Nothing says Summer in Brooklyn more than Coney Island! From the salty beach air and the Cyclone Roller Coaster to Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest and celebrity sightings, Coney Island IS the definition of Summer!
This section of Brooklyn is so iconic that many movies have used it as a filming location. In fact, each time we visit the area on our Pizza Tour you’ve asked us about the top movies shot in the area. So we created this montage of some of the greatest movies filmed right in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn along with great info below the video. Take a look!
1. The Wiz (1978)
The Wiz is an American cult-classic that was an adaptation of The Wizard of Oz. In this version they say that Dorothy was from Harlem, but she might actually be from Brooklyn. She says her address is 433 Prospect Place which is a Brooklyn address. In this movie, Diana Ross played Dorothy, Michael Jackson played the Scarecrow and Nipsey Russell played the Tin Man who was found under the Cyclone Roller Coaster in Coney Island!
2. Beaches (1988)
Beaches is about a lifelong friendship that started between two girls who meet in Atlantic City but, as often happens in the movies, the Atlantic City scenes were actually filmed in another location: Coney Island! Here’s another Brooklyn connection: Lanie Kazan, who played Bette Midler’s overbearing stage mother, was born and raised in Brooklyn!
3. Two Weeks Notice (2002)
Two Weeks Notice was supposed to film in Tornonto, but actress and producer Sandra Bullock insisted that a movie about New York be filmed in New York. In fact, The Coney Island Community Center in the movie is actually the old Childs Restaurant Building on the Coney Island Boardwalk which is a NYC Landmark!
4. Brighton Beach Memoirs (1986)
The film is a semi-autobiographical story about Neil Simon’s Brooklyn years during the Great Depression. The movie’s opening title card reads: “1932 – Brighton Beach – Brooklyn, New York”. Brighton Beach is an oceanside community in Brooklyn on the Coney Island peninsula and many scenes were filmed on the Coney Island Boardwalk and alongside the Cyclone Roller Coaster!
5. The Lords of Flatbush (1974)
The Lords of Flatbush is a coming of age story about a group of boys from the Flatbush section of Brooklyn. Some of the school scenes were shot at Abraham Lincoln High School in Coney Island as well as a great montage shot on the boardwalk and the amusement parks. Here’s a pretty cool story, Henry Winkler said he based the character of Fonzie in Happy Days on Sylvester Stallone’s performance in the movie. Ayyyyy!
6. Requiem for a Dream (2000)
This psychological drama about drug addiction was directed by Brooklynite Darren Aronofsky which was adapted form the book written by Brooklynite Hubert Selby, Jr. Many scenes were shot on the boardwalk, in the amusement parks and in adjacent Brighton Beach. Extra trivia: Hubert Shelby Jr., who was from the Red Hook section of Brooklyn, also wrote Last Exit to Brooklyn!
7. Uptown Girls (2003)
Britney Murphy and Dakota Fanning star in this film about a nanny who needs to grow up and a child who needs to be a child. They share a heartwarming moment on the teacup ride during their visit to Coney Island.
8. The Warriors (1979)
The cult classic film “The Warriors” is about a fictional gang from Coney Island. They are wrongly accused of killing a rival gang member in the Bronx and must make if safely back to their own turf. 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 set each day. The Homicides were the real gang of Coney Island at the time.
9. Men in Black 3 (2012)
In Men in Black 3, Agent J travels back to 1969 to stop aliens from killing his friend Agent K. They filmed on the boardwalk, in Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park as well as on the Wonder Wheel ferries wheel itself! Our groups were lucky enough to see them filming the movie and recreating Coney Island in 1969 during the Coney Island portion of our Pizza Tours back in 2011!
10. Brooklyn (2015)
You’d think a movie named “Brooklyn” would have been filmed entirely in Brooklyn, right? But it wasn’t! Most of the film was shot in Montreal for financial reasons. It proved too difficult for the studio to turn modern day Brooklyn into 1950s Brooklyn. However, two days of production really did take place in the borough when they shot Ellis and Tony’s date in Coney Island on the boardwalk and on the beach. I bet those were the best two days of work!
And there you have it, some of the best films shot right in Coney Island! Which is your favorite?