Courtroom Movies That Don’t Suck

Saturday, April 2 by Rachel Lee

Prepare for jury duty with these courtroom movies that don’t suck. Just don’t expect this kind of drama on the court docket in your town.

  1. “12 Angry Men” (1957). When a bad jury verdict is issued, we often wonder “What were they thinking?!” In “12 Angry Men,” Henry Fonda shows us the turmoil of a juror’s room. A young, Puerto Rican boy is accused of killing his father. These 12 men must set aside their personal prejudices & agendas to bring a fair verdict.
  2. “Judgment at Nuremberg” (1961). The Nuremberg trials following World War II were packed with emotion and anger. The “Judgment at Nuremberg” shows us the trial of four German judges. Spencer Tracy delivers a powerful performance as they argue the merits between responsibility for your actions and “just following orders.”
  3. “A Few Good Men” (1992). Contrary to Mr. Nicholson, you can handle the truth. The truth is this is one of the best courtroom movies ever made. This trial revolves around the actions of two soldiers who hazed a fellow soldier. Are they culpable for their actions if they were just following orders?
  4. “My Cousin Vinny” (1992). Urbanites clash with the rural South in this comedy/drama starring Joe Pesci & Marisa Tomei. When two young men are falsely accused of killing a store owner, Vinny goes to defend his nephew at trial. Unfortunately, he has never tried a criminal case before. Despite the fact that his brash demeanor and informal attire offend the judge and locals, Vinny turns it all around to win the day.
  5. “Philadelphia” (1993). Set in a decade where fear of the AIDS disease was rampant, Tom Hanks plays a homosexual man with AIDS. Unfortunately for him, his secret comes out at work and he loses his job. Denzel Washington works his magic in the courtroom by suing the employer for wrongful termination.
  6. “The Client” (1994). Two young boys out to for a smoke are dragged in a mob killing of a senator. Brad Renfro plays a cocky young kid who refuses to cooperate with the government to disclose the location of the senator’s body. Represented by his attorney (Susan Sarandon), the young boy must defend himself from the mob, the government and the press.
  7. “A Time to Kill” (1996). Set in the rural South, Carl Lee Hailey (Samuel Jackson) kills the two men who raped his daughter. Caught up in a racial firestorm, his attorney Jake (Matthew McConaughey) must defend Carl Lee from charges, defend his family from the KKK and fight his own feelings towards his new clerk (Sandra Bullock). Can a black man get a fair trial in the South?
  8. “Sleepers” (1996). All it takes is one mistake and four young boys are put in a youth penitentiary facing sexual abuse from the prison guards. Decades later, two of the young boys walk in a diner and see the head prison guard and kill him. Lucky for them, the D.A. (Brad Pitt) prosecuting the case is one of the other boys. Can he get them off while seeming to prosecute them?
  9. “Primal Fear” (1996) The death of an archbishop and multiple personalities surround this courtroom movie. Richard Gere plays an ambitious lawyer who is defending a sick, young man accused of killing an Archbishop who allegedly molested him.
  10. “The Insider” (1999) Based on a true story, this courtroom movie revolves around the corruption of the tobacco industry. Did the industry know about the dangers of tobacco? Did they try to conceal it? Watch "The Insider" to find out!
Do you like this story?