The sunny West Coast is the birthplace of the film industry … or is it? Hollywood may be the current home of filmmaking, but movies got their start right here in West Orange when Thomas Edison built the first movie studio, the Black Maria, in 1893. Filming eventually moved primarily to the West Coast due to more ideal weather conditions. Nevertheless, many movies continue to be filmed in New Jersey. Here are just a few of those films:
The popular musical Annie (1982) was shot at Jersey’s very own Monmouth University in West Long Branch. Wilson Hall (formerly Shadow Lawn) was used as the million-dollar Warbucks estate, and houses the marble steps that Annie tap-danced down in the film — you bet your bottom dollar!
Goodfellas (1990) this classic mob movie is set in New York. However, several scenes were filmed near Fort Lee and Marlboro.
A Beautiful Mind (2001), which won the Best Picture Academy Award, takes place, and was filmed, at Princeton University. Along with the quads and hallways of the university, the movie also shot in Jersey City, East Orange, Belleville, Newark, and on Farleigh Dickinson University’s campus.
The Station Agent (2003), a critically acclaimed independent movie, was filmed in various locations throughout the Garden State. The train station that served as the movie’s backdrop is in Newfoundland, New Jersey.
One of the most notable films shot in New Jersey is Garden State (2004), likely because of the state-nickname-bearing title. The film was shot mostly in South Orange, and the featured mansion of the movie is a real home by the name of Crocker Mansion in Mahwah, New Jersey.
New Jersey was the film site for some scary and intense movies, too. The Amityville Horror (1979) was filmed in Toms River, at a riverside house right along the familiar Garden State Parkway. Other scenes were filmed in Lakewood and Point Pleasant.
Some scenes from the 2005 science fiction film War of the Worlds were filmed in Bayonne and Newark. When Tom Cruise’s character’s house is shown from afar, you can see the Bayonne Bridge towering over the shot.
Next time you find yourself watching one of these films, look closely — there are sure to be some Jersey landmarks that you’ll recognize!
Can you think of any others?