If you're a tourist visiting Boston for the first time, you might be walking around one day and have a serious case of deja vu. If you find yourself saying "I know I've never been here, but man does this place look familiar, " it just might be you're walking through the site of one of the many famous Boston movie or tv film locations. So many Boston video and film productions have been made in this area that it's hard to walk through any section of the city without stumbling through somewhere that was once captured on film.
You can start with some of the most obvious ones. Strolling through the Boston Public Garden? You're bound to pass the bench where Matt Damon and Robin Williams hashed it all out in Good Will Hunting. After the comedian's death, this became a memorial. And of course bordering the Boston Public Garden on Beacon Street there's Cheers on Beacon Hill, which used to be called the Bull & Finch Pub. I guess after so many years of people asking, "is this the Cheers bar?" they just gave up and officially became THE Cheers bar.
The Beacon Hill neighborhood streets have been featured in so many Boston video productions. Scenes shot there include parts of The Departed, The Thomas Crown Affair, Boondock Saints, and the thriller Blown Away starring Jeff Bridges. And if you're a reality tv junkie, The Real World Boston house is located just off of Charles Street. On the Charles River, there's the famous Hatch Shell, which is where Mark Wahlberg makes a fool of himself to win back Mila Kunis in Ted.
Across the river in Cambridge, you'll see places featured in the sappiest love story of them all, the aptly named Love Story. Around Harvard Square is home to scenes from Legally Blonde, more scenes from Good Will Hunting, The Firm and The Social Network, but there is a catch. Almost all of the actual campus scenes from those movies were not filmed on campus, because Harvard basically shut down film production on school grounds back in the 70's. You can stop by Peoples Republik on Mass Ave and practice counting playing cards like they did in the movie "21". Since MIT didn't allow filming for a movie all about card counting and gambling, most of the MIT scenes were shot across the Charles River at Boston University. And if you're looking for the Dunkin Donuts window where Matt Damon showed off his number on a napkin in Good Will Hunting, sorry. It closed a few years ago. That Dunkin's is now Santouka, a ramen bar at the corner of Mass Ave and Bow Street. How do you like them apples?
A hop, skip and a jump from BU is perhaps the most famous Boston movie location, none other than Fenway Park. The home of the Red Sox stars as itself in movies like Ted, Fever Pitch, Money Ball, and The Town (it could have gotten a best supporting actor Oscar ,it was so prominent in that one). People sometimes forget it also had a part in the classic Field of Dreams. Oh yeah! The road trip with James Earl Jones.
If you head to the South End, you can stop in the Buttery Bar, where Rachel McAdams worked on stories as a Globe reporter in the Oscar winning movie Spotlight. On your way over stop at the Wang Theatre which was in the great movie American Hustle and also in the original Ghostbusters.
There's more to see in Southie. The L Street Tavern is Damon and Affleck's neighborhood bar in GWH. But parts of the Paul Newman classic The Verdict were shot on G Street and scenes from Black Mass were filmed on Silver Street and at South Boston High. Ironically a lot of Black Mass, all about Southie's most infamous resident Whitey Bulger, was not shot in Southie but in other locations near Boston. Scenes were shot in Dorchester, Cambridge, Revere Beach, even Lynn.
As a Boston video production company, we've shot in some of these same locations. It's fun to think our production team has filmed in some of these very same spots. There are actually enough film sites that there are tours to help you find the locations once made famous by a hard working Boston camera crew. One of the best is On Location tours. Check out this great video from their site.
And this is not a paid affiliate endorsement, We just think it's cool, in fact it might make our cut of "what to do when our out of town relatives visit." I can not ride another duck boat. You can book a tour from them in season right here,
Of course, if you get tired of the city, you can always get away from it all and head to Cape Cod, perhaps even catch the next boat to Martha's Vineyard. Just keep your arms and feet inside the ferry. They tell me sharks have been found in those waters. You're gonna need a bigger boat. Da na. Da na Da na Da na......