Even though a lot of films and television shows are filmed in Los Angeles, Philadelphia is a hot spot for Hollywood as well.
At press time, Adam Sandler is filming a movie in Philadelphia called Hustle. It doesn't have an official release date yet, but there have been more than a few award-winning and cult classic movies and television shows filmed in Philly over the years.
Next time you're ready to binge a show or make popcorn and get comfy on the couch, try something from our list of must-see movies and television shows shot in the City of Brotherly Love.
Released in 2008, this film follows Kate Holbrook (played by Tina Fey, who grew up in Upper Darby) who has so far put her job before everything. Now in her late 30s, she decides to have a baby. After being told she cannot have kids, she hires a surrogate named Angie Ostrowski (played by her pal Amy Poehler). There are many scenes filmed around the city, such as LOVE park and University of Pennsylvania hospital. It's great fun, and it's available to stream on Peacock TV.
Benjamin Franklin Gates (played by Nicholas Cage) learns about treasure in his family name hidden somewhere in the U.S., and the clues are scattered around the country. Ian, Benjamin’s former accomplice-turned-enemy, tries to steal the Declaration of Independence to find the next clues, but Ben and his crew are off to stop him. Because Philadelphia is rich in American history, scenes were filmed in Washington Square, the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, and The Franklin Institute. Stream this movie today on Disney+.
Released in 1976, the timeless classic Rocky is about Rocky Balboa (played by Sylvester Stallone); a passionate but struggling boxer and debt collector. When famous boxer Apollo Creed comes to town, Rocky’s manager sets up a match to prove the little guy can have it all. This film was shot at many familiar spots in Philadelphia, such as Pat’s King of Steaks, Independence Hall, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and many different streets that show places like Rocky’s apartment and Adrian’s pet shop. After six sequels, 2015's Creed was released, a film about Rocky Balboa becoming a mentor to his Apollo Creed’s son, Adonis Johnson (played by Michael B. Jordan). Creed was filmed in several locations, including Huntingdon Valley, the Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk, the Electric Factory (now named Franklin Music Hall), Max’s Steaks and more. You can watch both films and sequels on Hulu.
Pat Solintano (played by Philly native Bradley Cooper) moves in with his parents and tries to win his ex-wife back after leaving a mental institution. While adjusting, he meets Tiffany (played by Jennifer Lawrence), who has her own mental health to deal with. The movie was filmed in several locations such as the Benjamin Franklin Hotel, Upper Darby Township, Ridley Park and Norristown. This film is available to stream on Netflix.
M. Night Shyamalan has created many films set in Philadelphia, because he grew up in Penn Valley. He is known for thrillers with supernatural elements, like Signs and the trilogy of Unbreakable, Split and Glass. Signs, starring Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix, was filmed in 2001 in Buck County near Delaware Valley University; an agricultural university that offers plenty of land. Unbreakable, starring Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson, was filmed at the University of Pennsylvania stadium, Immaculate Conception Church, the Philadelphia Civic Center, the Curtis Center and more. Split, starring James McAvoy, was filmed at the Philadelphia Zoo, the Silk City Diner, Sun Center Studios, 30th Street Station and the Fisherman Restaurant. Glass; starring James McAvoy, Samuel L. Jackson, and Bruce Willis; was filmed at the Allentown State Hospital, Fairmount Park, the Steel Heddle Manufacturing Company Complex, Rittenhouse Square and Ontario Street Market!
Queer Eye is a reality television show about five queer folk who give lifestyle makeovers to people who need and deserve a little more pep in their step. It stars the Fab 5: aka Jonathan Van Ness who focuses on hair and beauty, Antoni Porowski who helps with food and health, Karamo Brown who focuses on culture, Tan France who helps with clothing and personal style, and Bobby Berk who focuses on interior designing. Every season, the Fab 5 travel to a different state or city, and in Season 5, they visited Philadelphia and filmed in places such as Fishtown, Germantown, West Philadelphia, Delaware County, South Philadelphia, Reading and so many other neighborhoods. Queer Eye is available to stream on Netflix.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia follows lovable misfits Charlie (Charlie Day), Mac (Rob McElhenney), Dee (Kaitlin Olson), Dennis (Glenn Howerton) and Frank (Danny DeVito) who own and operate the unsuccessful Patty’s Pub. The show was filmed around Philadelphia in places such as Geno’s Steaks, Philadelphia Java Company, Pat’s King of Steaks, and other short clips of the city for the opening credits. The fan-favorite TV series is available to stream on Hulu.
Set in Philadelphia, the show follows Annalise Keating (Viola Davis), a criminal defense professor who enlists some of her law students to help solve murder cases. The show has been filmed in Ursinus College, Middletown University, Philadelphia County Correctional Facility, Philadelphia Police Department, Hapstall Mansion, Philadelphia Courthouse, City Hall and more. Stream it now on Netflix.
Photography by: Gibson Hurst / Unsplash