December 11, 2015
Films shot in Philly usually conjure up images of boxers or an M. Night Shyamalan thriller. Yet Christmas movies don't usually come to mind, as New York City is known for the types of flicks that inspire holiday cheer.
There are, however, some films shot in the Philadelphia area with a Christmas theme. Granted, the ones we've compiled here are split between raunchy comedies (one being much more well known than the other) and TV movies headlined by silver screen stars.
But hey, we'll take it. Here are three Christmas movies shot in the City of Brotherly Love - and one in our neighbor to the East:
Although not a Christmas film by definition, this classic, groundbreaking comedy starring Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy centers around the holidays and is set and filmed partly in Philly with some locations in New York. The tale of a wealthy Akroyd and a homeless Murphy swapping places right around the season of giving includes shots at Rittenhouse Square and has Christmas tunes placed ironically throughout, like this scene where Akroyd plants drugs in Murphy's desk.
Does a Lifetime original directed by "Beverly Hills, 90210" alum Jason Priestley sound appealing? There's no shame in indulging in the predictable plots and heartwarming endings of a Lifetime classic, and "Dear Santa," according to a plot summary and trailer, hits those beats. It also apparently includes every terrible romantic comedy character: perfect guy, smitten woman, cute kid, jealous ex, etc. It was shot in Philly and parts of Canada as well.
It's television's Fred Savage! And we're talking about the little one, too, like from "The Wonder Years!" The description from Rotten Tomatoes reads, "When a 14-year-old is accompanied by an elderly homeless man on a walking tour of the landmarks of Philadelphia, he learns more of the plight of the homeless than about his surroundings." Another straight-to-TV film, it's got a heartwarming message, albeit a ridiculous plot. This one was also shot in Philly and Canada as well. You can check out a TV commercial from the time of it's release below (or you can watch the whole thing on YouTube - we won't tell).
It's not clear where exactly in New Jersey this film was shot, but the accents in the trailer should ring familiar as resembling those from our neighbors across the Ben Franklin Bridge. The premise skewers the traditional expectations of a Christmas film, as a group of holiday shop workers are forced to work until midnight on Christmas Eve, prompting the religious and cultural differences between them to rise to the surface. It has no real critical response, but to the film's credit Rotten Tomatoes commenter Toby Scales wrote "good job," so you know it has to be a classic. Here's the trailer (Disclaimer: It uses lots of adult language and is NSFW):