Lately, the media seems to be dominated by one high profile court case after another. The dramatic trials of Casey Anthony, Conrad Murray and Amanda Knox have captivated the world, and the latter of the three has already been spun into an actual film.
But of course, movies have some dramatic advantages. Writers, actors and editors make movie lawyers, judges and juries look their best, speak eloquently, and deliver just the right amount of dramatic pause during opening and closing arguments. In fact, growing up with Hollywood’s version of our judicial system can make real life litigators appear a little boring in comparison.
If it pleases the court, this week’s list puts your movie knowledge on trial. What’s the verdict on the best courtroom dramas? And if you were a Hollywood casting agent, who would you cast in the role of Miss Anthony (Natalie Portman), Dr. Murray (Forest Whitaker), and Miss Knox (For a big screen feature, I'd go with Jennifer Lawrence over Hayden Panettiere)? Clearly, these stories are movies just waiting to be produced.
1. "A Few Good Men" (1992): “*Did you order the Code Red?*” – Lt. Daniel Kaffee
2. "To Kill a Mockingbird" (1962): “Now I am confident that you gentlemen will review, without passion, the evidence that you have heard, come to a decision and restore this man to his family.” – Atticus Finch
3. "Philadelphia" (1993): “Now, explain it to me like I'm a four-year-old.” – Joe Miller
4. "12 Angry Men" (1957): “Life Is In Their Hands - Death Is On Their Minds!” – Movie tagline
5. "…And Justice For All" (1979): “That man is guilty! That man, there, that man is a slime! He is a *slime*! If he's allowed to go free, then something really wrong is goin' on here!” – Arthur Kirkland
"Reversal of Fortune" (1990): “Yes, a vial of insulin... Just kidding.” – Claus von Bulow
"Presumed Innocent" (1990): “I'm a prosecutor. I'm part of the business of accusing, judging and punishing.” – Rusty Sabich
"Amistad" (1997): “This is the most important case ever to come before this court. Because what it in fact concerns is the very nature of man.” – John Quincy Adams
Proverbs 20 Verse 17 is to be read by Amanda Knox and her supporters ' Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth will be full of gravel' . Please do not go around that she was all sweetness and light- someone is brutally murdered in the house you shared and you stand around kissing for all to see- Mental or what. I hope she lives a very long life remembering what she knows about that murder everynight for years to come. Cnn i know you will not publish my comments as this will go against the public image manufactured in the US.
Are you people all crazy – You forgot the best courtroom drama ever (and a true story also!!) Anatomy of a Murder!!! Awesome movie!
The fact is that Amanda Knox was and is an idiot. She didn't kill anyone but she's a MORON.
This movie single-handedly changed my mind about the nobility of our justice system and the entire point of defense lawyers. Well done.
I love 12 Angry Men, I liked To Kill A Mocking Bird too, but it was so sad........but unfortunately it represented too many such cases that really happened.
You forgot QBVII
ummmm anyone seen "The Verdict"? better than ALL these others and has Paul Newman's best acting of his entire career. Who is this idiot that came up with "A Few Good Men" as no 1. Ugh, that movie is pedestrian at best.
Absolutely agree. Perfectly cast movie. Newman was robbed of the Oscar due to the Gandhi hype. He won it the next year I believe on a 'make-up call'.
The exclusion of The Verdict makes this list moot.
Judgment at Nuremberg, Inherit the Wind and To Kill a Mockingbird are my favorites.
"A Few Good Men" ahead of "To Kill a Mockingbird" is just wrong!
Judgement at Nuremburg should be remembered too. Another great Spencer Tracy role, as one among a great cast.
how did "The Verdict "not make this list? Paul Newman in his finest late period role ,great script by David Mamet and a great supporting cast with James Masons oily/holy bad guy all wrapped in a gritty dark look by Sidney Lumet.
I have to point out the ever underrated Primal Fear. Edward Norton was brilliant in that movie. Personally, I think it merits the top five even though it was never as popular as these movies.
Other honorable mentions:
A Time to Kill & The Client
In addition to the list above, and in no particular order..
..and for a little comic relief, From The Hip.
the Lincoln Lawyer would be my vote
Great genre–great list–think Perry Mason might have been in the movies before he made it on TV.
"Inherit the Wind" is, by far, the best courtroom drama. Spencer Tracy in one of his best roles, and dialogue that applies perfectly to today's Bible-thumpers vs. scientists.
"The Bible is a book. It is a good book. But it is not the only book!"
The Verdict with Paul Newman and James Mason
I am sorry, but we cannot forget about "My Cousin Vinnie," while not a drama, it is arguably my favorite courtroom movie.
Vinny Gambini: Yeah, two yutes.
Judge Chamberlain Haller: What is a yute?
Vinny Gambini: [beat] Oh, excuse me, your honor...
Vinny Gambini: Two YOUTHS.
I agree – I was shocked not to see it on the list. It should be the top five courtroom dramas.
totally agree!! That was the first movie I thought of when I saw this, My counsin Vinnie has to be on this list!
how could i dare forget Vinnie?
Judgement at Nuremberg and Inherit the Wind
Devils Advocate wasnt too bad i guess. It showed how these suit wearing people really are.
u forgot jury duty and trial and error
"A Time to Kill" (1996) is my all time favorite court movie.
I agree! You can't beat Matthew McConaughey's closing argument. And how did To Kill A Mockingbird NOT make #1????
most guys that wear shirts with a collar deserve a good sharp judo chop to the neck. HIIIII YA !
Courtroom movies are the worst. They are about creeps wearing suits.
You too Good Portalpunk.
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