Motion Picture Museum - Long Island Film History

Long Island has been an integral part of the movie industry since the days of silent pictures. In the movie Return of the Sheik, Rudolph Valentino blazed across the desert sands, not of the Sierra, but in Montauk. Long Island has provided hundreds of locations for movies up to present day. Film classics, such as the Godfather, North by Northwest, Annie Hall, feature scenes filmed on Long Island.

According to film historian Thomas Santorelli, Vitagraph Studios opened a branch studio in Bayshore in 1915. The studio produced one to five reeler comedies, historical dramas, and romance films until it was bought by Warner Brothers in 1925.

In 1920, Astoria Studios opened and became home to over 120 silent and sound films under Paramount Pictures. After a brief lull, the studio was revived in 1980 to become one of the largest film and television production centers on the east coast.

Not only is the feature film industry alive and well on Long Island, but independent films and videos are flourishing as well. The vibrant independent film industry has grown so much that Long Island hosts three major film festivals. Additionally, two major film arts organizations provide independent filmmakers with networks of talent, resources and locations.

Long Island also supports the flourishing New York City film production market. The movie industry pours millions of dollars into Long Island's local economy. Long Island has also become home, part and full time, to many movie stars, directors, producers and writers. The Hamptons on eastern end of Long Island is well known throughout the movie industry and is considered "Beverly Hills East."