thrillers The Very Best Courtroom Thriller Movies  

Ranker Film
272 votes 50 voters 3.6k views 23 items Embed

The cat and mouse antics of smart lawyers and even smarter defendants make courtroom thrillers an entertaining film genre. The best movies set in the courtroom often examine the life and death consequences of high-stakes trials. This is a list of the best courtroom thriller movies including everything from To Kill a Mockingbird to 12 Angry Men to Erin Brockovich.

What thrilling films will you vote to the top of this list? Maybe you're a fan of A Few Good Men. The back-and-forth courtroom exchange between Colonel Nathan Jessep (Jack Nicholson) and Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise) climaxed with the delivery of the iconic line, “You can't handle the truth!” The Devil's Advocate is another entertaining courtroom drama. Edward Norton was nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of a killer alter boy in Primal Fear. Other good films featured on this list of the best courtroom thriller movies include Sleepers, The Verdict, and The Pelican Brief.

Do you have a favorite trial thriller? Give the best movies a thumbs up and get in on the conversation in the comments section.

list ordered by

1
17 5
A Few Good Men is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Very Best Courtroom Thriller Movies
A Few Good Men 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

2
14 3
To Kill a Mockingbird is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Very Best Courtroom Thriller Movies
To Kill a Mockingbird 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
15 4
12 Angry Men is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Very Best Courtroom Thriller Movies
12 Angry Men Henry Fonda, Jack Klugman, Lee J. Cobb 12 Angry Men is a 1957 American drama film adapted from a teleplay of the same name by Reginald Rose. Written and co-produced by Rose himself and directed by Sidney Lumet, this trial film tells ...more

4
12 3
The Firm is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Very Best Courtroom Thriller Movies
The Firm 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

5
11 3
Philadelphia is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Very Best Courtroom Thriller Movies
Philadelphia 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

6
11 4
Primal Fear is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Very Best Courtroom Thriller Movies
Primal Fear 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

7
11 5
A Time to Kill is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Very Best Courtroom Thriller Movies
A Time to Kill 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

8
8 3
The Devil's Advocate is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Very Best Courtroom Thriller Movies
The Devil's Advocate 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

9
7 3
Anatomy of a Murder is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Very Best Courtroom Thriller Movies
Anatomy of a Murder 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

10
8 5
The Verdict is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Very Best Courtroom Thriller Movies
The Verdict 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

11
6 3
A Civil Action is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Very Best Courtroom Thriller Movies
Choicy added A Civil Action 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

12
6 3
The Accused is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Very Best Courtroom Thriller Movies
The Accused 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

The Best '40s Thriller Movies

13
5 2
The Client is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Very Best Courtroom Thriller Movies
The Client 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

14
6 4
The Rainmaker is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Very Best Courtroom Thriller Movies
Choicy added The Rainmaker 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

15
5 3
The Pelican Brief is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Very Best Courtroom Thriller Movies
The Pelican Brief Julia Roberts, Denzel Washington, John Lithgow The Pelican Brief is a 1993 legal crime thriller based on the novel of the same name by John Grisham. Directed by Alan J. Pakula, the film stars Julia Roberts in the role of young law student ...more

16
5 4
Kramer vs. Kramer is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Very Best Courtroom Thriller Movies
Kramer vs. Kramer 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

17
5 5
Runaway Jury is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Very Best Courtroom Thriller Movies
Runaway Jury 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

18
5 5
...And Justice for All is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Very Best Courtroom Thriller Movies
...And Justice for All 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

19
5 7
The Judge is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Very Best Courtroom Thriller Movies
The Judge Robert Downey Jr., Leighton Meester, Robert Duvall The Judge is a 2014 drama film written by Bill Dubuque, Nick Schenk and David Seidler; and directed by David Dobkin.

20
4 6
Erin Brockovich is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Very Best Courtroom Thriller Movies
Erin Brockovich 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

21
3 7
In the Name of the Father is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Very Best Courtroom Thriller Movies
In the Name of the Father 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
2 7
Sleepers is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Very Best Courtroom Thriller Movies
Sleepers 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.

23
1 6
Jagged Edge is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Very Best Courtroom Thriller Movies
Jagged Edge Jeff Bridges, Glenn Close, Lance Henriksen Jagged Edge is a 1985 film starring Glenn Close, Jeff Bridges, and Peter Coyote. Robert Loggia received an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actor for his role in this film. It is a ...more