Philadelphia

  • Review Date: July 27, 2005
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1993
  • Running Time: 125 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Moving, Oscared '90s drama fostered AIDS empathy.
  • Review Date: July 27, 2005
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1993
  • Running Time: 125 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The law firm partners lie, cover up their behavior, and attach Andy. Several characters also make derogatory comments about gay people, calling them "disgusting." But the film also humanizes people with a dreaded and stigmatized disease and has at its heart a message of love and acceptance of all people, regardless of sexual orientation or STD status.

Violence

Joe lunges at a man who comes on to him and threatens to attack him.

Sex

Andy and Miguel kiss briefly. A lot of talk about how STDs like HIV/AIDS are spread and the implication that Andy deserves it because he's gay. A visit to a gay porn theater is discussed.

Language

Some salty language, including "bulls--t," "s--t," "goddamn," and "asshole." Several characters use anti-gay slurs, such as "queers" and "faggot."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

The senior law firm partners smoke cigars and drink liquor. Andy smokes a cigar at a party. Joe hands out cigars and smokes one after the birth of his daughter. At a party, everyone drinks alcohol, but not to excess.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know there's considerable discussion about homosexuality and AIDS, as well as painful discussions of who "deserves" to get AIDS. For gay and sensitive viewers, this conversation can be especially triggering. Joe threatens to "kick your faggoty ass" when a man comes up and hits on him in a drug store. The film also shows Joe's wife giving birth and Tom Hanks' character surrounded by family as he passes away.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Attorney Andy Beckett (Tom Hanks) is rising up the ranks at his prestigious law firm. He balances court hearings, depositions, meetings with the partners, and calls from his mom. But he's also keeping two very big secrets: He's gay and he has AIDS. When Andy gets fired from his job a month after a lesion appears on his forehead, he sues his former employers. He hires black attorney Joe Miller (Denzel Washington) to represent him. Joe's prejudices against homosexuals begin to fade as he begins to see the bigger picture of discrimination. What ensues is a legal battle that puts the way America treats gay people with AIDS on trial, and finds us guilty.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

With blockbuster performances by Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington and with a timely and compelling plot, PHILADELPHIA asks the question of how we treat people who have sexually transmitted diseases, especially AIDS and especially when they're gay. The pacing and structure of the film are designed by director Jonathan Demme to treat the viewer as the jury. The arguments are taut and compelling. And Hanks' gaunt reserve and quiet despair as he loses his battle with the disease are mesmerizing.

Sure, the film is emotionally manipulative, but many great movies are. Yet Andy isn't allowed to be anything less than the patron saint of AIDS victims. What few dark secrets he has are brushed off with the supportive look of his family. Andy is masculine, loved by his family, his partner is accepted by everyone, and Andy is, of course, rich. One wonders how viewers would think of a gay AIDS patient who had been ostracized by his family, who was effeminate, who was poor, and maybe wasn't quite as perfect of a human being. Would he be any less deserving of respect and justice?

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about STDs and safe sex. Can you tell who has an STD and who doesn't just by looking at them? What do kids at your school think? Families can also talk about how they feel as a family about gay issues. Do you object when people use anti-gay language at school? Do you feel the way Joe does when people start accusing him of being gay because he represents Andy? Has the social climate changed for gay people and people with AIDS since this movie came out? How has it gotten better and how has it gotten worse? Which people in the public eye are "out" that you're aware of and how are they treated by the media? Do you think they have more pressure than straight famous people?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 23, 1993
DVD release date:September 3, 2002
Cast:Antonio Banderas, Denzel Washington, Tom Hanks
Director:Jonathan Demme
Studio:Columbia Tristar
Genre:Drama
Run time:125 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:some graphic language and thematic material

This review of Philadelphia was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 15 years old Written byilovefall10 October 28, 2010
AGE
14
QUALITY
 
such a great film... everyone should see it.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 16 years old Written byMr581 July 26, 2009
AGE
7
QUALITY
 
the theme is the only reason young kids 5-8 cant watch
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much consumerism
Teen, 13 years old Written byMovieGuy23 June 13, 2011
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

Philadelphia is touching and heartfelt

Philadelphia is a moving journey. A compelling look at AIDS and homophobia in modern society. Hanks gives an Oscar-winning performance as a man dying from AIDS, Washington matches him as a homophobic lawyer who gives him his day in court. Note to parents: The movie mostly contains gay slurs and plenty of homophobia. An appropriate family film with a good message.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much swearing

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Poll

What are the different ways that you access Common Sense Media ratings and information? (Check all that apply)

Essential Apps Guide