Synopsis Rocky is the story of a struggling boxer living in South Philadelphia, who gets the chance to prove himself when heavyweight champion Apollo Creed visits Philadelphia. Creed's managers set up an exhibition match between Creed and a struggling boxer, marketing the match as "a chance for a nobody to become a somebody". Sylvester Stallone stars as Rocky Balboa in this first installment. Winning the 1976 Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Film Directing, and Best Editing; Rocky is often regarded as one of the best sports films of all time. It's success also helped put Philadelphia on the map for filming and made the Art Museum steps a popular tourist must see.
Synopsis While traveling with his mother, a young Amish boy becomes the only witness to a train station murder, unearthing a world of good cop, bad cop, lies and deceit. Starring Harrison Ford and Danny Glover.
I always think of Witness whenever I walk through 30th Street Station - especially when I use the bathroom
Synopsis Once an accomplished Philadelphia Broker, Louis Winthorpe III, becomes the victim of a friendly wager between two upscale business associates whom one believes can convert one particular criminal into a successful businessman at Louis' expense. Starring Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd.
I love the opening credits of Trading Places
with all its beautiful iconic images of Philadelphia.
Synopsis Malcom Crowe is a child psychologist who receives an award on the same night that he is visited by a very unhappy ex-patient. After this encounter, Crowe takes on the task of curing a young boy with the same ills as the ex-patient. This boy “sees dead people”. Crowe spends a lot of time with the boy (Cole) much to the dismay of his wife. Cole’s mom is at her wit’s end with what to do about her son’s increasing problems. Crowe is the boy’s only hope. Starring Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment
Synopsis In the city of New York, a sexually frustrated housewife begins an adulterous relationship, leading ultimately to her brutal murder and the only witness a high-priced escort.
Starring Michael Caine and Angie Dickinson.
Synopsis While sampling sounds, Jack, a "sound-man" in the movie industry decides to record a curious and unexpected noise one evening, unraveling a conspiracy which leads to his struggle to survive against an onslaught on enemies. Starring John Travolta, John Lithgow and Dennis Franz
Synopsis Not wanting to see their age-old military institute deconstructed, Cadets at Bunker Hill Military Academy decide to seize their own school, incurring the wrath of the real military in a showdown for control. Starring George C. Scott, Timothy Hutton, Ronny Cox, Sean Penn and Tom Cruise.
Taps was filmed at the Valley Forge Military Academy.
Synopsis As World Heavy Champion, Rocky Balboa enjoys a lavish and peaceful lifestyle until he is suddenly challenged by an arrogant up and coming fighter named Clubber Lang, forcing Rocky to once again defend his title. Starring Sylvestor Stallone, Mr. T and Hulk Hogan
At the end of filming Sylvester Stallone
gave the Rocky statue as a gift to the city -
the statue then spent the next 10 years bouncing back and fourth between the Art Museum and the sports complex like a hot potato -
Paulie making a joke about that is one of the best lines in Rocky Balboa -
I think the statue is at the sports complex now, but I'm not really sure.
Synopsis Back from Vietnam, two friends return home scarred in separate ways, as they try to reinvent their longstanding friendship as well as adjust to each others mental and physical aliments.
Starring Nicolas Cage and Matthew Modine
Synopsis When a young artist with a knack for constructing mannequins ends up working for the department store of his latest creation, he discovers that after hours, it takes on a life of its own ensuing in a whirlwind of love and enchantment. Starring Andrew McCarthy and Kim Cattrall.
Synopsis After making his mark in several hit comedies including Beetlejuice, Michael Keaton startled critics and audiences alike with his acclaimed performance in this 1988 drama about one man's struggle against cocaine addiction. After a series of setbacks, Keaton's character seeks refuge in a drug rehabilitation program and must confront the truth of his own addiction at the urging of a counselor (Morgan Freeman) who's heard every lame excuse in the book from addicts struggling to quit. Kathy Baker leads a superb supporting cast as a recovering alcoholic and battered wife whose flagging self-esteem is boosted by Keaton's attention. Under the careful direction of Glenn Gordon Caron (of TV's Moonlighting fame), Keaton and Baker handle this delicate material with consummate skill and grace, turning a potentially depressing story into a moving portrait of people who must battle their inner demons step by tentative step.
Synopsis After a long absence, Billy Wyatt, a struggling middle-aged ball player returns home only to discover a shocking revelation, the suicidal death of his childhood sweetheart. Attempting to cope with the reality of her death, he's surprised to learn that he's been entrusted with her ashes and struggles to find her a proper resting place.
