Law Movies Based On Books

Wednesday, April 6 by Rachel Lee

If you are too busy to read a book, watch some law movies based on books. Just like a good book, these movies draw you in and take your imagination for a ride. From arrest to conviction, these movies show the justice system in all its glory.

  1. “To Kill a Mockingbird” Based on the book of the same name, Harper Lee tells a story of two children during the Great Depression. Their father is an attorney defending a black man accused of raping a white woman. This classic law movie shows the racial injustice in the South during the Great Depression.
  2. “The Firm” “The Firm” is a law movie based on a book written by John Grisham. It tells the story of Mitch McDeere, a young attorney recently hired by a law firm fresh out of Harvard. While employed with the firm, he is swept up in FBI investigations and the mob. His only chance is to find a way to cooperate with the FBI while staying on the mob’s good side.
  3. “The Pelican Brief” Also penned by John Grisham, "The Pelican Brief" stars Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington and tells the story of law student Darby Shaw. She pens a brief, outlining her speculations about the recent assassination of two Supreme Court justices. The brief is dubbed the Pelican Brief and the two people who read it end up dead. Is Darby next?
  4. “The Shawshank Redemption” Andrew Dufresne is an accountant who is convicted of killing his wife and her lover. He is sentenced to hard labor at the Shawshank State Prison. He finds security in prison when he starts doing the financial accounting for the guards. Eventually, he ends up laundering money for the warden. Adapted from the novella “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption” by Stephen King, Andrew Dufresne plans an escape that takes decades to execute.
  5. “The Client” Another John Grisham classic, “The Client” is a law movie that tells the story of two young boys who witness the suicide of the mob’s attorney. One boy goes into a coma from the shock. The older brother must find a way to help his brother cooperate with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and survive mob attacks.
  6. “The Chamber” This movie stars Chris O’Donnell as an attorney filing a death sentence appeal on his grandfather’s behalf. This John Grisham novel tells the story of Adam Hall, who is ashamed of his family past. His grandfather is a Klansman accused of killing two young Jewish girls. Adam Hall must bring closure to his family’s legacy of racism and bigotry. Another classic John Grisham story.
  7. “A Time to Kill” “A Time to Kill” tells the story of Carl Lee Hailey and Jake Brigance. Carl Lee is on trial for killing the two men who raped and hung his daughter. Jake Brigance is a young lawyer who thinks this trial will make his career. John Grisham brings a masterpiece of racial tension and discord into a fantastic law movie.
  8. “The Rainmaker” A young attorney takes on a corrupt insurance company in this movie. The insurance company refuses to cover the treatment of a young man with leukemia. The drama of “The Rainmaker” makes this law movie a must-see.
  9. “The Green Mile” Set in the 1930s, “The Green Mile” by Stephen King tells the story of John Coffey, a seven-foot tall black man accused of the rape and murder of two young girls. John Coffey is a sensitive man with extraordinary healing powers. Make sure to watch this movie with a box of tissues.
  10. “The Runaway Jury” John Grisham focuses on the concept of jury tampering in this 2003 adaptation of “The Runaway Jury” starring Gene Hackman as a “jury consultant” and John Cusack as a juror. “The Runaway Jury” asks the question how much is a jury verdict worth?