The 10 Best Romantic Movies Set In New York City

February 12, 2016

Love is in the air once again, and is there any city more romantic than NYC?

Okay, maybe Paris. But few cities have such a deep cinematic history and air of romanticism as the Big Apple, and as such we’re going to dive headlong into that loving feeling with a few NYC-based love flicks.

Buckle up, hopeless romantics, and brace yourself for a lot of 90s goodness and a heavy dose of Tom Hanks as we cry our way through…

10 Best Romantic Movies Set in New York City


Love sculpture in NYC

From the weepies to the films that’ll make even the coldest heart swell with joy, here’s our rundown of the ten finest New York romance movies ever committed to film (along with their Rotten Tomatoes scores in parentheses).

Know of any that deserved to be included here? Be sure to drop your favorites in the comments below!

10. You’ve Got Mail (69%)

Bizarrely (yet enjoyably) anachronistic to modern viewers who remember it from the first time round, and probably baffling to anyone born this side of the early 90s, You’ve Got Mail was the third and final pairing of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in leading roles (and the second one in which they fell in love in New York) before the 90s collectively decided to leave them to their happy ever after.

9. Sleepless in Seattle (72%)

Don’t let the name fool you. Sleepless in Seattle features a healthy dose of New York City in all its 90s romantic glory, performing slightly better critically (if not commercially) than the aforementioned You’ve Got Mail which followed five years later.

It has also aged a lot better, too, so this is definitely one to dust off for Valentine’s Day in 2016.

8. Breakfast at Tiffany’s (88%)

Audrey Hepburn’s scene-stealing performance is matched only by the movie’s overall charm, and you’d have to be a robot not to succumb to its sophisticated tenderness.

As an aside, Hepburn ranked the job of playing Holly Golightly as the hardest of her career. We’ll leave you to decide how well she did (Clue: very well).

7. Blue Valentine (88%)

From one of the most-loved romantic movies to one of the most under-watched on this list, Blue Valentine grabs you from the off and doesn’t relent until the closing credits.

An exceptionally deep and powerful early performance by both Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams as their characters traverse a marriage on the rocks, although for that reason it isn’t the most lighthearted of romance movies to watch on Valentine’s Day (unless you’re in a particularly melancholic mood; and if so, all power to you).

6. When Harry Met Sally… (89%)

We meet again, Ms. Ryan (albeit this time without Tom Hanks in tow).

A seminal piece of NYC-based romance, directed by the master of sentimentality Rob Reiner, When Harry Met Sally is genuinely funny and romantic in equal measure. It was one of the first rom-coms to have dug really deep into the philosophy of love and raised some fairly deep questions, the main one being “can men and women ever just be friends?”

5. Splash (92%)

A man falls in love with a mermaid. We meet again, Mr. Hanks (and this time without Meg Ryan in tow).

On paper it sounds implausible, and in practice it should have been too saccharine to be enjoyable. But as it happened, this is another great Tom Hanks romance-in-New-York city flick that really found its mark and is delightfully sweet in its delivery.

4. Enchanted (93%)

A movie which will restore your faith in the modern-fairytale-reimagined trope, which has become somewhat oversaturated in recent years. As much of a satire on modern NYC living as it is on the Disney-esque fairytale genre, with the perfectly-cast Amy Adams helping the film live up to its name.

3. West Side Story (94%)

A slice of suburban NYC culture from a different time set against a nigh-on perfect adaptation of Shakespeare’s ageless story of Romeo & Juliet. Dance choreography doesn’t get much better than this, not to mention Leonard Bernstein’s pen.

2. Big (97%)

A true rom-com if ever there was one, and the movie that really put Tom Hanks of the map (and yes, this is the last appearance of the good man on this list).

Stuffed with now-iconic sequences filmed in and around NYC, Big remains as a seminal piece of 90s romance hinged upon a quirky premise. It’s also the movie that still makes us want to jump on oversized floor pianos nearly thirty years after its release.

1. Manhattan (98%)

Annie Hall is another Woody Allen classic that could have topped the list of best romantic movies set in New York, but we’ll give it to the equally great Manhattan by proxy, owing to the title.

Slightly darker than the preceding Annie Hall but no less romantic (in the truest sense of the word), this is arguably Allen’s finest display of wit and even possibly the greatest movie in his back catalog.

[su_note]Learn more about the Film School at the New York Film Academy by clicking here.[/su_note]