Shakespeare Avenue Stairs

Movie Joker Todd Phillips (2019)
An instant classic and a true cultural phenomenon, Joker was a cinematic shock. A dark film, carried by the inhabited performance of a Joaquin Phoenix at the top of his art, whose story transits several times at the level of stairs since become famous.
Escaliers au 1163 Shakespeare Avenue
Escaliers au 1163 Shakespeare Avenue - Crédit : Fantrippers

“I used to think my life was nothing but a tragedy, but now, now I realize it’s all just a fucking comedy.”

Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix)

Once upon a time, the Bronx… Once considered uninviting, this tumultuous Manhattan neighbor, one of New York’s most feared boroughs in the 1930s through the 1980s, has since redeemed itself. The stairs, where Joker fans now flock to re-enact the famous choreography that the character performs to Gary Glitter’s Rock and Roll Part 2, have become a popular tourist spot, sometimes to the chagrin of the locals. Some people have even campaigned to charge for the right to photograph themselves on site. The song has caused controversy, because of the accusations of pedophilia that the British singer, now behind bars, was subject. Initially, Todd Phillips intended to exploit other staircases, also located in the Bronx, where American Gangster was shot.
Once there, it was obvious that the renovations done on the site had totally erased its authenticity. The team then took possession of the steps of Shakespeare Avenue, not without difficulty. During the shooting, many children of the neighborhood and some paparazzi rushed into the apartments overlooking the stairs to shout but also insult Joaquin Phoenix. The actor had to use all his skills to keep his head down and stay focused on his descent, making sure he didn’t fall. His masterful performance made this scene legendary as the Joker.

A true apology for violence for some, a subversive masterpiece for others, Jokerdelivers its own interpretation of the origins of one of the most emblematic villains of DC Comics. Reminiscent of Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver, and certainly subversive, the film grossed more than a billion dollars at the global box office. It also won the Golden Lion at the 2019 Venice Film Festival, while the Golden Globes and the 2020 Oscars crowned Joaquin Phoenix’s performance as well as the score by composer Hildur Guðnadóttir.


The famous “Joker Stairs” have 132 steps.

Staircase scene in Joker
Staircase scene in Joker – Credit: Warner Bros.

1163 Shakespeare Ave

Surrounded by tall buildings dating from the 1920s, the stairs at 1163 Shakespeare Avenue connect it to Anderson Avenue.

It costs about $1,775 a month to live in a two-room, 47m2 apartment in one of the buildings surrounding the steps. The sharp decline in crime since the 1930s has given the neighborhood a new lease on life. New Yorkers who once deserted the area were able to rediscover the surroundings and move into the cheap apartments close to the coveted island of Manhattan. Some residents now lament the new popularity of the staircase since the release of Joker.

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Cult! movies: 100 mythical places of cinema [French Edition]

Since the dawn of cinema, films have invaded the world and highlighted sometimes unexpected places. Every film location has its secrets. The latter are sometimes as exciting as the feature films themselves.

Did you know that the cemetery where the final duel of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly was built from scratch and that no body lies there? Or that the bus ofInto The Wild has been moved to discourage fans from spending the night there? From the story of the construction of The Bridge on the River Kwai to the incredible encounter during the shooting of the last scene ofIndiana Jones and the Last Crusadeembark on an exciting world tour with the greatest stars of the seventh art. Shiver in the real haunted house ofAmityville and discover the terrifying anecdotes of the making ofApocalypse Now in the Philippines. Visit the building of Blade Runner before stopping at Hogwarts and finally landing in Jurassic Parkin the middle of the Hawaiian archipelago. What if we also took you behind the scenes of the making of the Hobbits’ village of Lord of the Rings ?

Produced by a team of pop-culture specialists and enhanced by numerous anecdotes, Cult! movies tells the secrets of the places that made the history of cinema.

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By Damien Duarte

Friday, January 21, 2022

Passionné par la culture pop depuis son enfance, ses références vont de Donald Duck à Batman en passant par Marty McFly. Fantripper dans l'âme, voyager sur les traces de Ghostbusters, James Bond ou des héros de romans comme Cotton Malone fait partie d'un séjour idéal et réussi !

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