The popular HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival returns for 2017 with a blockbuster schedule that includes Paul Newman in The Hustler, Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing and the Muppets Take Manhattan.
This is the 25th anniversary of the outdoor movie program, with a combination of first-time screenings and fan favorites from past years making an encore. All the films are either set in New York City, or include New York City as an important part of the plot.
Screenings are at dusk on Monday evenings, June 19 to August 21, on a giant screen near the Fountain Terrace at the Sixth Avenue side. The Lawn opens at 5PM for film fans to pick their favorite spot, either by claiming some of Bryant Park’s bistro tables and chairs, or via a picnic blanket on the lawn.
- Free and cheap events for NYC kids this summer
- SummerStage free outdoor concerts in NYC parks
- Today Show free outdoor concerts in Rockefeller Center
- Good Morning America free outdoor concerts in Central Park
Here’s the schedule for the HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival
Monday, June 19: King Kong
- Leading off is the greatest beauty and the beast movie of them all. This is the original 1933 version starring Fay Wray, and may be your only chance to watch it outdoors on the big screen, within view of the Empire State Building, which the great ape famously climbs in the climactic scene. King Kong was also on the schedule in the Festival’s inaugural year, in 1993
Monday, June 26: On the Town
- The Bronx is up and the Battery’s down as Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly and Jules Munshin play sailors singing and dancing and romancing their way through a 24-hour leave in NYC. The girls they meet up with are Ann Miller, Betty Garrett and Vera-Ellen. Last screened in 2002, and still one of the best of the Hollywood musicals ever made. Much of it was filmed on location here in NYC, a first for Hollywood musicals. The movie was actually an adaptation of a successful Broadway hit of the 1940s, which returned to Broadway again recently with new staging and choreography.
Monday, July 3: The Muppets Take Manhattan
- Kermit, Miss Piggy and the gang take their show to Broadway. With cameos by Art Carney, Linda Lavin, Joan Rivers, and the unstoppable Liza Minnelli.
Monday, July 10: Sabrina
- Audrey Hepburn thinks she loves wealthy playboy William Holden, but comes to her senses and winds up with his workaholic brother, Humphrey Bogart. it’s a charming romantic comedy starring a trio of Hollywood legends, and Hepburn looking spectacular, as always, in a Givenchy wardrobe. First screened in 1995.
Monday, July 17: Wall Street
- Michael Douglas stars as cut-throat corporate raider Gordon Gekko, who tries to demonstrate to protégé Bud, played by Charlie Sheen, that “greed is good.”
Monday, July 24: Pillow Talk.
- The best of the Rock Hudson-Doris Day romantic comedies. She’s an interior decorator, he’s a Broadway composer. They share a party line and sparks ensue, similar what happened in You’ve Got Mail, based on crossed wires from more recent technology. First screened in 2000.
Monday, July 31: The Hustler.
- Paul Newman is ‘Fast Eddie’ Felson and Jackie Gleason is Minnesota Fats in this dark and gritty peek into the world of big-time pool hustling. Also starring George C. Scott and Piper Laurie. Pool champion Willie Mosconi has a cameo appearance as Willie, who holds the stakes for Eddie and Fats’s games, and his hands appear in many of the closeup shots.
Monday, August 7: All That Jazz.
Bob Fosse’s phantasmagorical, semi-autobiographical musical-drama stars Roy Scheider as a director who recounts his life from the hospital bed after a heart attack. The title comes from one of the signature musical numbers in the play Chicago, which Fosse also directed and choreographed.
Monday, August 14: North by Northwest.
- Cary Grant plays an advertising executive mistaken by Russian spies as a U.S. intelligence agent in Hitchcock’s thoroughly entertaining thriller. Also starring Eva Marie Saint. If you don’t know the famous scenes of Grant running through an open field being chased by a low-flying plane, and Grant climbing the presidential faces of Mt. Rushmore, then you don’t know movies. First screened in 1994.
Monday, August 21: Dirty Dancing.
- You’ll have the time of your life watching the sexy dancing in this 1987 romantic drama. The action moves north to the Catskills as rich girl Frances “Baby” Houseman (Jennifer Grey) falls for a Catskills resort’s charismatic dance instructor (Patrick Swayze). This is the wonderful original that ABC mutilated with its cringeworthy made-for-TV remake, and which you should not waste your time or money renting or streaming when the marvelous original is available.
In addition to Bryant Park’s permanent food kiosks, there are additional new food and drink selections curated by Hester Street Fair available for sale at the Fountain Terrace. Participating vendors include Taiyaki NYC, Manousheh, Pokee NYC, Burger and Lobster, and Thaibird.
See you at the movies!
photo courtesy Bryant Park