NEW JERSEY - Fall in love with the Eiffel Tower in the background. Stroll through the streets of London on a quest to solve a Sherlock Holmes inspired mystery. Enjoy a budding romance set against the backdrop of the city that never sleeps. Sure, there are plenty of exotic locations to film a movie. Whether it is the rolling green hills of Ireland or Australia’s Outback, filming a movie is like buying a house. It’s all about the location, location, location.
So, who would have thought New Jersey is a hot spot for some of Hollywood’s greatest flicks. It’s true. The Garden State was the stunning background for many of Hollywood’s classics. If you don’t have weekend plans, check out these films, revisit them or better yet take a stroll around the actual downtowns.
“When Harry Met Sally”
Rob Reiner’s mom made the line “I’ll have what she’s having” famous. This funny love story starring Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan is a timeless film that was a huge box office hit. Yes, Harry and Sally meet and eventually fall in love in the Big Apple. Yet, the movie was actually filmed in picturesque East Rutherford.
He was already on the map, but the 1988 blockbuster “Big” really made Tom Hanks a household name. This sweet movie about a young teen that wishes he was big made true the age old expression “be careful what you wish for.” “Big” was another movie that was made for Manhattan, but filmed in Jersey’s Cliffside Park and Fort Lee.
“Friday the 13th”
What would the most cursed day on the calendar be without a string of movies and a television series devoted to it? The original “Friday the 13th” remains a cult classic and not because Kevin Bacon was in the 80s flick. “Friday the 13th” may be set at Camp Crystal Lake, but it was filmed in Blairstown, Freehold, Harwick and Hope, New Jersey.
“The Amityville Horror”
Don’t you ever wonder why the innocent family moves into the cursed house in the first place? Why would a family intentionally move into a home where only a year before six people were murdered? Well, back in 1975, the Lutz family did just that. They moved into a gorgeous home in Amityville, New York. It didn’t take long for strange things to begin to happen even after a local priest performed an exorcism just to be on the safe side. The book about the family’s experiences was released in 1974. It was a huge hit as was the horror movie by the same name that came out in 1979. The homeowner’s worst nightmare was filmed in Point Pleasant, Toms River and Scotch Plains.
The version of the Broadway musical blockbuster “Annie” made in the 80s starring Aileen Quinn as the cheeky red-headed orphan and Carol Burnett as the evil Miss Hannigan was filmed on the campus of Monmouth University in West Long Branch and Newark.
The crime thriller featuring heartthrobs George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon had Clooney’s character being paroled from a Garden State prison shortly before plotting his next big heist. This hit was filmed in Rahway and Atlantic City.
If You Love Wise Guys…
Considering New Jersey’s long, checkered history with wise guys or members of the mafia, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that a number of movies about the mafia were filmed in the Garden State. Of course, the HBO hit television series “The Sopranos” took place and was filmed in NJ, but there were other cinema greats that were actually filmed there as well.
If you’re in the mood to binge watch, check out:
- “Goodfellas” filmed in Marlboro, Fort Lee and Palisades Parkway
- “Godfather III” filmed in Atlantic City
- “American Gangster” in Morristown