Christopher Walken, Laurence Fishburne, David Caruso, Wesley Snipes, Victor Argo, Giancarlo Esposito, and Steve Buscemi. It was directed by ...more
16
Man Push Cart is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in New York
Leticia Dolera, Ali Farahnakian, Charles Daniel Sandoval

Released: 2005

Directed by: Ramin Bahrani

Man Push Cart is a 2005 American independent film by Ramin Bahrani that tells the story of a former Pakistani rock star who sells coffee and bagels from his pushcart on the streets of
17
Melinda and Melinda is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in New York
Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Amanda Peet

Released: 2005

Directed by: Woody Allen

Melinda and Melinda is a 2004 comedy-drama film written and directed by Woody Allen. It was premiered at the San Sebastian International Film Festival. The film is set in Manhattan and stars ...more
18
Prince of the City is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in New York
Jerry Orbach, Bob Balaban, Lance Henriksen

Released: 1981

Directed by: Sidney Lumet

Prince of the City is an American crime drama film about an NYPD officer who chooses to expose police corruption for idealistic reasons. The character of Daniel Ciello was based on real-life ...more
19
Requiem for a Dream is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in New York
Jennifer Connelly, Jared Leto, Ellen Burstyn

Released: 2000

Directed by: Darren Aronofsky

Requiem for a Dream is a 2000 American psychological drama film directed by Darren Aronofsky and starring Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, and Marlon Wayans. The film is based on ...more
20
Serpico is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in New York
Al Pacino, Judd Hirsch, Abraham Murphy

Released: 1973

Directed by: Sidney Lumet

Serpico is a 1973 American drama film directed by Sidney Lumet and starring Al Pacino. Waldo Salt and Norman Wexler wrote the screenplay, adapting Peter Maas's biography of NYPD officer Frank ...more
21
The Naked City is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in New York
Barry Fitzgerald, Howard Duff, Don Taylor

Released: 1948

Directed by: Jules Dassin

The Naked City is a black-and-white film noir directed by Jules Dassin. Based on a story by Malvin Wald, the film depicts the police investigation that follows the murder of a young model. A ...more
22
Hustlers is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in New York
Constance Wu, Jennifer Lopez, Cardi B

Released: 2019

Directed by: Lorene Scafaria

Hustlers is a 2019 American comedy-drama film directed by Lorene Scafaria, based on New York magazine's 2015 article "The Hustlers at Scores" by Jessica Pressler. A crew of savvy ...more
23
After The Wedding is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in New York
Michelle Williams, Julianne Moore, Billy Crudup

Released: 2019

Directed by: Bart Freundlich

After the Wedding is a 2019 drama film directed by Bart Freundlich, and a remake of the 2006 film by Susanne Bier. Isabel (Michelle Williams), a co-founder of an orphanage in Kolkata travels to ...more
24
The Goldfinch is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in New York
Ansel Elgort, Nicole Kidman, Aneurin Barnard

Released: 2019

Directed by: John Crowley

The Goldfinch is a 2019 American drama film directed by John Crowley, based on the novel by Donna Tartt. After surviving a terrorist bombing that killed his mother, Theodore Decker (Ansel ...more
25
The Pretenders is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in New York
Jack Kilmer, Jane Levy, Shameik Moore

Released: 2019

Directed by: James Franco

The Pretenders is a 2018 American drama film directed by James Franco.