Drama The Greatest Legal Dramas Ever Made  

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Originally by Ranker Community
2.2k votes 295 voters 25.4k views 49 items

List Rules Must deal with courtroom drama

A good courtroom drama can be suspenseful, heartbreaking, hopeful, smart, and even action packed if done well. The American legal system is so compelling that scores of drama movies have been made about it. From the David vs. Goliath lawsuit movies to those about defense attorneys defending an innocent man, the modern legal drama is often a testament to good acting and great filmmaking. Here are the best of the courtroom movie genre as selected by you, the user. Just vote up the movies you love or, even better, add your own list with commentary and video.

list ordered by

1
98 21
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Jack Lemmon, James Gandolfini, Tony Danza
12 Angry Men is a 1997 television film directed by William Friedkin, adapted from the Reginald Rose teleplay of the same title. It is a remake of the film of 1957.

2
81 17
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Robert Duvall, Gregory Peck, William Windom
To Kill a Mockingbird is a 1962 American drama film directed by Robert Mulligan. The screenplay by Horton Foote was based on the 1960 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Harper Lee. ...more

3
91 40
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Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, Jack Nicholson
A Few Good Men is a 1992 American legal drama film directed by Rob Reiner and starring Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, and Demi Moore, with Kevin Bacon, Kevin Pollak, James Marshall, J. T. Walsh, ...more

4
63 27
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Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Julius Erving
Philadelphia is a 1993 American drama film and one of the first mainstream Hollywood films to acknowledge HIV/AIDS, homosexuality, and homophobia. It was written by Ron Nyswaner, directed by ...more

5
57 19
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Edward Norton, Richard Gere, Laura Linney
Primal Fear is a 1996 American neo-noir thriller film, based on William Diehl's 1993 novel of the same name and directed by Gregory Hoblit. The film tells the story of Chicago defense attorney ...more

6
52 19
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Bruce Willis, Paul Newman, Charlotte Rampling
The Verdict is a 1982 courtroom drama film that tells the story of a down-on-his-luck alcoholic lawyer who takes a medical malpractice case to improve his own situation, but discovers along the ...more

7
73 38
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Julia Roberts, Marg Helgenberger, Aaron Eckhart
Erin Brockovich is a 2000 biographical film directed by Steven Soderbergh and written by Susannah Grant. The film is a dramatization of the true story of Erin Brockovich, portrayed by Julia ...more

8
68 31
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Marisa Tomei, Joe Pesci, Ralph Macchio
My Cousin Vinny is a 1992 American comedy film written by Dale Launer and directed by Jonathan Lynn. The film stars Joe Pesci, Ralph Macchio, Marisa Tomei, Mitchell Whitfield, Lane Smith, Bruce ...more

9
43 20
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Meryl Streep, Dustin Hoffman, JoBeth Williams
Kramer vs. Kramer is a 1979 American drama film adapted by Robert Benton from the novel by Avery Corman, and directed by Benton. The film tells the story of a married couple's divorce and its ...more

10
47 23
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Rachel Weisz, Dustin Hoffman, Gene Hackman
Runaway Jury is a 2003 American thriller film directed by Gary Fleder and starring John Cusack, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, and Rachel Weisz. It is an adaptation of John Grisham's novel The ...more

11
39 10
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James Stewart, George C. Scott, Lee Remick
This film is a 1959 American courtroom drama film. It was directed by Otto Preminger and adapted by Wendell Mayes from the best-selling novel of the same name written by Michigan Supreme Court ...more

12
38 25
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Brad Pitt, Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman
Sleepers is a 1996 American legal drama film written, produced, and directed by Barry Levinson, and based on Lorenzo Carcaterra's 1995 novel of the same name.

13
33 16
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ryanmcw added Al Pacino, Craig T. Nelson, Jeffrey Tambor
...And Justice for All is a 1979 courtroom drama film, directed by Norman Jewison, and starring Al Pacino, Jack Warden, John Forsythe, and Lee Strasberg. Jeffrey Tambor, Christine Lahti, Craig ...more

14
36 12
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willyboymcoy added Judy Garland, William Shatner, Marlene Dietrich
Judgment at Nuremberg is a 1961 American drama film dealing with the Holocaust and with the post-WWII geo-political complexity of the Nuremberg Trials. The picture was written by Abby Mann and ...more

15
40 25
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Matt Damon, Claire Danes, Mickey Rourke
The Rainmaker is a 1997 American drama film written and directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Matt Damon, based on the 1995 novel of the same name by John Grisham. Danny DeVito, Danny ...more

16
28 9
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Diana Rigg, Deborah Kerr, Donald Pleasence
Witness for the Prosecution is a 1982 TV version of Agatha Christie's short story and play, and also a remake of the classic Billy Wilder 1957 film Witness for the Prosecution. The film was ...more

17
34 13
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Harrison Ford, Brian Dennehy, Raúl Juliá
Presumed Innocent is a 1990 legal drama. It is a film adaptation of the best-selling novel of the same name by Scott Turow, which tells the story of a prosecutor and his female colleague and ...more

18
41 25
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Tom Cruise, Gene Hackman, Gary Busey
The Firm is a 1993 American legal thriller film directed by Sydney Pollack and starring Tom Cruise, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Gene Hackman, Ed Harris, Holly Hunter, Hal Holbrook, and David Strathairn. ...more

19
38 18
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wiabux added Sandra Bullock, Matthew McConaughey, Kevin Spacey
This film is a 1996 drama film adaptation of John Grisham's 1989 novel of the same name, directed by Joel Schumacher. Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Bullock, Samuel L. Jackson, and Kevin Spacey ...more

20
28 17
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Lindsay Wagner, Edward Herrmann, John Houseman
The Paper Chase is a 1973 film starring Timothy Bottoms, Lindsay Wagner, and John Houseman, directed by James Bridges. Based on John Jay Osborn, Jr.'s 1970 novel, The Paper Chase, it tells the ...more

21
22 9
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wiabux added Daniel Day-Lewis, Emma Thompson, Tom Wilkinson
In the Name of the Father is a 1993 Irish-British-American biographical courtroom drama film co-written and directed by Jim Sheridan. It is based on the true life story of the Guildford Four, ...more

22
22 9
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wiabux added Paul Newman, Sally Field, Bob Balaban
Absence of Malice is a 1981 American drama film starring Paul Newman, Sally Field, and Bob Balaban, directed by Sydney Pollack. The title refers to the legal definition of libel defamation, and ...more

23
25 16
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Susan Sarandon, Tommy Lee Jones, Mary-Louise Parker
The Client is a 1994 American legal thriller film directed by Joel Schumacher, and starring Susan Sarandon, Tommy Lee Jones and Brad Renfro in his film debut. It is based on the novel of the ...more

24
25 8
Inherit the Wind is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Legal Dramas Ever Made
wiabux added Spencer Tracy, Gene Kelly, Harry Morgan
Inherit the Wind is a 1960 Hollywood film adaptation of the play of the same name, written by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee, directed by Stanley Kramer. It stars Spencer Tracy as lawyer ...more

25
16 16
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Edward Woodward, Bryan Brown, Jack Thompson
Breaker Morant is a 1980 Australian film about the 1902 court martial of Breaker Morant, directed by Bruce Beresford and starring British actor Edward Woodward as Harry "Breaker" ...more