Hollywood Blockbuster Movies Shot in New Jersey

08.08.2017 Culture, Destination


We’re all familiar with the term “cliffhanger” –  a word used to describe a movie filled with suspense, danger, and “edge-of-your-seat” thrills. But did you know that the term originated out of the early serials filmed on the New Jersey Palisades in Fort Lee – the birthplace of the motion picture industry in America?

Actress Pearl White ended some episodes of her early serial movies hanging from the cliffs of the Palisades above the Hudson River, coining the term. Although the film industry has relocated to the West over the years, New Jersey has still been home to some of Hollywood’s greatest films. Let’s take a look at a few of the biggest blockbusters to that were filmed in Jersey.

Friday the 13th (1980)

Filmed in: Blairstown, Freehold, Hardwick, and Hope.

Friday the 13th is a classic American slasher film about a group of teenagers who are murdered by an unknown killer. It was filmed on location in and around the townships of Hardwick, Blairstown and Hope, New Jersey in September 1979. The movie takes place at a fictional Camp Crystal Lake, where the teenagers are murdered one by one while attempting to reopen the camp. The camp scenes were shot on a working Boy Scout camp, Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco located in Hardwick, NJ. The camp is still standing and still works as a summer camp!

Goodfellas (1990)

Filmed in: Marlboro, Fort Lee, and the Palisades Parkway.

In an era of crime films, Goodfellas by Martin Scorsese is yet another classic that stands out from the rest. The Italian-American director is well known for his crime films. The film tells the story of Henry Hill, as he goes from a teenager to a man climbing his way up through the ranks of organized crime. It stars Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, and Joe Pesci, and is considered by many fans as one of the greatest Mafia movies alongside another classic, The Godfather.

The Godfather (1976)

Filmed in: NJ Turnpike

Credited as one of the greatest films of all time, The Godfather, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, was partly shot in the great state of New Jersey. The American crime film surrounds a family with ties to the mafia through their endeavors to protect their empire while exchanging power from father to son. As seen above, one of the most memorable scenes in the gangster film was actually shot on the NJ Turnpike.

Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

Filmed in: Rahway and Atlantic City.

A remake of the Ocean’s 11 from 1960, the film stars George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Julia Roberts. George Clooney gathers and leads a group of professional criminals in a plan to break into a casino in the hopes of stealing millions in hard cash. Despite the movie being set in Las Vegas, a lot of the scenes were filmed in Atlantic City, NJ. The film was hugely successful and was followed by two sequels, Ocean’s Twelve and Ocean’s Thirteen.

School of Rock (2004)

Filmed in: Edison, Rahway, and Franklin Lakes.

Jack Black stars in this heart-warming comedy about a substitute teacher who loves rock and roll – and inspires children to do the same. In the age of garage rock revival bands of 2000s, Jack Black’s character is yet another member in his failed rock band. When his musical career does not take off the way he expects, he attempts to pay the bills by working as a substitute teacher. Instead of sticking to the designated curriculum, he soon starts to teach the children music and ultimately enters them into a local “battle of the bands” competition. The movie is mostly shot in North Jersey, with scenes from Edison, Rahway, and Franklin Lakes.

War of the Worlds (2005)

Filmed in: Bayonne, Howell, Newark, and Elizabeth.

War of the Worlds, directed by Steven Spielberg, involves a desperate father’s attempt to connect with his children during an alien invasion (talk about bad timing). Tom Cruise plays the character of Ray Ferrier, a father of two living in Bayonne, NJ. The Bayonne Bridge that connects New Jersey to Staten Island can be seen in many shots in the film, including in the trailer above. Furthermore, the first encounter with aliens in the film takes place in the nearby city of Newark, NJ as well.

The Wrestler (2008)

Filmed in: Carlstadt, Asbury Park, Linden, Roselle Park, Garfield, Hasbrouck Heights, Clifton, Hazlet, Rahway, Bayonne, Elizabeth, and Dover.

Mickey Rourke plays Randy “The Ram” Robinson, an aging wannabe pro-wrestler. After coming to the realization that he is way past his prime, he decides to focus on the more important things in his life, like mending his relationship with his daughter that he abandoned in childhood. Iconic scenes like the final wrestling match was filmed in the The Baker Theater in Dover, NJ. Additionally, the strip club where Randy’s love interest, Cassidy works is located in Linden, NJ. A majority of scenes in the sports drama were filmed in familiar New Jersey towns like Clifton, Rahway, and Roselle Park, to name a few.

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