Beacon Hill is known for its architectural beauty and historic relevance. What many don’t know is that it is the most filmed area in the entire city of Boston.
It is no secret that Boston, Massachusetts is a favorite location for filmmakers, but Beacon Hill, or as we like to call it, “The Boston Movie Mile”, has made appearances in over 30 blockbusters and hit television shows!
At the peak of Beacon Hill, you will find one of the most popular locations for filming in Boston, The Massachusetts State House. Ironically, of the all the films that feature The State House, the location is rarely representation of The Massachusetts State House.
The historical building has become a stand-in for other locations since 1982, when set crews transformed The State House into a court house and then a hospital for the film The Verdict. Then, in Amistad, a film set in Washington, DC, The State House was cast as the US House of Representatives. Makers of Amistad thought filming done in present day DC would not to be able to capture the historic time period as well as the Beacon Hill area in Boston could.
The Boston set film, The Departed, used The Massachusetts State House as a symbol of Colin Sullivan’s (Matt Damon) ambition and can be seen as a backdrop for the characters apartment throughout the film. The funny thing is, Colin Sullivan’s apartment never actually existed. In reality, the view of The State House was an effect used from shots filmed from the rooftop of Suffolk University.
Of course, that isn’t the only movie-magic Scorsese had up his sleeve when making The Departed. Ever heard of mobsters hanging out at a cleaners? Charles Street Cleaners, located in Beacon Hill stood in for the mobster hang-out, where Bill (Leonardo DiCaprio) was accused of being a cop. The crew converted it into an eating establishment for the scene.
Lots of tricks can be played on us through film; however, ‘Beantown’ native, Ben Affleck, was avid that his 2010 film The Town, set in his city must be authentic. He insisted that a Dunkin’ Donuts located in Boston must be used when filming. The hometown proud actor/director used the Dunkin Donuts located at 127 Tremont St. in Beacon Hill to film the particular scene.
The 1994 action thriller Blown Away starring Jeff Bridges and Tommy Lee Jones, is jam packed with bangs, blasts and explosions, including some that took place right in Beacon Hill. Aside from the stunts and effects, filmmakers had a few more tricks up their sleeves. One scene shows a character driving down a hill, unable to stop her vehicle when she is informed there is a bomb connected to the car’s breaks. The scene lasts about two minutes and is set in San Francisco. The truth is, the scene was filmed on Joy Street in Beacon Hill, not San Francisco and Joy Street is 300 feet and only takes approximately 3 seconds to drive down.
* In an effort to stay current, we are constantly updating our tours with new locations and cannot guarantee the presence of locations mentioned on our site. If you have a particular interest in locations from a specific TV show or movie, please let your tour guide know and we will do our best to accommodate your request.