Philadelphia (1993 PG-13)
Content Area
2h 5min
Movie Story Line
When a gay Philadelphia lawyer is fired, he suspects AIDS is the reason and takes his fight to court - even as he is losing his battle against the disease.
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Teaching Idea #1

This film is based on the real-life story of Geoffrey Bowers set in the 1980s. Research more about Geoffrey Bowers and the importance of his case to the 1990 Americans with Disability Act's (ADA) inclusion of HIV/AIDS status. How did the ADA's treatment of HIV/AIDs change over time? Do you think the government should be involved in establishing workplace or employment protections?

Teaching Idea #2

What did the public know and not know about HIV/AIDS in the 1980s, as compared to what is general knowledge today? How is this lack of knowledge depicted in the film in terms of how different characters responded to Tom Hanks' character?

Teaching Idea #3

The movie Philadelphia is the first Hollywood movie to deal with the AIDS epidemic, even thought it had been 12 years since AIDS had been identified. Why do you think this was the first Hollywood movie made about AIDS? Today there would be a backlash about a straight person playing a gay person, but at the time Tom Hanks was awarded an Academy Award for Best Actor. Do you think it is ever okay for a straight actor to play a gay or transgender role?