Good Will Hunting (1997)

Despite being famously set in Boston, Massachusetts, much of the 1997 film “Good Will Hunting” actually filmed in Toronto, Canada.  The film brought home Oscar gold for screenwriters Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, as well as Robin Williams.  Despite heavily filming in Toronto, some scenes were indeed filmed in Boston, including several of the film’s most well-known locations.

Will, played by Matt Damon, and Chuckie, played by Ben Affleck, hang out at the L Street Tavern in South Boston.

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LOCATION: 658 E 8th St, Boston, MA 02127

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They even keep a sign on the side of the building, calling it the “Home of Good Will Hunting.”

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Over at Harvard Square in Cambridge, north of Boston, you’ll find where a couple memorable locations from the film formerly stood, right across the street from Harvard University.  However, it gets confusing due to some remodeling that took place after filming. The Bow and Arrow Pub is where, after obtaining Skyler’s phone number and spotting a rival grad student, Will walks up to the window and delivers his famous “How do you like them apples?” line.

In the film, the scene was at the storefront of a Dunkin Donuts. After the remodel, the Dunkin Donuts relocated over to the left side, down Bow St, before eventually closing it’s doors for good. However, the location on the left, which is currently a ramen restaurant, was not the original filming location. You can see the actors standing next to Massachusetts Ave in the scene, confirming the geography of the original site. Thanks to reader “Little P” for helping clarify this.

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LOCATION: 1230 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

In the same general area is where the former Bow and Arrow Pub stood, which is where Will first meets Skylar. It’s also where he has the confrontation with an arrogant, pony-tailed grad student later seen at the Dunkin Donuts. It was formerly located a bit further down Bow St, prior to the property being remodeled. It was likewise taken over as the back portion of the Grafton Pub, while the front portion changed into a separate storefront.

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LOCATION: 1 Bow St, Cambridge, MA 02138

The famous bench where Will sits with Sean, played by Robin Williams, can be found at the Boston Public Garden.  Surprisingly, the bench is not marked in any way as being the spot from the film.  If you’re unfamiliar with the garden park, it may take you a bit to find it, but it’s a popular spot and sometimes you can spot it simply by watching for others taking photos there.  To get to the bench, follow the lakeside path north from the west end of the bridge.  If you’re at the bridge, you would go down the small set of stairs to reach it.  Behind the bench, you’ll see an intersection of paths and a tree with a branch forming a “v” shape.  In front of the bench, you’ll see the below view, with the curving edge along the water and the tree in the distance.  Referring to this map of the park, the bench is number 5.

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LOCATION: Boston Public Garden, Boston, MA 02116

2 thoughts on “Good Will Hunting (1997)

  1. You’ve got it a little wrong about The Bow and Arrow and Dunkin Donuts. The Building was redeveloped. From a storefront perspective, they were reversed. The Bow was down Bow St, closer to the river, and DD sat close to Mass Ave. The Bow was a narrow, skinny bar and the space expanded towards the back where we kept a couple coin-op pool tables. That space is absorbed now by the back corner of Grafton. (Bow employee, 1995-1998)

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    • Thanks for the info. It gets confusing because old Google street views from 2007 through 2013 show the Dunkin Donuts clearly on the left. However, when I reviewed the scene, it looks like you’re correct that it was formerly located on the right near Massachusetts Ave.

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