We’re all spending more time indoors which means there’s more time to binge watch your favorite movies and TV shows about Brooklyn! So sit back, throw on some sweats and get your popcorn ready because here are a few Brooklyn based shows you’re going to love!
Welcome Back, Kotter (1975)
Welcome Back, Kotter was a TV show about a group of remedial, wise cracking and lovable high school students, called the Sweathogs, and their teacher Mr. Kotter. It was based on comedian Gabe Kaplan’s experiences as a Sweathog while attending New Utrecht High School in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn.
This show was one of the first times the rest of the world got to see a little piece of our borough. In the opening credits you’ll see New Utrecht High School (which they referred to as Buchanon High on the show), the bus stop on the corner of Bay Parkway and 60th Street in front of Bishop Kearney and the famous “Welcome to Brooklyn” on the Belt Parkway. It was also the first time the world saw John Travolta on TV
The Honeymooners (1955)
The Honeymooners is a classic American sitcom about the Kramdens and the Nortons that starred Jackie Gleason, Audrey Meadows, Art Carney and Joyce Randolph.
Jackie Gleason wanted to make the Kramdens’ apartment on the show just like his childhood home where he grew up in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn. “The place was dull. The bulbs weren’t very bright. The surroundings were very bare”. Ralph Kramden’s address was 328 Chauncey Street, the same as Gleason’s childhood home, though on the show he lived in the more Brooklyn-sounding Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn.
The Patty Duke Show (1963)
Did you watch The Patty Duke Show? It aired from 1963-1966 and was set in the Brooklyn Heights section of Brooklyn! The Lane family home was located at a real Brooklyn address, 9 Remsen Street in Brooklyn Heights. And if you know the theme some then you know that, “Patty’s only seen the sights a girl can see from Brooklyn Heights…” On the show, Patty Duke played both Patty Lane and her identical cousin Cathy Lane.
The Warriors (1979)
The cult classic film “The Warriors” is about a fictional gang from Coney Island who are wrongly accused of killing the leader of rival gang member in the Bronx and must make it safely back to their own turf in Coney Island. During production, real gangs were not too pleased with actors wearing gang colors in Coney Island so the actors had to be sure to remove their colors before leaving the set each day. The Homicides were the real gang of Coney Island at the time.
Saturday Night Fever (1977)
John Badham’s tale about the 1970s disco scene in Brooklyn might be one of the most famous Brooklyn movies of all time. The Brooklyn-based movie was shot in Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst and Sunset Park and was responsible for introducing the world to the disco scene that was happening at the time. It also made a movie star out of John Travolta!
Although Brooklyn’s famous Verrazzano Narrows Bridge plays an important part in the film, director John Badham considered the image of the Brooklyn Bridge in the beginning of the movie to be symbolic to the film’s meaning. “Our first image is of the Brooklyn Bridge and how it connects back to Brooklyn from Manhattan”. That’s a key image in this film as the connection between these two worlds which are so close together and yet so far apart at the same time.”
The French Connection (1971)
Ask anyone what the greatest car chase scene of all time and they’ll tell you it was in The French Connection. The dangerous scene was shot right in Brooklyn under the elevated train line on 86th Street (the same 86th Street where John Travolta struts his stuff during the opening credits in Saturday Night Fever). There was no choreography and no permits to film the chase scene. It was all filmed in real time Brooklyn traffic!
Haven’t seen Moonstruck? “Snap out of it!” Moonstruck is a classic romantic comedy that tells the story of Loretta Castorini, from Brooklyn Heights, who falls in love with her fiance’s brother played by Nicholas Cage. In this movie you’ll see Brooklyn wit, moxie and locations like Cammareri Bakery in Brooklyn.
Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
The cult classic Dog Day Afternoon was based on a real life bank robbery that took place in the Gravesend section of Brooklyn on August 22, 1972. Rumor has it that the robber John Wojtowicz, who was portrayed by Al Pacino in the film, watched “The Godfather” right before attempting to rob the bank! Ironically, Dog Day Afternoon was the the first project for both Al Pacino and John Cazale, who played Fredo, after they appeared in “The Godfather II”.
Do the Right Thing (1989)
Did you know that Do The Right Thing was shot entirely on Stuyvesant Avenue between Quincy Street and Lexington Avenue in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn? It looks at life on the hottest day of the year on that one street in Brooklyn. Racial tensions rise after a customer wonders why Pizza Shop owner, Sal Fragione, only has photos of Italian-Americans on the walls when the shop is located in a primarily African-American neighborhood.
It was directed by Spike Lee, who grew up in Brooklyn and graduated from John Dewey High School, and starred fellow Brooklynites Rosie Perez and John Turturro.
Last Exit to Brooklyn (1989)
Last Exit to Brooklyn was an adaptation of Brooklynite Hubert Selby Jr’s book about growing up in the gritty Red Hook section of Brooklyn in the 1950’s. The film never had commercial success due to its dark subject matter, but it really depicted the tough life foe the residents of Red Hook who lived and worked in the neighborhoods. Selby also wrote the Requiem for a Dream.
Brooklyn Bridge (1991)
Brooklyn Bridge was a TV show which aired on CBS between September 20, 1991 to August 6, 1993. It’s about a Jewish American family living in Brooklyn in the middle of the 1950s. The premise was partially based on the childhood of executive producer and creator Gary David Goldberg who grew up in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn. The show won a Golden Globe for Best Television Comedy or Musical and was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series in 1992. The cast was led by Marion Ross, of Happy Days fame, and Art Garfunkel performed the theme song which was titled “Just Over the Brooklyn Bridge.”