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
1,796 ( 285)
Won 2 Oscars. Another 18 wins & 23 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 ... 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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Did You Know?

Trivia

Based in part on the AIDS discrimination lawsuit by Geoffrey Bowers, a young lawyer working for a prominent multinational law firm. On December 4th, 1986 he was fired by a vote of the directors and departed the firm the following day. The directors originally decided to fire him in July of that year, sidestepping company policy by not interviewing his supervisors, asking for a list of his clients, or ascertaining his billable hours. His supervisors protested, which delayed his firing, but the partners voted again that October, twelve votes to three. The initial vote in July to fire him took place two months after Bowers received good marks on a routine performance evaluation. The vote of dismissal took place one month after the positive evaluation and one month before firing Bowers. As with Hanks' Andrew Beckett character, Bowers also suffered from the visible lesions caused by Kaposi's sarcoma. The case took six years in all. See more »

Goofs

When Andrew goes to the E.R. the doctor says he's going to order a colonoscopy. A colonoscopy is not an emergency room procedure. The colon must be prepped with a laxative type drink, and 24 to 36 hours of fasting. Also a specialist would be needed to perform the exam. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Andrew Beckett: [making their cases before the judge in her office] This 'pestilent dust' that council refers to has appeared on only three occasions. Each time it was tested and the results: limestone. It's messy, but innocuous.
Joe Miller: [leans in toward Andrew] Innocuous?
Andrew Beckett: Defined by Webster's as 'harmless.'
Joe Miller: I know what it means. May I?
[takes the packet of dust]
Joe Miller: Thank you. Your honor
[takes a whiff of the dust]
Joe Miller: , imagine how the children in this neighborhood are being made to feel: the constant pounding o-of ...
[...]
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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

Referenced in Tales of the Contaminated City (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Non temer amato bene
Composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performed by Lucia Popp
Conducted by Kurt Eichhorn
Münchner Rundfunkorchester (as Münchner Rundfunk Orchester)
Courtesy of RCA Victor Red Seal, A division of BMG Classics
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User Reviews

 
Absolutely astonishing!! Hanks' best performance!!!
23 August 2004 | by The_Scientist-86See all my reviews

I only saw this film recently after I saw the special edition DVD for sale at only £5.99. I bought it and watched it as soon as i took it home and I thought it was amazing. Jonathan Demme's direction was great too. but the two best things about it was Tom Hanks' performance as the lawyer with aids and Bruce Springsteen's song " Streets of Philadelphia". I always thought that Liam Neeson's performance in Schindler's List was what should've recieved the Oscar in 1993. But when I eventually saw Philadelphia a few weeks ago, I could see why Hanks won. Denzel Washington as the homophobic but supportive lawyer is also great. The three, Hanks, Washington and Demme make a good team. The film is wonderful.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 January 1994 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

At Risk See more »

Filming Locations:

Pennsylvania, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$26,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$143,433, 26 December 1993

Gross USA:

$77,446,440

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$206,678,440
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Dolby | Dolby Atmos (Blu-ray release)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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