Believe it or not, New Jersey has a pretty rich history of being a part of some big box office hits.

The Garden State also has many television credits for location shots. With the big movie award season upon us, here are a handful of top movies where New Jersey was significantly showcased in the film.

Brando And Loren
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On the Waterfront

This is one of the classic movies of all time. The movie starred screen heavyweights Marlon Brando who won an Academy Award for Best Actor, Rod Stieger, Lee J Cobb, Karl Malden and Eva Marie Saint.

Most of the movie was filmed in Hoboken. The docks, workers' houses, rooftops, and alleys were a big part of that movie. Two of Hoboken’s iconic churches were also used: Our Lady of Grace and Church of St. Peter and St. Paul had significant footage in the movie. The movie won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director (Elia Kazan), Best Actor (Marlon Brando), Best Supporting Actress (Eva Marie Saint) and a few Golden Globe awards. It was a critical and box office success.

Friday the 13th

The original 1980 slasher movie was recently voted one of the top horror films of all time. The movie was filmed entirely in New Jersey. Camp Nobebosco, a Boy Scout Camp in Hardwick, NJ served as the backdrop. Kevin Bacon was in the film that had a $550,000 production budget and raised over $60 million at the box office. Keep in mind that was 42 years ago.

Ocean's Eleven Premiere
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Ocean’s Eleven

The 2001 heist movie starring George Clooney Bernie Mac, Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt takes place in “Las Vegas”. The plot says Las Vegas but the shoot happened in New Jersey in Atlantic City. They also used Jersey State Prison in Rahway for a couple of shots. The big-budget movie cost $85 million to make and brought in a very respectable $450 million. They also had the top box office draw on opening weekend. Empire magazine added Ocean’s Eleven as one of the best 500 movies of all time. Julia Roberts won The People’s Choice Award for Best Movie Actress.

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

Russell Crowe starred in this biographical movie about mathematician John Nash. The film won an Academy Award for Best Picture. The picture was filmed mostly in New Jersey including extensive shots at Princeton University, in Belleville, East Orange, Bayonne and at Farleigh Dickinson University in Madison. The film was produced and directed by Ron Howard, who won an Academy Award for Best Director. Jennifer Connelly won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

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


This 1990 classic mob movie directed by Martin Scorsese had quite a few New Jersey scenes in the movie including Henry Hill’s (played by Ray Liotta, a Jersey guy) home at Inwood Terrace in Fort Lee. There were also shots of the Palisades Parkway. Joe Pesci, a Jersey guy, received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. The film was nominated for best picture in both the Academy Awards and Golden Globes.

Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures


This 1982 musical comedy-drama was the original first movie in the Annie series. The film starred Albert Finney, Carol Burnett and Bernadette Peters; it was directed by the legend John Huston.

Primary filming and photography was taken at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, NJ where two buildings were used as mansions for the movie. There was an abandoned railroad bridge over the Passaic River in Newark that also served as a location shot. Annie was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Art Direction and Best Original Song Score.

"War of the Worlds" Los Angeles Fan Screening - Arrivals
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War of the Worlds

In the 2005 version of this classic, Tom Cruise is bobbing around several New Jersey locations including Ferry Street in Newark, JFK Boulevard in Bayonne with shots in Howell and Elizabeth. The movie was nominated for the Academy Award for Sound Mixing and Set Design and won many horror film awards as well as visual and sound accolades.

There are so many other pictures and documentaries that filmmakers use New Jersey as the canvas to tell their story. These are just a few of the big-name movies that you’ll recognize. The next time you’re eating your popcorn take a hard look, you may recognize a New Jersey location.

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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