Watch these Philadelphia movies when you’re studying in the city!

tourists pose on the steps outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Philadelphia has received the Hollywood treatment many times over. Just by watching the Rocky movies, you can see how much the city has changed since 1976. Although Rocky is the most famous Philly movie, it’s not the only one.

If you’re a student in Philadelphia, here are some movies we think give you Philadelphia and plenty of cultural film-buff knowledge at the same time.


No movie is as connected to a city as Rocky is to Philadelphia. This 1976 movie about a down-and-out boxer won a Best Picture Oscar and launched the career of its star, Sylvester Stallone.

The plot follows an ordinary boxer and debt collector who finds an inner drive to defy the odds stacked against him and compete in the fight of his life. The streets of Philadelphia serve as a metaphor for Rocky’s rise from working class Kensington to the top of the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Today, the Rocky statue and Rocky steps are two of the most popular tourist attractions in the city.

Twelve Monkeys

Terry Gilliam’s surreal time-looping movie is a science fiction tale released in 1995, which seems to be more relevant the older it gets. Inspired by Chris Marker’s 1962 short La Jetée, Twelve Monkeys, shot in Philadelphia, is about a time traveler trying to save the world from a deadly pandemic.

Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt turn in fantastic performances in a world where nothing is what it seems. There’s so much to get from watching Twelve Monkeys more than once. A scene from Hitchcock’s Vertigo plays in a movie theater, which plays out in the lives of the main characters later on. The 29-minute short, La Jetée, that this movie is based on is also well worth checking out.

The Sixth Sense

“I see dead people.”

Haley Joel Osment gives a heartbreaking performance in this M. Night Shyamalan movie set in South Philly. The Sixth Sense revolves around Cole, a troubled boy being raised by his single mother, who gets help from psychiatrist Dr. Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis). This is a character-led thriller with danger ever present. Released in 1999, the movie was an instant box office smash and earned six Oscar nominations. The famous car scene was filmed at 21st and Christian, and St Augustine’s Roman Catholic Church is where Dr. Crowe introduces himself to Cole at the beginning of the movie, if you fancy checking it out.

The Blob

Want to see a man-eating gelatinous alien roaming the streets of Philadelphia? Of course you do! Released in 1958, The Blob is a technicolor monster B-movie featuring a moving red mass that grows throughout the film. At one point, the blob terrorizes audiences at the Colonial movie theatre in Phoenixville as it oozes through the projection booth.

Featuring cutting-edge (for the time) special effects and a young Steve McQueen, it has some genuinely scary moments. Today, there’s an annual Blobfest at the Colonial movie theatre featured in the movie where people recreate the famous cinema-fleeing scene, and the real silicone blob makes an appearance.