History, art and cultureTrip inspiration
Katie Sagal

Boston for Movie & TV Fans

Boston has recently become a major player in the film industry, with multiple blockbusters and critically-acclaimed movies produced in or around the city. The city has also been the inspiration for dozens of films about its culture, sports, cuisine, and politics—not to mention many of the television shows that have been set or filmed in Boston. Movie buffs looking to explore the setting of their favorite films should consider adding Boston to their next vacation inspiration board. If you’re interested in learning more about movies set or filmed in Boston, check out a movie sites tour of Boston to explore dozens of real filming locations. For now, check out this brief guide to famous Boston movie and television locations—how many have you seen?

Good Will Hunting

A now-classic film from 1997 that launched the careers of both Ben Affleck and Matt Damon (and also considered one of Robin Williams’ best roles), Good Will Hunting tells the story of a genius working as a janitor at MIT. There are many great shots of Boston in the film, including the Boston Public Gardens, several buildings at MIT, Harvard, and Bunker Hill Community College, plus a number of real local pubs. There’s even a bench in the Boston Public Garden where Damon and Williams sat in the film. They've since turned the bench into a memorial for the late Williams.

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Handmaid’s Tale

They filmed this dystopian vision of the United States almost entirely in Canada but it alludes to significant locations in Boston. In the book, these allusions are more explicit, but they’re still visible in the series. For example, the Harvard Wall plays a role in the first episode, and Offred and Emily mentioned having worked in Boston and Brookline in later episodes. The Charles River also plays a part in episode eight—see it for yourself with a river cruise.


A delightfully raunchy comedy from 2012, Ted is very much about Boston culture. Mark Wahlberg plays the main character, who is a Boston native living with his childhood teddy bear come to life. They filmed Ted’s various misadventures across multiple locations in Boston, Norwood, and other nearby areas in Massachusetts. Even Fenway Park makes an appearance! The 2015 sequel, Ted 2, was also set and filmed in Boston.

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This dramatic 2015 film follows the story of the Boston Globe’s “Spotlight” team. They're famous for being the oldest continuously-operating investigative team in journalism. It focuses on the team’s investigations into widespread child abuse in the Boston area. It is based on a series of stories published in 2003 for which the Globe won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. Part of the filming was done in Boston, with places like Fenway Park, the old Boston Globe offices. The Boston Public Library serves as the background for several shots.

The Departed

Scorsese’s 2006 masterpiece crime drama about the Irish mob in Boston is one of the most significant films set in Boston. This award-winning film was partially produced in Boston as well, although much of the filming took place in NYC. The plot of the film heavily involves the Boston Police Department, too, so the accents are pretty great and mostly authentic. The (in)famous final scene of the rat on the balcony with the Massachusetts State House in the background is legendary.

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The Town

This 2010 Ben Affleck masterpiece was filmed throughout New England. There are many shots of Boston-specific sites, including shots of Harvard Square and, you guessed it, Fenway Park. The film is about a group of friends from Charlestown whose criminal enterprises go badly wrong. Many locals from Charlestown worked as extras in the film. Affleck, as director and star, made a point of researching the community and culture before production, too. Therefore, many small references in the film allude to Boston places and people.

Fever Pitch

A charming romantic comedy starring Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon, the plot of this 2005 movie revolves around a man having to choose between his two loves—a woman and the Boston Red Sox. Much of the film was produced in Toronto. However, you’ll still be able to see scenes from Back Bay, Newbury Street, Marlborough Street, and, of course, Fenway Park.

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Mystic River

This fast-paced thriller from 2003 is about the intertwined lives of three boys from South Boston. Trauma shapes their lives as children, and tragedy strikes 25 years later, setting into motion a riveting series of events. The movie was filmed on location in Boston including scenes set in Southie and Downtown. Additionally, there are shots of the Tobin Bridge and the iconic Mystic River from which the film takes its name.

Save on Boston Attractions

We hope these films have inspired a longing to visit Boston. Before your trip, don’t forget to grab a Go City® attraction pass to save up to 55% on admission to several of the attractions and activities highlighted in these films.

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