Philadelphia (1993)

PG-13   |    |  Drama


Philadelphia (1993) Poster

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.


7.7/10
219,112

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5 October 2005 | lee_eisenberg
10
| Hanks gives his best performance ever
"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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Did You Know?

Trivia

There was a statistic that there were 53 gay men who appeared in various scenes in this movie and within the next year, 43 of them had died. On his "Entertainment Urban Legends Revealed" website, Brian Cronin more or less confirmed but also corrected this statistic, based, in part, on a New York Times article and other research. According to Cronin, the movie's producers approached the "Action AIDS" non-profit organization in Philadelphia, and asked it to help recruit, as extras, 50 or so gay men whose appearance was indicative of their having AIDS. Contrary to the statistic, the 40 or so who subsequently died -- including Ron Vawter, who played main character "Bob Seidman" in the film -- did not die in the first year after the film was either produced or released; rather, they died over the next few years thereafter. Freelance writer Clifford Rothman also wrote about this subject in a 1995 New York Times piece that further confirmed at least some of this information.


Quotes

Andrew Beckett: 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: Innocuous?
Andrew Beckett: Defined by Webster's as 'harmless.'
Joe Miller: I know what it means. May I?
Joe Miller: Thank you. Your...


Goofs

Andy's tie jumps about during the courtroom scene where he shows the jury the lesions on his chest.


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."


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.


Soundtracks

Philadelphia
Written, Produced, and Performed by
Neil Young
Courtesy of Reprise Records

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