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Philadelphia (1993)

PG-13  |   |  Drama  |  14 January 1994 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 167,951 users   Metascore: 66/100
Reviews: 253 user | 67 critic | 21 from

When a man with AIDS is fired by his law firm because of his condition, he hires a homophobic small time lawyer as the only willing advocate for a wrongful dismissal suit.



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Won 2 Oscars. Another 11 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Judge Tate
Buzz Kilman ...
Karen Finley ...
Dr. Gillman
Daniel Chapman ...
Clinic Storyteller
Mark Sorensen Jr. ...
Clinic Patient
Jeffrey Williamson ...
Charles Glenn ...
Kenneth Killcoyne
Ron Vawter ...
Bob Seidman
Rachel Smilow (as Stephanie Roth)
Lisa Talerico ...


Andrew Beckett, a gay lawyer infected with AIDS, is fired from his law firm in fear that they might contract AIDS from him. After Andrew is fired, in a last attempt for peace, he sues his former law firm with the help of a homophobic lawyer, Joe Miller. During the court battle, Miller sees that Beckett is no different than anyone else on the gritty streets of the city of brotherly love, sheds his homophobia and helps Beckett with his case before AIDS overcomes him. Written by Geoffrey A. Middleton {}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


No one would take on his case... until one man was willing to take on the system.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some graphic language and thematic material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

14 January 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

At Risk  »

Box Office


$26,000,000 (estimated)


£9,439,124 (UK) (20 May 1994)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Director Trademark: [Jonathan Demme]: Characters looking directly into the camera in extreme close-ups. This trademark is present in several scenes. See more »


The home video of older home movies at the end has sounds of the children playing baseball, at the beach, etc. Home movie cameras of that era didn't have sound. Sound cameras came out very shortly before camcorders became readily available. See more »


Belinda Conine: I hate this case.
See more »

Crazy Credits

"This motion picture was inspired in part by Geoffrey Bowers' AIDS discrimination lawsuit, the courage and love of the Angius family and the struggles of the many others who, along with their loved ones, have experienced discrimination because of AIDS." See more »


Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Jonah Hill/The Shins (2012) See more »


Agnus Dei
Composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performed by Barbara Hendricks
With Neville Marriner (as Sir Neville Marriner) Conducting The Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields Orchestra & Chorus
Courtesy of EMI Classics
under license from CEMA Special Markets
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Compelling, but over the top
22 April 2005 | by (Fairfax, Virginia) – See all my reviews

To me this movie is both a relevant and compelling story, as well as a model of overcompensation. I feel as though Philadelphia was trying desperately to show a touching, human side to the AIDS epidemic, but at the same time overly conscious of the lack of compassion much of middle America has for homosexual victims of AIDS. As a result, our protagonist Andrew Beckett is made to be a virtual superman. I would have had more respect for the film if they'd made him more like you and me. If he had been a bright, successful lawyer with friends, a loving family, and a serious relationship that would have made him someone we could really relate to. Instead, Andrew was a legal phenom, THE rising star, future senior partner, the future leader of the law firm. And in his personal life, he was the most popular person at his firm, beloved by all. More than that, he was the most popular member of his whole family, he was brilliant, affable, going straight to the top, simply AMAZING!!! Doesn't it seem like they tried too hard to get us on his side? To show the human story of AIDS, show us an actual person, not superman. That is problem with Philadelphia.

Having said that, Tom Hanks was fantastic, as usual. Denzel was also rock solid, his character basically representing all of us, the general public, the ones who don't empathize with gays because they either don't know any, or aren't conscious they know any, and fail to appreciate that they are real people and not merely stereotypes. His enlightenment with regards to this is one aspect of the movie I felt they came through on exceptionally.

Philadelphia was an important story to be told, for just like so many other human tragedies, for us the unaffected to be able to see just one example up close and personal, it carries so much more weight than all the news reports and statistics in the world. I hope it had some positive impact in creating compassion among the general public. I just wish the film makers hadn't felt it would be necessary to go to superhuman lengths to give us a character we could feel for.

38 of 52 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Just a bunch of question about some scenes I didn't understand badida_1995
Why didn't Andrew represent himself? braveulysses
Such an unnecessary ending. kaunte
Charles Wheeler and partners tom26x9
Sympathy for the antagonists agspiess
Why didn´t Miguel get Aids too? Angie0686
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