Tom Hanks’ Philadelphia, 20 Years Later

WHYY remembers.

NewsWorks has a look back on the 20th anniversary of the Tom Hanks’ film Philadelphia, which “changed the national conversation about HIV-AIDS.” (Bruce Springsteen’s song of the same name appeared on the film’s soundtrack.)

Marla Gold, a former assistant city health commissioner, HIV doctor, and public health dean at Drexel University, says Philadelphia managed to do what health leaders had tried and tried to do, yet often fell short: fostering an accurate public awareness about the AIDS epidemic.

“We have a major star, playing a significant role with a visual for HIV, acted out beautifully as a movie that’s award winning,” says Gold. “So this is a lot different than a pamphlet that arrives in the mail and warns you of something. This is real.”

“We got together and tried to come up with a movie that would help push for a cure and save lives,” says Jonathan Demme, who directed and co-producedPhiladelphia.

The good news? “The diagnosis is no longer a death sentence; it is a chronic illness.” NewsWorks’ piece deserves to be read in full.