New Jersey is home to some of the top movies of all time
I’m amazed at the number of top movies that have used New Jersey as a backdrop for scenes in their films. Many are award-winning and or box office hits.
So here are a handful of top movies where New Jersey was significantly showcased in the film:
On the Waterfront:
This is one of the classic movies of all time. The movie starred screen heavyweights Marlon Brando who won an Academy Award for Best Actor, Rod Stieger, Lee J Cobb, Karl Malden, and Eva Marie Saint.
Most of the movie was filmed in Hoboken. The docks, workers' houses, rooftops, and alleys were a big part of that movie. Two of Hoboken’s iconic churches were also used; Our Lady of Grace and Church of St. Peter and St. Paul had significant footage in the movie. The movie won Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Director(Elia Kazan).
Friday the 13th:
The original 1980 slasher movie was recently voted one of the top horror films of all time. The movie was filmed entirely in New Jersey. Camp Nobebosco, a Boy Scout Camp in Hardwick, NJ served as the backdrop. Kevin Bacon was in the film that had a $550,000 production budget and raised over $60,000,000 at the box office. Keep in mind that was 42 years ago.
The 2001 heist movie starring George Clooney Bernie Mac, Julia Roberts, and Brad Pitt takes place in “Las Vegas”. The plot says Las Vegas but the shoot happened in New Jersey in Atlantic City. They also used Jersey State Prison in Rahway for a couple of shots. The big-budget movie cost $85,000,000 to make and brought in a very respectable $450,000,000. They also had the top box office draw on opening weekend.
A Beautiful Mind:
Russell Crowe starred in this biographical movie about mathematician John Nash. The film won an Academy Award for Best Picture. The picture was filmed mostly in New Jersey including extensive shots at Princeton University, in Belleville, East Orange, Bayonne, and at Farleigh Dickinson University in Madison, New Jersey. The film was produced and directed by Ron Howard, who won an Academy Award for Best Director. Jennifer Connelly won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
This 1990 classic mob movie directed by Martin Scorsese had quite a few New Jersey scenes in the movie including Henry Hill’s (played by Ray Liotta, a Jersey guy) home at Inwood Terrace in Fort Lee. There were also shots of the Palisades Parkway. Joe Pesci, a Jersey guy, received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. The film was
nominated for best picture in both the Academy Awards and Golden Globes.
This 1982 musical comedy-drama was the original first movie in the Annie series. The Film starred Albert Finney, Carol Burnett, and Bernadette Peters; it was directed by the legend John Huston.
Primary filming and photography were taken at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, NJ where two buildings were used as mansions for the movie. There was an abandoned railroad bridge over the Passaic River in Newark that also served as a location shot.
War of the Worlds:
In the 2005 version of this classic, Tom Cruise is bobbing around several New Jersey locations including Ferry Street in Newark, and JFK Boulevard in Bayonne with shots in Howell and Elizabeth.
There are so many other pictures and documentaries that filmmakers use New Jersey as the canvas to tell their stories. These are just a few of the big-name movies that you’ll recognize. The next time you’re eating your popcorn take a hard look, you may recognize a New Jersey location.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Big Joe Henry. Any opinions expressed are Big Joe’s own.