It’s always a bit of a jolt to flip through a photo album or an old high school yearbook and to come upon a picture of someone who’s gone, a beloved relative or a classmate who left before their time — it hits you fast, and, for just a moment, it hurts again, the force of that loss compressed into a single moment of grief. It’s not the exact same feeling, but there’s something like that moment when you watch a movie shot in New York between the 1970s and 2001, and that inevitable shot of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center appears. The towers appeared in literally hundreds of films, sometimes as background, sometimes very active in the onscreen action, but its eventual fate always makes it the foreground object when those films are viewed now. On the eve of this sad anniversary, a look at ten movies that make us miss the World Trade Center even more.
Construction of the Twin Towers began in 1968, and the buildings-in-progress can be glimpsed in several early ’70s films, including The French Connection, Klute, and The Hot Rock. But the film that made most use of the towers while under construction was Godspell, David Greene’s film adaptation of the hit biblical musical. Greene opened up the stage production, to say the very least — he took the entirety of New York City as the performance space, with numbers performed on the Brooklyn Bridge, in Central Park, at the Andrew Carnegie Mansion, and so on. “All For the Best” is all over the place: its locations include Times Square and the fountain at Lincoln Center, and the number is finished atop the almost-completed towers.