The greatest New York City movie not even nearly shot in New York (2008)

Pickup on South Street

Maybe half of Sam Fuller's 1953 insanely slangy, deliriously hard-boiled, anti-commie noir Pickup on South Street takes place either on the BMT or in a shack at the end of an East River pier, off the Fulton Fish Market and beneath the Brooklyn Bridge; the rest is mainly set in Bowery flophouses, all-night Chinatown noodle joints, and the Pickpocket Squad Room across from the old police headquarters on Broome Street. None of it was shot here. Ex–crime reporter Fuller mixed select L.A. locations with fastidious studio reconstructions—including the sweltering subway car in which pickpocket Richard Widmark grifts the nuclear secrets from Jean Peter's purse and the Third Avenue station where, in the movie's climactic chase scene, Widmark pulls Richard Kiley down the stairs. "The heavy's chin hits every step," Fuller exulted, "Dat-dat-dat, it's musical." Just like On the Town.


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >