We may be thousands of miles away from Hollywood, but Boston certainly has its fair share of movie magic.
From the star-studded classics to more recent releases, plenty of movies have used Boston as the backdrop. Here are some of our favorite cinematic spots in the city.
Boston Public Garden
Good Will Hunting may just be one of the most Boston-centric movies of all time, and one well-known scene was filmed at the Boston Public Garden. You can sit on the exact bench that the late Robin Williams and Matt Damon did at 13 Arlington St. and reminisce on Sean Maguire’s famous monologue.
L Street Tavern
Okay, we have to talk about one more Good Will Hunting location — L Street Tavern, home of the bar scene where Will Hunting has one of the most legendary verbal takedowns in all of cinema history. Visit the neighborhood pub, which proudly boasts its connection to the film, at 658 E. 8th St. in Southie.
It’s no wonder the home of the Green Monster has been featured in so many movies, like The Town, Ted + Moneyball. We’re big fans of Fever Pitch, the 2005 rom-com starring Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore about a Sox fan with some obsessive team loyalty.
Massachusetts State House
The Departed, or The Dep-ah-ted, features the golden dome of the Massachusetts State House. In Martin Scorsese’s crime thriller, Colin Sullivan’s (Matt Damon) ambition is symbolized by his choice of an apartment with a view of The State House and Beacon Hill. This movie also popularized “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” by Dropkick Murphys.
South End Buttery
Local journalism fans, aka our kind of people, will appreciate this one. This South End cafe was featured in the 2016 movie Spotlight, when Boston Globe reporter Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams) meets with a survivor of the Catholic Church scandals.
We know, we know, Legally Blonde didn’t actually film in Cambridge. But we have to mention the 2001 flick about Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon), who attempts to win back her ex-boyfriend by going to Harvard Law School. What, like it’s hard?
Thirsty Scholar Pub
The Social Network features another local bar scene, as Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) gets dumped by his girlfriend. Rumor has it that Mark Zuckerberg had a pint or two at the Somerville watering hole (70 Beacon St.) while contemplating inventing Facebook.
Boston Marathon Finish Line
The 2016 movie Patriots Day is about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings and the hunt for the culprits. One scene was filmed in Back Bay at the actual finish line location, while the scenes of the marathon attacks were filmed at South Weymouth Naval Air Station.
Museum of Fine Arts
Adam McKay’s 2021 Netflix movie Don’t Look Up includes a rally scene with Jason Orlean (Jonah Hill) and President Orlean (Meryl Streep) on the steps of the MFA. The dark comedy and political satire filmed in multiple locations around the city.
Want to make a day of seeing Boston through a cinematic lens? Check out this television and movie sites tour led by local actors.