The 15 Best Movies Set in Philadelphia, Ranked

Here are the best movies that take place in the great city of Philadelphia! Some of these may surprise you.
The 15 Best Movies Set in Philadelphia, Ranked

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When it comes to iconic United States cities, few are as ingrained in the public consciousness as Philadelphia.

The City of Brotherly Love is known for its cheesesteaks, giant mall (which is actually in the next town over), soft pretzels, and various important events in American history.

Outside of those real-world things, Philly has been used as a setting for some incredible movies. In fact, according to Wikipedia, there are nearly 120 movies set within the city of Philadelphia.

Here are our picks for the best movies that take place in Philadelphia! Some are pretty well-known, but you may be surprised by some of the ones that made the list.

15. Big Fan (2009)

Directed by Robert D. Siegel

Starring Patton Oswalt, Kevin Corrigan, Michael Rapaport

Comedy, Crime, Drama (1h 28m)

6.7 on IMDb86% on RT

In one of his rare occasions as the lead, Big Fan features Patton Oswalt as a huge New York Giants fan named Paul, whose life turns upside down when he stumbles upon his idol in the unlikeliest of places.

Part of the movie involves Paul traveling to Philadelphia to confront his rival "Philadelphia Phil" (played by Michael Rapaport) after he humiliated him.

The New York Giants fan realizes that Philadelphia Eagles fans aren't so different from himself, even if they're still obnoxious.

14. Shazam! (2019)

Directed by David F. Sandberg

Starring Zachary Levi, Mark Strong, Asher Angel

Action, Adventure, Comedy (2h 12m)

7.0 on IMDb90% on RT

Shazam! is a fantastically goofy superhero movie that takes the tropes of the genre and creates something fun and interesting with them. And as an added bonus, the movie takes place in the fine city of Philadelphia!

You'll see shots of Center City, the William Penn statue, the famous Art Museum steps, and even Geno's Steaks. It's like one giant Philly Easter Egg! Plus, it's a really fun superhero movie.

13. National Treasure (2004)

Directed by Jon Turteltaub

Starring Nicolas Cage, Diane Kruger, Justin Bartha

Action, Adventure, Mystery (2h 11m)

6.9 on IMDb46% on RT

If there's one thing Philadelphia has a lot of, it's museums. National Treasure uses plenty of those museums for its plot, but there are also scenes from Washington, D.C.

The movie shows iconic Philly locations such as the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and the Franklin Institute.

12. Best in Show (2000)

Directed by Christopher Guest

Starring Michael Hitchcock, Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara

Comedy (1h 30m)

7.4 on IMDb93% on RT

Pet lovers and fur parents from Philly can be proud of this Christopher Guest gem. It was certainly responsible for making the National Dog Show a perennial Thanksgiving tradition!

Best in Show is a mockumentary film that follows five participants who enter their prized dogs in the Mayflower Kennel Club Dog Show.

Egos and vanity also take center stage as the dogs' owners scramble to earn the "Best in Show" title, with over-the-top results. Hilarious and timeless, Best in Show is a memorable one full of laughs.

11. The Italian Job (2003)

Directed by F. Gary Gray

Starring Donald Sutherland, Mark Wahlberg, Edward Norton

Action, Crime, Thriller (1h 51m)

7.0 on IMDb72% on RT

The Italian Job is one of the most underrated heist movies out there. While most people heap praise on films like Ocean's Eleven, this movie deserves just as much love.

The all-star cast features names like Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, Edward Norton, Jason Statham, Seth Green, Mos Def and Donald Sutherland. A movie with these names can't be bad!

10. The Philadelphia Story (1940)

Directed by George Cukor

Starring Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, James Stewart

Comedy, Romance (1h 52m)

7.9 on IMDb100% on RT

How about a screwball classic? The Philadelphia Story brings together the amazing comedic forces of James Stewart, Cary Grant, and Katharine Hepburn to great success.

The Philadelphia Story is a romantic comedy film about a socialite who must deal with the presence of her vain ex-husband and a tabloid journalist on her wedding day.

Surprisingly, the entire film was shot on a soundstage. The mansion setting was made to resemble socialite Helen Hope Montgomery Scott's famed estate, the Ardrossan. The end result helps shed light on Philadelphia's golden history.

9. Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Directed by David O. Russell

Starring Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro

Comedy, Drama, Romance (2h 2m)

7.7 on IMDb92% on RT

Silver Linings Playbook is an emotional movie that'll tug on your heartstrings with its mix of romance, comedy, and drama.

A good chunk of the movie takes place in Philadelphia suburb Upper Darby, but there's plenty of Eagles action too since Philly's beloved football team is an integral part of the movie's plot.

