10 Movies Filmed in Manhattan College’s Backyard

A subway ride away from the bright lights of midtown, the picturesque Bronx neighborhoods of Riverdale, Fieldston and Kingsbridge have attracted the eye of Hollywood’s directors for years. How many have you seen?

1.  Splendor in the Grass (1961)

Starring: Natalie Wood, Warren Beatty

One of the earliest films to take advantage of Riverdale's proximity to New York City was the romantic drama Splendor in the Grass. In the movie, Horace Mann's scenic exteriors portray Bud (Warren Beatty) and Ginny's (Barbara Loden) Kansas high school. 

2.  Six Degrees of Separation (1993) 

Starring: Will Smith, Stockard Channing, Donald Sutherland, Ian McKellen

Manhattan College's first brush with the big screen was in the New York-based drama Six Degrees of Separation, not as a school in the Bronx, but as a stand-in for Harvard. However, any Jasper can easily spot Manhattan's Quad, De La Salle Hall, Chrysostom Hall and the steps leading up to Walsh Plaza — all of which are included in the film.

3.  The Devil's Own (1997)

Starring: Harrison Ford, Brad Pitt

MC students who frequent The Piper's Kilt (231st Street and Albany Crescent) for brunch might not know that the Kingsbridge pub depicted a Brooklyn bar in The Devil's Own. Fifteen years ago, Tom O'Meara (Harrison Ford) and Rory Devaney (Brad Pitt) played pool while tossing back beers at this neighborhood locale.

4.  A Beautiful Mind (2001)

Starring: Russell Crowe, Ed Harris

Perhaps the most famous use of Manhattan College's Ivy League aesthetic is in the Academy Award-winning film A Beautiful Mind, when John Nash (Russell Crowe) sprints across the "Harvard" Quad from Smith Hall, down the stairs under Manhattan's unmistakable arches, and toward the lower forecourt parking lot, which was filled with 1950s model cars for filming. The movie also includes brief shots of Miguel Hall, Memorial Hall and the Chapel's cupola.

5.  Secret Window (2004)

Starring: Johnny Depp, Maria Bellow

While many movies use the Bronx to portray other neighborhoods, the mystery thriller Secret Window incorporates Riverdale into its plot. Troubled writer Mort Rainey (Johnny Depp) and his ex-wife own a home in suburban Riverdale and several scenic shots show the nearby Henry Hudson Parkway and neighborhood.

6.  I Am Legend (2007)

Starring: Will Smith, Alice Braga

In 2006, Warner Brothers rented out the Kingsbridge Armory for half a year and transformed it into a temporary preproduction and studio set for I Am Legend. The crew utilized the Armory's spacious interior and dark, industrial feel as an appropriate setting for the post-apocalyptic blockbuster.

7.  The Accidental Husband (2008)

Starring: Uma Thurman, Jeffrey Dean Morgan

Dorney and Malone's Tavern on 242nd Street and Broadway has its claim to fame in the romantic comedy The Accidental Husband. In the memorable scene, Emma (Uma Thurman) and Patrick (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) shoot a round of pool inside the bar, which is located by a disguised No. 1 train boasting a Queen's 23rd Avenue N/W sign.

8.  Doubt (2008)

Starring: Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams

The College of Mount Saint Vincent was transformed into a 1960s elementary school for the Oscar-nominated film Doubt. Many scenes were filmed inside the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception, while the rest of the campus, including the administration building and Smith Hall, were used as cast and crew headquarters, dressing rooms and soundstages.

9.  Gun Hill Road (2011)

Starring: Judy Reyes, Esai Morales, Isiah Whitlock Jr.

This 2011 independent film about an ex-con who returns home to the Bronx after three years in prison was shot entirely on location in the borough, including at DeWitt Clinton High School located on West Mosholu Parkway close to the film's namesake, Gun Hill Road, which runs along part of Van Cortlandt Park.

10.  The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)

Starring: Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Sean Penn

Most recently, film crews have been spotted on Independence Avenue and the Henry Hudson Parkway in Riverdale shooting this upcoming remake of the 1947 classic, based on the short story by James Thurber. The film stars Ben Stiller as the whimsical Walter Mitty and was released in 2013.

A behind-the-scenes look at two movies filmed on Manhattan's campus:

 

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