You no longer have to dread Mondays. The first day of the week is getting a jolt this month as the HBO Bryant Park Summer festival kicks off.
It’s the quintessential date night, even for the jaded New Yorker. Where else can you sip wine between giant skyscrapers and feel the grass under your bare feet.
But before you rush off to impress your date with this “spontaneous” plan, this is a date you need to plan well in advance or you will never get inside. This is New York after all and the HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival isn’t exactly New York’s best-kept secret.
The HBO Bryant Park movies start every Monday at sunset – between 8pm and 9pm – but don’t plan on strolling into this outdoor theater at the last minute. If you want to get a good seat or enough space for a blanket, you need to arrive right at 5pm when the lawn opens.
All bags are searched before you enter the lawn, and security is tight on certain items. Chairs and any sort of plastic tarps are not allowed in the park but you can pack a blanket and food. Although normal park policy prohibits alcohol, you will likely see people drinking wine out of plastic cups. It doesn’t appear that security enforces this rule for the Monday night movies.
Here is a rundown of the movies you will see this summer at the HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival.
Monday, June 18—Psycho (1960)
Starring: Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, John Gavin
This famous psychological thriller by Alfred Hitchcock centers on the mysterious murders that take place in the Bates Motel. The film begins with a young woman, Marion Crane, stealing $40,000 from her boss and hitting the highway. She lands at a roadside motel on her escape route where she meets the owner, Norman Bates who says he is living in a nearby house with his mother. The suspense begins later that night when Marion is murdered in the shower at her motel. Shortly after, her friends and family come looking for her and an investigation is launched.The findings reveal some rather twisted and psychotic truths about the strange proprietors of the Bates Motel.
Monday, June 22—Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
Starring: Paul Newman, Robert Redford
A band of bank robbers known as the Hole in the Wall Gang embark on a series of adventures throughout the American west. After a failed robbery, Butch Cassidy, his sidekick Sundance, and Sundance’s lover Etta Place take off with the law on their trail. The gang goes on a gunpowder-filled adventure that brings them all the way to New York and Spain. Butch, Sundance, and Etta take part in an action-packed romp as they evade the law time and time again.
Monday, July 9—Wizard of Oz (1939)
Starring: Judy Garland
The well-known story of Dorothy is “not in Kansas anymore”… it’s in Bryant Park! Filled with memorable songs, this musical is fun and family friendly. It follows the journey of Dorothy throughout the magical land of Oz where she awakes after a tornado in her native Kansas drops her house there. Accompanied by fantastical characters like the Lion, the Tin Man, and the Scarecrow, Dorothy seeks the Wizard of Oz to help her find her way home to Kansas.Dorothy’s path to the Wizard is constantly disturbed by the Wicked Witch of the West, who is out to get Dorothy after Dorothy’s house landed on her sister, the Wicked Witch of the East.
Monday, July 9—On the Water Front (1954)
Starring: Marlon Brando
On the Water is a crime drama focused on the corruption of the unions on the docks of Hoboken, New Jersey that won eight Academy Awards including Best Picture. It follows the involvement of Terry Malloy with the local mob that controls the unions. Terry Malloy, a once-great boxer, becomes wrapped up in the illegal activities of the mob boss, Johnny Friendly. Terry is faced with a moral dilemma when he has to choose to either testify against Johnny Friendly or continue a life of crime.
Monday, July 16—Roman Holiday (1953)
Starring: Audrey Hepburn
Audrey Hepburn stars as Princess Ann in this romantic comedy about a princess who falls for an American journalist abroad. Ann, who is fed up with her demanding life as royalty, escapes from her aides one night on a press tour in Rome. She is found sleeping by Joe Bradley, a reporter covering the Princess’ appearance. He fails to recognize who she is and she eludes him with a fake name. They spend time getting to know one another and seeing sights around the city. Meanwhile, government agents are busy tracking down the missing princess.Eventually Princess Anne is faced with having to return to her old life and Joe must decide whether or not to publish his stories about the princess.
Monday, July 23—The Maltese Falcon (1941)
Starring: Humphrey Bogart
The Maltese Falcon pioneered film noir in American cinema as the first large film of this genre. It is considered a part of the film noir movement because it is a dark, cynical crime drama. It is highly stylized in gripping black and white fashion. The film follows the dramatic world of private investigator Sam Spade as he is approached by mysterious clients who propel him in to a multilayered world of murder and corruption. One of his clients offers him a great sum of money to find a black figure that resembles a bird. Spade finds himself entangled in a knot of accusation and lies as he searches for the bird.
Monday, July 30—Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
Starring: James Dean
The icon ic James Dean plays Jim Stark, a wayward teenager, who has just recently moved to Los Angeles with his parents. Jim finds himself at odds with his parents who he cannot relate to on any level. He ends up on the bad side of some local thugs who threaten him and his friend nicknamed Plato throughout the film. Eventually he must confront the thugs and the police despite the attempts of his parents to control him. The tragic film portrays the disenchanting truth of an increasingly defiant youth.
Monday, August 6—The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
Starring: Errol Flynn
Robin Hood and his men are famously stealing from the rich and giving to the poor in this 1938 rendition of the well-known tale. Robin Hood, an earl who lost his title when the good King Richard the Lionhearted was taken captive, must reside in Sherwood Forest and live as a wanted man. He forms a band of men who harass the unpopular Prince John. Prince John retaliates and tries to capture Robin Hood, who eventually succeeds in winning back his title and the heart of Maid Marian.
Monday, August 13—All About Eve (1950)
Starring: Bette Davis, Anne Baxter
Academy Award winner for Best Picture, All About Eve follows the competitive life of a Broadway star, Margo Channing (Davis) who must face the uncertainty of her older age interfering with her career as a performer. Things become complicated when Margo meets a young fan, Eve Harrington, who is a struggling young widow. Margo generously helps Eve by giving her a job and a place to stay. A struggle ensues as Eve slowly manipulates the people around her to climb to the top of the Broadway ladder, even at Margo’s expense.
Monday, August 20—Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Starring: Harrison Ford
This Steven Spielberg classic is an action-packed adventure film about adventures of Indiana Jones. Jones, a highly capable archaeologist is sent on a mission on behalf of the US Government to locate the Ark of the Covenant before it falls in to hands of the Nazis. He must travel to Egypt to search for the legendary Ark, which could make the Nazi army invincible.
Bryant Park is located in midtown Manhattan between 40th & 42nd streets and 5th and 6th avenues. The subway is your best bet with several lines offering access to the park. The B, D, F, or M to Bryant Park or the 7 to 5th Avenue will all get you there no problem.