8. Creed (2015)

Directed by Ryan Coogler

Starring Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson

Action, Drama, Sport (2h 13m)

7.6 on IMDb95% on RT

Creed is sort of a sequel to Rocky, but with its focus shifted away from Sylvester Stallone's Rocky to Michael B. Jordan's Adonis Johnson Creed.

Stallone still plays a critical role in the movie, of course, but Creed feels different enough from original Rocky films to stand on its own.

It's a refreshing reboot to the Rocky story and is definitely worth a watch if you haven't seen it. Plus, it's still set in Philly!

7. 12 Monkeys (1995)

Directed by Terry Gilliam

Starring Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe, Brad Pitt

Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller (2h 9m)

8.0 on IMDb88% on RT

For science fiction fans who want to enjoy a Philly-based movie, 12 Monkeys is the one to go with. Director Terry Gilliam knocks it out of the park with this incredible movie.

Unfortunately, the post-apocalyptic movie doesn't take place exclusively in Philadelphia, but it definitely features enough iconic landmarks in the city to make it have that Philadelphia feel.

6. A History of Violence (2005)

Directed by David Cronenberg

Starring Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, Ed Harris

Action, Crime, Drama (1h 36m)

7.4 on IMDb87% on RT

Arguably one of the best films of 2005, A History of Violence is actually an adaptation of a DC imprint. Yes, really! Not many know that.

A History of Violence follows a simple diner owner named Tom Stall (played by Viggo Mortensen), whose act of stopping a robbery catches the attention of people he left in the past.

Philadelphia is less the "The City of Brotherly Love" here when Tom has to make the most drastic choices. A History of Violence is a great noir thriller that paints the city in a cool but lethal light.

5. The Sixth Sense (1999)

Directed by M. Night Shyamalan

Starring Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette

Drama, Mystery, Thriller (1h 47m)

8.2 on IMDb86% on RT

The Sixth Sense isn't actually a movie that makes you think of Philadelphia, but it most definitely takes place in The City of Brotherly Love. The horror movie features one of the most iconic twists in any movie, and it has one of the most quoted lines.

The Sixth Sense is how M. Night Shyamalan became a household name as a director, so it's worth checking out just for that.

4. Trading Places (1983)

Directed by John Landis

Starring Eddie Murphy, Dan Aykroyd, Ralph Bellamy

Comedy (1h 56m)

7.5 on IMDb88% on RT

If you're into comedies, this is the Philly-based movie for you. It stars two comedic geniuses in Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy, so you know it's going to have you rolling on the floor laughing uproariously.

It's a quotable movie, featuring quite a few lines that you're sure to remember. And the Philadelphia setting actually matters, which makes it a great film for Philly residents.

3. Invincible (2006)

Directed by Ericson Core

Starring Mark Wahlberg, Greg Kinnear, Elizabeth Banks

Biography, Drama, Sport (1h 45m)

7.0 on IMDb72% on RT

When it comes to inspiring football stories, few make you believe you can accomplish anything quite like Invincible.

The football movie focuses on Philadelphia's beloved Eagles and an unlikely hero named Vince Papale (Mark Wahlberg). Not only is it a great movie, but it really gives you a feel for the Philadelphia spirit in the 1970s.

2. Philadelphia (1993)

Directed by Jonathan Demme

Starring Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Roberta Maxwell

Drama (2h 5m)

7.7 on IMDb81% on RT

Like all great cities, Philadelphia has had its ups and downs, its wins and losses. We see some of the latter in Philadelphia, which was one of the first major Hollywood productions to openly discuss topics of homophobia and the AIDS crisis.

Philadelphia stars Tom Hanks in his Oscar-winning role as a lawyer barred from his firm because of his sexuality and AIDS diagnosis. He brings in a personal injury attorney (played by Denzel Washington) to help him win his case.

This dramatic film holds nothing back in presenting the harsh realities of its characters. But looking at what Beckett and Miller achieved, redemption is possible in the streets of Philadelphia.

1. Rocky (1976)

Directed by John G. Avildsen

Starring Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young

Drama, Sport (2h)

8.1 on IMDb92% on RT

In the ultimate no-brainer, Rocky tops the list of Philly-based movies. Philadelphia literally has a statue dedicated to Rocky right in the middle of the city, and people come from far and wide to run up the iconic steps.

While Rocky is a film that truly defines all things Philadelphia, it's also just a classic movie that can be appreciated no matter where you live. It's the movie that pioneered the sports genre, and it's just a masterpiece in the film world.

Most of the sequels could easily make this list as well, so if the original Rocky isn't enough for you, go out and see the rest of the movies. (Maybe skip Rocky V, though.)