7.72 h 5 min1993X-Ray18+
Fired from his job for having AIDS and out of legal options, Andrew Beckett (Tom Hanks) seeks the help of homophobic lawyer Joe Miller (Denzel Washington) in a courtroom battle for his rights and human dignity.
Jonathan Demme
Tom HanksDenzel WashingtonJason Robards
English [CC]
Audio languages
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Supporting actors
Mary Steenburgen
Edward SaxonJonathan Demme
Sony Pictures Television
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Smokingalcohol usenudityfoul languagesexual contentviolence
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4.8 out of 5 stars

4024 global ratings

  1. 87% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 9% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 3% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 1% of reviews have 2 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Kindle CustomerReviewed in the United States on December 23, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
award winning performances from denzel and Tom.
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When you think of the first men ( and women ) who contracted AIDS in the 80s, it is hard to think that anyone would have taken the chance. But then if it was so new that no one was sure how you got it, behaviors didn't change. this movie shows that innocent people were just living their lives. Their was no 'risky' behavior, just behavior that had been going on for years without repercussions.
Being fired because of a disease is no different than being fired because of race or gender. Philadelphia makes that very clear.
I love this movie and am smiling through my tears. I don't know how it could have been any better.
Hanks won the academy award for this role. It was well deserved. I wish I could make everyone watch it.
37 people found this helpful
Zachary LittrellReviewed in the United States on January 28, 2019
4.0 out of 5 stars
Defending the same thing you hate
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Tom Hanks performance is great, but I was most intrigued by Denzel Washinton's Joe Miller. Two notches above an ambulance chaser, a courtroom showboat, and an unapologetic homophobe. He's even horrified at the thought that his voluptuous Aunt-in-law could *gasp* be a lesbian. It takes his wife to drop the bomb on him that he's been surrounded by gay people his entire life.

Although he undergoes changes in his attitude, he probably still isn't 100% on board by the end. But he does have a sense of justice. He admires the courage Beckett has in facing a gigantic law firm and a deadly disease. What does happen is, by the end, Miller evolves to become just a little more like Beckett, wanting to actually do justice for good people in an often unjust world.

"In this courtroom, Mr.Miller, justice is blind to matters of race, creed, color, religion, and sexual orientation."
"With all due respect, your honor, we don't live in this courtroom, do we?"
17 people found this helpful
Christina ReynoldsReviewed in the United States on December 17, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
...An Anguish I can Only Imagine
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Philadelphia is a 1993 American legal drama film written by Ron Nyswaner, directed by Jonathan Demme and starring Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington. Tom Hanks stars as Andrew Beckett: A Philadelphia lawyer that is fired (From a notably prestigious firm) and seeks out the assistance of an attorney named Joe (Washington) in doing so as he suspects AIDs as being the reason he was terminated. . . .

If I'm being brutally honest I have to admit that the first hour of this film can feel particularly hard to get through; ‘Philadelphia’ wastes no time in introducing its audience members to the primary point of contention, but this is coupled with scenes that can seem unnecessary until being pondered about in retrospect. Viewers are teased with moments that are meant to give a vague idea of what an average day might look like for all of the main characters, and it’s hard not to ask what the point might be in the grand scheme of things. With that in mind from the moment Andrew meets prejudice in the most politely confrontational way - he says ‘𝘞𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥 𝘪𝘵 𝘮𝘢𝘬𝘦 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘮𝘰𝘳𝘦 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘵𝘢𝘣𝘭𝘦?’ and locks eyes with Joe - the part of me that whole-heartedly seeks justice was called to attention and given no reason to evacuate the premises.

