Philadelphia (1993)

At the time of its release, Jonathan Demme's Philadelphia was the first big-budget Hollywood film to tackle the medical, political, and social issues of AIDS. Tom Hanks, in his first Academy Award-winning performance, plays Andrew… More

Directed By:
Rated: PG-13
Running Time:
Genre: Drama
Release Date: December 22, 1993
DVD Release Date: September 9, 1997
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Critic Score: 78% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews

Consensus: 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.

David Ansen

Philadelphia may not be the film Demme's fans expect--its emotionalism is unfiltered by cool. But it has the power to open more than a few blinkered hearts.

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Janet Maslin
New York Times

"Philadelphia" mostly succeeds in being forceful, impassioned and moving, sometimes even rising to the full range of emotion that its subject warrants. But too often, even at its most assertive, it works in safely predictable ways.

Quentin Curtis
Independent on Sunday

Sparks of acting brilliance rescue the cautious, sometimes craven script, as does Demme's inventive direction. Though the plotting reeks of safety-first commercialism, the camerawork has the dangerous intimacy of independent film-making.

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Todd McCarthy

[An] extremely well-made message picture about tolerance, justice and discrimination is pitched at mainstream audiences, befitting its position as the first major Hollywood film to directly tackle the disease.

Rita Kempley
Washington Post

It's less like a film by Demme than the best of Frank Capra. It is not just canny, corny and blatantly patriotic, but compassionate, compelling and emotionally devastating.

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David Keyes

Jonathan Demme's thoughtful human drama was certainly not the first movie to confront the AIDS crisis, but it was, even in the conventional skin of a courtroom drama, the most heartbreaking and passionate undertaking of its kind.

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Geoff Andrew
Time Out

Safe and apolitical it may be, but Philadelphia succeeds as a deeply affecting humanist drama.

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James Berardinelli

The story is timely and powerful, and the performances of Hanks and Washington assure that the characters will not immediately vanish into obscurity.

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Peter Canavese
Groucho Reviews

What remains most striking about Philadelphia may be the...conspicuous emphasis on intense close-ups. They force an inescapable emotional intimacy in relation to issues the mainstream, at least at the time, would rather have looked away from. [Blu-ray]

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More reviews for Philadelphia

Flixster Audience Score: 89% Flixster User Reviews
John Manard
Hanks and Washington shine. This was a great movie and it came out at the right time.
Chris Weber
Upon its release, this was a very important and groundbreaking film since it was the first major Hollywood effort to deal with the medical, social, and… More
Carlos Magalhães
One of the first movies to deal with delicate matters like AIDS, homosexuality and intolerance at the time of its release. Although not altogether memorable,… More
Alex roy
Philadelphia is a superb drama starring Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington. Jonathan Demme crafts a solid film that brought to light the issue of AIDS. The plot of… More
Eugene Bernabe
Philadelphia is heartfelt and well-performed despite the simple plot. Tom Hanks & Denzel Washington provide remarkable charisma and chemistry in this film… More
Jens S.
A brave film for its time, this movie touches the aspects of how AIDS and homosexuality as they are being viewed by the majority of the uniformed mass and… More