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Top 5 historical Philadelphia movie landmarks

Philadelphia a Modern Movie Town

When most people think of movie towns New York or LA are usually the first names that pop into their heads. The majority of people simply don’t associate the big screen with the city of Philadelphia but ever since Sylvester Stallone made his historic run up the steps of The Philadelphia Museum of Art in the original “Rocky” movie Hollywood has been coming back to the “City of Brotherly Love” to take advantage of its unique and highly photogenic architecture.

In fact, just in this modern era, there have been over thirty movies shot in Philly ranging from the iconic to the obscure and featuring everything form private homes to famous or infamous sites.

Here for is a list of what we consider the top 5 Philadelphia Movie landmarks. They are in no particular order and based solely on my personal taste.

Eastern State Penitentiary has been featured in three movies two of which are favorites of mine. The three are “Transformers”, “Shooter” and “12 Monkeys”. Its austere and imposing fa├žade makes a wonderful backdrop for suspense and action sequences.

Saint Augustine Church has played small roles in a couple of movies but is best remembered for its role in “The Sixth Sense” with Bruce Willis. Its classic stained glass windows and vaulted ceilings were the back drop for Bruce’s awakening moment in the film.

30th Street Station has been featured in four movies; “Witness”, “The Happening”, “Blow Out” and “Trading Places”. When directors are looking for a classic, commuter station, setting it is second only to Grand Central in NY and much easier to film in. This makes it an industry favorite.

Independence Mall and Hall are national landmarks with magnificent architecture in their own right so it was slightly surprising to me that they have only appeared in 3 recent movies. Possibly them being such historical sites make permitting an issue. The three movies that have filmed there have been blockbusters though. They are “Shooter” with Mark Wahlberg, “Rocky II” with Sylvester Stallone and “National Treasure” starring Nicolas Cage.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is, of course, the granddaddy of all Philly movie landmarks. No one who saw the Original “Rocky” will ever be able to forget Slys triumphant run to the top of the steps; where there now stands a statue of him. It has since been featured in three other movies in the Rocky series as well as the film “In Her Shoes”.

These are just my personal choices for the top five Philadelphia Movie sites. There are over 20 other sites around the city that have played starring roles in films.

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