Director: Jonathan Demme
Starring: Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Mary Steenburgen

The cultural conversation about HIV/AIDS was a quiet one for a while. While the LGBTQ community was long aware of it by the mid-’80s, it took several years for the popular culture to recognize the disease. It took Hollywood even longer: Philadelphia, released in 1993, was one of the first mainstream films to acknowledge the epidemic. The Jonathan Demme-directed drama stars Tom Hanks as lawyer Andrew Beckett, who sues for discrimation after being fired because of his HIV status with the help of fellow lawyer Joe Miller (Denzel Washington). Together, they face one of the top litigators from his ex-employer, Belinda Conine (Mary Steenburgen). Not only one of the first Hollywood films to acknowledge HIV/AIDS, Philadelphia is also one of the first films to truly address homophobia, and does a stellar job of it, analyzing the devastating effects this form of discrimination it can have on both a singular person and the LGBTQ community as a whole. Philadelphia famously won Tom Hanks the first of his two consecutive Academy Awards. Philadelphia is an important and empathetic time capsule.