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Boston Movies – What to Watch Before Visiting Beantown

Headed to Beantown? Brush up on your Boston culture (and accent) with these 5 great films.

Love Story (1970). Harvard PhD candidate Erich Segal based this passionate, if slightly sappy, tale of doomed romance and class struggle on his late 60s stint as a proctor in the Harvard dorm where actor Tommy Lee Jones and Vice President Al Gore were roommates (they are both supposedly the inspiration for the jock-with-a-heart-of-gold lead of the film). The movie’s bitter weather and tragic, volatile, only-in-the-Ivy-League romance are both terribly painful—and painfully terrible—depictions of life in Boston and Cambridge. For more Harvard lovefests, see also The Paper Chase and Legally Blonde.

Good Will Hunting (1997). Written by and starring Boston natives Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, this is the story of a brilliant MIT janitor who woos a comely Harvard student all over Boston while receiving counseling from Bunker Hill Community College professor Robin Williams. Filled with scenes at many area sights; reenact away!

Mystic River (2003). Clint Eastwood directs this Oscar-winner about 3 boyhood friends who find themselves on opposite ends of a murder investigation. Not much of an upper, but it does expose much of Boston’s untouristed underbelly. Don’t reenact this one.

Fever Pitch (2005). A romantic comedy by the Farrelly brothers that is the best single depiction of Boston’s love for its Red Sox. Many past and present Sox players star.

The Departed (2006). A Martin Scorsese joint and winner of Best Picture. Stars from Jack Nicholson to Leo DiCaprio act out the cat-and-mouse game between the South Boston mob and the police. Better accents than in Mystic River.

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