New Jersey is home to some of the best movies of all time

I’m amazed at how many great movies have used New Jersey as the backdrop for their movie scenes. Many are award-winning and/or box office hits.



So here are a handful of top movies where New Jersey has been featured significantly in film:

Brando and Loren

Getty Images

At the water’s edge :

It is one of the classic films of all time. The film 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 film was shot in Hoboken. Docks, workers’ houses, rooftops and alleys were a big part of this film. Two of Hoboken’s iconic churches were also used; Our Lady of Grace and the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul had prominent footage in the film. The film won the Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director (Elia Kazan).

Friday 13:

The original 1980 slasher film was recently voted one of the best horror films of all time. The film was shot entirely in New Jersey. Camp Nobebosco, a Boy Scout camp in Hardwick, NJ served as the backdrop. Kevin Bacon was in the film which had a production budget of $550,000 and collected over $60,000,000 at the box office. Remember that was 42 years ago.

Premiere of Ocean’s Eleven

Getty Images

Ocean’s Eleven:

The 2001 heist movie starring George Clooney Bernie Mac, Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt is set in “Las Vegas.” The plot says Las Vegas but the filming happened in New Jersey in Atlantic City. They also used Jersey State Prison at Rahway for a few hits. The big-budget film cost $85,000,000 to make and grossed a very respectable $450,000,000. They also had the best box office draw on opening weekend.

“A Beautiful Mind” premiere in Los Angeles, CA

Getty Images

A beautiful mind:

Russell Crowe starred in this biographical film about mathematician John Nash. The film won an Oscar for Best Picture. The pic was filmed primarily in New Jersey, including numerous shots at Princeton University, Belleville, East Orange, Bayonne, and Farleigh Dickinson University in Madison, New Jersey. The film was produced and directed by Ron Howard, who won the Academy Award for Best Director. Jennifer Connelly won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.

Closing Night Screening of “Goodfellas” – 2015 Tribeca Film Festival

Mike Coppola


This classic 1990 mob flick directed by Martin Scorsese had quite a few New Jersey scenes in the film, including the home of Henry Hill (played by Jersey guy Ray Liotta) at Inwood Terrace in Fort Lee. There were also shots of the Palisades Parkway. Joe Pesci, a guy from Jersey, received an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. The movie was
nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars and Golden Globes.

Pictures of Colombia

Pictures of Colombia


This 1982 musical comedy-drama was the first original film in the Annie series. The film starred Albert Finney, Carol Burnett and Bernadette Peters; it was directed by legend John Huston.

Wilson Hall at Monmouth University which will be renamed “The Great Hall at Shadow Lawn

Wilson Hall at Monmouth University which will be renamed ‘The Great Hall at Shadow Lawn (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Primary filming and photography was taken at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, NJ, where two buildings were used as mansions for the film. There was an abandoned railroad bridge over the Passaic River in Newark that also served as a filming location.

‘War of the Worlds’ Los Angeles Fan Screening – Arrivals

Getty Images

War of the Worlds:

In the 2005 version of this classic, Tom Cruise wanders through several locations in New Jersey, including Ferry Street in Newark and JFK Boulevard in Bayonne with shots at Howell and Elizabeth.

There are so many other images and documentaries that filmmakers use New Jersey as a backdrop to tell their stories. These are just a few of the great films you will recognize. Next time you eat your popcorn, take a close look, you might recognize a place in New Jersey.

The above post reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Big Joe Henry. All opinions expressed are those of Big Joe.

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