Starring Mark Harmon and Jodie Foster
Synopsis Taylor Worth, a confident bachelor undettered by the thought of rejection, eagerly engages in a shameless betting game that requires him to secure the proposals of three women of his friend's choosing.
Starring Mark Harmon and Madeleine Stowe.
Synopsis After his epic bout with Russian boxer Ivan Drago, Rocky is forced into retirement due to pain and money loss, but begins coaching a young boxer whose pride eventually overtakes his brawn leading him to challenge his one time mentor in the ring. Starring Sylvester Stallone
Synopsis After its discovered that a lawyer, Andrew Beckett, at a Philadelphia-based law firm has been infected with AIDS, he is subsequently fired for fear he may spread the deadly disease. Dying, he sues, enlisting the help of a local attorney, Joe Miller, who eventually learns to shed his homophobia and accept Beckett for who he is.
Starring Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington.
Synopsis In the high society of 19th century New York City, a Countess finds an unexpected refuge in the fiancee of her soon to be wed second cousin, ultimately leading to a truly genuine tale of love and companionship.
Starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer and Winona Ryder.
Synopsis When Cole, a convict volunteer, is sent back in time to find information on a deadly virus that will destroy 5 billion members of the human race, he mistakenly arrives in 1990. After explaining his plea to a Dr. Kathryn Railly, he is placed in a mental institution, where he eventually escapes kidnapping and begins his quest to find the 12 Monkeys, a group of revolutionists that are planning to release the virus. Starring Bruce Willis.
Synopsis In 1933, when the health of a young boy's grandfather begins to deteriorate, he spends his days during the humid summer months in South Philadelphia mending the relationship of his grandfather and a woman from his past. Starring Al Pacino.
Synopsis When a policeman takes his twin brother's place, he not only inherits his problems, but beautiful girlfriend. Later he is forced to kickbox his way from France to the U.S. and back while constantly eluding the FBI and Russian mafia. Starring Jean-Claude Van Damme and Natasha Henstridge.
Synopsis Ambitious and free-spirited, Sally/Tally, a young reporter is taken under the wing of Warren, a seasoned journalist in a Miami area newsroom. As her onscreen career balloons, she takes a seemingly calculated risk, moving to a larger media market - Philadelphia. Risking his own career, Warren attempts to rescue Sally from her own decision. Inspired by the story of the first female anchor on American television, Jessica Savitch, in the 1970s. Starring Robert Redford and Michelle Pfeiffer.
Synopsis Set shortly after the Civil War, the story revolves around Sethe, a hard working former slave who currently resides on the outskirts of Cincinnati with her grown daughter Denver. Inexplicably, a young woman named "Beloved" who walks and speaks awkwardly as well as behaves in a childlike manner, one day shows up to their house resulting in a story of personal growth and mutual understanding.
Starring Oprah Winfrey, Danny Glover and Thandie Newton.
Synopsis Despite the imprisonment and subsequent execution of a crazy serial killer, identical killings begin soon after his death, leading one detective down a path of uncontrollable evil and numerous demonic encounters. Starring Denzel Washington, John Goodman and Donald Sutherland.
Synopsis After three friends return home after sharing an exciting vacation in Malaysia, they are saddened to learn two years later that soon after they departed from each other one friend, Joaquin Phoenix, was arrested and charged for possessing large quantities of hash. Running out of time, they must race back to their once tropical paradise to save their friend.
Starring Vince Vaugh, Anne Heche and Joaquin Phoenix
Petrified by the opposite sex, Trevor, a reclusive busboy at a local restaurant in a rare act of kindness, offers his home as shelter to Lahn, a mutual friend as well as neighborhood heroin addict. However, Trevor, teetering on the edge of insanity, slowly begins to manipulate and coerce Lahn in exchange for his generosity into becoming his ideal dream girl - "Dorothy". This film is a twisted psychological thriller which stars
Peter Pryor and Elizabeth Banks.
Synopsis After a fifth grader from a small Philadelphia catholic elementary school looses his grandfather, he goes on a search for God aided by a sports loving nun, revealing the importance of family, friends, and the trials of growing up. Starring Rosie O'Donnell and Dennis Leary.
Synopsis A soft spoken, gentle young man with an uncanny, perhaps supernatural ability to sense things before they happen, explains how he endured various experiences and encountered numerous individuals throughout his life. Very slowly, FH, the film's main character, lets his gifts emerge.
Starring Billy Crudup.