Context is key when trying to understand the totality of a situation and the intricacies that inevitably complicate them, and ‘Philadelphia’ is of no exception. To put it in perspective, it’s important to be reminded that despite how progressive this film might seem it was only 5 years prior to its creation that homosexuality was removed as criteria some could use to diagnose someone as being mentally ill in the first place. When this is taken into consideration (which, this isn’t alluded to much and I wish it was) it’s easier to understand the behavior of the different individuals in this film that would be considered abhorrent in these modern times as socially acceptable forms of maltreatment and discrimination. This serves to keep from villainizing personalities that are otherwise so easy to target as repulsive - such as the very same attorney Andrew hires - and only makes this film a fair reflection of a community I’m sure most of us are happy to no longer be actively a part of even if only as witnesses.

For his performance in this film Hanks was honored with an Academy Award; more than deserving, he is the perfect embodiment of a man that is grasping for straws when throwing in the towel would otherwise be completely understandable. He need not talk to compel emotions as his demeanor speaks louder than words and makes for reactions that are naturally visceral. Not surprisingly, Washington’s performance follows thru as a competent co-pilot and expertly captures the essence of a man that is unapologetically flawed and inflexible in all of the ways that work to make the world a better place. The chemistry between Hanks and Washington as both actors and characters is akin to a candle in the wind: unwavering, relentless, and an unexpected source of light and guidance.

This certainly is far from being one of the best movies I have ever seen, but it is very close to being one of the most important. It is one of the first films to aggressively address and call-out bigotry tied to sexual orientation as a system of hate that has no business having any subscribers.

Having a connection with the LGBTQ community made this film affect me to the extent that it might not others in that as Andrew’s condition deteriorated over time I felt like I was watching a loved one become buried with an insufferable anguish that I can only begin to imagine -
And thank goodness for that.

I would recommend!

P.S. Homophobia sucks.
5 people found this helpful
joel wingReviewed in the United States on September 7, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
The humanity of people with AIDS
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Philadelphia is the classic film about the AIDS epidemic. The movie stars Andy Beckett (Tom Hanks) a hot shot lawyer at a top law firm in Philadelphia. He just got a promotion when he finds out that he’s infected with AIDS. He hid his sexuality from the firm and when he gets sick they fire him claiming he lost some important papers for a case. He hires Joe Miller (Denzel Washington) to sue the company for wrongful termination. The movie deals with the discrimination people with AIDS face.

The first thing the film brings up is the stigma of AIDS. When Beckett goes to Miller asking him to take the case he turns it down claiming he doesn’t see a lawsuit when in fact it’s because he’s prejudice against homosexual. Miller even looks at his hand after Beckett left because he shook hands with him. He then goes to his doctor afterward to make sure he didn’t contract the sickness.

Of course Philadeliphia isn’t just about the negatives. There’s a famous scene where Beckett explains his love of an opera song. He tells Miller it’s about even through all the sorrow and losses of the character there is still life and love. That’s obviously symbolic of Beckett’s situation. That’s a pivotal moment for Miller as well because he sees the humanity of his client.

It’s all of these issues together that make Philadelphia special. AIDS, the discrimination, the homophobia, the humanity, etc. are all excellently presented in this film.
4 people found this helpful
NaeryseaReviewed in the United States on August 30, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
outstanding and ageless
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A movie that will never age. In this case the sickness is aids, but in truth, that's not the point. Live, grow, struggle for what is important to you, learn about affection and compassion, broaden your horizon, love, be loved, success, failure, sickness of body and mind, of spirit and soul, sickness of society, culture and customs, discover counterpoints to those sicknesses, joy, suffering, grief, death, birth, life. Everyone has to face this circle and sometimes we are granted insights that leave their marks on us, to our benefit.
The acting of all the cast, down to the stand-ins, the athmospheres created by the production team, dialogue, lighting, sound, photography - in this movie everyone gave the very best to make something outstanding. Yes, it was made in 1994. Now it's 2017. And Philadelphia is still outstanding!
15 people found this helpful
Daniel ThomasReviewed in the United States on May 23, 2019
4.0 out of 5 stars
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Philadelphia is a message movie. At its simplest level Philadelphia's message is this- We shouldn't hate or judge people just because they are gay. I'm Roman Catholic but have no problems with that message.

