Criterion Channel Launches Ultimate “63-Film Salute” To New York City

There is a constant complaint which gets lodged at Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max and the rest of the major streaming platforms—namely, that they don’t have enough of a wide-range of films made before, say, 1990. The dearth of “classic” films on streaming channels is a legitimate one: if you cobble together enough subscriptions, you could watch every Fast & Furious movie right now, but good luck trying to watch the Antoine Doinel films in between New Girl binges. However, thanks to the incomparable Criterion Channel, which is helping keep film history alive through its expansive collection of movies from around the world, you can indeed watch all the films in François Truffaut’s masterful lifecycle.

The channel is always producing great curated content for film fans, and this month they have a particularly special mix in mind: New York Stories, a “63-film salute to New York City” featuring movies by the likes of Spike Lee, Martin Scorsese, Chantal Akerman, Billy Wilder, Noah Baumbach, and so many more, ranging from films of the early 20th century (including Charlie Chaplin’s The Immigrant, from 1917) to more recent missives, like Baumbach’s ode to listless post-grads, Frances Ha (2012). There are also 22 short films, including early work from the likes of Scorsese, D. A. Pennebaker, and Josh & Bennie Safdie.

“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,” they write. “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.”

In addition, the channel has a cool feature that further breaks down the movies into various categories based on era, location and vibe, including “New York in the ’70s,” “Uptown and the Bronx,” “New York Romance” and “New York After Dark.”

Of course, nothing is perfect: there’s a distinct lack of female directors represented in the 63 feature films (there’s a much better ratio with the short films), there’s lots of classic NYC films that are likely not available for various rights reasons (a few that immediately come to mind: Sweet Smell Of Success, Taxi Driver, Rosemary’s Baby, The Warriors, Shaft, 25th Hour, The French Connection, Uncut Gems?!), three Baumbach films feels a bit excessive, and somehow, they left out Serendipity. But there’s also so much to recommend about a list like this, including some of the greatest, most-rewatchable movies ever made: The Apartment! Escape from New York! Moonstruck! West Side Story! After Hours! Do The Right Thing! Man Push Cart! And one of my personal favorite films of the last decade, Margaret!


 The Immigrant, Charles Chaplin, 1917

 The Crowd, King Vidor, 1928

 Speedy, Ted Wilde, 1928

 The Clock, Vincente Minnelli, 1945

 The Naked City, Jules Dassin, 1948

 Little Fugitive, Morris Engel, Ruth Orkin, and Raymond Abrashkin, 1953

 On the Bowery, Lionel Rogosin, 1956

 An Affair to Remember, Leo McCarey, 1957

 The Garment Jungle, Vincent Sherman, 1957

 Shadows, John Cassavetes, 1959

 The Apartment, Billy Wilder, 1960

 West Side Story, Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins, 1961

 The Incident, Larry Peerce, 1967

 The Queen, Frank Simon, 1968

 Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One, William Greaves, 1968

 Putney Swope, Robert Downey Sr., 1969

 The Angel Levine, Ján Kadár, 1970

 The Out-of-Towners, Arthur Hiller, 1970

 Born to Win, Ivan Passer, 1971

 Little Murders, Alan Arkin, 1971

 The Panic in Needle Park, Jerry Schatzberg, 1971

 Ciao! Manhattan, John Palmer, 1972

 Sisters, Brian De Palma, 1972

 Super Fly, Gordon Parks Jr., 1972

 The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, Joseph Sargent, 1974

 God Told Me To, Larry Cohen, 1976

 News from Home, Chantal Akerman, 1977

 Eyes of Laura Mars, Irvin Kershner, 1978

 Town Bloody Hall, D. A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus, 1979

 Permanent Vacation, Jim Jarmusch, 1980

 Escape from New York, John Carpenter, 1981*

 My Dinner with Andre, Louis Malle, 1981

 Stations of the Elevated, Manfred Kirchheimer, 1981

 Smithereens, Susan Seidelman, 1982

 Variety, Bette Gordon, 1983

 Los Sures, Diego Echeverria, 1984

 Old Enough, Marisa Silver, 1984

 Stranger Than Paradise, Jim Jarmusch, 1984

 After Hours, Martin Scorsese, 1985

 Five Corners, Tony Bill, 1987

 Moonstruck, Norman Jewison, 1987

 Do the Right Thing, Spike Lee, 1989

 Sidewalk Stories, Charles Lane, 1989

 The King of New York, Abel Ferrara, 1990

 Metropolitan, Whit Stillman, 1990

 Paris Is Burning, Jennie Livingston, 1990

 Just Another Girl on the I.R.T., Leslie Harris, 1992

 Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, Alan Rudolph, 1994

 Rhythm Thief, Matthew Harrison, 1994

 Smoke, Wayne Wang, 1995*

 The Daytrippers, Greg Mottola, 1996

 Mr. Jealousy, Noah Baumbach, 1997

 Dark Days, Marc Singer, 2000

 Downtown 81, Edo Bertoglio, 2000

 In the Cut, Jane Campion, 2003

 Brother to Brother, Rodney Evans, 2004

 Man Push Cart, Ramin Bahrani, 2005

 The Squid and the Whale, Noah Baumbach, 2005

 Chop Shop, Ramin Bahrani, 2007

 Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child, Tamra Davis, 2010

 Margaret, Kenneth Lonergan, 2011

 Frances Ha, Noah Baumbach, 2012

 The Hottest August, Brett Story, 2019

(*Available October 1)


• Bumping Into Broadway, Hal Roach, 1919

 Daybreak Express, D. A. Pennebaker, 1953

 Bridges-Go-Round 1, Shirley Clarke, 1958

 Bridges-Go-Round 2, Shirley Clarke, 1958

 Skyscraper, Shirley Clarke, 1959

 What’s a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This?, Martin Scorsese, 1963

 Surface Tension, Hollis Frampton, 1968

 Joyce at 34, Joyce Chopra, 1972

 Italianamerican, Martin Scorsese, 1974

 Clotheslines, Roberta Cantow, 1981

 So Far from India, Mira Nair, 1983

 The Bowery, Sara Driver, 1994

 11’09″01—September 11, Mira Nair, 2002

 How Can It Be, Mira Nair, 2008

 A Loft, Ken Jacobs, 2010

 John’s Gone, Josh Safdie and Benny Safdie, 2010

 Forever’s Gonna Start Tonight, Eliza Hittman, 2011

 The Black Balloon, Josh Safdie and Benny Safdie, 2012

 Me the Terrible, Josephine Decker, 2012

 A Guide to Breathing Underwater, Raven Jackson, 2018

 Hair Wolf, Mariama Diallo, 2018

 Fit Model, Myna Joseph, 2019