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The Best Movies About Lawyers 

Ranker Film
Originally by
Updated January 8, 2020 3.2k votes 638 voters 56.8k views 41 items

List Rules Vote up the top films about lawyers and attorneys.

A courtroom drama can be quite riveting. Movies about lawyers and attorneys are some of the most suspenseful, thought-provoking films in the industry! There’s nothing quite like the thrill of a mystery, an act of crime, and the months that go into a trial. We love movies that feature an in your face kind of lawyer who will bring up questions we never even thought to ask!

The lawyer movies on this list feature some of the greatest attorneys in all of film. Who can forget Jack Nicholson's  "you can't handle the truth!" or the tenacity of Erin Brockovich?

This list has the best movies about lawyers, including: A Few Good Men, The Devil’s Advocate, To Kill a Mockingbird, Philadelphia, The Verdict, A Time to Kill, Presumed Innocent, and Kramer vs. Kramer.

Vote up your favorite lawyer movie below or add one you love that isn't already on the list.

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list ordered by
1
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Robert Duvall, Gregory Peck, William Windom

Released: 1962

Directed by: Robert Mulligan

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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'To Kill a Mockingbird' Quotes That'll Change How You Think #100 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetimelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

2
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Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, Jack Nicholson

Released: 1992

Directed by: Rob Reiner

A Few Good Men is a 1992 American legal drama film directed by Rob Reiner, based on the play by Aaron Sorkin. Military lawyer Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise) defends Marines accused of ...more

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#183 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #101 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetimelisted on The 50 Highest Grossing '90s Movies, Ranked

3
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Marisa Tomei, Joe Pesci, Ralph Macchio

Released: 1992

Directed by: Jonathan Lynn

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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Behind-The-Scenes Stories From 'My Cousin Vinny' #116 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

4
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Sandra Bullock, Matthew McConaughey, Kevin Spacey

Released: 1996

Directed by: Joel Schumacher

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

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5
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Bruce Willis, Paul Newman, Charlotte Rampling

Released: 1982

Directed by: Sidney Lumet

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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#264 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #248 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #209 of 263 Movies That Should Be Made Into Broadway Musicals

6
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Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Julius Erving

Released: 1993

Directed by: Jonathan Demme

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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7
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Matthew McConaughey, Marisa Tomei, Bryan Cranston

Released: 2011

Directed by: Brad Furman

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
8
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Edward Norton, Richard Gere, Laura Linney

Released: 1996

Directed by: Gregory Hoblit

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

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9
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Spencer Tracy, Gene Kelly, Harry Morgan

Released: 1960

Directed by: Stanley Kramer

Inherit the Wind is a 1960 Hollywood film adaptation of the 1955 play of the same name, written by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee, directed by Stanley Kramer. It stars Spencer Tracy as ...more

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10
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Al Pacino, Craig T. Nelson, Jeffrey Tambor

Released: 1979

Directed by: Norman Jewison

...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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#392 of 460 The Most Quotable Movies of All Time #17 of 46 The Greatest Legal Dramas Ever Made

11
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John Travolta, Robert Duvall, Kathy Bates

Released: 1998

Directed by: Steven Zaillian

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
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The Devil’s Advocate

Released: 1997

13
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Tom Cruise, Gene Hackman, Gary Busey

Released: 1993

Directed by: Sydney Pollack

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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#8 of 23 The Very Best Courtroom Thriller Movies #15 of 46 The Greatest Legal Dramas Ever Madelisted on The 50 Highest Grossing '90s Movies, Ranked

14
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Marlene Dietrich, Charles Laughton, Tyrone Power

Released: 1957

Directed by: Billy Wilder

Witness for the Prosecution is a 1957 American courtroom drama film set in the Old Bailey in London. The film, based on a short story by Agatha Christie, deals with the trial of a man accused. ...more
15
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Harrison Ford, Brian Dennehy, Raúl Juliá

Released: 1990

Directed by: Alan J. Pakula

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

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#14 of 46 The Greatest Legal Dramas Ever Made #182 of 524 The Greatest Crime Movies Ever Made

16
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James Stewart, George C. Scott, Lee Remick

Released: 1959

Directed by: Otto Preminger

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

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17
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Reese Witherspoon, Luke Wilson, Selma Blair

Released: 2001

Directed by: Robert Luketic

Legally Blonde is a 2001 American comedy film directed by Robert Luketic, based on the novel by Amanda Brown. Sorority girl Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) decides to enroll in Harvard Law School ...more

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18
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Lindsay Wagner, Edward Herrmann, John Houseman

Released: 1973

Directed by: James Bridges

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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#21 of 46 The Greatest Legal Dramas Ever Made #96 of 201 The Best Comedy Movies of the 1970slisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

19
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AriBenarroch added Jodie Foster, Kelly McGillis, Garry Chalk

Released: 1988

Directed by: Jonathan Kaplan

The Accused is a 1988 American drama film directed by Jonathan Kaplan, loosely based on the the real-life event involving Cheryl Araujo in New Bedford, Massachusetts and the resulting trial ...more

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#15 of 23 The Very Best Courtroom Thriller Movies #12 of 92 The Best Courtroom Drama Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

20
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Jim Carrey, Jennifer Tilly, Krista Allen

Released: 1997

Directed by: Tom Shadyac

Liar Liar is a 1997 American comedy film written by Paul Guay and Stephen Mazur, directed by Tom Shadyac and starring Jim Carrey who was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance ...more

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21
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Daniel Day-Lewis, Emma Thompson, Tom Wilkinson

Released: 1993

Directed by: Jim Sheridan

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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#167 of 302 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time #19 of 23 The Very Best Courtroom Thriller Movies

22
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Alec Baldwin, Whoopi Goldberg, James Woods

Released: 1996

Directed by: Rob Reiner

Ghosts of Mississippi is a 1996 American drama film directed by Rob Reiner and starring Alec Baldwin, Whoopi Goldberg, and James Woods. The plot is based on the true story of the 1994 trial of ...more

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23
Dark Waters is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Movies About Lawyers
Mark Ruffalo, Anne Hathaway, Tim Robbins

Released: 2019

Directed by: Todd Haynes

Dark Waters is a 2019 American drama film directed by Todd Haynes, based on a true story. An attorney (Mark Ruffalo) discovers a connection between a string of mysterious deaths and chemical ...more
24
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Glenn Close, Jeremy Irons, Felicity Huffman

Released: 1990

Directed by: Barbet Schroeder

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.

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25
Advocate is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Movies About Lawyers
Hanan Ashrawi, Avigdor Feldman, Lea Tsemel

Released: 2020

Directed by: Philippe Bellaiche, Rachel Leah Jones

Advocate is a 2019 Israeli documentary film directed by Philippe Bellaiche and Rachel Leah Jones. Lea Tsemel, a Jewish-Israeli lawyer, has represented political prisoners for nearly 50 years.