Popular Movies With Scenes Filmed in Jersey City

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At one point in New Jersey history, the state was considered the film capital of the world. In West Orange, NJ in 1889, Thomas Edison invented the world’s the first movie camera {the kinetoscope}. Later, in 1883, he built the world’s first movie studio, a single room photographic shack that was covered in dark paper, that’s widely referred to as “America’s First Film Studio”.

When Thomas Edison bought the patents related to his movie-making inventions, he created the “Edison Trust” company and ultimately took control of the film industry and kept it in New Jersey. Fast forward to today, and hundreds of movies have been shot around the state, in Hudson County and in Jersey City specifically, with two state-of-the-art film studios undergoing development being developed currently. Read on to learn which movies had scenes filmed in Jersey City.

popular movies filmed jersey city

The Joker {2019}

the joker

{Photo credit: VisitHudson.org}

The Joker tells the story of a man named Arthur Fleck and his descent into madness/transformation into a criminal mastermind, who Batman must battle to save the city of Gotham. The famous movie featuring Joaquim Phoenix filmed not one, but a few scenes in Jersey City at both the Landmark Loew’s Theatre and William H. Brennan Hall. Actors dressed as clowns were seen walking down Newark Avenue alongside prop police cars to shoot a scene in front of the County Courthouse. According to NJ.com, The Joker was the largest production ever to be filmed in Jersey City.

Annie {2014} 

Annie, which was originally cast and filmed in 1984, was reimagined in 2014 and featured an impressive list of actors including Jamie Foxx, Rose Byrne, and Bobby Cannavale. If you’ve not seen it, the movie follows the hard-knock life of a little girl living in foster care and is a mix of both heart-warming, entertaining, and comedic. While much of this version of Annie was filmed in New York City, multiple scenes were filmed in downtown Jersey City, on the waterfront, and Liberty State Park.

Read More: On the Waterfront: A History of the Iconic Movie Made in Hoboken

A Beautiful Mind {2001}

A Beautiful Mind, featuring Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly, highlights the life of John Forbes Nash Jr., an esteemed American mathematician who made major contributions to game theory and varying analytical studies. In the movie, the home of John and Alicia Nash is said to be in Princeton, NJ but was actually filmed at a brownstone in the Paulus Hook neighborhood of Jersey City. 

Coneheads {1993}

When an alien family of Coneheads {yes, Coneheads} first arrives on planet Earth at the beginning of this movie, they emerge from the water onto land at Exchange Place in Jersey City. As you might imagine, it was quite a commute from their home planet.

Godzilla {1998}

The 23rd film in the Godzilla franchise is the first with a scene shot in Jersey City. When Godzilla is destroying NYC, the movie shows a military headquarters which is set up across the river in Jersey City, more specifically near Essex Street and Hudson Street in the Paulus Hook area.

Men in Black {1997}

Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones are a well-known movie duo who star as alien investigators in multiple Men in Black movies. In the original Men In Black, there is a scene in which Will Smith’s character helps an alien squid birth a baby in a car that {you guessed it}  is parked in Jersey City. More specifically, the scene takes place at Liberty State Park. 

See More: Historical Walking Tour: A Guide to Journal Square in Jersey City

A Bronx Tale {1993}

This film, featuring Robert DeNiro, is as Italian as it gets. And, since gangster movies are also a New Jersey staple, chances are you’ve seen A Bronx Tale once, twice a dozen times. The scene that takes place at a boxing match is shot at The Armory in Jersey City, near McGinley Square.

The Godfather {1972}

A Bronx Tale wasn’t the first gangster film to be shot in Jersey City. Released in 1972, The Godfather follows the story of the Corleone family and their effort to leave the mob. In one of the most well-regarded scenes, when Peter Clemenza kills Paulie Gatto, the deed happens in Liberty State Park. Fun Fact: the park didn’t officially open until 1976. Before its restoration and opening, it was grassy, marshy land. 

With the upcoming addition of two new film studios in Jersey City, the number of movies filmed in this city will skyrocket. It will be interesting to see how many films leverage the beautiful, surrounding area outside the studio{s}, too. Keep an eye out in 2030, there could be a lot more of Liberty State Park on the big screen!

Any favorites that we missed? Comment below and let us know!

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Nicole is a born and bred Jersey girl. Originally from Bergen County, she's called Jersey City home since 2016. After years of working in NYC at marketing agencies for big brands, her entrepreneurial spirit led her to turn her side hustle {supporting local businesses as a writer and social media strategist} into her day job. An all-around champion for small businesses, Nicole loves to shop, eat, drink, and share all things local to New Jersey on her Instagram page, @heynicoleraye. When she isn't curating content or networking, she can be found exploring NJ neighborhoods with her college sweetheart, whipping up a home-cooked meal, planning a get-together for her friends, redecorating her apartment, rooting for her favorite teams (go NJ Devils!), or plotting her next adventure.