4 Movies and Shows Filmed in Schenectady, NY

This winter, while you’re curled up in your cozy Schenectady home waiting for spring to come, it may be a good time to start a movie series. No, not Harry Potter or Star Wars—we’re talking about a series of movies that were filmed in and around the Electric City.


The Way We Were (1973)

In this Academy Award–winner set around the time of World War II, co-stars Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford meet at Wentworth College, a fictional school that looks an awful lot like our very own Union College! In addition to shooting at Union, film crews also shot scenes in nearby Ballston Spa.


The Time Machine (2002)

Though it didn’t turn out to be a blockbuster, The Time Machine, an adaptation of an 1895 novel of the same name by H. G. Wells, is worth the watch for at least one reason: Scenes were filmed in Schenectady’s Central Park, plus the Saratoga Spa State Park and Troy. (Afterwards, watch the 1960 adaptation of the movie—it’s better anyways.)


Synecdoche, New York (2008)

Unlike in The Way We Were, scenes filmed in Schenectady for Synecdoche, New York are actually set in Schenectady in the movie. (And, yes, the film’s title is a play on the city in which it’s set.) In the flick, the late Philip Seymour Hoffman plays an ailing theater director set on creating his magnum opus. Though the movie polarized critics, it’s now considered one of the greatest films of the 21st century.


The Place Beyond the Pines (2012)

Another set-and-filmed-in-Schenectady movie that was met with critical acclaim is The Place Beyond the Pines, which stars Hollywood bigwigs Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes and Ray Liotta. Filming locations included Ellis Hospital, Vale Cemetery and other recognizable Electric City locales, and some of the cast spent time with real Schenectady police officers to learn about their roles. The name of the film comes from the Iroquois translation of Schenectady.