The other day I wrote a post about how I was in a rut with my blog, feeling like I had run out of ideas.
But then a few bloggers responded with some suggestions, and this post is a direct result of one of those suggestions. Two separate bloggers (Searching for a Side Hustle with Trevvie and Marla’s World) suggested I write a post about some of the best movies set in Philadelphia, and I thought that sounded like a fun post, so here we are. I know Clive in particular will enjoy this post…
There have been many movies set in Philadelphia, and why not. It is one of the world’s greatest cities. Wikipedia lists over 125 movies set in Philadelphia, but I thought I would just highlight the ones I have seen.
- It’s hard not to start the list with Rocky, probably the most famous movie set in Philly, and one that has spawned several sequels, and a spinoff into a couple of Creed movies. My wife and I will never forget the time we were able to sneak into the after-party for the premiere of Rocky II at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Here are some of my favorites, in alphabetic order:
- Best in Show – a classic 2000 American mockumentary comedy film, a spoof on American dog shows, co-written by Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy and directed by Guest. The film follows five entrants in a prestigious dog show, and focuses on the slightly surreal interactions among the various owners and handlers, as they travel to the show and then compete during the show.
- Blow Out – one of the best. The film stars John Travolta as Jack Terry, a movie sound effects technician from Philadelphia who, while recording sounds for a low-budget slasher film, serendipitously captures audio evidence of an assassination involving a presidential hopeful.
- Philadelphia – a groundbreaking film about AIDS, starring Tom Hanks and with a wonderful theme song by Bruce Springsteen.
- Silver Linings Playbook – another winner. The story takes place in Ridley Park, a suburb of Philly. Bradley Cooper plays Patrick “Pat” Solitano Jr., a man with bipolar disorder who is released from a psychiatric hospital and moves back in with his parents (Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver). Pat is determined to win back his estranged wife. He meets a young widow, Tiffany Maxwell (Jennifer Lawrence), who offers to help him get his wife back if he enters a dance competition with her. We have gone to the Llanerch Diner featured in the movie and sat in the same booth as the stars!
- The Sixth Sense – a 1999 American supernatural psychological thriller film written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. It stars Bruce Willis as a child psychologist whose patient (Haley Joel Osment) can talk to the dead.
- Trading Places – a 1983 American comedy film starring Dan Aykroyd, Eddie Murphy, Ralph Bellamy, Don Ameche, Denholm Elliott, and Jamie Lee Curtis. The film tells the story of an upper-class commodities broker (Aykroyd) and a poor street hustler (Murphy) whose lives cross when they are unwittingly made the subject of an elaborate bet to test how each man will perform when their life circumstances are swapped.
- Unbreakable – another M. Night movie. This one also features Bruce Willis as a security guard named David Dunn who survives a horrific train crash with no injuries, leading to him discovering that he harbors superhuman abilities, which in turn introduces him to wheelchair-bound, comic book store owner Elijah Price, played by Samuel L. Jackson.
And here are some others, also in alphabetic order:
- Baby Mama – Kate Holbrook (Tina Fey) is a successful single businesswoman who has always put her career before her personal life. Now in her late thirties, she finally decides to have her own child.
- 12 Monkeys – A deadly virus, released in 1996, wipes out almost all of humanity, forcing survivors to live underground. A group known as the Army of the Twelve Monkeys is believed to have released the virus. Stars Bruce Willis, Madeline Stowe, and Brad Pitt.
- The Irishman – based on the 2004 nonfiction book I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brandt. The film follows Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro), a truck driver who becomes a hitman involved with mobster Russell Bufalino (Pesci) and his crime family, including his time working for the powerful Teamster Jimmy Hoffa (Pacino).
- National Treasure – Nicholas Cage plays Benjamin Franklin Gates, a historian and amateur cryptologist searching for a huge lost treasure of precious metals, jewelry, artwork, statues, and many other historic artifacts accumulated over time, becoming a massive stockpile.
- The Philadelphia Story – a 1939 American comic play by Philip Barry. It tells the story of a socialite whose wedding plans are complicated by the simultaneous arrival of her ex-husband and an attractive journalist. Written as a vehicle for Katharine Hepburn, its success marked a reversal of fortunes for the actress, who was one of the film stars deemed “box office poison” in 1938.
- Witness – a 1985 American neo-noir crime drama film that focuses on a detective protecting a young Amish boy who becomes a target after he witnesses a murder in Philadelphia.
Not too shabby a list if I say so myself.
And just one final note: the Philly suburbs were featured quite extensively in the recent mega-hit HBO series, Mare of Easttown.