December 23rd, 1993


more trailers Philadelphia

Still of Joanne Woodward in PhiladelphiaStill of Tom Hanks in PhiladelphiaStill of Antonio Banderas in PhiladelphiaStill of Antonio Banderas and Tom Hanks in PhiladelphiaStill of Mary Steenburgen in PhiladelphiaStill of Jason Robards in Philadelphia

When a man with AIDS is fired by a conservative law firm because of his condition, he hires a homophobic small time lawyer as the only willing advocate for a wrongful dismissal suit.

Release Year: 1993

Rating: 7.6/10 (80,275 voted)

Critic's Score: 66/100

Director: Jonathan Demme

Stars: Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Roberta Maxwell

Andrew Beckett, a gay lawyer infected with AIDS, is fired from his conservative 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.

Tom Hanks - Andrew Beckett
Denzel Washington - Joe Miller
Roberta Maxwell - 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
Anna Deavere Smith - Anthea Burton
Stephanie Roth Haberle - Rachel Smilow (as Stephanie Roth)
Lisa Talerico - Shelby
Joanne Woodward - Sarah Beckett
Jason Robards - Charles Wheeler

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

Release Date: 23 December 1993

Filming Locations: City Hall - Broad and 15th Streets, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $26,000,000(estimated)

Opening Weekend: $143,433 (USA) (26 December 1993) (4 Screens)

Gross: $206,678,440 (Worldwide) (1994)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

John Leguizamo turned down the part of Miguel.

Anachronisms: The home video of older home movies at the end has sounds of the children playing baseball, at the beach, etc. Home movie cameras of that era didn't have sound. Sound cameras came out very shortly before camcorders became readily available.

Joe Miller: Some of these people make me sick. But a law's been broken here. You do remember the law, don't you?

User Review

Philadelphia is about life, and making it matter.


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.