From screwball comedies to action-packed adventures, more than 100 films have showcased the Philadelphia metropolitan area on the silver screen since the 1970s. Relive some of the city's most memorable movie moments all over town, from famous sites you'll recognize from your old DVD collection to Philadelphia movie tours you can take any day of the week.
Several Philly landmarks have secured their places in celluloid history. Eddie Murphy's hilarious 1983 breakout hit “Trading Places” celebrates the city from its very first frames, as the opening credits roll over shots of famous sites like Boathouse Row (along the Schuylkill River) and the Italian Market (Ninth Street from Wharton to Fitzwater streets, Philadelphia, PA). Later in the film, the Wells Fargo Building (123 S. Broad St., Philadelphia, PA) makes an appearance as the headquarters of the fictional Duke & Duke bank, and the Curtis Institute of Music (1726 Locust St. Philadelphia, PA, 215.893.5252) stands in for the ritzy Heritage Club. In Terry Gilliam's gritty “Twelve Monkeys” (1995), Bruce Willis stars as a time-traveler sent from the future to save the world. Unfortunately he lands in a mental institution, which was filmed in the notorious Eastern State Penitentiary (2027 Fairmount Ave., Philadelphia, PA, 215.236.3300). Fun fact: the airport scenes were actually shot at the Pennsylvania Convention Center (1101 Arch St., Philadelphia, PA, 215.418.4700), which was newly built at the time.
Traveling by train? You may recognize Amtrak's 30th Street Station (30th Street and JFK Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA, 215.349.2153) as the setting for a pivotal scene in the Academy Award-winning film “Witness” (1985) starring Harrison Ford. And who can forget the famous training sequence in “Rocky” (1976), when Philly's favorite underdog boxer ends his workout by running up the 72 steps that lead to the doors of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA, 215.763.8100). A bronze statue at the bottom of the "Rocky Steps" commemorates the scene.
Stores in Starring Roles
Planning on doing some shopping while you're in town? Follow in some famous Hollywood footsteps in these stores and neighborhoods. Former brat-packer Andrew McCarthy stars as a window dresser at Prince & Co. department store in 1987's cult classic “Mannequin.” Since Prince & Co. is fictional, the store scenes were actually filmed in the John Wanamaker Building (1300 Market St. Philadelphia, PA, 215.241.9000), which is now home to Macy's Center City. In David O. Russell's “Silver Linings Playbook” (2012), Jennifer Lawrence and Philly native Bradley Cooper stroll through historic Jewelers' Row (Eighth and Walnut streets, Philadelphia, PA), and (spoiler alert!) the film's grand finale is set in the ballroom at the nearby Benjamin Franklin Building (834 Chestnut St. Philadelphia, PA).
Grab a bite at these eateries that have made their mark on screen. “Philadelphia” (1993), the movie that earned Tom Hanks his first Oscar, was shot almost entirely on location throughout the city, including a scene at Famous 4th Street Delicatessen (700 S. Fourth St., Philadelphia, PA 215.922.3274). Foodie paradise Reading Terminal Market (51 N. 12th St., Philadelphia, PA, 215.922.2317) made a cameo in the historical adventure story “National Treasure” (2004) starring Nicolas Cage. Don't miss “In Her Shoes” (2005), which is based on the novel by Philadelphia-based author Jennifer Weiner. The final scene takes place at the Jamaican Jerk Hut (1436 South St., Philadelphia, PA, 215.545.8644), a low-key outdoor restaurant that the cast and crew loved so much they wrote it into the movie.
Several of the city's museums also pay homage to Hollywood. Steven Spielberg fans can ogle the prolific director's very first camera, which is housed at the National Museum of American Jewish History (101 S. Independence Mall East, Philadelphia, PA, 215.923.3811). The Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent (15 S. Seventh St., Philadelphia, PA, 215.685.4830) counts vintage, 1930's-era large-size movie posters among the many Philadelphia-centric pieces in its collection. Out in Montgomery County, The Stoogeum (904 Sheble Lane, Ambler, PA, 267.468.0810) stands as a tribute to stars Larry Fine, Moe Howard and Curly Howard—aka The Three Stooges—by preserving artifacts like the Stooges' movie costumes, props and personal documents.
Philadelphia Movie Tours
For a crash course in Philadelphia movie history, the Philly Movie Sites Tour (215.625.7980) takes guests to more than 50 locations featured in more than 30 movies and television shows. As the bus travels, built-in screens play film clips that feature each site. This tour runs from May through September, but private tours are available upon request. “Rocky” fanatics can sign up for Philly Tour Hub's Rocky Movie Locations Tour (215.280.3746), which includes stops at several locations featured in the six-film franchise.