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Philadelphia (1993)

PG-13 | | Drama | 14 January 1994 (USA)
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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.

Director:

Jonathan Demme

Writer:

Ron Nyswaner
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Popularity
1,788 ( 56)
Won 2 Oscars. Another 18 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tom Hanks ... Andrew Beckett
Denzel Washington ... Joe Miller
Roberta Maxwell ... Judge Tate
Buzz Kilman Buzz Kilman ... Crutches
Karen Finley Karen Finley ... Dr. Gillman
Daniel Chapman ... Clinic Storyteller
Mark Sorensen Jr. Mark Sorensen Jr. ... Clinic Patient
Jeffrey Williamson Jeffrey Williamson ... Tyrone
Charles Glenn Charles Glenn ... Kenneth Killcoyne
Ron Vawter ... Bob Seidman
Anna Deavere Smith ... Anthea Burton
Stephanie Roth Haberle ... Rachel Smilow (as Stephanie Roth)
Lisa Talerico Lisa Talerico ... Shelby
Joanne Woodward ... Sarah Beckett
Jason Robards ... Charles Wheeler
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Storyline

Fearing it would compromise his career, lawyer Andrew Beckett hides his homosexuality and HIV status at a powerful Philadelphia law firm. But his secret is exposed when a colleague spots the illness's telltale lesions. Fired shortly afterwards, Beckett resolves to sue for discrimination, teaming up with Joe Miller (Denzel Washington), the only lawyer willing to help. In court, they face one of his ex-employers top litigators, Belinda Conine. Written by SAMUEL AXON

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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 January 1994 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

At Risk See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$26,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$143,433, 26 December 1993, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$77,324,422

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$206,678,440, 31 December 1994
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to a 1994 Entertainment Weekly profile of Ron Vawter by Stephen Schaefer, Jonathan Demme had to convince TriStar Pictures to hire Vawter to play Bob Seidman. TriStar wanted Demme to hire someone else because Vawter was HIV-positive and the insurance company covering the film refused to extend coverage to him. Demme managed to convince TriStar to allow the hiring of Vawter anyway, both because Vawter was the actor that Demme wanted, and because refusing to hire an actor because of his HIV-positive status would have been particularly ironic in the context of a movie that is premised on the injustice of a lawyer being fired because he is HIV-positive. See more »

Goofs

Andrew Beckett is right handed. The little boy playing ball in the home movies at the end of the movie who is supposed to be Andrew Beckett is left handed. See more »

Quotes

Andrew Beckett: [to Joe in his office ] "I misplaced an important compliant" that's their story my side of the story is: the night before it was due I worked on the compliant in my office and I left a copy of it on my desk, the next day the compliant vanished no hard copy, all traces of it mysteriously gone from my computer, miraculously a copy was located at the last minute and we got it to court on time but the next day I was summoned to a meeting with the managing partners who were waiting for me in the ...
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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 »

Alternate Versions

The cable and network television versions of Philadelphia edit out portions of the pharmacy scene where a gay University of Pennsylvania law student attempts to pick up Joe Miller. These two versions end this scene with the law student responding "Do I?" to Joe Miller's question concerning whether Miller looked gay. In the theatrical, home video and premium channel versions, Joe Miller continues to berate the law student with bigot remarks regarding homosexuals. See more »

Connections

Featured in 20 to 1: Hollywood's Hot List (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Ibo Lele (Dreams Come True)
Written by Richard Morse
Produced by Richard Morse and Yvon Cine
Performed by RAM
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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 FilmAficionadoSee 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.


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