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Boston’s Film Legacy: 25 Must-Watch Movies Made Here

If you want a list of movies in and about Boston, you can just head to Mark Wahlberg’s IMDB page. I’m kidding, sort of. Boston has a rich film legacy, with many movies being shot in the heart of the city, which has a unique atmosphere and presence in each flick.

I should probably mention I’m from Boston, so maybe I’m a little biased. Nevertheless, Check out 25 of the best films that were shot in Beantown, from crime movies to mysteries to romances to comedies.

1. The Town (2010)

The Town (2010)
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

When it comes to Boston-based movies, The Town is usually at the top of the list, and it’s definitely at the top of my list! It was filmed in Boston, Cambridge, Melrose, Somerville, and Charlestown, with some of the most memorable scenes taking place inside Fenway Park in Kenmore Square.

2. The Departed (2006)

The Departed
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

If The Town isn’t at the top of your Boston-based movies list, then The Departed probably is. This movie is about Boston and was filmed in several locations, including Dorchester and Quincy. It’s a crime drama about gangs and the underbelly of the city.

3. Gone Baby Gone (2007)

Gone Baby Gone
Image Credit: Miramax.

Gone Baby Gone was mainly filmed in South Boston and had a few scenes in what used to be the Quincy Quarries. The film is about a missing child that two dedicated Boston detectives are looking for, but the mystery is more twisted than they realize.

4. Good Will Hunting (1997)

Good Will Hunting Robin Williams Matt Damon Ben Affleck
Image Credit: Miramax.

Good Will Hunting is another quintessential Boston film that we all love. Unfortunately, a decent amount of the movie was filmed in Toronto, CA, but plenty of scenes were shot in Beantown and the Greater Boston area. This movie will have you feeling all the emotions and leave an imprint on your heart.

5. The Thomas Crown Affair (1999)

The Thomas Crown Affair (1999)
Image Credit: MGM Distribution Co.

On the other hand, The Thomas Crown Affair was shot almost entirely in Boston, specifically in Beacon Hill. However, some scenes were filmed in New Hampshire just north of the city. This intense and thrilling movie is about art theft, money, romance, and more.

6. The Brink’s Job (1978)

The Brink’s Job
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

This 70s movie has similar vibes to The Town, as it tells the story of the infamous Boston Brink’s Company robbery that occurred in the 50s. It’s an entertaining movie with memorable characters, with most of the film being shot in the heart of Boston.

7. Spotlight (2015)

Image Credit: Open Road Films.

This biographical drama tells the true and important story of how journalists at The Boston Globe broke the story of the abuse going on within the Catholic church. The film was shot in a variety of Boston locations, including Fenway Park, the then-current Boston Globe offices in Dorchester, and the Boston Public Library.

8. Fever Pitch (2005)

Fever Pitch (2005)
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

While many Boston-based movies are intense and heavy, Fever Pitch is a light-hearted romantic comedy starring Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon. Almost the entire movie is filmed in Boston, between Fenway Park and the Back Bay neighborhood.

9. The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973)

The Friends of Eddie Coyle 1 e1694632743765
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures

This film was shot all around the Boston area, in places like Government Center, Dedham, Cambridge, Milton, Quincy, Sharon, Somerville, Malden, and Weymouth. It’s one of the most authentic Boston-based films that captures the city’s uniqueness and its people.

10. Free Guy (2021)

Ryan Reynolds in Free Guy
Image Credit: 20th Century Studios.

Many people don’t realize that the majority of Free Guy was filmed in Boston, specifically in the Financial District, as well as Worcester, Framingham, Weymouth, and Revere Beach. They needed a city for the video game, but something cleaner and brighter than New York City.

11. Blown Away (1994)

Blown Away (1994)
Image Credit: MGM/UA Distribution Co.

Yes, another crime movie based in Boston, Blown Away, tells the story of gritty criminals getting revenge. Most of the film takes place in Downtown Boston, but there are also scenes that were filmed in Fenway Park, East Boston, and Gloucester at Wingaersheek Beach, my favorite New England beach if you were wondering.

12. Mystic River (2003)

Mystic River Sean Penn
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

This neo-noir crime drama film takes place in a fictional Boston neighborhood called East Buckingham, but the movie was shot in real Boston neighborhoods. Most of the film is in Charlestown, but they also shot in Southie, Brighton, Dorchester, Mattapan, and Jamaica Plain.

