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Best Lawyer Movies of All Time.

  • Wednesday, 11 Jan, 2023
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Best Lawyer Movies of All Time

The purpose of today's piece is purely fun, and I really hope that you enjoy it as much as I did when I was writing it. The following is a list, in my view, of the top 25 lawyer movies of all time, replete with excerpts from some of the film's most memorable sequences. Have I forgotten anything important? If this is the case, do let me know in the comments below.

My Cousin Vinny (1992)

My Cousin Vinny is a film that was directed by Jonathan Lynn and written by Dale Launer. It recounts the story of two young men from New York named Bill Gambini and Stan Rothenstein who are caught and put on trial for murder while they are travelling in rural Alabama. It is up to Vincent Gambini (Vinny), a cousin of Bill's and a lawyer who barely made it through the bar exam and who most surely did not attend a law school ranked among the top 14 in the country, to decide the destiny of these guys.

Gambini, who is portrayed in the movie by Joe Pesci, tries very hard to defend his cousin and his cousin's friend, but he ends up making a lot of mistakes along the way. The character of Gambini's future wife, Mona Lisa, is portrayed by Marisa Tomei, and she plays an important role in assisting him with his defence. Marisa Tomei was recognised by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as the year's Best Supporting Actress for the part she played.

12 Angry Men (1957)

This courtroom drama, which was directed by Sidney Lumet and is considered a classic, focuses on the deliberations of twelve men, all of whom are members of the jury that is determining the destiny of an impoverished young man who has been accused of murder. Should he be found guilty, he will be subject to the sentence of death.

At the beginning of the movie, all of the jurors, with the exception of Juror 8, are in agreement that the young guy is guilty. Henry Fonda, who portrayed the role of Juror 8, urges his other jurors to have a discussion about the defendant's case before passing judgement of death on him. Throughout the course of the deliberations, a significant number of the jurors shift back and forth, altering their votes as they are compelled to consider specific parts of the case that they had previously disregarded.

The movie was filmed in less than three weeks, which is an interesting fact.

Anatomy of a Murder (1959)

Anatomy of a Murder is regarded as one of the greatest courtroom dramas of all time and is based on the novel with the same title. The story centres on Michigan lawyer Paul Biegler (played by James Stewart), who has his work cut out for him after agreeing to defend Lieutenant Manion (played by Ben Gazzarra), who murdered a local bar owner after learning that he was accused of rape.

In order to assist his client, Biegler will need to go up against the big-city prosecutor Claude Dancer, who is portrayed by George C. Scott. Biegler was persuaded to accept the case by his mentor, Parnell McCarthy, who was portrayed by Arthur O'Connell.

Trivia: The book that the movie is based on was written by John D. Voelker, who is now serving as a judge on the Michigan Supreme Court. He wrote it under the alias Robert Traver.

The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)

Matthew McConaughey plays as defence attorney Mick Haller in the film The Lincoln Lawyer, which was directed by Brad Furman and directed by Brad Furman. Haller operates his legal office out of a Lincoln Continental. The majority of Mick's clients are low-level offenders, but unexpectedly, he is offered the chance to represent a rich Beverly Hills playboy named Louis Ross Roulet, who is portrayed by Ryan Phillippe and has been accused of attempted murder. Mick's clientele mostly consists of small criminals.

At first, Mick thinks that the case would be a breeze and that everything will be clear and obvious. However, he quickly discovers that there is more to it than meets the eye and that it is related with a prior case that he has worked on.

Trivia: Following his role in the movie, Matthew McConaughey became a spokesperson for the Lincoln brand in the year 2014.

Witness for the Prosecution (1957)

Tyrone Power plays the role of Leonard Vole, who is shown as a guy who is suspected of killing a rich lady in this movie. Vole is defended by the illustrious Sir Wilfrid Robarts, who was portrayed by Charles Laughton. In order for Vole to prevail in court, his attorney, Sir Wilfrid Robarts, has to have his alibi supported by his wife, Christine (played by Marlene Dietrich).

A stunning turn of events occurs when Christine makes the decision to show up in court and testify against him. While Sir Wilfrid is working hard to defend his client and win the case, the plot of the film that ended up winning several awards takes a number of unexpected turns and twists.

Trivia: Tyrone Power's last picture before his death from a heart attack in November of 1958 was titled "Witness for the Prosecution." Power passed away at the age of 52.

Legally Blonde (2001)

Reese Witherspoon plays the role of Elle Woods, a sorority girl from California, in the courtroom comedy Legally Blonde, which is based on the book of the same name written by Amanda Brown. After Warner Huntington III (played by Matthew Davis), Elle's ex, breaks up with her on the night she was expecting him to propose, she decides to accompany him to Harvard Law School in order to finish his education.

Elle's primary objective is to regain Warner's affections; nevertheless, as she strives to overcome the obstacles she has as a first-year law student, such as making cold calls and preparing case briefs, she quickly discovers that she has a passion for the legal profession. As time goes on, she comes to the conclusion that she is capable of excelling on her own as a lawyer in her own right.

