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Story

Philadelphia wasn't the first movie about AIDS (it followed such worthy independent films as Parting Glances and Longtime Companion), but it was the first Hollywood studio picture to take AIDS as its primary subject. In that sense, Philadelphia is a historically important film. As such, it's worth remembering that director Jonathan Demme (Melvin and Howard, Something Wild, The Silence of the Lambs) wasn't interested in preaching to the converted; he set out to make a film that would connect with a mainstream audience. And he succeeded. Philadelphia was not only a hit, it also won Oscars for Bruce Springsteen's haunting "The Streets of Philadelphia," and for Tom Hanks as the gay lawyer Andrew Beckett who is unjustly fired by his firm because he has AIDS. Denzel Washington is another lawyer (functioning as the mainstream-audience surrogate) who reluctantly takes Beckett's case and learns to overcome his misconceptions about the disease, about those who contract it, and about gay people in general. The combined warmth and humanism of Hanks and Demme were absolutely essential to making this picture a success. The cast also features Jason Robards, Antonio Banderas (as Beckett's lover), Joanne Woodward, and Robert Ridgely, and, of course, those Demme regulars Charles Napier, Tracey Walter, and Roger Corman. --Jim Emerson

DVD Features

  • Color
  • Closed-captioned
  • Dolby
  • Widescreen

Cast

Tom HanksAndrew Beckett
Denzel WashingtonJoe Miller
Roberta MaxwellJudge Tate
Anna Deavere SmithAnthea Burton
Joanne WoodwardSarah Beckett
Jason RobardsCharles Wheeler
Chandra WilsonChandra
Antonio BanderasMiguel Alvarez
Bradley WhitfordJamey Collins
Joey PerilloFilko
Ann DowdJill Beckett
Daniel von BargenJury Foreman
Gary GoetzmanGuido Paonessa
Elizabeth RobyElizabeth Beckett
Mary SteenburgenBelinda Conine
Obba BabatundeJerome Green
Charles NapierJudge Garnett
Roger CormanMr. Laird

  • Genre: Drama Movies
  • Director: Jonathan Demme
  • Producer: Columbia/Tri-Star
  • Length: 125 min
  • Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
  • Theatrical Release
    North AmericaDec 23, 1993
  • Ratings
    North AmericaPG-13
    Europe12
    AustraliaPG
  • DVD Release
    North AmericaSep 3, 2002
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