Happy New Year everyone! I hope that you have had a wonderful 2019 and look forward to repaying debts, building wealth and gaining financial independence in 2020.
Today’s post is just for fun – and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Below are the 25 best lawyer films of all time (in my opinion) with clips from some of the best scenes. Have I left something out? If so, please let me know in the comments.
Enjoy the vacation downtime (assuming you have it) and enjoy the cheap entertainment options listed below, some of which can be streamed on Netflix and all of which are likely to be available for less than $ 10.
1. My cousin Vinny (1992)
Directed by Jonathan Lynn and written by Dale Launer, My Cousin Vinny follows two young New Yorkers, Bill Gambini and Stan Rothenstein, who are arrested while traveling in rural Alabama and brought to justice for murder. The fate of these men is in the hands of Vincent Gambini (Vinny), a cousin of Bill and a lawyer who has just passed the bar exam.
Gambini, played by Joe Pesci, does his best to defend his cousin and his cousin’s friend, but does a number of missteps in the process. Gambini’s fiancee, Mona Lisa, played by Marisa Tomei, is instrumental in his defense.
Trivia: Marisa Tomei received an Oscar for best supporting actress for her role.
2. 12 bad men (1957)
This classic courtroom drama, staged by Sidney Lumet, describes the considerations of 12 men, all of whom are part of the jury that decides the fate of a poor young man who is accused of murder. If he is found guilty, he faces the death penalty.
The film begins with all of the judges, except Juror 8, who agrees that the young man is guilty. Juror 8, played by Henry Fonda, asks his fellow jurors to discuss the accused’s case before he is sentenced to death. During the discussions, many of the jurors go back and forth and change their votes as they are forced to deal with certain aspects of the case they initially rejected.
Trivia: The film was shot in less than three weeks.
3. Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
Anatomy of a Murder is considered one of the greatest courtroom dramas of all time and is based on the novel of the same name. He follows Michigan lawyer Paul Biegler (played by James Stewart), who did his job for him after declaring himself ready to defend Lt. Manion (played by Ben Gazzarra) who murdered a local bar owner after learning that he was accused of rape.
Biegler, encouraged by his mentor Parnell McCarthy, played by Arthur O’Connell, to take the case, has to face city attorney general Claude Dancer (played by George C. Scott) to help his client.
Trivia: The novel on which the film is based was written by John D. Voelker (pseudonym Robert Traver), a judge at the Michigan Supreme Court.
4. The Lincoln Attorney (2011)
Directed by Brad Furman, The Lincoln Lawyer plays Matthew McConaughey as Mick Haller, a defender who runs his law firm from a Lincoln Continental. Mick’s clientele is mostly petty criminals, but he surprisingly has the opportunity to defend a wealthy Beverly Hills playboy named Louis Ross Roulet, played by Ryan Phillippe, who is accused of attempting to murder.
First of all, Mick assumes that the case will be a simple, open, and closed affair. However, he soon learns that there is more to it than he can imagine and that this is related to an earlier case of his.
Trivia: After starring in the film, McConaughey became Lincoln brand spokesman in 2014.
5th witness to the indictment (1957)
In this film, Tyrone Power plays Leonard Vole, who has been accused of murdering a rich woman. Vole is represented by the legendary Sir Wilfrid Robarts (played by Charles Laughton) and, to win his case, has to have his alibi confirmed by his wife Christine (played by Marlene Dietrich).
In a shocking turn, Christine decides to appear in court and testify against him. There are a few more twists and turns during the award-winning film as Sir Wilfrid does his best to defend his client and close the case.
Trivia: Witness for the Prosecution was the last film Power completed before he died of a heart attack in November 1958.
6. Naturally blonde (2001)
Legally Blonde is based on the novel by Amanda Brown and is a court comedy with Reese Witherspoon as Elle Woods, a California sisterhood. Elle follows her ex, Warner Huntington III (played by Matthew Davis) to Harvard Law School after he broke up with her the night she expected him to suggest this.
