Jersey City in the Movies: Locations and Mentions
We’re about to see a lot more of JC on our screens. Jersey City has never been a stranger to the film and television industry, and soon, JC is on track to welcome a lot more cameras (and lights and action) with the largest studio complex in NJ soon to be built by The Criterion Group, opening Spring 2020. This, plus the success of “The Joker” and HBO’s anticipated series, “The Plot Against America,” both filmed in part in Jersey City, and the Garden State Film and Digital Media Jobs Act incentivizing filming in NJ with tax credits to film and digital media companies that passed last year are making JC THE hot place for film right now.
This got us thinking about where we’ve heard mention of or spotted Jersey City in films and TV shows in the past, so we did some digging through the archives. Here are a few notable dialogue mentions and scene locations in JC we caught that you may not know were filmed right in our backyard (and in some cases, literally your backyard!).
Cinematic Jersey City
The Joker (2019)
While filming The Joker in Jersey City, extras in clown makeup were seen parading down Newark Avenue to the William J. Brennan Courthouse, which took the place of “Wayne Hall” during press conference and protest scenes. According to NJ.com, The Joker was the largest production ever to be filmed in Jersey City.
Seven Seconds (2018)
The pilot of Seven Seconds opens up with rookie Jersey City police officer Peter Jablonski recklessly driving on a particularly snowy day in Liberty State Park, before hitting a passerby…The central image in Netflix series is intimately familiar.
Men in Black (1997)
In “Men in Black,” Will Smith’s character aids in the birth of an alien squid in a car parked in Liberty State Park.
No article about Jersey City films is complete without mentioning The Sopranos. Although not based in Jersey City, the show shot in at least 34 different locations within the city during its 8-year run, including Crown Fried Chicken, St. Patrick’s Church, cemeteries, homes, and even a drive down Communipaw Ave in the intro.
Radio Days | 1987
In Woody Allen’s “Radio Days,” girls are swooning on the counter of Brummer’s Confectionary, once found on Grand St. in JC and now still in business in Westfield, NJ.
In “Coneheads,” when the alien family of Coneheads first lands on Earth, they come out of the water onto land at Exchange Place.
A Beautiful Mind | 2001
In “A Beautiful Mind,” the set of John and Alicia Nash’s home in the movie can be found not in Princeton, but in Paulus Hook.
The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) / Quiz Show (1994)
Formerly the Jersey City Medical Center, The Beacon’s grand entrance hall features elaborate, ornate Art Decor styling and architecture has been used as a movie set for years, including for scenes in The Royal Tenenbaums and Quiz Show.
While a majority of 2014’s “Annie” was filmed on the streets of New York, a few joyous scenes were filmed within Jersey City, on the Waterfront, and Liberty State Park.
Sid and Nancy (1986)
In the last scene of “Sid and Nancy,” Gary Oldman’s character goes for a slice of pizza on the outskirts of Jersey City and dances along with some local kids on the Waterfront.
A Walk in the Sun (1945)
“I’d like a nice quiet trip anywhere. Haven’t had a nice quiet trip since this war started. Jersey City would do fine.”
Desperate Journey (1942)
“You are an American?’
“Half American, half Jersey City.”
Mercy, ep. Pulling the Goalie (2009)
“Just get the other leg over. It’s just like getting off a horse.”
“Yo, farm girl, I’m from Jersey City. I’ve never been on a horse.”
City for Conquest (1940)
“I’m back just where I started.”
“Wished I was back where I started with a guy named Jake Smith right over in Jersey City. He was just a grease monkey in a junkyard garage. He only made 20 bucks a week, but he was great on this thing called love. Believe me, if Jake would take me back now, I’d crawl on my knees right over to Jersey City, so help me.”
The Lost City (2006)
“Well, your impersonation is quite good.”
“I’m still in Cuba. Where do you think I am, Jersey City?”
Planet of the Apes, ep. The Good Seeds (1974)
“Why didn’t I buy that nice little bar in Jersey City? … Just a quiet little bar in Jersey City. A little bell over the door.”
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, ep. Bully (2011)
“Sounds like Luscious Grape was her life.”
“Hers and mine. We started it in a garage in Jersey City. Everybody said we’d be out of business in six months. Last year our sales were over $15 million.”
Super Fun Night, ep. Hostile Makeover (2014)
“We want you to do something for us. They’re gonna give us makeovers. They just opened a salon in Jersey City called ‘You Are Hair.’ Classy, right?”
MacGyver, ep. The Eraser (1986)
“I lived by the beach when I was a kid in Jersey City. Well, it really wasn’t a beach, it was a drainage ditch, but my mother said it was a beach, and I believed.”
Starsky and Hutch, ep. Bloodbath (1977)
“That’s why I got into this business. So I never starve.”
“You were born in Jersey City, and you never had a hungry day in your life.”
Where else have you seen Jersey City in the movies or on television? Let us know your favorites!
The movie C.H.U.D, now a cult classic, used the North Baptist Spanish Church on Jersey Ave and 4th St for soup kitchen scenes in the movie. It starred “Home Alone” actors Daniel Stern and the late John Heard.
Great addition, Juan! We love a spooky cult classic.
In Kelly’s Heroes, Carroll O’Connor and Ken Lesser have lines something like, Lesser “I’m from Jersey City” and O’Connor “says that’s ok, you’ll be okay”