Chances are when you’ve been watching some of the biggest movies ever made, you’ll see a shot or a location and think, “Hey, that looks familiar!”

If you think it’s somewhere here in New Jersey you’d be right.

Hollywood is famous for tricking your mind into believing that the actual New Jersey location isn’t New Jersey. In the movie, you’ll hear and see the reference to the actual New Jersey location being called somewhere else. I understand it because it works in the continuity of the film.

Here are some of the significant motion pictures that were filmed here in New Jersey.

American Gangster

Released in 2007, starring Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe, this movie was shot at an amazing 180 locations throughout New York, New Jersey, and Thailand. While Russell Crowe's character was a Newark detective the only real noticeable New Jersey location was the New Jersey Army National Guard Armory in Morristown. It was used as the place where Russell Crowe identified his dead partner.

The Amityville Horror

Amityville Horror House
Getty Images

Amityville II: The Possession

Amityville Horror House Buyer

Released in 1979, the horror movie starred a young James Brolin, Margot Kidder, and Rod Stieger. While the movie storyline had the movie set at 112 Ocean Ave. in Long Island, (Amityville) the actual house where the movie was filmed was on the water in Toms River, New Jersey. The house famous for the movie location was sold in January of 2023 for a scary $1.5 million.

Friday the 13th

The iconic horror movie Friday the 13th was filmed in and around Blairstown, New Jersey. It served as both the community and locations for the horror that took place on film. The filming was centralized in Blairstown to save money. Fewer locations made for a smaller budget for the film. Released in 1980 filming took place at the Boy Scout Camp NoBeBoSco which opened in 1927, scary indeed.


Closing Night Screening Of "Goodfellas" - 2015 Tribeca Film Festival
Mike Coppola

One of the most iconic films with an all-star cast, of Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci, Ray Liotta, Lorraine Bracco, and Paul Sorvino. Released in 1990 the movie Henry (Liotta) and Karen’s (Bracco) House was filmed in Fort Lee, New Jersey.

Men in Black

Released in 1997, starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee, had familiar New Jersey locations in the Men in Black movie with the New Jersey Turnpike and Liberty State Park becoming part of the film.

Analyze This

Analyze That

Analyze This was released in 1999 and starred Robert DeNiro, Billy Crystal, and Lisa Kudrow. The mobster DeNiro turns to a psychiatrist (Crystal) to handle his issues. Locations for Analyze This included the old Maxwell House factory in Hoboken and a house in Upper Montclair. Released in 2002 Analyze That had houses for the film used in Montclair, New Jersey, and in Ho-Ho-Kus.

On the Waterfront

Brando And Loren
Getty Images

This iconic multi–Academy Award-winning film won Best Picture, Best Leading Actor (Marlon Brando) Best Director (Elia Kazan), and Best Supporting Actress (Eva Marie Saint) just to name a handful. Proudly, almost the entire picture was filmed in Hoboken, New Jersey. Scenes include the exterior of Our Lady of Grace church and the interior of the church was filmed at St. Peter and St. Paul Church in Hoboken.

A Beautiful Mind

Film Premiere of "A Beautiful Mind" In Los Angeles, CA
Getty Images

The Oscar-nominated film starred Russell Crowe as mathematician John Nash and his amazing work at Princeton University. Quite a bit of the movie was filmed at the storied university with filming at the home of John Nash and his wife portrayed by Jennifer Connelly taking place in Jersey City. The lab exterior was filmed at Montclair Medicine in Belleville, New Jersey, and the Governor’s Ball scene was filmed at the Florham Mansion at Farleigh Dickinson University.

Once Upon a Time in America

Once Upon a Time in America stars Robert DeNiro, Elizabeth McGovern, James Woods, and Joe Pesci. Released in 1984, the crime drama transformed the Hoboken Railway Station to look like a “New York” train station. There was also a block in Hoboken that was transformed to look like a New York City block.


The movie Big starring Tom Hanks, directed by Penny Marshal with Elizabeth Perkins and Robert Loggia was filmed in several locations throughout New Jersey. Locations in Cliffside Park and Fort Lee were used. The amusement park scenes were filmed at Rye Playland in New York.

Broadway Danny Rose

The film Broadway Danny Rose directed and starring Woody Allen with Mia Farrow had filmed some of the home scenes at a house in Jersey City. Most of the character Danny’s story was shot in Englewood and Edgewater. The black and white film made these locations perfect for the storyline.

The Irishman

Al Pacino, Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro
Victoria Will/Invision/AP

The 3 ½ hour movie is a Martin Scorsese-directed film that covers a 50-year timeline of events starring Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci and was released in 2019. While the movie centers around events in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and New York there were a few scenes filmed in Paterson, New Jersey.

Godfather III

The third and final segment of the legendary Godfather series with Al Pacino, Sofia Coppola, Andy Garcia, and Diane Keaton was released in 1990. The horrific scene of the helicopter shooting on the collection of mob family heads at the “Trump Castle,” which is now the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City, was quite epic and an integral part of the movie.

Independence Day

Released appropriately on the weekend of July 4, 1996, this sci-fi thriller starring Will Smith, Bill Pullman, and Jeff Goldblum used a spot in West New York, New Jersey for the chess scene between Jeff Goldblum’s character and Judd Hirsh’s character.

The Karate Kid

Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

This action-drama film starring Ralph Macchio, William Zabka, Pat Morita, and New Jersey’s own Elisabeth Shue was released in 1984. The opening scene of a station wagon packed up and driving away was said to be set in Newark New Jersey, when the shot was taken from a water tower on Franklin Avenue in Harrison, New Jersey.


Youtube screengrab
Youtube screengrab

The deep and dark Joker movie was filmed almost entirely in Newark and Harlem. The movie released in 2019 starred Joaquin Phoenix, Robert DeNiro, and Zazie Beetz and featured some great shots of Newark streets and the legendary Paramount Theatre. The storefront for the film “Kenny’s Music Store” was transformed from an empty storefront on Market Street in Newark.

The Kevin Smith Collection

"Comic Book Men" Panel At New York Comic Con
Getty Images

Clerks released in 1994

Mallrats released in 1995

Chasing Amy released in 1997

Dogma was released in 1999

Jake and Silent Bob Strike Back released in 2001

Jersey Girl released in 2004

Clerks II released in 2006

Zack and Miri Make a Porno released in 2008

and many more…

Kevin Smith should get an award from the state of New Jersey for using our Great Garden State as a backdrop and an integral part of all his movies. He’s a Red Bank born and raised in Highlands, New Jersey, and used the Jersey Shore in many of his films. He’s used locations up and down New Jersey and has said he was proud to do so.

LOOK: Which movies were filmed in New Jersey?

Stacker compiled a list of movies filmed in New Jersey using data from Movie Locations, with additional information about each film collected from IMDb.

Gallery Credit: Stacker

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The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Big Joe Henry. Any opinions expressed are Big Joe’s own.

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