While her original goal is to win Warner back, Elle soon falls in love with the legal profession as she works to master the challenges of studying law in the first year. She realizes that she has the potential to become a great lawyer herself.
Trivia: With the Reese Witherspoon contract, she was able to keep all the costumes she wore in the film after filming ended.
7. Philadelphia (1993)
Directed by Jonathan Demme, Philadelphia tells the story of lawyer Andrew Beckett, who is struggling to hide his homosexuality and HIV status because he fears that this will negatively impact his career in a reputable law firm in Philadelphia. Finally, a colleague uncovers his secrets.
After losing his job in the company, Beckett decides that he has to sue for discrimination. The only lawyer who will help him in his case is Joe Miller, played by Denzel Washington. The two men work together when they meet Belinda Conine, one of the firm’s top litigants, played by Mary Steenburgen.
Trivia: Initially, Demme planned to cast a comedian in the role of Joe Miller, but changed his mind after Washington showed interest in the role.
8.Erin Brockovich (2000)
Erin Brockovich tells the real story of a woman who fought hard against the giant energy company Pacific Gas and Electric after learning about a cover-up that exposed a local community to contaminated water and contributed to serious illnesses.
In the film by Steven Soderbergh, Brockovich is played by Julia Roberts. Her lawyer, Ed Masry, who eventually hires her in his law firm, is played by Albert Finney. When she starts working at Masry, Brockovich discovers medical records related to the case and opens her investigation.
Trivia: Julia Roberts salary for her role as Erin Brockovich made her the first Hollywood actress to make more than $ 20 million.
9. The judgment (1982)
The verdict follows Frank Galvin, played by Paul Newman, a once promising lawyer who lost his luck after being released by a Boston law firm on charges of jury abuse. At the beginning of the film, directed by Sidney Lumet, Galvin agrees to accept a case of medical misconduct as a favor for his friend Mickey (played by Jack Warden).
Galvin initially plans to settle the case, but rejects the hospital’s offer and decides to take it to court instead, much to the surprise of the judge and the victim’s family.
Trivia: Two of the actors in the film, Jack Warden and Edward Binns, appeared in 12 Angry Men, which Lumet also directed.
10. Probably innocent (1990)
Directed by Alan J. Pakula, “Suspected Innocence” tells the story of Rusty Sabich, a Harrison Ford representative, who is charged with prosecutors Raymond Horgan (played by Brian Dennehy) to investigate the rape and murder of his colleague Carolyn Polhemus (played by Greta Scacchi).
At the time of the order, Horgan doesn’t know that Polhemus and Sabich are involved in an affair. Eventually, however, evidence implies Sabich and causes Horgan’s enemies to request his arrest. Sabich must call defense attorney Sandy Stern (played by Raul Julia) to help him defend himself.
Trivia: Before Harrison Ford was cast as Rusty Sabich, both Robert Redford and Kevin Costner declined the role.
11th judgment in Nuremberg (1961)
This political drama takes place in the late 1940s after World War II and follows Nazis who are brought to trial in Germany before an American court. In the film directed by Stanley Kramer, these people have to face a military tribunal and prosecution for crimes against humanity.
Chief Justice Haywood, played by Spencer Tracy, must hear from the chief accused Ernst Janning (played by Burt Lancaster) and his defense lawyer (played by Maximillian Schell), the widow of a Nazi general, a U.S. Army captain (played by Ernst Janning) William Shatner) and a witness named Irene Wallner (played by Judy Garland).
Trivia: Maximillian Schells Oscar for Best Actor made him the lowest-billed winner in history (he was ranked fifth on the film’s cast list).
12. A man for all seasons (1966)
Directed by Fred Zinnemann, A Man for All Seasons takes place in 16th century England and tells the story of Sir Thomas More, played by Paul Scofield.
More is known for resisting King Henry VIII (played by Robert Shaw) and refusing to force the Pope to allow the king to void his marriage so that he can remarry. More, who was a pious Catholic, was convinced that despite the strong pressure to do something else, the king would not be allowed to divorce. The king and his loyalists replied by accusing More of treason.
