Robert De Niro’s Cinematic Spell: Cincinnati Altered into 1950s New York for ‘Alto Knights

A view of Downtown Cincinnati from Mount Adams
A view of Downtown Cincinnati from Mount Adams. By EEJCC

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Capturing the Essence

A section of downtown Cincinnati underwent a remarkable metamorphosis, becoming a vivid portrayal of 1950s New York during the filming of “Alto Knights.” The cinematic journey unfolded in the Queen City late last year, with the iconic Arnold’s Bar and Grill stepping into the spotlight as a surrogate New York “hangout.”

The story

“Alto Knights” delves into the narrative of Vito Genovese and Frank Costello, influential figures in New York’s organized crime scene during the mid-20th century. De Niro takes on the challenge of a dual role, embodying both Genovese and Costello with his seasoned acting prowess.

The Director’s Chair

Robert De Niro’s foray into directing is well-established, with notable films like “A Bronx Tale” and “The Good Shepherd” under his belt. His collaborative efforts with director Barry Levinson on projects such as “The Wizard of Lies,” “What Just Happened,” “Wag the Dog,” and “Sleepers” further emphasize his multifaceted contributions to the film industry.


The choice of this city as the backdrop for “Alto Knights” highlights the city’s burgeoning significance in the film industry. Kristen Schlotman’s leadership at Film Cincinnati has played a pivotal role in attracting major motion pictures to the city. The Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit, introduced in 2009, sweetens the deal by offering a 30 percent refund on cast and crew wages for films produced in the state, contributing significantly to Cincinnati’s allure for filmmakers.

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