Philly on the big screen

Philadelphia has been the backdrop for a variety of movies for both Academy Award winners and cheesy 80s classics. Here is a tour guide of Philly locales made famous through the movies. One of the

Philadelphia has been the backdrop for a variety of movies for both Academy Award winners and cheesy 80s classics.

Here is a tour guide of Philly locales made famous through the movies.

One of the most loved movie franchises of all time, Rocky, was cultivated in the heart of Philadelphia.

Who can forget one of 1976’s most famous movie scenes in which Sylvester Stallone jogs up the Art Museum steps?

The movie also gave the world a glimpse into life in the Italian Market.

The filming of Rocky in the seventies marked the beginning of an increase in filmmaking in Philadelphia that continues to present day.

Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy took to the streets in their 1983 comedy, Trading Places.

The movie utilized the First Union Bank, located at Broad and Sansom streets, as the law offices of Duke and Duke. In one scene, Aykroyd even boards a SEPTA bus.

Another popular Philadelphia location, 30th Street Station, was featured in several movies including the 1984 film, Witness, starring Harrison Ford.

Philadelphia was a main character in the 1993 film of the same name.

Denzel Washington and Oscar award-winner Tom Hanks starred in this critically-acclaimed account of the struggle of a successful lawyer fired from a Philadelphia law firm once they found out he had AIDS.

The movie was shot entirely on location, with many scenes taking place within the courtrooms of City Hall.

New York was the original setting for the film, but it was relocated and renamed after director Jonathan Demme fell in love with the charm and character of Philadelphia.

Eastern State Penitentiary is intriguing for many reasons, but its role as an insane asylum in the 1995 psychological thriller, 12 Monkeys adds to its storied history.

This movie brought a bit of a wild side to Philadelphia when filmmakers imported real elephants, a bear and a tiger to stroll through the South Street Bridge, past City Hall and up the Art Museum steps.

The 1996 film, Fallen, starring Denzel Washington and John Goodman, also features some well known Philly hangouts like Pat’s and Geno’s Steaks, the Civic Center and Franklin Field.

“I think it’s awesome that movies are taped in Philly. It’s good for the city to get some attention.

Plus, that means there is a better chance that I could be walking down the street and meet Denzel Washington or Brad Pitt,” freshman Melissa Fry said.

Jonathan Demme returned to Philadelphia in 1997 to shoot part of the epic film, Beloved, starring Oprah Winfrey, Danny Glover and Thandie Newton.

The film, originally planned for Cincinnati, was relocated to Philadelphia for its abundance of historical landmarks.

In several scenes, filmmakers made use of the Washington Square Park’s Revolutionary War burial ground.

It was said that during filming, archaeologists were on hand to ensure that the remains laying just inches below ground were not disturbed!

Director and Philadelphia native M. Night Shyamalan has done wonders for the city’s film résumé since shooting his three feature films in the area.

The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and Signs all highlight Philly locations.

St. Augustine’s Church to the Striped Bass and many other charming Philly treasures, never before seen on the big screen, have been given a bit of the spot light because of Shyamalan’s loyalty and pride for his hometown.

“For some reason, I get this sense of pride when I see a movie with my city in it. It’s exciting to know that people in the city are being represented,” junior Chris Johnson said.

The Greater Philadelphia Film Office is a large part of the reason Philly is getting big screen attention.

They promote the city as a filming location and work along with production companies to coordinate all of the permits and amenities necessary for a successful film shoot.

The office offers an itinerary for a driving tour to catch all the locations of films shot in and around the city.

For more information, call (215) 686-2668 or visit

Milli Protheroe can be reached at

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