Synopsis The film centers on the Elliot family, a lineage of once wealthy plantation owners who are currently suffering from a lack of moral guidance with the matriarch of their family ailing in mental as well as physical health. As a consequence, the everyday running of the plantation has been delegated to her children, grandchildren and partners, whose primary interest are alcohol and sexual excesses. On the contrary, the only individuals with any semblance of responsibility are the attractive butler and the youngest member of the family - Sara. Together, they have to combat the evil which engulfs their house as well as the mountain of corpses which seem to continually rise.
Starring Marj Dusay and Oliver Wyman
Synopsis Ron, who’s young, slight, and privileged, is sentenced to prison on marijuana charges. For whatever reason, he brings out paternal feelings in an 18-year prison veteran, Earl Copan, who takes Ron under his wing. The film explores the nature of that relationship, Ron’s part in Earl’s gang, and the way Ron deals with aggressive cons intent on assault and rape. There’s casual racism, too, in the prisoners and the guards, a strike called by Black prisoners, and the nearly omnipresence of hard drugs. Ron’s lawyer is working on getting Ron out quickly, Earl has a shot at parole, and death seems to be waiting in the next cell.
Starring Willem Dafoe and Edward Furlong
Synopsis This suspense thriller unfolds as the audience is introduced to David Dunn, played by Bruce Willis. Not only is he the sole survivor of a horrific train-crash that killed 131 people, he doesn’t have a scratch on him. Samuel L Jackson plays an obscure character who approaches Dunn
with a seemingly far fetched theory behind it all
Synopsis Raised primarily in group homes, Elijah (Q-tip), an individual with a passion for art and education, becomes unjustly entangled in the American justice system after his involvement in the accidental killing of another person. Sentenced to 15 years in prison, Elijah attempts to free his mind and his spirit by any means necessary as he slowly begins to deteriorate in prison. Rapper Q-tip conceived and stars in his critique on the prison system and the idea of American justice.
Also Starring Mary J. Blige, Elvis Costello and Danny Hoch.
Synopsis “SNIPES” is an action-thriller set in the mean streets of Philadelphia,
a journey through the dark side of the rap music industry and an underworld of hustlers, thieves, and killers who’ll do whatever it takes to stay on top of the game. Starring Nelly, Zoe Saldana and Dean Winters
Synopsis A coming-of-age story which revolves around the film's main character Timmy Pierce. The child of an upper class family, Timmy is jaded by the opportunities and lifestyle he has been afforded, but slowly the film unveils the facade of Timmy's world - Foxchase Country Club. Enamored by his father's seemingly "perfect" world, Timmy steadily learns of the imperfections of not only his father, but numerous members of the country club. Starring Mason Gamble, Gary Sinise and Philip Baker Hall.
Synopsis After the death of his wife in a freak accident, Reverend Graham Hess questions his faith and even leaves the church. Six months later, he discovers a gigantic crop circle in his yard. Similar events happen all over the world. Graham’s children think it’s aliens, his brother thinks it’s pranksters, and Graham doesn’t know what to think. However, as more and more strange events occur, he realizes something big is coming, and it’s probably not going to be friendly. Starring Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix
Synopsis A gang of high stakes criminals, led by Charlie Croker (Mark Wahlberg), attempt to pull off perhaps the largest gold heist on America's west coast using nothing more than a few mini coopers and a handful of gadgets; ultimately ensuing in a wild car chase through downtown Los Angeles.
Starring Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, Jason Statham,
Donald Sutherland, Seth Green and Mos Def.
Synopsis Ollie (Ben Affleck) is a top of his game N.Y publicist. He has a perfect life with a beautiful wife and a baby on the way. Suddenly things go astray and Ollie finds himself jobless and a single father. He’s forced to move in with his father played by George Carlin. Things start to look up for him when he meets another great girl (Liv Tyler) and her daughter
and learns that life sometimes throws you a few different directions
and you can’t choose the path you’re given.
Synopsis Benjamin Franklin Gates descends from a family of treasure-seekers who’ve all hunted for the same thing: a war chest hidden by the Founding Fathers after the Revolutionary War. Ben’s close to discovering its whereabouts, as is his competition, but the FBI is also hip to the hunt.
Synopsis When Tom, a married man who has blissfully enjoyed several years in a monogamous, heterosexual relationship, suddenly learns he has contracted HIV, he becomes consumed with grief and anger. Setting out to find answers, he attempts to track down the only man he has ever slept with - Dan. This film examines several thought provoking questions. Starring James Marsden and Scott Speedman.