Trivia: Fred Zinneman describes A Man for All Seasons as the easiest film he has ever made thanks to the talent and collaboration of the cast and crew.
13. Some good men (1992)
Directed by Rob Reiner and written by Aaron Sorkin, A Few Good Men tells the story of military lawyer Lt. Daniel Kaffee (played by Tom Cruise), who defends two Marines accused of killing another marine in Guantanamo Bay.
Another lawyer, played by Demi Moore, is convinced that coffee shouldn’t be a bargain for these Marines. Instead, she convinces him that they were acting on the orders of Col. Nathan Jessep, who is played by Jack Nicholson.
Trivia: The American Film Association called the famous line of the film “You can’t handle the truth!” As one of the best movie quotes ever (number 29 on the list).
14. The Rainmaker (1997)
Rainmaker, led by Francis Ford Coppola, follows a new lawyer named Rudy Baylor who, in search of work, is forced to take a job with another lawyer with questionable morality played by Mickey Rourke.
While working for this lawyer, Baylor Deck met Shifflet, a legal assistant played by Danny DeVito and Dot Black (played by Mary Kay Place), whose insurance does not insure her dying son. When he learns of this information, Baylor decides to team up with Shifflet to take over Black’s insurance company and their excellent lawyer (played by Jon Voight).
Trivia: Danny DeVito wore fake teeth for his role in the film.
15.Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
Kramer vs Kramer, written and directed by Robert Benton, follows advertising specialist Ted Kramer (played by Dustin Hoffman) after finding out that his wife (played by Meryl Streep) is abandoning him and his young son.
Even though Ted loses his advertising job, he builds a much closer relationship with his son. He is helped by a single parent named Margaret, who is played by Jane Alexander. This causes problems later when his wife returns to regain custody. As a result, there is an arduous court battle, which has serious consequences for everyone involved.
Trivia: Meryl Streep wrote her own speech in the courtroom when she was dissatisfied with the original speech she gave.
16. The Scavenger Hunt (1973)
In The Paper Chase, written and directed by James Bridges, a Harvard first year law student named James Hart (played by Timothy Bottoms) faces a number of academic challenges. However, his burden gets even heavier when he has a run-in with an intimidating contract professor, Charles W. Kingsfield (played by John Houseman).
Despite Kingsfield’s classroom intensity and the tough demands he places on his students, which cause many to give up their jobs and get out, James stays away and even starts dating his professor’s daughter Susan, Lindsay’s Wagner is played.
Trivia: The film received three Oscar nominations and one for best supporting actor.
17. The company (1993)
In The Firm, directed by Sydney Pollack and based on the law thriller by John Grisham, a young lawyer named Mitch McDeere (played by Tom Cruise) joins the ranks of a small and respected company. Though initially honored to be part of the company, McDeere quickly learns from a receptionist who plays Holly Hunter that there is more than just attention and that the company is involved in laundering money for the mob.
McDeere is stuck in a traffic jam when the FBI contacts him to collect evidence of his colleagues’ actions. As a result, he must decide what is best in the eyes of the law and make the decision that keeps him alive.
Trivia: Holly Jäger’s appearance lasts five minutes and 59 seconds, making it one of the shortest Oscar-nominated performances of all time.
18th coercion (1959)
The crime drama, staged by Richard Fleischer, tells the story of two sociopathic students, Artie Straus (played by Bradford Dillman) and Judd Steiner (played by Dean Stockwell). Artie and Judd are in serious trouble after committing a murder to commit an immaculate crime. They leave vital evidence and are arrested for what they have done.
Her lawyer, played by Orson Welles, has to work hard to defend the two young men and save them from execution. The film is based on the well-known and often cited Leopold and Loeb case from 1924.
Trivia: Despite his top status, Welles only appears in the film after an hour and five minutes.
19. And Justice for All (1979)
Directed by Norman Jewison, follows Arthur Kirkland, a Baltimore defender who is played by Al Pacino and is in prison after beating Judge Henry T. Fleming (played by John Forsythe) while defending his client Jeff McCullaugh (played by Thomas) argues G. Waites). After McCullaugh was stopped because of a minor traffic defense, he was mistaken for a murderer of the same name.