This film did a very good job getting its message across. IMHO message movies need to be judged on its overall merits. In that I feel Philadelphia has a few shortcomings.

1 Its camera work. J Demme's use of closeups was jarring at times. Also the out of kilter views in the courtroom were little better.

2 IMHO the Hanks character had a responsibility to inform his employer he had medical issues because of its effect on his work. This is hardly brought up.

3 Philadelphia could have also done without the main character collapsing in court. I have two problems there. First, could have the defendent's lawyer used this as a reason for a retrial? I am not a lawyer but my other problem is after this happened and its likely sympathetic effect on a jury, wouldn't defendent's lawyer been smart to make some kind of settlement offer?

4 The acting in the movie is very good but for Jason Robards. He is just too rigid in his performance.

Philadelphia gets 3.75 stars out of 5 from me.
4 people found this helpful
AdamReviewed in the United States on July 9, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Hanks plus Washington equals dymanic duo!!!
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This movie was made in 1993. When aids/hiv was still a public blemish. It portrays a young enthusiastic lawyer that, very quickly, climbs his way to the top of his law firm. Then find himself being discriminated against by his own bosses and peers, because he is homosexual. If you haven't seen this film, you really are missing something fantastic. The way this film tackles the issue of aids head on is brilliant and the cast is simply superb and really help bring the film to life! However, perhaps, to me, the most brilliant aspect of this film is that, although it is advertised as a film about aids (which of course, it is) it is as much about the attitudes of society towards homosexuality as it is about aids. I'm so honored to be living in an era with some of the most amazing actors of our lifetime ... especially the likes of Tom Hanks & Denzel Washington. As you watch you are pulled into this case, as well as pulled into questioning your own bias. The story is one which will move you and tug at your heart strings.
3 people found this helpful
teols2016Reviewed in the United States on June 13, 2014
5.0 out of 5 stars
A New Kind of Challenge...
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While we all know about HIV and AIDS today, that wasn't always so. Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington star in this gripping film that shows us what it was like for people afflicted by these life-altering diseases in a time not so long ago. Andrew Beckett, played by Tom Hanks and loosely based on real-life attorneys Geoffrey Bowers and Clarence B. Cain, is a skilled, well-liked, and highly-respected attorney in Philadelphia...that is, until he is suddenly fired after crucial paperwork for a big case he'd been working on inexplicably disappears. Sure that his bosses have discovered that he is gay and has AIDS and fired him accordingly, Beckett seeks to sue his former firm for discrimination and wrongful termination, doing so in a time when ADIS-discrimination cases were practically unheard of. Along those same lines, this movie is one of the first mainstream Hollywood films to acknowledge HIV/AIDS, homosexuality, and homophobia. Beckett is ultimately represented in his suit by Joe Miller, played by Denzel Washington, and the two set out to prove their case while in the heat of public debate on the issue. This film does pretty much everything right. No, seriously, I can find no flaws. The plot is interesting, the acting is top-notch, and I'm glued to my screen from beginning to end. Hanks and Washington work well together, especially given that one of them is homophobic himself and knows very little about AIDS and how the disease is transmitted...this character's internal conflicts on the matter only strengthen the unusual bond that these actors share on screen, even if Washington, who was asked to gain weight for his role, would taunt Hanks, who was asked to lose weight for his role, with food while on the set. If any, I have only two minor complaints about this movie. The First is one that people have stated before: I would have liked to see more of Andrew Beckett's relationship with his lover, Miguel Álvarez, played by Antonio Banderas. Mr. Banderas definitely didn't get enough screen time, given the role he played in the main character's life. Second, why did Denzel Washington not get nominated for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar? He would have had a real shot at winning it. And for me, that's saying something given that Tommy Lee Jones won that award that year for his role as U.S. Marshal Samuel Gerard in my favorite movie of all time, The Fugitive. Nevertheless, this is a film that no one should go without seeing. I absolutely recommend it! Enjoy.
18 people found this helpful
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