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Philadelphia (1993)

PG-13  |   |  Drama  |  14 January 1994 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 169,715 users   Metascore: 66/100
Reviews: 256 user | 67 critic | 21 from Metacritic.com

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 10 wins & 15 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 {gamidd01@morehead-st.edu}

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?


Reunites Mary Steenburgen and Jason Robards who also appeared in Melvin and Howard (1980) - also directed by Jonathan Demme and Parenthood (1989). See more »


Andrew Beckett is called as a trial witness late in the plaintiff's case. This is totally incorrect as he would have been called to testify first as the plaintiff. That establishes his case early and also tries to force the defendants to give in and settle. See more »


Joe Miller: The Federal Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination against otherwise qualified handicapped persons who are able to perform the duties required by their employment. Although the ruling did not address the specific issue of HIV and AIDS discrimination...
Andrew Beckett: Subsequent decisions have held that AIDS is protected as a handicap under law, not only because of the physical limitations it imposes, but because the prejudice surrounding AIDS exacts a social death which precede... ...
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 »


References One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) See more »


Laudate Dominum
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
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Unfortunately Misguided Criticism Should Not Stop Anyone From Seeing This Film
4 April 2002 | by (The Real World) – See all my reviews

This is the first review I've written on IMDB, but I shouldn't have to write one for a film of this caliber. It succeeds in everything it attempts to do and it bothers me when I read comments from gay readers that absolutely loathe this film. After thinking about it for a little bit, I think I've found the reason for why all the gay viewers hated this film: they're sick of the pity and the sympathy. I can understand that, and it is basically impossible to make a quasi-realistic film about gay rights and anti-homophobia without exhibiting some sympathy for the alienated gay population. I admit that I have little experience with gays, although I am acquainted with a few. They are on wonderful terms with their families (even though one homosexual writes here that families are NOT like that). I disagree with people who think that because their family is displeased with their sexual orientation, every gay person is estranged from their family. That is untrue. Another wrong comment I read was that the film gives viewers the impression that gays are the only ones that can get AIDS (and that the disease is always deadly). That is false, as well, since a portion of the movie deals with a woman who is an AIDS survivor and who contracted the disease in a blood transfusion. There are many other ways of getting AIDS, but it would be impossible for the film to identify every single way in order to be PC. The most powerful argument against this film seems to be that it is anti-homosexual propaganda in how it shows the relationship between Tom Hanks and Antonio Banderas. First of all, everyone is making a big deal that Hanks and Banderas do not kiss. Apparently, filmmakers cannot possibly show love between two people without having them kiss. It sounds to me that most disappointed gay readers were hoping to see gay pornography rather than a film about two homosexuals and the troubles they face when one of them contracts AIDS. They do not kiss, fine, but they dance, they talk to one another in such a way that I, a heterosexual man, envied the relationship they had. The first time we see Banderas is when he is racing to the hospital to see if Hanks is okay. I know if my girlfriend were in the hospital, I would probably look and act the exact same way that he does. I disturbs me that so many gay readers would rather see the two of them make out than display affection for one another in more powerful ways. Another argument I noticed more than once was that, aside from Hanks' character, the film portrays all gays as "pansies." Believe me, the critics here are far more stereotypical than this film is. One scene that comes to mind is when Denzel Washington is shopping in a grocery store and a college athlete approaches him to praise him for his work. Washington is gracious and it comes off as a surprise when the athlete starts to hit on him. I suppose that most gay viewers saw that message as something along the lines of "Gays are everywhere...watch out!" If that were the case, the film would have glorified Washington's character, but instead we feel sorry for liking Denzel. Why do we like him? Because too many of us are like him, just average people who want to take a few steps back every time a homosexual walks nearby. By presenting someone that we all can associate with and highlighting his flaws (which are, essentially, our own), maybe we can begin to change. As for the film, I find it hard to believe that anyone would rent this thinking that it is simply a courtroom drama. It is well-written, and well-acted. I mostly enjoyed some fabulous direction on Jonathan Demme's part. I remember, in particular, that when Hanks would recall when he was fired, his associates had the appearance of monsters. The camera would show them in a darker light, up-close, at an awkward angle. Many other viewers found this to be "cartoony," but they're forgetting that these scenes were not reality. They were simply memories, and although Hanks' character is a noble, honorable, unfortunately ill homosexual, he naturally feels angry towards his former employers. He's furious, even though he rarely lets out any of that fury directly. The only way we see these memories is through his distorted memories. Hanks is frustrated and furious with what happened and he cannot look at his former employers anymore without seeing monsters. In this way, the filmmakers build a connection between Hanks' character and the viewers, gay or not. This also helps the viewer sympathize for homosexuals and see how they are essentially no different than anyone else. I apologize. I am sorry that so many gays would rather remain alienated, would rather see Hanks and Banderas act in gay porn than a meaningful film. I am sorry that there is even one homosexual out there who are is alienated from their families that they have no one to really turn to. This film is not the most accurate portrayal of homosexuals, but is far from the worst. Do not even attempt to persuade me, that this film is nothing but worthless drivel, that it tries to alienate gays even more. It is as accurate as it has to be. If it were to go too far over the line, it would be too much for the average person to handle. Viewers have to remember that controversial topics like these have to be handled carefully, and it could not have been done better than in "Philadelphia." If all gay people are looking for is a depressing, uninventive, inaccurate P.O.S. that emphasizes homosexual kissing rather than acceptance and integration, then maybe they should remain alienated. Sorry.

20 of 24 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Just a bunch of question about some scenes I didn't understand badida_1995
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