Outdoor Summer Movie Guide

  Last modified on August 6th, 2018

During the summer, NYC takes full advantage of its many parks and green spaces to host an endless amount of events and festivals. However, as soon as the sun goes down many New Yorker’s prefer to pack a picnic and watch a movie in the park. Two outdoor film festivals based in Riverside Park will be screening lots of exciting movies throughout the summer. From Hollywood action flicks to classic French cinema, our picks below offer something for everyone.

Nothing screams summer more than heading over to Riverside Park to enjoy a movie under the night sky. This year, Summer on the Hudson and Films on the Green will be playing films outdoors right after the sun sets by the Hudson River. Films on the Green is produced by the French Embassy with the mission of bringing classic and contemporary French cinema to New Yorkers while Summer on the Hudson focuses on mainstream Hollywood hits and alternative indies. The theme for this year’s festivals are are summer in Paris and audacity. Do we need say more?

JULY 6 – 8.30 PM: The Walk

Summer on the Hudson, Pier 1, Riverside Park South

Check out Summer on the Hudson 2017!


No other film fits this year’s theme of audacity better than The Walk starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the thrill-seeking Phillippe Petit. Petit was a French high-wire artist who recruited a team of people to help him realize his lifelong dream of crossing the World Trade Center Towers by walking on a tight rope from one end to the other. This is a film that will take you on an exhilarating ride from beginning to end as Petit and his team run into a series of obstacles before they can make his wild plan become a reality. The seating’s on a first-come, first-serve basis so make sure to get there early and grab a spot close to the screen so you can appreciate it’s striking special effects!

JULY 8 – 8.30 PM: April and the Extraordinary World

Films on the Green, Pier 1, Riverside Park


Directed by Christina Desmares and Franck Ekinci, April and the Extraordinary World is an animated French movie that debuted last year to rave reviews. The film is set in Paris during the 1940’s and the plot centers around a young girl named April who is left to fend for herself when her parents mysteriously disappear. She soon discovers that her parents were about to uncover a formula that would help people live longer and decides to continue working their unfinished project. The remainder of the film takes place ten years later and sees April living a lonely life as a teenager and becoming dangerously entangled in a web of conspiracy and lies. Voiced by Academy Award nominee Marion Cotillard, this film will be presented in partnership with the New York Intl Children’s Film Festival and will be shown in French with English subtitles. WHCS Hunter College Radio DJ will be blasting music from his stereo before the movie starts!


JULY 13 – 8.30 PM: Basquiat

Summer on the Hudson, Pier 1, Riverside Park


Basquiat is an indie film from 1996 that narrates the story behind the rise to fame of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. The film offers a fascinating look into the life of a man who possessed incredible talent and rose to stardom overnight after being discovered by Andy Warhol. Basquiat started out as a street artist living inside a cardboard box by Tompkins Square Park and became immersed in the art world at a very young age. The film depicts his complex character and the many ways in which he struggled to deal with his personal life as he navigated the downtown New York art scene of the 1980’s. Pack a picnic and bring a friend along to catch this moving film about an individual who changed the face of art forever. The fantastic cast includes the likes of Jeffrey Wright, Gary Oldman, Benicio Del Toro, and Parker Posey.

SEPT 8 – 7.30 PM: Girlhood

Films on the Green, Low Library (at 114th St), Columbia University


Films on the Green brings another riveting French film to American audiences with Girlhood. The film revolves around the life of Marieke, a teenaged girl who faces abuse at home and a lack of motivation for school. One unassuming day, she runs into a group of three free-spirited girls and trades her past life for a brand new one that offers promise and excitement. However, Marieke drops out of school, changes her style, and starts stealing to be accepted into the girl gang she’s befriended. With her home life falling apart, Marieke quickly runs out of options until she meets an older man with a tempting offer. This emotive coming-of-age story is a display of raw acting and is a phenomenal effort from director Celine Sciamma. Girlhood will be presented in partnership with Columbia Maision Francaise at Columbia University.

AUG 3 – 8.30 PM: The Royal Tenebaums 

Summer on the Hudson, Pier 1, Riverside Park


This quirky 2001 comedy by acclaimed director Wes Anderson displays the peculiar dynamic of a rather dysfunctional family. The Tenebaums siblings are former child prodigies who accomplished several milestones in their youth and became unstable adults due to a lack of support from their father. When the patriarch of the estranged family announces that he’s been diagnosed with a terminal illness, the Tenebuams are forced to reunite as secrets and lies come to the surface. The film’s star-studded cast includes Gwyneth Paltrow, Gene Hackman, Owen Wilson, and Anjelica Huston. Enjoy a beautiful summer night out as you laugh and cry in the company of The Royal Tenebaums.

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