13. Shutter Island (2010)

shutter island
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

I had no idea that this dark, twisted thriller was filmed in Boston! The movie was shot in a variety of locations just outside of Boston, mainly Peddocks Island in Boston Harbor, but also Nahant, Taunton, and Dedham, which are just a few miles outside the city.

14. Next Stop Wonderland (1998)

Next Stop Wonderland (1998)
Image Credit: Miramax Films.

If you need a break from crime and mystery movies set and filmed in Boston, Next Stop Wonderland is a lovely and nuanced romantic film. Wonderland is the final stop on the T’s Blue Line, which brings you to Revere, where much of the movie was filmed. There are also scenes in Chelsea, Davis Square, along Comm Ave, Copley Plaza Hotel, and even the New England Aquarium.

15. The Darien Gap (1996)

The Darien Gap
Image Credit: IFC Films.

The Darien Gap is a movie that has very little to do with Boston, except for the fact is filmed almost entirely in Beantown. It’s about a man who takes a trip to South America to escape his annoying parents, but it’s mainly filmed in Boston and Connecticut.

16. Confess, Fletch (2022)

Confess, Fletch (2022)
Image Credit: Miramax (through Paramount Pictures).

This movie was filmed entirely in Massachusetts, with scenes being shot in Boston, Cohasset, Gloucester, Ipswich, and Worcester, Massachusetts. It’s another movie about art theft! This invigorating and fun movie stars Jon Hamm and deserves more recognition than it got.

17. Ted (2012)

Mark Wahlberg and Seth MacFarlane in Ted (2012)
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Ted is one of Mark Wahlberg’s most successful movies and was filmed almost entirely in Boston. It’s about a guy who has a very close relationship with his sentient teddy bear. Most of the film was shot in Back Bay, with scenes in Fenway Park and the Boston Public Gardens.

18. Love Story (1970)

Love Story (1970)
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Love Story is a tragic and heartbreaking romance about a couple who fell in love at first sight, but a terminal illness threatens their happy ending. The film was split between Boston and New York City, with scenes being filmed at Harvard University in Cambridge and surrounding areas.

19. The Social Network (2010)

The Social Network Movie (2010)
Image Credit: Merrick Morton/ Columbia Tristar Marketing Group.

The somewhat true story of how Mark Zuckerberg invented Facebook, now Meta, told in this film all began in Boston. While they struggled to find the availability to shoot on the Harvard campus, most of the movie, especially the beginning, was shot in Cambridge and Boston.

20. Celtic Pride (1996)

Celtic Pride (1996)
Image Credit: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution.

This hilarious sports comedy is about Celtic fans who inadvertently kidnap a player from the opposing team. Unsurprisingly, much of the movie was filmed at TD Garden, formerly called the Boston Garden, where the Celtics play and the rest was in various areas throughout the city.

21. Ghostbusters (2016)

Ghostbusters (2016)
Image Credit: Sony Pictures Releasing.

While both the original movie and the female-led remake took place in New York City, the latter had many scenes filmed in Boston. The movie’s filming was split between New York and Boston, with many scenes being shot in the Old Everett High School just outside of Beantown.

22. Patriot’s Day (2016)

Patriots Day (2016)
Image Credit: Lionsgate.

Another Mark Wahlberg film that was shot in Boston is Patriot’s Day, a movie about the tragic events of the Boston Marathon Bombing. This harrowing movie was primarily shot in South Weymouth, Massachusetts, with some scenes in Malden and Boston and at MIT.

23. Legally Blonde (2001)

Legally Blonde Reese Witherspoon
Image Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

Most of this iconic movie was shot in California, even many of the Harvard University campus scenes, which you can kind of tell when watching the film. However, a handful of scenes were shot in Cambridge, just outside of Boston, so I think this counts.

24. American Hustle (2013)

Christian Bale in "American Hustle"
Image Credit: Sony Pictures Releasing.

While American Hustle takes place in New York City and New Jersey, most of the movie was filmed in and around Boston. This saucy crime film is about fraudsters and hustlers trying to get rich quickly, but it’s never as simple as they want it to be.

25. Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009)

Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009)
Image Credit: Sony Pictures Releasing.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop was almost entirely shot in Burlington, Massachusetts, a city just a few miles from Beantown. The movie takes place in the Burlington Mall, which just happens to have been my go-to mall growing up because it has the best stores. As a kid, it was so fun seeing Kevin James walk by shops I’d been to a million times.

Source: (Reddit).

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