Must-see sights: Philadelphia in Hollywood blockbusters

Rocky II, Italian Market photo by Andrea David @filmtourismus (1)

Philadelphia has formed the backdrop to some of the iconic and blockbuster Hollywood movies, showcasing the city’s iconic sights. Discover the City of Brotherly Love – Philadelphia’s innovative spirit through the movies. The newly-married movie fanatics can definitely plan a visit here and spot the backdrops of some of their favourite movies here. Wedding Affair lists the movies in which Philadelphia lends a framework for significant scenes.


Rocky photo by Andrea David @filmtourismus-min

“Rocky,” “Rocky II,” “Rocky III,” “Rocky V,” “Rocky Balboa,” “Creed” and “Creed 2.” You may recall the famous scenes where Rocky runs through the Italian Market in South Philadelphia. Challenge yourself to a run up the famous steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, then throw your fists in the air and pose with the bronze Rocky statue that can be found at the bottom of the steps.


The latest in the Rocky franchise stars Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Creed, trained by Rocky (Sylvester Stallone), as he takes on the son of the man who killed his father, Apollo, in the ring. Laurel Hill Cemetery, Victor Café, the Rocky steps, Eastern State Penitentiary, Girard College, and North and South Philadelphia neighbourhoods provide the backdrop. In this film alone, Philadelphia locations are used in place of New York, Los Angeles, Russia and Ukraine.

Rocky II photo by Andrea David @filmtourismus-min

Silver Linings Playbook

Silver Linings Playbook photo by Andrea David @filmtourismus-min

The dramatic film, starring Bradley Cooper, is based on a true story and takes place in the western suburbs of Philadelphia. Feel the sense of community as parts of the city and both sides of the Delaware River fill the screen. See Ridley Township, Upper Darby and a taste of the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in this award-winning romantic comedy.


Starring Academy Award-winners Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington, the movie was directed by Academy Award-winner Jonathan Demme and was filmed in many locations throughout Philadelphia, notably City Hall.

The Sixth Sense

The Sixth Sense photo by Andrea David @filmtourismus-min

Starring Bruce Willis, the movie was filmed throughout Philadelphia including Boathouse Row and the streets of the Fairmount Neighborhood, known for its young artsy vibe and grand architecture.

The Upside

An American remake of the French film, “Les Intouchables,” the picture tells the touching story of an unlikely friendship between a wealthy paraplegic, Oscar-nominee Bryan Cranston, and his caretaker, played by Philadelphia-born comedian Kevin Hart. Prominently featured locations in the film are the Kimmel Center (home of the Philadelphia Orchestra), XIX restaurant, John F. Kennedy Boulevard and nearby Hawk Mountain.


Philadelphia welcomed plenty of blockbuster entertainment when “Transformers Revenge of the Fallen” was filmed all over our city. Some of the most iconic locations of the film include the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, where visitors can get a great view from the Race Street Pier, The University of Pennsylvania where Shia LeBeouf’s character was a student, and Eastern State Penitentiary, where LeBoeuf and co-star Megan Fox take shelter after running from the Transformers along the Schuylkill River.

Rocky photo by Andrea David @filmtourismus (1)-min

National Treasure

Philadelphia’s incredible historic monuments help star Nicolas Cage of “National Treasure” throughout his journey. Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell are featured prominently – as well as a prized possession of Philadelphia’s favourite founding father, Benjamin Franklin.


Philadelphia is home to no shortage of real-life superheroes, but it’s also the perfect backdrop for fictional feats of strength and great deeds on the silver screen. Set in Philadelphia, DC Comics returns to a quirk with Shazam! The film follows Billy Batson (Asher Angel), a 14-year-old orphan who discovers he can transform into a comically muscle-bound superhero (Zachary Levi) simply by uttering the word – yes, that’s the one – “Shazam!” The story takes place in Philadelphia, but the majority of filming actually was done in Toronto. Look for some iconic shots on location in the City of Brotherly love, including aerial skyline shots and establishing exteriors, as well as one scene on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art at Christmas time. Other callouts include LOVE Park’s Christmas Village, Philadelphia’s historic City Hall and the city’s public transit service, SEPTA.

Fresh Prince photo by Andrea David @filmtourismus-min


The thrilling culmination of his superhero trilogy (after Unbreakable and Split), M. Night Shyamalan’s film stars Samuel L. Jackson, James McAvoy and Bruce Willis. The on-screen action plays out at various South Philadelphia locations (near Girard Estates and Broad and Snyder), Frankford Arsenal (Bridesburg, lower NE Philadelphia) and Allentown State Hospital, about an hour outside the city.

17 Bridges

Starring Taylor Kitsch, J.K. Simmons, Sienna Miller and Chadwick Boseman, 17 Bridges follows a disgraced detective looking for redemption on a manhunt through the Rittenhouse, Chinatown and Callowhill neighbourhoods of Philadelphia.


The action-thriller stars Philadelphia native, Bradley Cooper. The final scene of the film was shot with Cooper and Robert DeNiro in the heart of Philadelphia’s business district, Center City West. The corner of 21st and Market streets was transformed into 57th Street and Lexington Avenue in New York City for the climactic finale.

Rocky II photo by Andrea David @filmtourismus (2)-min

Baby Mama

Philadelphia is home of many firsts — including the first female head writer of Saturday Night Live, Tina Fey. This comedic mastermind starred in “Baby Mama” with Amy Poehler. Head to Love Park, the University of Pennsylvania or Rittenhouse Square to follow in the footsteps of this hilarious duo.

Twelve Monkeys

Starring Brad Pitt and Bruce Willis, this film features the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Eastern State Penitentiary and the historic Girard College.

Up Close and Personal

Robert Redford and Michelle Pfeiffer star in this film that features Philadelphia’s local television scene. Head to the Pennsylvania Convention Center for a glimpse into one of its settings.

12 Monkeys photo by Andrea David @filmtourismus-min

Trading Places

The iconic film starring Eddie Murphy, Dan Akroyd and the late Don Ameche, has memorable scenes in and around one of Philadelphia’s most beautiful parks and buzzing restaurant scenes, Rittenhouse Square, and on the steps of the Curtis Institute of Music.


Starring Harrison Ford, Kelly McGillis and Danny Glover, this film tells the story of a Philadelphia cop who tries to solve a murder witnessed by a young Amish boy. The most memorable scene is set in Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station.

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