Legal Dramas The Greatest Legal Dramas Ever Made  

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Originally by Ranker Community
1.5k votes 245 voters 23.1k views 48 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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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Edward Norton, Richard Gere, Laura Linney Primal Fear is a 1996 American neo-noir crime-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 ...more

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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James Stewart, George C. Scott, Lee Remick Anatomy of a Murder is a 1959 American courtroom crime 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 ...more

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

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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, with non-combatant war crimes against a civilian population, and with the post-World War II geo-political ...more

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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

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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

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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

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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 charged with the murder of his ...more

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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

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wiabux added Sandra Bullock, Matthew McConaughey, Kevin Spacey A Time to Kill 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 ...more

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VisualSubterfuge added Charlize Theron, Al Pacino, Keanu Reeves The Devil's Advocate is a 1997 American mystery thriller film based on Andrew Neiderman's novel of the same name. It is directed by Taylor Hackford and stars Keanu Reeves, Al Pacino, and ...more

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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

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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

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Inherit the Wind is listed (or ranked) 23 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

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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

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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

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wiabux added Morgan Freeman, Matthew McConaughey, Anna Paquin Amistad is a 1997 historical drama film directed by Steven Spielberg, based on the true story of the 1839 mutiny aboard the slave ship La Amistad, during which Mende tribesmen abducted for the ...more

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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

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wiabux added Matthew McConaughey, Marisa Tomei, Bryan Cranston The Lincoln Lawyer is a 2011 American thriller film adapted from the novel of the same name by Michael Connelly, starring Matthew McConaughey, Ryan Phillippe, William H. Macy and Marisa Tomei. ...more

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Gene Hackman, Laurence Fishburne, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio Class Action is a 1991 American drama thriller film directed by Michael Apted. Gene Hackman and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio star; Laurence Fishburne, Colin Friels, Fred Dalton Thompson, and ...more

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Reese Witherspoon, Raquel Welch, Ali Larter Legally Blonde is a 2001 American comedy film directed by Robert Luketic, written by Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith, and produced by Marc E. Platt. It is based on the novel Legally Blonde ...more

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clash1977 added John Travolta, Robert Duvall, Kathy Bates A Civil Action is a 1998 American drama film that was directed by Steven Zaillian, that stars John Travolta and Robert Duvall, and that is based on the book of the same name by Jonathan Harr. ...more

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George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson Michael Clayton is a 2007 American legal thriller film written and directed by Tony Gilroy, starring George Clooney, Tom Wilkinson, Tilda Swinton and Sydney Pollack. The film chronicles the ...more

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wiabux added Jodie Foster, Kelly McGillis, Garry Chalk The Accused is a 1988 American drama film starring Kelly McGillis and Jodie Foster, directed by Jonathan Kaplan and written by Tom Topor. Loosely based on the real-life gang rape of Cheryl ...more

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VisualSubterfuge added Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Kevin Bacon JFK is a 1991 American historical legal-conspiracy thriller film directed by Oliver Stone. It examines the events leading to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and subsequent ...more

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Catherine Zeta-Jones, Lucy Liu, Renée Zellweger Chicago is a 2002 American musical comedy crime film adapted from the satirical stage musical of the same name, exploring the themes of celebrity, scandal, and corruption in Jazz Age Chicago. ...more

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wiabux added Ryan Gosling, Anthony Hopkins, Rosamund Pike Fracture is a 2007 American-German crime-mystery thriller film, directed by Gregory Hoblit and starring Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling. It tells the story of a man accused of attempted murder ...more

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wiabux added Vin Diesel, Peter Dinklage, Annabella Sciorra Find Me Guilty is a 2006 American courtroom comedy crime film co-written and directed by Sidney Lumet, based on the true story of the longest Mafia trial in American history. Mobster Giacomo ...more

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wiabux added Glenn Close, Jeremy Irons, Felicity Huffman Reversal of Fortune is a 1990 film adapted from the 1985 book Reversal of Fortune: Inside the von Bülow Case, written by law professor Alan Dershowitz. It recounts the true story of the ...more

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Murder in the First is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Legal Dramas Ever Made
wiabux added Gary Oldman, Kevin Bacon, William H. Macy Murder in the First is a largely fictitious 1995 film, directed by Marc Rocco, about a petty criminal named Henri Young who is put on trial for murder in the first degree. The film also stars ...more

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VisualSubterfuge added Kirk Douglas, Adolphe Menjou, Richard Anderson Paths of Glory is a 1957 American anti-war film by Stanley Kubrick based on the novel of the same name by Humphrey Cobb. Set during World War I, the film stars Kirk Douglas as Colonel Dax, the ...more

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wiabux added Spencer Tracy, Walter Brennan, Sylvia Sidney Fury is a 1936 American drama film directed by Fritz Lang which tells the story of an innocent man who narrowly escapes being lynched and the revenge he seeks. The picture was released by ...more

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Samuel L. Jackson, Tommy Lee Jones, Ben Kingsley Rules of Engagement is a 2000 American war-drama film directed by William Friedkin and starring Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson. Jackson plays U.S. Marine Colonel Terry Childers, who is ...more

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Robert Redford, Daryl Hannah, Terence Stamp Legal Eagles is a 1986 American legal crime comedy film written and directed by Ivan Reitman, and starring Robert Redford, Debra Winger, and Daryl Hannah.

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Richard Gere, Bai Ling, Bradley Whitford Red Corner is a 1997 American mystery thriller film directed by Jon Avnet and starring Richard Gere, Bai Ling, and Bradley Whitford. Written by Robert King, the film is about an American ...more

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wiabux added Paul Newman, Robert Vaughn, Adam West The Young Philadelphians is a 1959 drama film starring Paul Newman, Barbara Rush and Alexis Smith, and directed by Vincent Sherman. Robert Vaughn was nominated for the Academy Award for Best ...more

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VisualSubterfuge added Justin Timberlake, Rashida Jones, Rooney Mara The Social Network is a 2010 American drama film directed by David Fincher and written by Aaron Sorkin. Adapted from Ben Mezrich's 2009 book The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of ...more

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VisualSubterfuge added Sidney Poitier, Burt Lancaster, Cleavon Little Separate But Equal is a 1991 American television movie depicting the landmark Supreme Court desegregation case Brown v. Board of Education, based on the phrase "Separate but equal". ...more

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Kurt Kreuger, Alexander Knox, Marsha Hunt None Shall Escape is a 1944 war film. Even though the film was made during World War II, the setting is a post-war Nuremberg-style war crimes trial. Alexander Knox plays Wilhelm Grimm, a Nazi ...more