drama movies The Best Courtroom Drama Movies  

Reference
Originally by
7k votes 1.3k voters 145.7k views 89 items

List Rules Vote for your personal favorite Courtroom drama films, regardless of how popular or successful they were at the box office.

This list of courtroom drama films includes only the best movies about the legal system. If it features a trial, judge, and jury, then it should be on this list.  This courtroom drama movie list can be sorted by cast, year, director and more. Including films such as Degree of Guilt and The Gift, this list includes some of the best courtroom movie dramas made. A classic court movie like 12 Angry Men is a quintessential example of the genre, but is it one of the best courtroom movies ever? Gregory Peck may have delivered an iconic performance as Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird, but how does that legal drama stack up against the rest? 

Which is your favorite courtroom drama movie? Whether you like the classic old school courtroom movies or the more modern ones starring familiar faces like Al Pacino, this list is sure to have what you love. And if it's not on the list, add it yourself at the bottom!  

The films on this list cover the most famous courtroom drama movies of all time and are voted on by people who really care about courtroom drama movie lists. Vote up the ones you think are best and vote down any dramas that are guilty of not being very good. 

Courtroom Drama movies have been directed by some pretty famous names, including Rob Reiner and John Ford.

1
366 79
Ranker Video
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

2
254 59
Ranker Video
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
355 71
Ranker Video
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

4
190 63
Ranker Video
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

5
172 49
Ranker Video
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

6
186 47
Ranker Video
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

7
166 48
Ranker Video
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

8
145 44
Ranker Video
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

9
125 37
Ranker Video
wiabux added Witness for the Prosecution Marlene Dietrich, Charles Laughton, Tyrone Power 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 of ...more

10
139 48
Ranker Video
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

11
106 32
Ranker Video
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

12
126 44
Ranker Video
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

The Very Best Courtroom Thriller Movies

13
108 34
Ranker Video
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

14
116 26
Ranker Video
v.fizero.0 added The Lincoln Lawyer 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

15
101 32
Ranker Video
wiabux added ...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

16
89 26
Ranker Video
Judgment at Nuremberg 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

17
132 24
Ranker Video
My Cousin Vinny 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

The Best Crime Shows on TV Right Now

18
72 37
Ranker Video
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

19
88 35
Ranker Video
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

20
83 24
Ranker Video
wiabux added Presumed Innocent 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

21
64 22
Ranker Video
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.

22
79 24
Ranker Video
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

The Best Drama Movies of 2017

23
54 30
Ranker Video
In Cold Blood Robert Blake, John Forsythe, Will Geer In Cold Blood is a 1967 film based on Truman Capote's book of the same name. Richard Brooks prepared the adaptation and directed the film. It stars Robert Blake as Perry Smith, Scott Wilson as ...more

24
70 22
Ranker Video
Witness Harrison Ford, Viggo Mortensen, Danny Glover Witness is a 1985 American thriller film directed by Peter Weir and starring Harrison Ford and Kelly McGillis. The screenplay by William Kelley, Pamela Wallace, and Earl W. Wallace focuses on a ...more

25
54 31
Ranker Video
Murder in the First 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

26
54 24
Ranker Video
willyboymcoy 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

27
59 21
Ranker Video
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

Easter Eggs From Every Marvel Movie

28
62 13
Ranker Video
_denny-wright added 12 Angry Men 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.

29
53 28
Ranker Video
Ghosts of Mississippi Alec Baldwin, Whoopi Goldberg, James Woods 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

30
62 34
Ranker Video
Michael Clayton 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

31
66 20
Ranker Video
Inherit the Wind 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

32
45 27
Ranker Video
The Hurricane Denzel Washington, Liev Schreiber, Rod Steiger The Hurricane is a 1999 biographical film directed by Norman Jewison, and starring Denzel Washington. The script was adapted by Armyan Bernstein and Dan Gordon from the books Lazarus and the ...more

The Best Sci Fi Drama Movies, Ranked

33
50 22
Ranker Video
Absence of Malice 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

34
65 23
Ranker Video
wiabux added Fracture 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

35
45 18
Ranker Video
_denny-wright added 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

36
39 19
Ranker Video
Paths of Glory 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

37
47 32
Ranker Video
Amistad 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

Things We Should Do, But Don't

38
32 21
Ranker Video
v.fizero.0 added The Judge Ingrid Thulin, Georg Rydeberg, Gunnar Hellström The Judge is a 1960 Swedish drama film directed by Alf Sjöberg. It was entered into the 1961 Cannes Film Festival.

39
25 13
Ranker Video
_denny-wright added 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

40
31 26
Ranker Video
A Soldier's Story Denzel Washington, Patti LaBelle, David Alan Grier A Soldier's Story is a 1984 American drama film directed by Norman Jewison, based upon Charles Fuller's Pulitzer Prize-winning Off Broadway production A Soldier's Play. A black officer is sent ...more

41
28 23
Ranker Video
Brokedown Palace Kate Beckinsale, Claire Danes, Paul Walker Brokedown Palace is a 1999 American drama film directed by Jonathan Kaplan, and starring Claire Danes, Kate Beckinsale, Bill Pullman and Lim Kay Tong. It deals with two American friends ...more

42
25 13
Ranker Video
_denny-wright added I Am Sam Michelle Pfeiffer, Sean Penn, Dakota Fanning I Am Sam is a 2001 American drama film written and directed by Jessie Nelson, and starring Sean Penn as a father with a developmental disability, Dakota Fanning as his inquisitive seven-year-old ...more

The Best Military Drama Movies, Ranked

43
18 19
Ranker Video
Reversal of Fortune 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

44
27 22
Ranker Video
Class Action 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

45
12 13
Ranker Video
_denny-wright added Beyond a Reasonable Doubt Michael Douglas, Amber Tamblyn, Jesse Metcalfe Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, a 2009 American film, is a remake of the 1956 film of the same name by Fritz Lang. Written, directed and filmed by Peter Hyams, the new version starred Jesse Metcalfe, ...more

46
27 23
Ranker Video
Suspect Cher, Liam Neeson, Dennis Quaid Suspect is a 1987 mystery/courtroom film drama starring Cher, Dennis Quaid and Liam Neeson. Other notable cast members include John Mahoney, Joe Mantegna, Fred Melamed, and Philip Bosco. The ...more

47
32 29
Ranker Video
The People vs. Larry Flynt Courtney Love, Edward Norton, Woody Harrelson The People vs. Larry Flynt is a 1996 American biographical drama film directed by Miloš Forman and starring Woody Harrelson, Courtney Love, and Edward Norton. It chronicles the rise of ...more

48
25 19
Ranker Video
wiabux added Rules of Engagement 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

49
18 13
Ranker Video
_denny-wright added A Man for All Seasons John Hurt, Orson Welles, Vanessa Redgrave A Man for All Seasons is a 1966 British biographical drama film based on Robert Bolt's play of the same name about Sir Thomas More. It was released on 12 December 1966. Paul Scofield, who had ...more

50
14 9
Ranker Video
_denny-wright added Regarding Henry Harrison Ford, Annette Bening, J.J. Abrams Regarding Henry is a 1991 American film drama starring Harrison Ford and Annette Bening, directed by Mike Nichols. The screenplay by J. J. Abrams focuses on a New York City lawyer who struggles ...more