Synopsis In a quiet, isolated village in olde Pennsylvania, there lies a pact between the people of the village and the creatures who reside in the surrounding woods: the townspeople do not enter the woods, and the creatures do not enter the village. The pact stays true for many years, but when Lucius Hunt seeks medical supplies from the towns beyond the wood, the pact is challenged. Animal carcasses, devoid of fur, begin to appear around the village, causing the council of elders to fear for the safety of the village, the pact, and so much more. Starring Bryce Dallas Howard, Joaquin Phoenix, Adrien Brody, William Hurt and Sigourney Weaver
Synopsis After twelve years in prison, Walter arrives in an unnamed city, moves into a small apartment across the street from an elementary school, gets a job at a lumberyard, and mostly keeps to himself. A quiet, guarded man, Walter finds unexpected solace from Vickie, a tough-talking woman who promises not to judge him for his history. But Walter cannot escape his past. A convicted sex offender, Walter is warily eyed by his brother-in-law, shunned by his sister, lives in fear of being discovered at work, and is hounded by a suspicious local police officer, Detective Lucas. After befriending a young girl in a neighborhood park, Walter must also grapple with the terrible prospect of his own reawakened demons.
Starring Kevin Bacon
Synopsis This documentary film centers on the unique and innovative music academy founded in Philadelphia in 1999 called the Paul Green School of Rock Music. There ,students under the tutelage of Paul Green become well-versed with the ins-and-outs of rock and roll. From learning to read sheet music to playing essential power chords, Paul Green attempts to bring out the inner rocker in all his students.
Synopsis When Rose, a female assassin, is diagnosed with terminal cancer; she decides to carry out one final killing, assisted by her lover and also stepson, Mickey. Starring Helen Mirren and Cuba Gooding Jr.
Synopsis After the pig of a local farmer gives birth to an unexpectedly large litter, he is suddenly faced with the unpleasant reality of removing one of the newborns in order to ensure the mother properly feeds and nurtures the others. One piglet, on the cusp of being slaughtered is suddenly rescued by Fern, the farmer's compassionate young daughter who implores her father to spare its life. Taking the young piglet under her own care and supervision, she later names it Wilbur. As it matures, Wilbur is eventually placed in a barn on the opposite side of the farm where he soon meets a host of other colorful animals, including a spider named Charlotte. As the bond between these barn yard animals grow, Wilbur's fate soon rattles the entire farm when it is discovered that he is once again slated to be slaughtered at the end of the spring season. With Wilbur's life hanging in the balance, Charlotte promises to perform the only miracle she can in order to safeguard Wilbur. Starring Julia Roberts, Steve Buscemi, John Cleese, Oprah Winfrey, Cedric the Entertainer, Kathy Bates,
Robert Redford and Dakota Fanning.
Synopsis In the summer of 1976, 30-year old Vince Papale is having a tough run of luck. He's been working as a supply teacher for two days a week but has just found out that his job has been eliminated because of budget cuts. His wife gives up on him saying he'll never amount to anything and asks for a divorce. He works as a bartender and plays football with his friends. When the the new coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, Dick Vermeil, announces that he will hold open tryouts for the team, Vince reluctantly decides to give a try. In an almost unheard of feat, he manages to make the team and enjoyed a three year career as a professional football player. Based on a true story. Mark Wahlberg portrays Papale
and Greg Kinnear plays Dick Vermeil.
Synopsis When Dev Saran, a once highly touted and skillful soccer player on the cusp of playing professionally becomes semi-handicap from an accident, he is abruptly stripped of all his soccer abilities. Extremely bitter and ornery, Dev now remains constantly at home jealous and bickering with his wife Riya, a successful model and magazine editor. Suspecting his wife of cheating with Rishi, the husband of a local kindergarten teacher named Maya, fate continues to bring each of the four main characters together in a story which constantly pushes such relationship issues as love, lust and infidelity to the forefront. The film is also known
as 'Never Say Goodbye' and stars Amitabh Bachchan and Sharukh Khan.
A list of 80 movies that were filmed, at least in part, in the city Philadelphia or its surrounding suburbs since Rocky first ran up the Art Museum steps in 1976. When I started to make the list I was surprised at how many movies that have been filmed in the Philadelphia area, and wished that I had seen more of them, but have now added a number I haven't seen to my netflix queue. Here are my top ten movies on the list of the ones I have seen:
The Sixth Sense
My reference source for this list was
the Greater Philadelphia Film Office,
the synopsis' of the films are from there and from IMDB