Movies and films about the lawyers and the law have been, and continue to be extremely well liked and viewed for their suspense and intrigue. Whether you enjoy the mystery, the complex story lines or any of the other features that have lead to their popularity, lawyer and law flicks appeal to a wide audience. Here’s a look at 15 of the best lawyer movies ever made!
1. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
Adapted from the Harper Lee novel that won the Pulitzer Prize, this film tells the story of the trial of a young black man that stands accused of sexually assaulting a white woman in 1930s Alabama and the young lawyer Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck) who defends him.
2. 12 Angry Men (1957)
Based on the Reginald Rose stage play, “12 Angry Men” chronicles the tumultuous jury deliberations in a seemingly open-and-shut death penalty case.
3. Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
James Stewart, George C. Scott, Ben Gazzara and Lee Remick star in this classic that studies the case of a lieutenant in the U.S. Army who is accused of killing a bartender he believed had raped his wife.
4. Inherit the Wind (1960)
A film adaptation of the historic Scopes “monkey trial”, the movie “Inherit the Wind” recounts the court case that took place in Dayton, Tennessee in 1925. Much of the film’s courtroom dialog and testimony were taken from the actual transcript from the trial.
5. Witness for the Prosecution (1957)
Written by renowned mystery writer, Agatha Christie, this movie centers around an arrogant lawyer who, although retired and recovering from a serious illness, is drawn into taking on a bewildering murder case.
6. Philadelphia (1993)
Starring Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington, “Philadelphia” is a movie about a gay attorney (Hanks) who sues the hotshot law firm he’s fired from after they learn he has AIDS. Washington plays Hanks’ lawyer who takes the case when no one else will.
7. The Verdict (1982)
This courtroom drama stars Paul Newman as a has-been, alcoholic lawyer who gets one more chance to keep his career with a medical-malpractice case and ends up realizing along the way that what he’s doing is right.
8. Erin Brockovich (2000)
“Erin Brockovich”, stars Julia Roberts, and tells true story of a single mom working as a paralegal whose relentless investigation into a suspicious real estate case turns up evidence showing a long standing pattern of illegal toxic dumping and leads to one of the most substantial class action suits in American history.
9. Presumed Innocent (1990)
A movie adaptation of the Scott Turow best seller, Harrison Ford plays Rusty Sabich, a first-rate prosecutor who’s accused of the murder of a colleague he’d had an affair with.
10. Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)
Directed by Stanley Kramer, “Judgment at Nuremberg” illustrates the 1948 Nazi war crimes trials. It focuses on the charges against and trials of four German judges who allowed their courtrooms to be used by the Nazis to further their atrocities.
11. Breaker Morant (1980)
Nominated for an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, “Breaker Morant” details the real-life story of three men who are put on trial and are convicted of war crimes after fighting on the side of the British Empire in South Africa’s colonial Boer War.
12. My Cousin Vinny (1992)
In this comedy, Vinny Gambini (Joe Pesci) is a lawyer who just passed the bar exam after five previous attempts and is called upon to defend his cousin and a friend when they’re arrested and charged with capital murder in rural Alabama.
13. A Man for All Seasons (1966)
Telling the story of the political struggle that surrounded Henry VIII’s decision to divorce his wife in order to marry Anne Boleyn, clearly defying the Roman Catholic Church. It centers on Sir Thomas More, the judge turned chancellor of England who found himself caught in the middle of this upheaval.
14. A Few Good Men (1992)
A star-studded film, “A Few Good Men” is a suspenseful drama that depicts the court-martial trial of two junior ranking Marines who are charged for the death of a fellow Marine that was caused by an unofficial punishment technique they had taken part in. Tom Cruise and Demi Moore star as the Navy JAG defense team, with Jack Nicholson as the accused’s commanding officer.
15. Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
Both winning Oscars for their performances, Meryl Streep and Dustin Hoffman star opposite each other in this drama about an estranged couple, Joanna and Ted Kramer, who are wrapped up in a nasty custody battle for their son.
No matter what it is about law and lawyer movies that draws you in, there tends to be something in these intellectual thrillers, dramas and comedies for everyone! Check out these flicks and see how they stack up to your own list of the best law movies of all time.