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Hollywood Heads to the Capital Region: Ten Movies Filmed in the Capital Region

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Ten Movies Filmed in Albany & the Capital Region

Classics Old and New Filmed in the Area over the Years

The Capital Region has always been a favorable backdrop for Hollywood. We’ve been used for our forests, long stretches of road for chase scenes, and prominent architecture for schools and official buildings. From classics to comedies, we’re continuing to provide for and host celebrity guests, whether that means lending a backyard for production crew meals or taking a detour from the closed roads. And it doesn’t hurt to try and sneak a peek at the pretty people without leaving our own state! Here are ten movies filmed in Albany & the Capital Region.

Salt (2010)

SaltNothing makes local filming more well-known than road closures! I certainly remember the inconvenience when I-787 in Albany was closed for the filming of a chase scene in Salt. The movie, directed by Phillip Noyce and starring Angelina Jolie and Liev Schreiber follows the story of Evelyn Salt (Jolie), a CIA agent accused of being a Russian spy.

The Way We Were (1973)

With Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford, this drama combines a desperate romance and conflicting politics into what is now a timeless story. It was written by Arthur Laurents, directed by Sydney Pollack, and won an Oscar for its original music score from Marvin Hamlisch. It’s film locations include Ballston Spa and Union College in Schenectady.

The Other Guys (2010)

This hilarious and ridiculous comedy, directed by Adam McKay, stars an amusingly stoic Mark Wahlberg and spineless Will Ferrell as detectives in the NYC police department. The incompatible partners battle corruption in the city while trying to repair their wounded reputations and take the place of their idols. Most of the movie was filmed in the actual city, but Albany was used for the chase scenes.

War of the Worlds (2005)

Another H.G. Wells classic, remade! With Tom Cruise, Tim Robbins, and Dakota Fanning and directed by the one and only Steven Spielberg, the movie is about an alien uprising on Earth. Parts of this were filmed in Athens, which is a bit south of the Capital Region but it was such a notable film that residents consider it anyway.

Ironweed (1987)

IronweedThis film has a lot of heavy backstory, which is probably why it has such a bad reputation. But I figured it was worth including since residents of Albany got to host Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep. Ironweed was directed by Hector Babenco and while the ratings weren’t all bad, it’s certainly not the most popular movie filmed around here. Still worth a watch!

The Time Machine (2002)

A remake of the 1960 film adaptation of H.G. Wells’ science fiction novel, parts of this movie were filmed in many Capital District cities, including Albany, Schenectady, Troy, and Saratoga Springs. An inventor travels forward in time and is forced to deal with warring peoples. It is directed by Simon Wells and stars Guy Pearce, Yancey Arias, and Jeremy Irons.

Ghost Story (1981)

Ghost StoryFilmed in Albany and Saratoga Springs, this thriller is about a group of four elderly friends brought back to their hometown by a funeral. It stars Fred Astaire, Melvyn Douglas, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Alice Krige, and Patricia Neal. Even horror movies have their place in the area!

Scent Of A Woman (1992)

This one was filmed at the Emma Willard School in Troy and stars Al Pacino. In Scent Of A Woman, a preparatory school boy learns a lot about life and love from a blind veteran he agrees to look after for some extra cash.

The Emperor’s Club (2002)

While I watched Dead Poets Society instead, my peers watched this movie in high school English class. Starring Kevin Kline and Emile Hirsch, it’s the inspirational story of a teacher-student bond that changes the lives of both. It was filmed in Troy and at the Emma Willard School and was directed by Michael Hoffman.

Seabiscuit (2003)

This movie tells the true story of a runt horse that inspires a Depression-ravaged country through his victories on the track. The film features big names such as Tobey Maguire, William H. Macy, and Jeff Bridges. Gary Ross directs this screenplay of Laura Hillenbrand’s book, Seabiscuit: An American Legend. It was partially filmed at the Saratoga Racetrack in Saratoga Springs.

Honorable Mention:

Ryan Gosling & Eva Mendes at the Dairy CircusThe Place Beyond the Pines (2013)

Ryan Gosling was in Stewart’s!” “Eva Mendes was at the Blue Ribbon Diner!” “I met Ray Liotta. He was cool.” “I can’t believe I missed Ryan!” This pretty much sums up any conversation or Tweets I’ve heard in the past three months, because this picture has been filming in the region most recently. Director Derek Cianfrance’s Blue Valentine was independent film genius, so I’m expecting great things this time around. The movie follows the sacrifices of a motorcycle stunt rider trying to provide for his family. And there are so many stars: Gosling, Mendes, Liotta, Rose Byrne, and Bradley Cooper. Filming occurred at the First National Bank of Scotia on Mohawk Ave, Dairy Circus, and on Ridge Road in Glenville.

Kate Smith is an Assistant Editor for The Free George.

The Free George is the online magazine and visitors’ guide of Upstate NY, covering things from Albany to Lake Placid, including Saratoga, the Lake George region and the Adirondacks. Check out our City Blogs section for our extended coverage areas as well.

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