Tom Hanks Archives

Character: Andrew Beckett
Directed by: Jonathan Demme
Written by: Ron Nyswaner
Produced by: Jonathan Demme, Edward Saxon
Other cast: Denzel Washington, Antonio Banderas, Mary Steenburgen, Ron Vawter
Release date: December 22, 1993

Fearing it would compromise his career, lawyer Andrew Beckett hides his homosexuality and HIV status at a powerful Philadelphia law firm. But his secret is exposed when a colleague spots the illness's telltale lesions. Fired shortly afterwards, Beckett resolves to sue for discrimination, teaming up with Joe Miller, the only lawyer willing to help. In court, they face one of his ex-employer's top litigators, Belinda Conine.


→ No one would take on his case… until one man was willing to take on the system.


♦ The home movies at the end which show Andrew as a child are real life videos of Tom Hanks in his childhood.
♦ Tom Hanks had to lose almost thirty pounds to appear appropriately gaunt for his courtroom scenes.
• Real-life friends Tom Hanks and Bruce Springsteen both happened to win their respective Oscars for Best Actor and Best Song.
• Tom Hanks said that his casting was a deliberate step to get people to see “the movie about a lawyer with AIDS over the big puppet show” or some other less intense option. A number of the previews made it clear it was a legal drama but gave no hint whatsoever of the actual subject matter of the movie.

Character’s Quotes

• This is my favorite aria. This is Maria Callas. This is “Andrea Chenier”, Umberto Giordano. This is Madeleine. She’s saying how during the French Revolution, a mob set fire to her house, and her mother died… saving her. “Look, the place that cradled me is burning.” Can you hear the heartache in her voice? Can you feel it, Joe? In come the strings, and it changes everything. The music fills with a hope, and that’ll change again. Listen… listen…”I bring sorrow to those who love me.” Oh, that single cello! “It was during this sorrow that love came to me.” A voice filled with harmony. It says, “Live still, I am life. Heaven is in your eyes. Is everything around you just the blood and mud? I am divine. I am oblivion. I am the god… that comes down from the heavens, and makes of the Earth a heaven. I am love!… I am love.”
• It’s that every now and again – not often, but occasionally – you get to be a part of justice being done. That really is quite a thrill when that happens.
• Subsequent decisions have held that AIDS is protected as a handicap under law, not only because of the physical limitations it imposes, but because the prejudice surrounding AIDS exacts a social death which precede… which precedes the actual physical one.
• That’s not the point from the day they hired me to the day they fired me, I served my clients consistency thoroughly with absolute excellency if they hadn’t fired me that’s what I’ve be doing today.
• “I misplaced an important compliant” that’s their story my side of the story is: the night before it was due I worked on the compliant in my office and I left a copy of it on my desk, the next day the compliant vanished no hard copy, all traces of it mysteriously gone from my computer, miraculously a copy was located at the last minute and we got it to court on time but the next day I was summoned to a meeting with the managing partners who were waiting for me in the conference room