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Favorite Courtroom Dramas
Movie list created by kathy
Sort by: Showing 27 items
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Adam's Rib (1949)
Director: George Cukor
Starring: Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Judy Holliday and Tom Ewell
Domestic and professional tensions mount when a husband and wife work as opposing lawyers in a case involving a woman who shot her husband.
...And Justice For All (1979)
Director: Norman Jewison
Starring: Al Pacino, Jack Warden, John Forsythe, Lee Strasberg, Jeffrey Tambor and Christine Lahti
An ethical Baltimore defense lawyer disgusted with rampant legal corruption is asked to defend a judge he despises in a rape trial. But if he doesn't do it, the judge will have him disbarred.
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (1957)
Director: Fritz Lang
Starring: Dana Andrews, Joan Fontaine, Sidney Blackmer, Arthur Franz, Philip Bourneuf, Edward Binns, Shepperd Strudwick and Robin Raymond
A novelist aided by his future father-in-law conspires to frame himself in the murder of a stripper as part of an effort to ban capital punishment.
A Few Good Men (1992)
Director: Rob Reiner
Based on the play by Aaron Sorkin
Starring: Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, Jack Nicholson, Kevin Bacon, Kiefer Sutherland, Kevin Pollak, James Marshall and J.T. Walsh
A U.S. soldier is dead and military lawyers Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee and Lieutenant Commander JoAnne Galloway want to know who killed him.
Director: Gregory Hoblit
Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Ryan Gosling, David Strathairn, Rosamund Pike, Embeth Davidtz, Billy Burke, Cliff Curtis, Bob Gunton and Xander Berkeley
Ted Crawford brutally shoots his wife and calmly waits for the police to arrest him. With the weapon and a signed confession in hand, Deputy D.A. Willy Beachum, believes a conviction is a slam dunk; that is until the case completely unravels. Now, with little evidence, Beachum goes head to head with the cunning Mr. Crawford in a desperate search for the truth and the answer to one burning question: How is this guy getting away with it?
Inherit the Wind (1960)
Director: Stanley Kramer
Starring: Spencer Tracy, Fredric March, Gene Kelly, Dick York, Donna Anderson, Harry Morgan, Claude Akins, Noah Beery Jr. and Norman Fell
Based on a real-life case in 1925, two great lawyers argue the case for and against a science teacher accused of the crime of teaching evolution.
Jagged Edge (1985)
Director: Richard Marquand
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Glenn Close, Robert Loggia, Maria Mayenzet, Peter Coyote, Lance Henriksen, William Allen Young, James Karen, John Dehner, Leigh Taylor-Young, Michael Dorn, Marshall Colt and Karen Austin
San Francisco heiress Page Forrester is brutally murdered in her remote beach house. Her husband Jack is devastated by the crime but soon finds himself accused of her murder. He hires lawyer Teddy Barnes to defend him, despite the fact she hasn't handled a criminal case for many years. There's a certain chemistry between them and Teddy soon finds herself defending the man she loves.
The Judge (2014)
Director: David Dobkin
Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga, Billy Bob Thornton, Vincent D'Onofrio, Jeremy Strong, Dax Shepard, Leighton Meester, Ken Howard, Emma Tremblay, Balthazar Getty, David Krumholtz, Grace Zabriskie and Denis O'Hare
Big city lawyer Hank Palmer returns to his childhood home where his father, the town's judge, is suspected of murder. Hank sets out to discover the truth and, along the way, reconnects with his estranged family.
Judgement at Nuremberg (1961)
Director: Stanley Kramer
Starring: Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark, Marlene Dietrich, Maximilian Schell, Judy Garland, Montgomery Clift, William Shatner, Werner Klemperer, Kenneth MacKenna and Edward Binns
It has been three years since the most important Nazi leaders had already been tried. This trial is about 4 German Judges who used their offices to conduct Nazi sterilization and cleansing policies. Retired American Judge, Dan Haywood has a daunting task ahead of him. The Cold War is heating up and no one wants any more trials as Germany and allied Governments want to forget the past. But is that the right thing to do? is the question that the tribunal must decide.
