The Massachusetts State House is a beacon in the downtown section of the city of Boston and can be seen on the Boston Movie Mile Walking Tour. Designed by famous Washington architect Charles Bulfinch, this beautiful building is used heavily in movies and television filmed in the Boston area. It was built in 1798 and is most easily recognized for its grand stairwell leading to the front entrance and golden dome. While many Hollywood adaptations would convince you that the front entrance is a popular destination for lawyers and government workers alike, it is actually a fake entryway! It is only used ceremonially, such as when a mayor of the city steps down from their position. The steps lead directly into the Boston Common, where the Governor becomes a “common man”. Did you know that the gold dome is actually made from real 23k gold? It’s topped with a gilded pine cone, a homage to the city’s prominent lumber industry during the colonial era.
The interior of the building is incredibly well preserved due to its historical significance, which makes it an ideal spot for filming period pieces. The 1982 classic The Verdict starring Paul Newman was filmed using the main courtroom. If you look carefully in the background of this courtroom drama, you can see Bruce Willis. This was one of his first Hollywood roles as an extra.
Additionally, the State House is used prominently in the 2006 drama The Departed, which used the golden dome as a symbol of ambition for the main antagonist (played by Matt Damon). He can be seen looking at the building intensely when moving into his apartment (the top floor of the Suffolk University Law building) and when talking to Trooper Barrigan (James Badge Dale) after receiving his Massachusetts State Trooper status.
The building is also used in video games taking place in the city. The Last of Us and Fallout 4 both feature the building in post-apocalyptic states, and can be roamed at the player’s desire.
The Massachusetts State House is on the border between the Beacon Hill and Downtown areas of the city, and is a wonderful attraction to visit any time you come downtown. Be sure to walk around the exterior as well, where statues of Daniel Webster, Horace Mann, and John F. Kennedy are all featured.
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