13. Midnight Cowboy (1969)
Director: John Schlesinger
Areas Featured: Times Square
Midnight Cowboy may be infamous for becoming the only X rated film to win an Oscar in any category and showcasing the talents of a young John Voight and Dustin Hoffman, but it's the movie's smallest moments that give it a sense of place and an aching reality that's missing from most modern Hollywood character dramas.
Joe Buck (Voight) plays a stereotypical Texan hoping for a little wealth and glamour in the world of New York's pre-Craigslist male prostitution scene. Dressed up like a Halloween costume cowboy and shit quickly through the bowels of New York's sleazy Times Square, he desperately latches on to the limping con artist and petty thief, Ratzo Rizzo, and together they freefall into an off-kilter partnership that is doomed from the start.
While the majority of the film was shot in the Times Square that most people get misty for (as if they miss the muggings, stabbings and cum on the theater seats) it's a quick scene shot on 58th street and Sixth Avenue that is quintessentially New York. Rizzo is frantically explaining the game of hustling and dealing with the "social register" gals, while Buck listens on. Both oblivious as they're crossing the street, a cabbie comes within in an inch of turning them into street meat.
Rizzo screams "I'm walkin' here! I'm walkin' here! Up yours you son of a bitch!" and a cigarette flys from his mouth as he slaps the cab's hood. The cab speeds off and he keeps walking as if nothing happened, noting "Actually that ain't a bad way to pick up insurance."
You can't get more New York than that.-JL