NEW YORK (WABC) -- The New York Film Festival been called one of the biggest and best events of the fall here in the city, one of the highlights of the cultural calendar.
And this year, the variety of the offerings is stunning.
Different perspectives come from all over the world, including documentaries and dramas, retrospectives, even a "River of No Return" starring Marilyn Monroe.
Passion projects and prestige pictures compete for the attention at the 55th annual New York Film Festival. Opening night at Lincoln Center was dedicated to "Last Flag Flying," and the event had special meaning for one of the stars of the movie, Lawrence Fishburne.
"To be in New York City where I grew up, where I was raised, where I started my career as an actor, here in this place where I graduated high school and all this stuff, I mean it's very, very special for me," he said.
Bryan Cranston, who lived in New York City during the 80s, still keeps an apartment in Manhattan.
"Being a part of The New York Film Festival is an honor, because there's a big hurdle not just to qualify for, but be accepted."
In "Last Flag Flying," Cranston plays Sal, a fast talking guy from Queens who reunites with two other veterans played by Fishburne and Steve Carell. The men are on a mission of mercy to bury the son of Carell's character after the young man was killed in Iraq. Newcomer J. Quinton Johnson -- the soldier assigned to them -- tells them, "You're there for your brothers. That's all that really matters."
For Johnson, the chance to act with the three stars was priceless.
"I'm holding the ball, and I just don't want to drop it," he said. "You know what I mean? You've been passed the ball, and there's three seconds left on the clock, and you've got to shoot it."
The new movie was well received, but NYFF audiences are famous for being frank.
"They will tell you immediately if they don't like something," Cranston said. "They won't hold back, as you well know."
'Last Flag Flying' kicks off New York Film Festival