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Philadelphia (1993)

PG-13 | | Drama | 14 January 1994 (USA)
When a man with HIV 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 & 16 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

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Storyline

Andrew Beckett, a gay, HIV positive lawyer, is fired from his law firm in fear that they might contract HIV 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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 January 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

At Risk  »

Box Office

Budget:

$26,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$77,324,422 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film's journey from script to screen was an extraordinarily rocky one. The script underwent over 25 major revisions, the film's rights were embroiled in bankruptcy proceedings, and the subject matter sparked some major protests. See more »

Goofs

While on the witness stand when Charles Wheeler responds to the question "are you gay?", by laughing and with, "How Dare you", he is demonstrating his prejudice against homosexuals. See more »

Quotes

Young Man in Pharmacy: How's the trial going?
Joe Miller: Excuse me?
Young Man in Pharmacy: It's a great case I saw you on TV I'm a law student at Penn State
Joe Miller: It's a good school Penn what year are you in?
Young Man in Pharmacy: Second, I just wanted to tell you this case is tremendously important I just wanted to let you know you're doing a fantastic job
Joe Miller: [gives him his business card and they shake hands] When you graduate you give me a call.
Young Man in Pharmacy: Thank you very much, would you like to have a drink with me? I just finished a game and could really use a beer
Joe Miller: No I can't my wife's ...
[...]
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 »

Connections

Referenced in Inside the Actors Studio: Episode #7.6 (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Philadelphia is about life, and making it matter.
14 February 2004 | by (Indianapolis, IN) – See all my reviews

Philadelphia is a guttingly emotional and tragic story of how a lawyer fired for having AIDS attempts to vindicate himself in court. Tom Hanks gives perhaps the most powerful performance of his career as Andrew Beckett, the afflicted lawyer. He received the Academy Award in a waltz, and you could almost pick any of his major scenes as worthy of the award.

This movie is probably the best drama regarding gay issues ever made. Remember, it was made in 1993, when AIDS was still a terminal disease, and it recalls the early days of an epidemic that may not square with the vision afforded today, but at the time, this was the reality of AIDS.

The entire crew is A-List. Tak Fujimoto, who would also film Silence of the Lambs and Sixth Sense, directed cinematography. Jonathan Demme, also of Silence of the Lambs fame, directs with typical honesty and grit. Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young contributed hauntingly touching original songs. Even Antonio Banderas, whom I never miss an opportunity to vilify, is moving as Hanks' devoted and supportive partner. Denzel Washington was well cast as the homophobic lawyer who ultimately takes Hanks' case, and Mary Steenburgen is surprising in an uncharacteristic villain role.

Ron Vawter, who played one of the lawyers in the firm from which Hanks was fired, and also appeared in Silence of the Lambs, was himself suffering from AIDS at the time of filming, and he eventually succumbed to it a few years later. His appearance in the film encapsulates the reality of the AIDS epidemic, in that it often touched our lives in unexpected places.

Although I have literally thousands of movies in my collection, I don't own this one. Not because I don't love it. I do. It's because I can't watch it without being overcome by emotion. Anyone who can watch Hanks' in the Opera scene, or hear Springsteen's or Young's eerie and melancholy ballads and not weep is dead inside. But in the end, Philadelphia is about life, and making it matter.


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