Ever since movies left the studio and started filming on location, many of our largest cities have been used as the setting for the stories we watch. New York and Los Angeles are both commonly used as backdrops to Hollywood’s productions. They are not, however, the only cities used. Boston, Massachusetts, is another contender for most filmed city in the United States.
Boston has a long history and quite a bit of distinctive architecture which lends itself well to cinema. Many stories set in Boston have been filmed there as a means of giving greater credence to the story. Some of the best movies filmed in Boston are as follows.
1994’s “Blown Away” made extensive use of Fenway Park, Boston Harbor, Copley Square, and the Esplanade to film this explosive drama of vengeance. There are also scenes filmed in the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel which are easily recognizable to visitors to this Boston landmark.
The 2007 crime drama, “Gone, Baby, Gone” goes one better than just revealing some of the best and worst of Boston. While Ben and Casey Affleck were born in California, they came to Boston at a very young age and made their adopted city their home. Ben directed and did a lot of the screenplay and brother Casey starred, but the city is an active actor in this film itself. You can see such Boston landmarks as the Lindemann Mental Health Center in the West End all the way down to the Old Colony public housing development and Murphy’s Law bar in Southie.
This was hardly the first time the Afflecks used Boston as a location for their movies. Ten years earlier Ben had teamed up with the Boston native Matt Damon and the comedian Robin Williams to produce the award winning “Good Will Hunting.” While a lot of the film was made in Toronto a number of Boston landmarks were included for realism. These include the Boston Public Gardens and Woodie’s L Street Tavern in South Boston. Count on the accents being accurate.
The Sean Penn thriller “Mystic River” from 2003 was filmed almost entirely in Boston. Being a gritty movie, many of the Boston locales are a bit gritty. South Boston and Downtown appear as well as the Tobin Bridge and the Mystic River itself for added realism. As well as the location shots, many of the sets, including the Black Emerald Bar, were built in a south Boston warehouse.
Not all of the best movies filmed in Boston are dramatic. “Mall Cop” was filmed extensively in the popular Burlington Mall with some extra footage from South Shore Plaza and the Northshore Mall. While a few of the stores have gone out of business since the movie was filmed, any shopper at Burlington Mall will still find it a recognizable part of the Boston movie scene.
Other movies of note that have been filmed in and around Boston include such greats as, “Field of Dreams,” “Glory.” “The Departed,” “The Spanish Prisoner,” “28 Days Later,” and “Amistad.” Regrettably, while the classic “Love Story” is about Bostonians, it was mostly filmed in Toronto.