Totally Useless Movie Trivia - New York, New York

New York, New York (1977)

PG | 2h 35min | Drama, Music, Musical | 21 June 1977 (USA)

An egotistical saxophonist and a young singer meet on V-J Day and embark upon a strained and rocky romance, even as their careers begin a long, up-hill climb.
Director: Martin Scorsese
Writers: Earl Mac Rauch (screenplay), Mardik Martin (screenplay) |
Stars: Liza Minnelli, Robert De Niro, Lionel Stander
10.  Martin Scorsese's drug addiction and lack of control over the dialogue was a contributor to the film's failure, according to Peter Biskind's book Easy Riders, Raging Bulls.

9.  The added "Happy Endings" musical fantasy cost an extra $350,000 to make.

8.  According to Steven Prince, Liza Minnelli became romantically involved with both Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese during filming.

7.  Jack Haley (the Tinman in The Wizard of Oz) and Liza's father-in-law at the time is the man next to her in the "Happy Endings" sequence when she is singing to the table full of men.

6.  The blonde woman observed by Robert De Niro dancing with the sailor under the subway tracks at night is Liza Minnelli in a wig.

5.  Much of the movie was shot on the same sound stages as the great musicals of the 1940s. As a result, Liza Minnelli was haunted by memories of her mother, Judy Garland, throughout the shoot.

4.  Liza Minnelli used her mother's (Judy Garland's) old dressing room, her mother's old hairdresser (Sydney Guilaroff) and worked on mother's old MGM sound stages during the filming of this. Additionally, during interviews she did her mother's famous "oh-uh, ah, ohs" with hand gestures.

3.  When Robert De Niro tries to book into a hotel, he uses the name of "Michael Powell".  Michael Powell had long been an influence on director Martin Scorsese.

2.  Steven Prince directed a scene himself when Martin Scorsese walked off the set after a dispute with Robert De Niro.

1.  The cast and crew enjoyed a private concert from the famous Soviet bard Vladimir Vysotsky, who was making his only trip to the United States.


Both Liza Minnelli and Martin Scorsese have said that virtually all of the dialogue in the film was improvised. This created later difficulty during the editing phase, as the director and editors struggled to create a streamlined narrative.

The film cost $14 million to make but only made $13.8 million at box office. The poor reception that the film received drove Martin Scorsese into depression.

Originally four and a half hours long. Director Martin Scorsese cut it to 153 minutes, then to 136 minutes. In 1981 some material (mainly the 'Happy Endings' sequence) was restored and the film became 163 minutes long.

Robert De Niro learned to play the saxophone for this film to make his performance look more authentic.

Although Robert De Niro did learn the basic technique of how to play the saxophone, the sax music on the soundtrack was dubbed in by cast member Georgie Auld. This movie introduces the song "New York, New York" that later became a pop music standard.

Producer Irwin Winkler said that during the filming of New York, New York, Robert De Niro would constantly be walking around with a copy of the book Raging Bull. Raging Bull became the next film that Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro made together. And Raging Bull was also produced by Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff, both of whom produced New York, New York.

The entire film was shot with a 32mm lens. Scorsese did this to equate the old 1946-53 style of framing.

Along with The King of Comedy (1982) and After Hours (1985), this is one of only three feature films directed by Martin Scorsese not to receive at least one Academy Award nomination.

Hollywood producer Julia Phillips has a silent bit part in the opening sequence, flirting with Robert De Niro in a nightclub. When the scene was finished she asked to keep her costume, (a black evening gown), and was put out when Scorsese made her write a check for it.

The nightclub that Robert DeNiro exits at the end of the film is the facade of The Harmonia Gardens that was built for Hello, Dolly!