New York Film Locations

Breakfast at Tiffany’s Gets a Revisit

24 September 2023

Directed by Blake Edwards and written by George Axelrod, “Breakfast at Tiffany's” is over sixty-years old, and this month, the romantic comedy receives a revisit with sharper screenshots as well as up to date images for all of the film locations.

Alternative Movie Poster for Breakfast at Tiffany's

The film stared Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly, a naïve, eccentric café society girl who fell in love with a struggling writer. It was theatrically released by Paramount Pictures in October 1961, to critical and commercial success, and was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning two, with the music including ‘Moon River’ nominated for six Grammy Awards and winning five.

The Oscar-nominated screenplay was written by George Axelrod, loosely based on the novella by Truman Capote. Changes were made to fit the medium of cinema and to correspond to the filmmakers’ vision. Capote, who sold the film rights of his novella to Paramount Studios, wanted Marilyn Monroe to play Holly Golightly, whom he had described perfectly in the book. Screenwriter Axelrod was hired to tailor the screenplay for Monroe. When Lee Strasberg advised Monroe that playing a lady of the evening would be bad for her image, she turned it down and performed in “The Misfits” instead. When Hepburn was cast instead of Monroe, Capote remarked that Paramount had double-crossed him. Shirley MacLaine was also offered the part of Holly, but she turned it down and performed in “Two Loves” instead. Hepburn was hesitant to be cast in the film as her character would go against who she was. She relented when she gave it some more thought. Steve McQueen was offered the role of Paul Varjak, but declined the offer due to being under contract. Jack Lemmon was also approached but he was unavailable.

Filming began on Fifth Avenue outside the Tiffany & Co. flagship store in October 1960. Most of the exteriors were filmed in New York City, and all of the interiors, except for portions of the scene inside Tiffany & Company, were filmed on the Paramount Studios lot in Hollywood. According to one report, the film’s on-location opening sequence, in which Holly gazes into a Tiffany’s display window, was extremely difficult for director Blake Edwards to shoot. Although it was simple in concept, crowd control, Hepburn’s dislike of pastries, and an accident that nearly resulted in the electrocution of a crew member are all said to have made capturing the scene a challenge. However, another report claims that the sequence was captured rather quickly due to the good fortune of an unexpected traffic lull.


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