Philadelphia script
Philadelphia (1993)
Synopsis: Fearing it would compromise his career, lawyer Andrew Beckett (Tom Hanks) hides his homosexuality and HIV status at a powerful Philadelphia law firm. But his secret is exposed when a colleague spots the illness's telltale lesions. Fired shortly afterwards, Beckett resolves to sue for discrimination, teaming up with Joe Miller (Denzel Washington), the only lawyer willing to help. In court, they face one of his ex-employer's top litigators, Belinda Conine (Mary Steenburgen).

FADE IN:

VARIOUS SHOTS OF PHILADELPHIA EXTERIORS (EXT./DAY) ...

which may include the Liberty Bell, the Italian Market,

scenes along the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers,

Independence Square, the Russian Orthodox neighborhood, the

ghettos of North Philly.

MAIN TITLES PLAY OVER THIS SEQUENCE which culminates in a

SHOT OF...

CUT TO:

PHILADELPHIA'S GLORIOUSLY ORNATE CITY HALL (EXT./DAY) ...

TITLE:
"Philadelphia City Hall."

CITY EMPLOYEES, JUDGES, COPS, LAWYERS, CRIMINALS, TOURISTS

pour into City Hall, into...

TO:

TWO STORY HIGH CORRIDORS THAT REEK OF HISTORY (INT-DAY).

Young lawyer JAMEY COLLINS darts through the crowd, carrying

an accordion file under his arm like a football.

Jamey elbows his way through a JAPANESE TOUR GROUP.

Jamey trots up a marble staircase, two steps at a time

TO:

JAMEY RUNS LIKE HELL DOWN A THIRD FLOOR CORRIDOR, FOOTSTEPS

making a racket...

Jamey rushes toward a door marked "JUDGE TATE."

RAISED VOICES from inside Judge Tate's chambers:

JOSEPH MILLER (OS)

This construction site is

causing mortal and irreparable

harm to an unsuspecting public!

ANDREW BECKETT (OS)

My client has one of the finest

and most respected safety records

in the business, Your Honor!

Jamey shoves open the door, REVEALING TWO LAWYERS (BACKS TO

CAMERA) STANDING BEFORE JUDGE EUNICE TATE: ANDREW BECKETT

(in conservative gray) and JOSEPH MILLER (in pinstripes).

JUDGE TATE:

One at a time. Mr. Miller?

JOE:

Your Honor, since Rockwell Corp.

began construction, the

surrounding residential

neighborhood has been enshrouded

in a cloud of foul-smelling,

germ-carrying, pestilent dust.

My client is being forced to

breathe known carcinogens daily!

Other residents are coming forth

on a daily basis to add their

voices of outrage!

ANDREW:

Your Honor, I submit there were

no complaints until Counselor

began knocking on doors,

drumming up business. And the

dust, which Counselor refers to,

has appeared on only three

occasions. Each time it has

been examined and the results...

Behind his back, Andrew wiggles his fingers. Jamey stuffs

a document into Andrew's hand.

ANDREW (CONT.)

Limestone. Messy, but innocuous.

Andrew submits the report to the Judge.

JOE:

Innocuous?

ANDREW:

Defined by Webster's as harmless.

JOE:

I know what it means. Your

Honor, imagine how the children

in this neighborhood have been

made to feel. The pounding of

construction ringing in their

ears as this skyscraper, a

tribute to mankind's greed,

grows daily, casting an ominous

shadow over their lives, filling

them with dread even as they are

surrounded in a black, toxic

fog, blocking out the sun while

poisoning their lungs! And

Counselor calls it harmless?!

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Ron Nyswaner

Ron Nyswaner was born on October 5, 1956 in Clarksville, Pennsylvania, USA. He is a producer and writer, known for Philadelphia (1993), The Painted Veil (2006) and Why Stop Now? (2012). more…

All Ron Nyswaner scripts | Ron Nyswaner Books

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