Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Liberal Studies


William Boddy

Subject Categories

Film and Media Studies


Cassavetes, Shadows, The Panic in Needle Park, Scorsese, Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Spike Lee, 25th Hour, New York City, Film


Films play significant part in the creation and preservation of the New York City’s image and must be consulted by anyone interested in exploring the City’s history and character. The essential New York films tell stories about New Yorkers and how they deal with their reality of extreme diversity and competition. In my opinion, there are six essential New York City films: Shadows (1959), The Panic in Needle Park (1971), Mean Streets (1973), Taxi Driver (1976), Manhattan (1979), and 25th Hour (2002). My goal is to explore the essential New York films and demonstrate how their content and form reflect the character of the City. By doing that I hope to understand my own New York experience better and to help others reflect on their own days in the Gotham. The essential New York films combine love for film as art and love for the City of New York. They represent a symbiosis between film, as the most powerful tool for myth making, and the legendary metropolis. That is how these films accomplish their historical mission: they preserve the knowledge and educate viewers about an important and unique place and times, inspiring others to think, create and search further in the progressive spirit of the City.