CATEGORIES On the Scene


Though Boston has become a popular filming location recently -- thanks to 'The Departed' and a new movie studio in Plymouth -- one of the most iconic Boston films remains 'Good Will Hunting.'

The 1997 drama, directed by Gus Van Sant, was the first film written by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, then both unknowns.

The movie was shot on-location in the Boston area, but most of the university scenes were actually filmed in Toronto. One of the best scenes -- and a brilliant take on this country's education system -- was filmed in legendary South Boston bar Woody's L Street Tavern.


Though Boston has become a popular filming location recently -- thanks to 'The Departed' and a new movie studio in Plymouth -- one of the most iconic Boston films remains 'Good Will Hunting.'

The 1997 drama, directed by Gus Van Sant, was the first film written by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, then both unknowns.

The movie was shot on-location in the Boston area, but most of the university scenes were actually filmed in Toronto. One of the best scenes -- and a brilliant take on this country's education system -- was filmed in legendary South Boston bar Woody's L Street Tavern.

Location as Character: In the scene, "Southie" ragamuffins Will Hunting (Damon) and his friends Chuckie (Affleck), Billy (Cole Hauser) and Morgan (Casey Affleck) go to a bar frequented by Harvard University students. Chuckie tries hitting on two women by pretending he attends Harvard with them, but is interrupted by a snotty guy named Clark. Clark tries to embarrass Chuckie by out-smarting him and revealing him to be a fraud -- but in the greatest "owning" committed to film, Will schools Clark on what a real education is.

"Is that your thing? You come into a bar, you read some obscure passage and then pretend you ... pawn it off as your own idea just to impress some girls and embarrass my friend?" Hunting asks "You dropped 150 grand on a f**king education you could have got for a $1.50 in late charges at the public library."

Chuck: "Yeah, but I will have a degree, and you'll be serving my kids fries in a drive-thru on our way to a skiing trip."

Will: "Maybe. But at least I won't be unoriginal."

The scene is often called the "them apples" scene because at the end, Damon's character tells Clark he got one of the girls' phone numbers. As he's leaving the tavern he asks, "How you like them apples?" Wicked.

Historical Significance: The bar has been a staple in the South Boston neighborhood for decades. Boston's "Southie" has a deep history and roots of its own, too. The well-known Irish section of the city has a lot of pride among its residents. Those who grew up there often maintain a connection to the place for life.

In the 1970s, Southie faced criticism for being poor and racist -- many resident opposed court-mandated desegregation of the schools. In the 1980s, the area was wracked with crime under the dominion of Irish gangster James 'Whitey' Bulger.

South Boston has since been gentrified, but pockets of the old neighborhood remain.

Directions: There are several ways to get to Woody's L Street Tavern depending on if you take the MBTA bus or not. The bar is located at 685 E. 8th Street on the corner of 8th Street and L Street. Take the Red Line to Andrew Station and walk down Dorchester Street to E. 8th Street. Walk past G Street and H Street to L Street.

By car, take Summer Street all the way down to South Boston past E. 1st Street and E. Broadway to the corner of L Street and E. 8th Street.

Visitor's Info: Woody's L Street Tavern is a bar, so you're welcome to go during open hours. Regulars are a bit wary of tourists, however, so if you go, act like you've been there before. A plaque boasts of the bar's 'Hunting' fame among flashing signs for Guinness and shamrocks. Woody's opens daily at noon, closing hours vary. Phone number: 617-268-4335