Watched ‘Michael Clayton’ last night, loved it, and realized I really enjoy watching lawyer movies where law shit is done. So, what are some good movies about lawyers lawing?
Not sure what you kind of movie you’re looking for but The Verdict is one of the best films ever made with an Oscar winning performance by Paul Newman.
The Verdict is exactly the sort of movie I’m talking about.
Judgment at Nuremberg, for a particularly specialised type of lawyering.
Missed edit window: cast of Judgment at Nuremberg was quite impressive: Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark, Maximilian Schell, Werner Klemperer, [Marlene Dietrich, Judy Garland, William Shatner, and Montgomery Clift.
Another good one is Judgment in Berlin, featuring Martin Sheen, Sam Wanamaker and Sean Penn, in one of his earlier roles (his father was the director).
J.I.B. is on Prime and just turned it on, thanks.
The Tom Hanks one. He get fired for being gay, and dies. What the hell is the name of that?
Kramer v. Kramer
I can’t handle the truth!
That one, too. No idea what the title is.
Philadelphia (Tom Hanks)
A Few Good Men (which many claim to be Sorkin’s best work)
Presumed Innocent (Harrison Ford)
Primal Fear (Richard Gere)
My Cousin Vinny
Don’t forget courtroom TV shows, too. We got hooked on Bull, which spends most of every episode in the courtroom. Reminds me of the show Lie To Me, which I miss, but not as much courtroom time. Oh, All Rise is good, too.
I’m not as wild about all those 90s legal dramas, but Boston Legal was fun. And I did like LA Law and The Practice and The Good Wife, if you can put up with the “Prime Time TV” aspects.
And, of course Perry Mason is solid. A friend’s tough skateboarder kid and all his friends watch it.
What about The Paper Chase, about people on the way to becoming lawyers?
If you’re interested in good old fashioned British lawyers, there’s the classic Rumpole of the Bailey TV series and books.
7 TV series from the mid 1970s to the early 90’s. The writer and creator, John Mortimer, was a practising lawyer for decades.
Both funny and serious:
Inherit the Wind, a great Spencer Tracy movie about the Scopes Monkey Trial.
Reversal of Fortune.
I’ve neither seen all of the movies, nor read all of the books, but the Grisham movies and books I’ve experienced have been entertaining.
I second Philadelphia – first one I thought of.
I don’t really watch law stuff anymore because it bugs me too much now, so I don’t have anything recent to recommend.
One of the absolute best is Otto Preminger’s Anatomy of a Murder with Jimmy Stewart, George C Scott, Ben Gazzara, and Lee Remick.
Gottfried Reinhardt’s Town without Pity with Kirk Douglas is excellent. So is Robert Mulligan’s To Kill a Mockingbird with Gregory Peck.
These are the first three I thought of.
Try Witness for the Prosecution. B+W, based on an Agatha Christie play, one of Billy Wilder’s best, with Marlene Dietrich and Charles Laughton.
Liar, Liar - the Jim Carrey movie has some scenes of him lawyering in court.
If I may slightly hijack this thread: the movies that are mentioned are good movies about practising law. What I wondered, are there (possilby mediocre) movies that give a good representation of the work that lawyers actually do?
For obvious reasons (keeping the audience interested) you mostly only see bits and pieces, such as in The Firm where Tom Cruise is studying up and looking up case law in WestLaw. In a made for TV movie Judicial consent (1994) Bonnie Bedelia is a judge who actually is shown doing research in a law library.
Still such scenes may give a realistic idea of what lawyers actuallly do. Such as in A Civil Action where they are negotiating about the amount of damages, and the consequences of result-based fees (IIRC). I also believe there are some examples of witness selection or preparation of a pleading.
A military court martial set in 1901 during the Boer War.
Three Australian officers are on trial for shooting prisoners of war and a German missionary. The shooting of the prisoners is not disputed, but they claim, probably correctly, that they were ‘just following orders’. However, it was also an act of personal vengeance.