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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
2,479 ( 107)
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

While filming on Market Street, the Mellon Bank Building had been changed to the Wheeler Building and the art department had made temporary signs that were placed over the ones for Mellon. As a result of this, many law students that were scheduled to go on interviews for impending jobs missed their appointment. The reason given was that all they could find was the Wheeler & Wheeler building and had difficulty finding the Mellon Building. See more »

Goofs

When Andy steps out of Joe's office (after Joe's rejection to become Andy's lawyer), you see him standing and reflecting on his situation. He turns his head to the left, and you can see the lining of a rubber mask on his neck (used to make Hanks' head look shaved). 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...
[...]
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 »

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 Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #2.21 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

O nume tutelar
(from the opera "La Vestale")
Composed by Gasparo Spontini
Performed by Maria Callas
With Tullio Serafin Conducting Orchestra e Coro del Teatro alla Scala
Courtesy of EMI Classics
under license from CEMA Special Markets
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Hanks gives his best performance ever
5 October 2005 | by lee_eisenbergSee all my reviews

"Philadelphia" may be the movie that changed Hollywood. For so many years, they portrayed gays as sissies, but this movie forced them to change. Tom Hanks gives the performance of a lifetime as AIDS-afflicted lawyer Andrew Beckett, fired from his law firm after they discover his condition. Equally good is Denzel Washington as homophobic lawyer Joe Miller, who is forced to ignore his own stereotypes in taking Andrew's case. Good support also comes from Jason Robards as Andrew's vicious ex-boss, Joanne Woodward as Andrew's ever-loving mother, and Antonio Banderas as Andrew's companion.

Maybe this is just me, but I think that "Philadelphia" was released at just the right time. Think back to 1993. We had just come out of the Reagan-Bush years and we now had Clinton. Maybe he wasn't openly pro-gay, but he did change the military's policy towards gays. Moreover, Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington are analogous to Paul Newman and Sidney Poitier: the embodiment of the new era under a new president (in Newman's and Poitier's case, it was Kennedy; in fact, those two co-starred in "Paris Blues" the year that Kennedy became president, much like Hanks and Washington were starring in "Philadelphia" the year that Clinton became president). But let's not get sidetracked. This is a great movie, and I recommend it to everyone.


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