Fact: Reese Witherspoon was able to retain all of the outfits she wore in the movie after production was up since her contract enabled her to do so.

Philadelphia (1993)

Andrew Beckett, a lawyer at a famous Philadelphia Biglaw firm, is the protagonist of Philadelphia, a film directed by Jonathan Demme about Beckett's efforts to conceal his homosexuality and HIV status from his colleagues. One of his coworkers eventually betrays him.

Beckett feels he has no choice but to sue the company for discrimination after being fired from his position there. Ultimately, Denzel Washington's character, Joe Miller, is the only lawyer who will take on his case. Together, the two guys take on Mary Steenburgen's Belinda Conine, a prominent litigator at the firm.

Factoid: Director Jonathan Demme originally wanted to cast a comic actor as Joe Miller, but he ultimately decided on Denzel Washington instead.

Erin Brockovich (2000)

In Erin Brockovich, we hear of the real-life struggles of a lady who took on the powerful energy company Pacific Gas and Electric after discovering a cover-up that was putting her neighbourhood at risk of drinking tainted water and leading to widespread disease.

Director Steven Soderbergh casts Julia Roberts as Brockovich in his film. Albert Finney portrays Ed Masry, an attorney who finally employs her for his firm. When Brockovich began working for Masry, she had access to medical documents pertinent to the case.

Trivia: Actress Julia Roberts broke the $20 million barrier thanks to her performance in Erin Brockovich.

The Verdict (1982)

Paul Newman's Frank Galvin is a once-promising lawyer who has fallen on hard times after being sacked from a Boston law practise on charges of jury manipulation. The film begins with Sidney Lumet's protagonist, Galvin (Jack Warden), agreeing to represent Mickey (Jack Warden) in a medical negligence lawsuit as a favour to Mickey.

Galvin had planned to settle the matter out of court, but he ultimately decided to go to trial, much to the astonishment of the judge and the victim's family.
Fact: Jack Warden and Edward Binns, two of the film's stars, also appeared in 12 Angry Men, another Lumet production.

Presumed Innocent (1990)

Presumed Innocent is a film directed by Alan J. Pakula about Harrison Ford's character, Rusty Sabich, a chief deputy who is tasked by prosecuting attorney Raymond Horgan (Brian Dennehy) to look into the rape and murder of his colleague, Carolyn Polhemus (played by Greta Scacchi).

Horgan doesn't realise Polhemus and Sabich are having an affair when they are given the task. However, Horgan's opponents eventually call for his arrest once evidence implicates Sabich. Sabich must retain the services of defence counsel Sandy Stern (Raul Julia).

Fun fact: Robert Redford and Kevin Costner both declined roles before Harrison Ford was selected as Rusty Sabich.

Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)

This political drama takes place in late 1940s post-war Germany and centres on the trial of Nazis by an American court. In Stanley Kramer's film, the protagonists must defend themselves before a military trial on allegations of crimes against humanity.

Spencer Tracy plays Chief Justice Haywood, who must hear testimony from Ernst Janning (Burt Lancaster), his defence counsel Maximillian Schell (Maximillian Schell), the widow of a Nazi commander (William Shatner), and a witness called Irene Wallner (William Shatner) (played by Judy Garland).

Fact: Maximillian Schell, who was listed sixth on the film's cast list, is the lowest-billed Best Actor Oscar winner in history.

A Man for All Seasons (1966)

Paul Scofield stars as Sir Thomas More in the period-specific drama A Man for All Seasons, directed by Fred Zinnemann.

More gained notoriety when he refused to cave to demand from King Henry VIII (Robert Shaw) and have his marriage annulled so that he may remarry. More, a staunch Catholic, refused to budge from his position and let the king divorce, despite enormous persuasion. To this, the monarch and his supporters accused More of treason.

Fascinating fact: Fred Zinneman says working with the actors and crew of A Man for All Seasons was the easiest picture he's ever done.

A Few Good Men (1992)

In the film A Few Good Men, Lt. Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise) is a military lawyer who is tasked with defending two Marines who have been accused of murdering another Marine at Guantanamo Bay. The film was directed by Rob Reiner and written by Aaron Sorkin.

Another lawyer, portrayed by Demi Moore, convinces Kaffee that he shouldn't try to negotiate a plea deal for these Marines. She manages to persuade him that they were following instructions from a higher-up instead, namely Jack Nicholson's Colonel Nathan Jessep.

Trivia: "You can't handle the truth!" was ranked as the #29 best movie quote of all time by the American Film Association.

The Rainmaker (1997)

In Francis Ford Coppola's The Rainmaker, Mickey Rourke plays a young lawyer named Rudy Baylor who is compelled to accept a position working for a more experienced lawyer (played by Coppola) with dubious ethics.

As a result of working for this attorney, Baylor meets Deck Shifflet (played by Danny DeVito), a paralegal, and Dot Black (played by Mary Kay Place), whose insurance company refuses to pay for medical care for her terminally sick son. After hearing this, Baylor decides to partner up with Shifflet in order to take on Black's insurance company and its powerful attorney (played by Jon Voight).

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