Because of its rich cultural heritage, Boston has served as a backdrop for some of cinema’s most memorable dramas and thrillers.
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As a city that has appeared in several films and television series, Boston has a long and rich history. That’s perhaps not a surprise, given some of the city’s most well-known landmarks. It may not be the city that never sleeps at night, but it has earned its place in the Hollywood canon.
On a list of Boston-based movies, you might be startled by some of the choices. Is it even possible to recognize something you’ve seen before? Whatever your thoughts on the subject, we’re here today to discuss the top ten Boston-centric films. Enjoy. We’ll take it a step further and rate them based on their IMDb ratings as well.
1. Gone Baby Gone (2007) – 7.6
Gone Baby Gone is the first film on our list of fantastic Boston films. This film, which has a respectable IMDb score, is a fan favorite since it is set in Boston.
Two detectives are sent in to investigate the kidnapping of a little girl in Boston. Everyone involved, including the two detectives leading the investigation, had an emotional roller coaster ride during this case. Affleck directed Gone Baby Gone, which stars Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris and Casey Affleck among many other well-known actors.
2. The Town (2010) – 7.5
A film named The Town is next on the list. The IMDb rating and reviews for this film were positive, and so it ranked ninth on our list of the top Boston movies.
The Town is about a career criminal who gets into a lot of trouble when he develops affections for the bank manager he robbed years before. It’s not long now before the FBI catches up to its prey. Ben Affleck directs and stars in yet another Ben Affleck film, this time starring Rebecca Hall and Jon Hamm (and many others as well).
3. The Boondock Saints (1999) – 7.8
The Boondock Saints, which has a high IMDb rating, comes in at number eight on this list of Boston films. Even Nevertheless, there are a few ardent supporters of this film who will gladly list all the reasons why it deserves a higher ranking.
The vast criminal underworld that has repeatedly impacted the lives of two Irish brothers who have settled in Boston has led to their transformation into vigilantes. It’s a brutal and oddly rewarding film for many people. Filmmaker Troy Duffy directed the film, which stars Willem Dafoe, Norman Reedus and David Della Rocco (and many more). Almost ten years after the original’s release, a sequel titled The Boondock Saints II: All Saints’ Day was released in 2009.
4. Manchester By The Sea (2016) – 7.8
Next on the list is Manchester By The Sea, which received a lot of positive feedback on IMDb. Another amazing film set in Boston, this one released in 2016 and has received a lot of attention since then.
While dealing with his own melancholy and troubles, an uncle in Manchester By The Sea is compelled to step up and care for his nephew. It’s a deeply moving story that touched a nerve with a lot of people. Featuring a stellar cast led by Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, and Kyle Chandler under the direction of Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester By The Sea is a must-see film for fans of both the cinematic arts.
5. The Fighter (2010) – 7.8
On the seventh slot on our list is The Fighter, a film that received a very high rating on IMDb. This is the story of Micky Ward, a Boston-based boxer who aims to outdo his famous older brother in the ring. To many, the fact that this is based on a genuine story improves the plot even more.
Mark Walhberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, and a host of other brilliant actors star in The Fighter, which was directed by David O’Russell.
6. Mystic River (2003) – 7.9
Due of its high IMDb score, we’ve included Mystic River as the second film on our list. In the wake of the death of an ex-daughter, con’s two independent investigations were initiated. On the one hand, there are the homicide detectives, who investigate murders. Those on the other side were the ex-convict and his comrades, who were seeking retribution and understanding for what had transpired. And did we mention that it was all set in the city of Boston, too?
With a cast that includes Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, and Kevin Bacon, among others, Clint Eastwood directs Mystic River, one of the director’s best efforts to date.
7. Shutter Island (2010) – 8.1
Thanks to its high IMDb rating, we’ve added Shutter Island as the next Boston movie on our list. The disappearance of a murderess in 1954 prompts a U.S. Marshall to get involved, and along the road, he is forced to confront his deepest and darkest fears.
In Shutter Island, Martin Scorsese directed the film, which features an excellent cast. For starters, Leonardo DiCaprio, Emily Mortimer, and Mark Ruffalo star in this mind-boggling thriller that will leave you pondering the nature of reality.
8. Good Will Hunting (1997) – 8.3
As a result of its high IMDb rating, Good Will Hunting comes in second. When a movie’s plot is so overpowering, it’s easy to forget where it’s set. There are movies like Good Will Hunting.
If you’ve ever wondered what Will Hunting might have done with his life, you’re not alone. Until he realized he couldn’t keep his talents a secret any longer, he wanted to work as a janitor at MIT. After that, his life took a dramatic turn for the better. Robin Williams, Matt Damon, and Ben Affleck feature in Gus Van Sant’s Good Will Hunting.
9. The Departed (2006) – 8.5
It’s no surprise that The Departed, a fan-favorite, takes the No. 2 slot on our list of Boston movies.
There are Irish gangs in South Boston, and this version of Infernal Affairs has an undercover cop and a mole snooping around, all the while trying to keep their identities secret. It’s a daunting endeavor that merits a film all of its own. Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Jack Nicholson are just a few of the actors who appeared in Martin Scorsese’s The Departed.
10. Spotlight (2015) – 9.1
Because of its high rating on IMDb, we’ve included it in our list of the best Boston movies. This is yet another hugely successful film set in Boston, making it an ideal choice for this list.
Spotlight is based on the true story of the Boston Globe’s investigation of the Catholic Church’s enormous cover-up of child molestation within the church. Tom McCarthy directed Spotlight, which stars Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, and Rachel McAdams, among others.