The Juror (1996)
Director: Brian Gibson
Starring: Demi Moore, Alec Baldwin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Gandofini, Lindsay Crouse, Anne Heche, Tony Lo Biano and Michael Constantine
When Annie Laird is selected as a juror in a big Mafia trial, she is forced by someone known as 'The Teacher' to persuade the other jurors to vote "not guilty". He threatens to kill her son if she doesn't commit. When the trial is over, he can't let her go...
Laws of Attraction (2004)
Director: Peter Howitt
Executive Producer: Pierce Brosnan
Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Julianne Moore, Michael Sheen, Parker Posey, Frances Fisher, Nora Dunn, Heather Ann Nurnberg and Johnny Myers
Amidst a sea of litigation, two New York City divorce lawyers find love.
Director: Sidney J. Furie
Starring: Barry Newman, Diana Muldaur, Harold Gould, Robert Colbert, Mary Wilcox, Kathleen Crowley, Ken Swofford, William Sylvester, James McEachin and Michael Murphy
Based on the real-life Dr. Sam Sheppard murder trial, defence lawyer Anthony Petrocelli is hired to defend a medical doctor accused of killing his beautiful wife.
Barry Newman reprised the role in a spin-off TV series called 'Petrocelli'.
Legal Eagles (1986)
Director: Ivan Reitman
Starring: Robert Redford, Debra Winger, Daryl Hannah, Brian Dennehy, Terence Stamp, Steven Hill, David Clennon, John McMartin and Christine Baranski
District Attorney Tom Logan is set for higher office, at least until he becomes involved with defence lawyer Laura Kelly and her unpredictable client Chelsea Deardon. It seems the least of Chelsea's crimes is the theft of a very valuable painting but as the women persuade Logan to investigate further and to cut some official corners, a much more sinister scenario starts to emerge.
The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)
Director: Brad Furman
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Ryan Phillippe, Marisa Tomei, William H. Macy, Josh Lucas, John Leguizamo, Frances Fisher, Michael Pena, Bob Gunton, Bryan Cranston, Laurence Mason, Katherine Moennig, Michael Paré and Conor O'Farrell
Mickey Haller is a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney who operates out of the back of his Lincoln sedan. Haller has spent most of his career defending garden-variety criminals until he lands the case of his career: defending Louis Roulet, a Beverly Hills playboy accused of rape and attempted murder. But the seemingly straightforward case suddenly develops into a deadly game of survival for Haller.
Music Box (1990)
Starring: Jessica Lange, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Frederic Forrest, Donald Moffat and Lukas Haas
A lawyer defends her father accused of war crimes but there is more to the case than she suspects.
Director: Tom Gries
Starring: Ben Gazzara, Anthony Hopkins, Leslie Caron, Juliet Mills, Lee Remick, Anthony Quayle, Robert Stephens and Dan O'Herlihy
Fictionalized drama of two men, Dr. Adam Kelno, a Polish doctor who was imprisoned by the Nazis in a concentration camp, and Abe Cady, a successful Hollywood writer who publishes a serious book on the Holocaust that exposes Kelno's past.
Eventually the two men's lives come into conflict when Kelno sues for libel. The trial, which takes place in a London courtroom (the "Queen's Bench VII" of the title), seeks to sort out the truth about the past of Dr. Kelno. His precise activities during the war and how the world deals with his past.
Reversal of Fortune (1990)
Director: Barbet Schroeder
Starring: Jeremy Irons, Glenn Close, Ron Silver and Annabella Sciorra
Wealthy Sunny von Bülow lies brain-dead and her husband Claus is found guilty of attempted murder. But he says he's innocent and hires Alan Dershowitz for his appeal.
Director: Peter Yates
Starring: Cher, Dennis Quaid, Liam Neeson, John Mahoney, Joe Mantegna and Philip Bosco
A judge commits suicide and his secretary is found murdered. A homeless deaf-mute man, Carl Anderson, is arrested for her murder. Public defender Kathleen is assigned by the court as his lawyer. She sets out to find the real killer and gets help from the congressional advisor, Eddie Sanger, who is called to be on the jury panel. Together they discover a dangerous circle of corruption in high places.
A Time to Kill (1996)
Director: Joel Schumacher
Based on the novel by John Grisham
Starring Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Bullock, Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Spacey, Oliver Platt, Charles S. Dutton, Branda Fricker and Donald Sutherland
A young lawyer defends a black man accused of murdering two men who raped his 10-year-old daughter, sparking a rebirth of the KKK.
