‘American Hustle’ is director David O. Russell’s third consecutive film with an intensely character-driven narrative, following the success of ‘The Fighter’ and ‘Silver Linings Playbook.’ The crime film follows two con artists, Irving Rosenfeld and Sydney Prosser, who are forced into working for FBI Agent Richie DiMaso in his bid to take down other con artists, mobsters, and corrupt politicians. Christian Bale and Amy Adams star in the leading roles of Rosenfeld and Prosser in the 2013 film, alongside Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, and Jeremy Renner.
Set in the 1970s and 1980s, the historical black comedy film is advanced as a fictionalized version of the ABSCAM scandal and mostly relies on its use of soft lighting and props to give the audience a feel of that particular time period. The scenic backdrops and other locations keep the authenticity between the characters and the story intact, elevating the visual appeal of the film. Thus, it is natural for many to wonder whether the shooting took place on location or elsewhere. Let us take a look at where ‘American Hustle’ was filmed!
American Hustle Filming Locations
The filming of ‘American Hustle’ primarily took place in Massachusetts, specifically in Boston, Worcester, Natick, Woburn, Salem, Medford, Malden, Lynn, and Norwood. A few of the interior and exterior scenes were shot on location in New Jersey and New York City, but it does not exceed beyond a little “mood setting.” The principal photography began on March 18, 2013. Although filming was put on hold due to the Boston Marathon Bombing on April 15, 2013, ‘American Hustle’ managed to wrap up in time on May 19, 2013. Let’s take a closer look at the exact filming sites!
A significant portion of ‘American Hustle’ was filmed in several locations in Worcester, Massachusetts. Rosenfeld’s youth, where he is seen breaking glass windows in Brooklyn, was actually shot on 26 Millbury Street, Worcester. The scene in which Mayor Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner) is greeting his constituents was also captured on Millbury Street.
Another memorable scene in the movie in which Irving says to DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) that “people believe what they want to believe” and mentions that Rembrandt’s portrait of St Bartholomew is a fake to emphasize his point was filmed at the Worcester Art Museum. This particular scene caused not a small amount of controversy for the museum at the time of the film’s release, as people began to question the authenticity of the Rembrandt in real life.
At the beginning of the film, the hotel in which Rosenfeld and Prosser celebrate the success of their fake loan business is the famous Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel, situated at 138 St James Avenue, in Boston. Carmine’s ball, at which he introduces Rosenfeld to some parties interested in his “get-rich” plan, takes place in the lobby of the Wang Theatre, 270 Tremont Street, in Boston’s theatre district. Established in 1925, the theatre has been the home to artistic expressions in all forms for almost a century now and is also listed on the National Register for Historic Places. However, the scenes outside of the party venue were filmed in Worcester at Union Station.
Other Locations Used in Massachusetts
There are quite a few places in Massachusetts that were used as filming locations for either very small scenes, or to add to the 70s and 80s visual theme. This included Reliable Cleaners, located at 214 West Central Street at Wellesley Avenue, in Natick, whose old-school facade caught the eye of David O. Russell. Reliable Cleaners doubled up as Rosenfeld’s dry cleaning chain in ‘American Hustle’. In fact, two of the employees of the dry cleaning store even made it to the final cut as extras in the film.
37 Beltran Street in Malden served as Mayor Carmine’s house. Even the Essex Superior Courthouse and the Old Granite Courthouse in Salem made an appearance in some of the exterior scenes at the end, when the corrupt politicians are being rounded up by the F.B.I. And the suburban home in which Irving’s wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) lives, with its distinct 70s décor resplendent in gold and beige shades, is at 54 Doonan Street, Medford. At the film’s end, Irving, along with Sydney, picks up his adopted son Danny from school. This scene was filmed outside George I. Clapp School, 40 Hudson Street in Woburn. It is also where Irving sees his wife, Rosalyn, for the last time in the film.
— American Hustle (@AmericanHustle) November 30, 2013
New York City, New York
The final portion of the film’s production took place in New York City in New York. Though there are only a handful of scenes that were filmed in the city, they do an excellent job of adding to the sense of the time period which ‘American Hustle’ strives to capture. The Plaza Hotel on 5th Avenue is a famous location and the site for the first meeting between Irving Rosenfeld and Carmine Polito. More than a few films have been shot in and around the hotel, including ‘Ocean’s 8’, ‘Home Alone 2: Lost in New York’, and ‘The Fisher King’ among others.
— American Hustle (@AmericanHustle) April 9, 2014
Another well-known landmark in ‘American Hustle’ is the building in which Rosenfeld has his apartment – Manhattan House, at 200 East 66th Street, a lavish residential condominium on the Upper East Side. Some of the exterior shots were taken at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey as well.
Read More: Is American Hustle Based on a True Story?