Best Small Apartments from the Silver Screen

Best Small Apartments from the Silver Screen

Sarah Coffey
Apr 6, 2010

Is it just us, or is it easier to find small apartments in mid-century film classics than it is to find them in movies today? Maybe it's because these films date back to a time when the average American home was under 1,000 square feet.

  1. Une femme est une femme: We could choose almost any Godard movie to add to this list, but this one (translated as A Woman is a Woman) has a very humble studio, and a great scene where Jean-Claude Brialy rides his bike around the apartment.
  2. Breakfast at Tiffany's: Bathtub furniture, crowded cocktail parties, and romantic fire escapes. What more could you want?
  3. Roman Holiday: In the film, Gregory Peck's tiny studio was only big enough for a twin bed, which made for some 50s style (i.e. repressed) sexual tension with Audrey Hepburn.
  4. Rear Window: The small size of Jimmy Stewart's apartment didn't stop Grace Kelly from wanting to shack up with him in this Hitchcock thriller.
  5. Rear Window (again): We had to include this film twice, thanks to the "composer's studio" across the courtyard from Jimmy Stewart's apartment. The grand piano and the greenhouse windows are amazing.
  6. Miracle on 34th Street: Maureen O'Hara's apartment is so small that her daughter (played by a young Natalie Wood) asks Santa for a real house.
  7. Annie Hall: Many of Woody Allen's films feature one-bedroom Manhattan apartments, but our favorite has always been Annie Hall's small space, with her black and white family photographs and tiny balcony.
  8. Lolita: Okay, so the apartments in this movie are creepier than they are covetable, but we included the film for the reason that the scale and orderliness of the interiors reflect the characters' internal states. At the beginning of the film, Humbert Humbert is a neat freak living in a rented room, but by the end of the movie, he's losing his mind in Clare Quilty's messy mansion.
  9. The Apartment: When we watched this Billy Wilder film, we were struck by the weird mixture of depression and quirky humor. This strange mood is reflected in the apartment's furnishings, which don't completely go together, but are interesting all the same.
  10. Jules et Jim: This classic film by François Truffaut includes a mountain cabin that's not an apartment, but a small space nonetheless. The interior is a hodge-podge of styles that seems like it could as easily exist today as 100 years ago.

This list is just a beginning. Add your own favorites in the comments below!

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Photos: IMDB

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