Long Island invites visitors to come “on location,” to where some of the best known Hollywood movies, ranging from The Godfather to Men in Black II to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, have all left a handprint in various sites here.
Long Island’s diverse landscape and beaches, woodlands public mansions, and quaint Main Street towns have made it a long-time mecca for film production. The
Suffolk County Film Commission and Nassau County Film Commission can assist filmmakers with locations, permits, etc..
For visitors, many former film locations are public venues open to explore. These include:
Old Westbury Gardens is truly is the Maharaja of movies filmed on Long Island. There is a reason why this location is chosen for scenes in over a dozen movies. Who can blame directors and stars alike for wanting to bask in the ambiance of this English style country estate? The gardens are over 160 acres of enchantment that include a walled perennial garden, classical statuary, over 100 species of trees, roses, lakes, winding paths, and demonstration gardens. The driveway was used in Love Story (1970) to depict the entrance to the home of Ryan O’Neal’s character. Romance filled its gardens with passionate love scenes from the Age of Innocence (1993) and Lovesick (1983). Laugh out loud and remember such comedies as The Associate (1996) and Hitch (2005). Or perhaps pose dramatically under a tree and try to think of what the character was thinking in such films as From the Terrace (1960),Wolf (1994), Cruel Intentions (1998), North By Northwest (1959) and The Manchurian Candidate (2004). Don’t forget to visit Westbury House, a magnificent Charles II mansion, virtually unchanged from the time of the Phipps’ residence, filled with priceless original furnishings and fine arts.
Sand’s Point Preserve where you’ll find an incredible view of Long Island Sound. It has 216-acres of natural and landscaped areas with fields, woodlands, shore cliffs, a fresh water pond, and six self guided nature trails. On the premises are Falaise and the Hempstead House. Falaise once belonged to Harry Guggenheim, who was also an avid horseracing fan. He raised and raced horses and helped establish the New York Racing Association. Ironically enough, the living room of Falaise is where the famous “horse head” scene takes place from the film The Godfather (1972). But don’t worry. It was only Hollywood magic. Instead, enjoy the magic given off by this Normandy style manor house with its thick wood beams, arches, carved stone mantles, and antiques form the 16th and 17th century. Around the corner, count on Great Expectations (1998) from the Hempstead House, where Charles Dickens version comes alive in a modern setting. A reflection of high living at a Gold Coast estate, elegance hangs on ever surface. Medieval tapestries on the walls and oriental carpets on the floor dress this aristocratic home. Under its roof, luxury rooms reside, such as a billiard room with a gold leaf ceiling, a library copied from King James I, and a summer living room with stone gargoyles. Other movies in the spotlight filmed at this location are Malcolm X (1992) staring Denzel Washington, which used the backdrop as the New England Shoreline, New Jack City (1991), with Wesley Snipes, and Scent of a Woman (1992) with Al Pacino. Fox sitcom Running Wilde, starring Will Arnett, was also filmed here.
Feel like a millionaire in
Caumsett State Park where Arthur (1981) staring Dudley Moore was shot. The stable scenes of the movie were filmed right in this location. In 1921 Marshall Field III purchased 1750 acres of Lloyd Neck to create a self-sufficient English-style estate as a combination country club, hunting preserve, and home, complete with its own water and electrical supply. Take a walk around Caumsett State Historic Park, situated on a scenic peninsula extending into Long Island Sound. Visit the nearby Joseph Lloyd Manor house, the home of the first published African American poet, Jupiter Hammon.
A true portrait of life and art comes together at the Pollock-Krasner House where the motion picture Pollock (2000) staring Ed Harris, was filmed. The National Historic Landmark site is the home and studio of abstract expressionist painters Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) and Lee Krasner (1908-1984) and holds research material on 20th century American art. The house contains prints by both artists, their furniture, hundreds of jazz records and the artists’ personal library. The most exciting element is Pollock’s art studio where visitors can stand amidst the paint-splattered walls and floor where he actually created much of his art. Various exhibitions are found thought the year and guided tours are available by appointment only.
Spend some time on the sun-soaked beaches of Montauk, made famous by the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004). Take a ride though the movie as you start from the Montauk train station and travel out east. Spend a day filling your head with memories as you walk along the sandy beaches to enjoy the crisp Atlantic air. Various activities keep the busy traveler active with fishing, hiking, horseback riding, bird watching and more. Walk up to the oldest lighthouses in New York at the Montauk Point Lighthouse, commissioned by President George Washington in 1792. Built in 1796, it still serves as an active aid to navigation under the United States Coast Guard. With so many things to do, no wonder people want to meet at Montauk. Just don’t erase the memory you have of it. The nearby Hamptons region is also the site of many films and TV shows, including the series, Royal Pains, among others.
Crikey! Follow the fabled movie adventurer Crocodile Dundee all the way to…a museum! Not what you would expect from this rough and rugged outback man! Crocodile Dundee II (1988) was filmed at Eagle’s Nest, now the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium. The Eagle’s Nest mansion was built in 1910 and known for its Spanish Architecture design. Vanderbilt was a motor car racing enthusiast. The estate still houses much of his original possessions and private collections, including a natural history exhibit, a mummy, collections from around the world, Vanderbilt’s custom built 1928 Lincoln touring car and a spectacular view of the water.
Beware of an alien invasion at the Fire Island Lighthouse, tallest lighthouse in New York State with over 182 steps. The lighthouse can be seen in the post office scene in Men in Black II(2002).The lighthouse is located on the Great South Bay and adjacent to Robert Moses State Park. The Fire Island Lighthouse Preservation Society provides tours for visitors. Enjoy a nature walk, exhibits, and gift shop.
And while some visitors may associate Long Island with such films as Jaws and The Amityville Horror, as well Adventureland, these films were not actually made here. You can however visit the real Adventureland in Farmingdale where you’ll find great rides and family fun.