The 50 Best New York City Movies

6. Sweet Smell of Success (1957)

Director: Alexander McKendrick
Leading Actors: Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis
NYC Neighborhoods Featured: Midtown, Times Square

An absolute masterpiece that couldn't take place anywhere but New York, Sweet Smell of Success is a complex ballet of villainy. Tony Curtis plays Sidney Falco, a press agent and professional deliverer of one-liners, whose lack of morals and frustrated ambition make him the ultimate right-hand man for famous columnist J.J. Hunsecker (Burt Lancaster), who needs the unsavory coupling of his sister and a jazz magician ruined. Featuring one of the most quotable scripts put to paper, a sultry soundtrack, and Burt Lancaster's legacy performance, Sweet Smell of Success is an unforgettable morality tale set in the hardnosed New York so many of us wish we could live in. (Or at least talk like we did.) —GT

"Gritty Realism"innocentAn Innocent Corrupted

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