Three-time New York City Mayor (1978-1989) Ed Koch was combative, funny, and blunt. He was also intensely private. ‘Koch’ gives us a contemporary history of the world’s greatest city, and an intimate portrait of the 86-year old former mayor, as he confronts his own mortality and legacy. The film examines issues still relevant today – race, homelessness, AIDS, and gay rights – and gives us a window into the trials and tribulations of the nation’s most famous mayor in the world’s most wondrous city.









Film information

Genre: , ,
Starring: , , , , , , , , , , ,
Release date: Feb 1, 2013
Official website:
Runtime: 100 min
Movie Reviews:
  • 88
    New York Post - by Lou Lumenick
    Koch ends with the former mayor showing off a typically flamboyant gesture that embodies his contradictions - choosing to be buried in a Christian cemetery in his beloved Manhattan, complete with an already erected tombstone proclaiming his Jewish identity. ...

  • 80
    Los Angeles Times - by Betsy Sharkey
    Barsky does a good job of taking all the complexity of such a major personality and the times in which he flourished and boiling it down to the essentials. ...

  • 75
    Boston Globe - by Mark Feeney
    The documentary nicely mixes vintage news footage and photographs, talking-head interviews with journalists and Koch associates, and lots (and lots) of Koch. more

  • 75
    Movie Nation - by Roger Moore
    The film reminds us that as amusing as he could be, he wasn’t the dazzling wit history packaged him as. “Relevant” is how he wanted to be remembered. And before he died, he got a filmmaker to remind us of exactly that. more

  • 75
    NPR - by Stephanie Zacharek
    Neil Barsky's documentary Koch captures the essence of this very big personality - though if the film were even two minutes longer, it might constitute Koch overload. Luckily, Barsky knows when enough is enough, even if his subject doesn't. more

  • 70
    Village Voice - by Nick Schager
    It's an effective primer on a voluble and charismatic mayor who embodied the spirit of the city he loved. more

  • 67
    Austin Chronicle - by Kimberley Jones
    The former mayor is an alert onscreen presence, but the film surrounding him is not always so lively. more

  • 63
    Slant Magazine - by
    Neil Barsky is aware of how a great and terribly troubling person can reside in the same body, but his occasional eagerness to appoint himself as his subject's latest press agent is dubious. more

  • 60
    Variety - by Ronnie Scheib
    Barsky wisely includes just enough dissenting voices and admissions of grievous error by Koch himself to prevent the picture from seeming like a 100% feel-good puff piece. ...

  • 60
    The New York Times - by A.O. Scott
    Like Walt Whitman, another hard-to-classify embodiment of the spirit of New York, he is contradictory and multitudinous. The hour and a half Mr. Barsky provides might be enough time for a lesser figure. Mr. Koch...needs more. ...

  • 60
    New York Daily News - by Joe Neumaier
    The politician who almost pathologically asked the question "How'm I doin'?" clearly never needed a view outside his own. Which is as New York as it gets. more

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User Comments & Reviews

  1. Liana Shimunova

    It is a excellent documentary that presents an honest human portrait of the iconic larger-than-life one-time New York mayor who came to symbolize his great city. While the recently-deceased Ed Koch cooperated and was extensively interviewed in 2010 for the film, it is neither hagiography or a political hit piece. It is fair-minded and shows Koch as a politician who had great successes and great failures.