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
Director: Robert Mulligan
Based on the novel by Harper Lee
Starring: Gregory Peck, Brock Peters, Robert Duvall and William Windom
Atticus Finch, a lawyer in the Depression-era South, defends a black man against an undeserved rape charge and his kids against prejudice.
Director: Mark Robson
Starring: Glenn Ford, Dorothy McGuire, Arthur Kennedy, John Hodiak, Katy Jurado, Rafael Campos, Juano Hernandez, Robert Middleton, John Hoyt, Paul Guilfoyle, Elisha Cook Jr. and Whit Bissell
The story of a murder trial where a Mexican boy is accused of the death of a white girl. The two-faced attorney who takes the boy's case is only interested in defending him so he can exploit his Communist-backed organisation for their own underhanded purposes. He and his organisation bring in an idealistic law professor who agrees to represent the boy in court.
The Trials of Oscar Wilde (1960)
Director: Ken Hughes
Starring: Peter Finch, Yvonne Mitchell, James Mason, Nigel Patrick, Lionel Jeffries, John Fraser, Emrys Jones, Sonia Dresdel, Maxine Audley, James Booth and Laurence Naismith
At the height of his fame, Oscar Wilde angers the Marquis of Queensbury by having what is whispered and gossiped as a romantic relationship with Queensbury's son, twenty years Wilde's junior. When Queensbury slanders Wilde, the arrogant artist decides to take the matter to court and brings about his own downfall.
12 Angry Men (1957)
Director: Sidney Lumet
Starring: Henry Fonda, E.G. Marshall, Jack Klugman, Lee J. Cobb, Jack Warden, Martin Balsam and Joseph Sweeney
A dissenting juror in a murder trial slowly manages to convince the others that the case is not as obviously clear as it seemed in court.
The Verdict (1982)
Director: Sidney Lumet
Screenplay: David Mamet
Starring: Paul Newman, Charlotte Rampling, Jack Warden, James Mason, Milo O'Shea and Lindsay Crouse
A lawyer sees the chance to salvage his career and self-respect by taking a medical malpractice case to trial rather than settling.
The Ware Case (1938)
Director: Robert Stevenson
Starring: Clive Brook, Jane Baxter, Peter Bull and Barry K. Barnes
A financier is accused of murder when his brother-in-law is found dead in his garden pond. After winning the court case he returns home to find that his lawyer has romantic inclinations towards his wife.
The Winslow Boy (1999)
Director: David Mamet
Based on the play by Terence Rattigan
Starring: Nigel Hawthorne, Jeremy Northam, Rebecca Pidgeon, Matthew Pidgeon, Gemma Jones, Aden Gillett, Guy Edwards, Sara Stewart and Perry Fenwick
Early 20th century England: while toasting his daughter Catherine's engagement, Arthur Winslow learns the Royal Naval Academy expelled his 14-year-old son, Ronnie, for stealing five shillings. Father asks son if it is true. When the lad denies it, Arthur risks fortune, health, domestic peace and Catherine's prospects to pursue justice.
After defeat in the military Court of Appeals, Arthur and Catherine go to Sir Robert Morton, a brilliant, cool barrister and M.P., who examines Ronnie and suggests that they take the matter before Parliament to seek permission to sue the Crown. They do, which keeps Ronnie's story on the front page and keeps Catherine in Sir Robert's ken.
Witness for the Prosecution (1958)
Director: Billy Wilder
Starring: Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich, Charles Laughton, Elsa, Lanchester, John Williams, Henry Daniell, Ian Wolfe and Torin Thatcher
When Leonard Vole is arrested for the sensational murder of a rich, middle-aged widow, the famous Sir Wilfrid Robarts agrees to appear on his behalf. Sir Wilfrid, recovering from a near-fatal heart attack, is *supposed* to be on a diet of bland, civil suits. But the lure of the criminal courts is too much for him, especially when the case is so difficult: Vole's only alibi witness is his wife, the calm and coldly calculating Christine Vole. Sir Wilfrid's task becomes even more impossible when Christine agrees to be a witness not for the defence but for the prosecution.
A list of my favorite films featuring court cases.
Listed in alphabetical order.
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