Courtroom Movies Based On Books That Were Better As Movies

Thursday, September 15 by Shawn Lealos

Courtroom movies based on books were made popular thanks to author John Grisham, who optioned his books off to Hollywood before the ink even dried on the pages. These movies take the audience inside the courtroom to witness the action firsthand. These movie also remain powerful stories, delivering much more than you will witness on an episode of “Law & Order.”

“To Kill a Mockingbird”

This courtroom movie based on a book is not only one of the best in the genre, but one of the greatest movies of all time. Gregory Peck’s Atticus Finch has often been referred to as the greatest hero in the history of cinema. The movie follows Atticus as he represents an African-American wrongly accused of rape in the South. The novel, by Harper Lee, is told from the point of view of Atticus’s daughter, Scout.

“The Rainmaker”

John Grisham is the king of courtroom movies based on books and, in this case, he got a master filmmaker to step behind the camera. Francis Ford Coppola directs this drama starring Matt Damon about an idealistic young attorney taking on a powerful insurance company in the name of a wronged elderly woman. The movie ended as the last mainstream directorial effort from Coppola, who has only worked independently since.

“The Verdict”

Paul Newman remains one of the greatest actors of any generation, which makes it a shock that he only won one Academy Award. To make it even more amazing, he was nominated ten times over his career, including once for this courtroom movie based on a book. Sidney Lumet, who directed the amazing court movie “12 Angry Men,” directed this movie about a down-on-his-luck lawyer trying to save his career with a malpractice case. The movie earned five Oscar nominations, winning none.

“Runaway Jury”

This movie is another John Grisham effort and shows a completely different look at the courtroom movies based on books. The film sees John Cusack as a man who cheats his way onto a jury in order to manipulate the outcome of the case. Gene Hackman also co-stars as a man hired to help a gun manufacturer on trial manipulate the jury for their favor. The two men lock horns fighting for the outcome of their desire.

“Primal Fear”

William Diehl wrote this thriller that was adapted into a courtroom movie based on a book that launched the career of Edward Norton. Norton stars as an altar boy accused of murdering a priest. Richard Gere stars as the lawyer who takes on his case and defends the youngster, who appears to have multiple personality disorder. The movie is full of twists and turns and finishes with a twist that knocks you on your feet.