A List of Films Shot In and Around Buffalo Niagara

by Max Fisher

Besides the upcoming “Nightmare Alley”, B-Lo has a lot more Hollywood magic up it’s sleeve

In the last few years, Buffalo has become a go-to setting for both small and big-budget films, and more and more prestigious pictures will be shot in the city after Nightmare Alley wraps. So with Buffalo’s future in the movies looking brighter than ever, it’s an appropriate time to highlight some of the films in Buffalo’s past.

The since demolished War Memorial Stadium where this scene takes place doubled as The New York Knights Field in the 1984 baseball classic, The Natural

The Natural

The 1984 Baseball classic The Natural starring Robert Redford was shot in the city during the summer of ’83. Most of the city’s locations were used to replicate places in Chicago or New York. Like the Buffalo Central Terminal (located at The Memorial at Paderewski Drive), doubling as the Chicago Train Station, or The War Memorial Stadium (located at 285 Dodge Street) doubling as The New York Knights Field.

The famously dark, quirky, weird and off-putting Buffalo ’66 was not shot in Buffalo. Just kidding

Buffalo ’66

Buffalo ’66 starring, written, directed, and composed by Buffalo’s very own Vincent Gallo, was of course shot in Buffalo. Gallo’s story of emotionally damaged loner Billy Brown took advantage of Buffalo locales, even though most of the ones in the film are long gone, such as Caffé Lococo (which was located on 369 Washington Street) and a Bowling Alley (which was located at 2426 South Park Avenue.)

It may not have actually been shot here, but ostensibly Bruce Almighty takes place in and around Buffalo

Bruce Almighty

The 2003 Jim Carrey vehicle Bruce Almighty, where God gives a struggling TV presenter his powers and hijinks ensue, mentions Buffalo by name at the very beginning and in actuality, Buffalo & Niagara Falls are only seen briefly, captured by a Second Unit team. All other locales are Hollywood backlots or shot in other cities like Los Angles and San Diego (sometimes movie magic is just another word for deception).  

Maybe the all-time greatest hockey film Slap Shot was not shot in Buffalo, but around central and western New York. So it’s more of an honorable mention

Slap Shot

1977 hockey cult classic Slap Shot where Paul Newman’s commitment to playing minor league hockey coach Reggie Dunlop famously left him unable to stop himself from continuously swearing after the film wrapped (that’s method acting for you). It was shot primarily around Pennsylvania, but the scene where the Hanson Brothers charge into the stands to attack a fan and are subsequently arrested was shot at the Upstate Medical University Arena at Onondaga County War Memorial, which is located in Syracuse. It’s not directly related to Buffalo, but it’s close enough to be mentioned, plus the arena was registered in the National Register of Historic Places in 1988, so it’s worth highlighting.

Marilyn Monroe starred in the 1953 blockbuster, Niagara. Which took place in – you guessed it, Niagara Falls

Niagara

The 1953 Technicolor noir picture Niagara, starring Marilyn Monroe and Joseph Cotton, where a murder plot drives the film, was shot in Niagara Falls on location (which was still a rarity for the time.) Sadly, all the places the movie was shot in were either created for the picture or no longer there. Regardless, it’s a treat to find such a permanent screen presence as Marilyn Monroe starring in a film set in the Buffalo Niagara area.

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Hopefully, this list has shown or refreshed your memory to the fact that Buffalo is no stranger to the big screen, and with more significant projects currently, and in its future, the city won’t be far from the limelight. I, for one, think that’s incredibly exciting!