Philadelphia is a 1993 drama film and is one of the first films that talk about HIV/AIDS, homosexuality, and homophobia. The film was written by Ron Nyswaner. The film was directed by Jonathan Demme and stars Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington. It is loosely based on the case of Massachusetts attorneys Geoffrey Bowers and Clarence B. Cain.
Philadelphia Law firm associate Andrew Beckett (Hanks) tells his friends that he isn’t feeling well and it’s later revealed that he is sick with AIDS. Andrew decides to hire lawyer Joe Miller (Washington) to help him out. Unfortunately, Joe is displeased that Andrew is a homosexual. Later, he overcomes his homophobia and decides to look out for Andrew and make sure that the court case will work out for his defendant. After the court case is settled, Andrew’s health deteriorates and dies in the hospital surrounded by his family and his partner (Antonio Banderas).
Why It Rocks
- Well written story.
- Great characters.
- Good music, especially the song "Streets of Philadelphia" by Bruce Springsteen.
- The ending is very sad and heartbreaking.
- The first Hollywood film to talk about AIDS and HIV.
Philadelphia received positive reviews from critics and audiences. The film currently holds a 78% "Certified Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes with an average of 6.6 out of 10 and a critic consensus that reads "Philadelphia indulges in some unfortunate clichés in its quest to impart a meaningful message, but its stellar cast and sensitive direction are more than enough to compensate." Roger Ebert of The Chicago Sun-Times awarded the film a three and a half out of four stars and stated in his review "Philadelphia breaks no new dramatic ground ... And yet Philadelphia is quite a good film, on its own terms." Heather Boerner of Common Sense Media awarded the film a five out of five stars and stated in her review "Moving, Oscared '90s drama fostered AIDS empathy."
Philadelphia opened up with a domestic gross of $143,433 on its limited opening weekend of December 22, 1993. On its wide opening weekend, it opened up at #1 with a domestic gross of $13,817,010. It would later make a total domestic gross of $77,446,440. In overseas markets, it made $129,232,000. Overall, it made a worldwide gross of $206,678,440 against its $26 million budget making it a huge success.
Awards and nominations
Philadelphia was nominated for three Academy Awards including Best Original Screenplay. Tom Hanks won the Academy Award for Best Actor. It also won an Academy Award for Best Song for "Streets of Philadelphia".