In the list of “Things to Do Before Commencement,” a popular and fairly easy (thanks to streaming) item to check off the list is: “Watch a Movie with Columbia in it.” In the spirit of #WeMissLow, here are some suggestions for your Columbia movie watching.
- The Classic: Ghostbusters (1984)
Some of the most frequently requested photographs in the University Archives collection are those taken during the production of Ghostbusters, starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, and Harold Ramis. While the campus is featured, Columbia is never mentioned by name (as part of the filming agreement). The production supposedly left its mark on campus as location fees helped get the South Lawn reseeded and maintained (or so the tour guides used to claim . . .). Ghostbusters II (2016) does include an establishing shot of Alma Mater and Low Library but they did not film on location
- Low Library in Disguise: The Post (2017)
It didn’t take much for the Low Library Rotunda to be transformed into the U.S. Supreme Court in the summer of 2017. Both neoclassical buildings are based on Roman temple forms but the most obvious change: The golden yellow curtains were temporarily replaced with regal red ones. Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks were also filmed on the steps of Low Library and green screens were placed to later add to the crowds featured in the movie.
- Double feature for the Low Library steps: Hitch (2005) and The Nanny Diaries (2007)
Will Smith trips on the way up the steps in Low Plaza and his life changes forever, while Scarlett Johansson sits by a Low Plaza fountain as she applies to Columbia’s graduate anthropology program.
- The Trilogy: Spiderman 1 (2002), 2 (2004) and 3 (2007)
Peter Parker walks into Low Library on his way to the ill-fated lab where he gets bitten by a radioactive spider. The Columbia campus is featured in all three films.
- Bonus: Simon (1980)
Never heard of this movie starring Alan Arkin? Not many people have. Here’s IMBD’s plot summary to give you an idea: “A group of scientists take Simon, a psychology professor, as a test person for a brainwash experiment. After that they try to convince him that he was a living-being from another planet.” Its claim to fame: during the film production, a helicopter landed on campus.