Young Philadelphians

Watch Young Philadelphians

"Guilty secrets. Shocking scandals. All in a day's work for on Philadelphian lawyer."
  • Approved
  • 1959
  • 2 hr 16 min
  • 7.4  (4,202)

Young Philadelphians is a 1959 drama film that takes place in the wealthy and conservative city of Philadelphia. The movie explores the lives of four young adults from different social backgrounds who confront their personal demons while attempting to achieve their dreams in a rigid society. The plot revolves around Anthony Judson Lawrence III, played by Paul Newman, a young lawyer with aspirations to rise to the top of his profession. He graduated from an Ivy League law school, served in the army during Korea, and now works at a top law firm in Philadelphia. However, his clients are always rich, powerful men who are frequently corrupt, and Anthony struggles with his conscience as he tries to balance his ethics, political ambition, and personal relationships.

The other three main characters, Carol Wharton, played by Barbara Rush, Joan Dickinson, portrayed by Alexis Smith, and William Lawrence, Anthony's older cousin, played by Brian Keith, are all connected to Anthony's life and career. Carol is Anthony's former flame and the daughter of the wealthy head of the law firm; Joan is the society girl engaged to Anthony's friend and law partner, Chester Gwynn, played by Robert Vaughn; and William is the influential politician who mentors Anthony in the practice of law as well as the art of politics.

As Anthony navigates the legal and social landscape of his city, he confronts various challenges and temptations. He falls in love with a girl from a lower-class background, the daughter of a wealth-obsessed judge, played by Diane Brewster. Anthony also faces a personal tragedy that changes his outlook on life, while his reputation and aspirations are threatened by scandalous discoveries about his mentor's past.

The movie's themes revolve around the internal conflicts of the main characters as they try to find their place in a competitive society that demands loyalty, conformity, and success at all costs. Young Philadelphians focuses on the ideas of class, power, greed, social mobility and morality.

Directed by Vincent Sherman and based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Richard P. Powell, the film features a star-studded cast of actors who deliver remarkable performances. Paul Newman, in one of his early roles, portrays Anthony with sophistication and intensity, effectively conveying his inner turmoil and ambition. Barbara Rush and Alexis Smith deliver nuanced performances as women struggling with their own roles in this society, while Brian Keith embodies the quintessential political player, shaping and manipulating others for his own benefit.

The movie showcases the stunning views of Philadelphia with exquisite camera work by cinematographer Harry Stradling Sr. Richard Rodney Bennett's music score adds to the cinematic impact of the film. The dialogue is sharp and wry, and the script reflects the social upheavals and ambiguous values of post-war America.

Young Philadelphians was a critical and commercial success when it was released in 1959, garnering four Oscar nominations for its screenplay, cinematography, music score, and supporting actor. The film has since become a classic of its genre, and it is a must-watch for any aficionado of classic American cinema.

In conclusion, Young Philadelphians is a thought-provoking and engaging drama about young individuals seeking their fortune in a society that is both rigid and corrupt. The complexities of the characters and their dilemmas are richly portrayed by the talented cast and crew. The movie's exploration of social class, ambition, and morality in post-war America remains as relevant today as it was over sixty years ago when it was first released.

Young Philadelphians is a 1959 drama with a runtime of 2 hours and 16 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.4.

Young Philadelphians
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Young Philadelphians is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Young Philadelphians for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    2 hr 16 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.4  (4,202)