Kirkland eventually comes out of prison and is later hired to defend Judge Fleming, who has been accused of brutal attack and rape of a young woman. Fleming wants Kirkland as a lawyer because he believes that if someone hates him openly, if he defends him, it will work in his favor.
Trivia: And Justice for All is the theatrical debut of celebrated actor Jeffrey Tambor.
20. A Time to Kill (1996)
In this film, directed by Joel Schumacher, Samuel L. Jackson Carl Lee Hailey shoots the bigoted men who brutally raped his daughter while on the way to being charged with their crime. Hailey then has to rely on defender Jake Brigance, who is played by Matthew McConaughey, to help him be acquitted.
Brigance believes the chances of acquittal are slim, due in part to the fact that Hailey lives in a small and separate town in the south, but he accepts the case of the man regardless of whether he has unshakable faith shows his skills.
Trivia: Woody Harrelson was interested in playing Jake Brigance, but John Grisham was against it.
21. A civil lawsuit (1998)
In this film, written and directed by Steven Zaillian and based on a true story, John Travolta appears as a personal injury lawyer Jan Schlichtmann. Schlichtmann is involved in a case that may seem straightforward at first, but seems incredibly difficult and seems to have the potential to disrupt him.
The case affects a large company that is responsible for polluting a city’s water supply and causing several of its residents to develop leukemia. Schlichtmann runs the risk of bankrupting his company and ending his career. He faces a powerhouse lawyer played by Robert Duval to remedy the situation and hold the company accountable.
Trivia: This was the only nominee for the year that was not nominated for Best Film.
22. The conspirator (2010)
Directed by Robert Redford, The Conspirator tells the aftermath of the aftermath of President Lincoln’s murder. After the President’s murder, seven men and a woman are arrested and accused of murdering him, the Vice President and the Secretary of State.
The lonely woman Mary Surratt (played by Robin Wright) is represented by the reluctant lawyer Frederick Aiken (played by James McAvoy). Surratt owns the boarding house where John Wilkes Booth and the other men planned their crimes. Believing that Surratt could be innocent, Aiken works hard to defend her throughout the film and prove that she’s used to catching her son, another suspect who is still at large.
Trivia: This was the first film from the American Film Association.
23. Amistad (1997)
Amistad takes place in 1839 and tells the story of a slave ship sailing from Cuba to the United States. In the film directed by Steven Spielberg, Cinque (played by Djimon Hounsou) leads the slaves to an uprising that leads to them being held captive in Connecticut.
Theodore Joadson, a freed slave played by Morgan Freeman, learns of the plight of these people and recruits the help of property lawyer Roger Baldwin (played by Matthew McCaughnehey) to defend and exonerate them. Her pursuit later wins the support of John Quincy Adams, who is played by Anthony Hopkins.
Trivia: This was Chiwetel Ejiofor’s cinema debut.
24. The Devil’s Lawyer (1997)
Keanu Reeves stars in the film Kevin Lomax, a Florida defender who takes a position in a New York law firm led by John Milton (played by Al Pacino).
As Kevin steps up within the company, his insane wife Mary Ann (played by Charlize Theron) experiences a series of increasingly terrifying and mystical experiences that change her perception of reality. As Kevin deals with the burden of his wife’s illness, he also learns that his boss is involved in shameful activities and is not who he claims to be.
Trivia: Charlize Theron worked with a psychotherapist an hour a day to learn how to play a schizophrenic exactly.
25th RBG (2018)
The RBG traces the decades-long career of the judge at the Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and shows how she has developed a legal legacy as an icon of pop culture.
After openly answering abortion and discrimination questions at her Senate confirmation hearings, Ginsburg received a 96-3 vote confirmation, which President Clinton said was astounding given the partisan environment of the 1990s.
Trivia: The nickname is inspired by the “notorious” honor of rap artist Notorious B.I.G. Ginsburg shows a good-natured embrace of her nickname and realizes that she and the rapper have a lot in common: they were both born in Brooklyn.
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