Isn’t it time to confront facts? There are a number of attorneys movies in Hollywood.
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How about knowing which of those movies is a favorite amongst real lawyers? We have good news for you.
We thought it would be a good idea to compile a list of 10 movies about lawyers that we think are worth watching.
You can’t help but analyze any portrayal of your career that you see on the big screen. In movies involving lawyers, courtroom dramas, and legal conflicts, attorneys are absolutely that way.
Seeing a movie and thinking, “Hey, that might actually happen!” is always impressive, regardless of whether the film is amusing or serious. Or, “Yep, that’s exactly how it works in practice.” “I can utilize that!” is even better.
So, if you’re considering going to law school, consider this.
Maybe you’re curious about what it’s like to work as a lawyer…
Whether you’re a movie buff or a lawyer, these ten films are all highly recommended.
What we did, if you’re wondering, was just ask our lawyer friends and colleagues: “What do you think?”
In your opinion, what is the best movie about a lawyer and why?
Our survey results led us to compile this list of the 10 best movies about lawyers, as voted on by the legal community.
#10 – A Few Good Men
A Few Good Men comes in at number ten on our list. Tom Cruise and Demi Moore feature in this 1992 thriller about two Marines accused of murder who are defended by military lawyers.
This movie gives us a great look at how a trial goes. But it also does what a great film should: entertain. Insight into the human situation is conveyed.
Aside from the courtroom, Tom Cruise’s character in the film is also engaged in a battle of the mind. In addition, he must contend with the legacy cast by his late father, a well-known lawyer. In order for him to succeed, he has to continuously question his own abilities. The experience of having a famous parent as a lawyer isn’t necessary to understand it.
The character played by Demi Moore, who is popular among lawyers, is another appealing aspect of the picture. The best role she’s ever played may have been here. She portrays the type of person you’d expect to run into in the courtroom or in the boardroom all the time. “Why do you continually give me your resume?” says Tom Cruise’s character at one point. Maybe she’s afraid she’ll fall short as well. In our line of work, it’s not uncommon.
So, this film teaches us a valuable lesson about the life of a lawyer:
THE FEAR OF FAILING TO MEASURE UP WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU.
It begins with the bar test and continues through all of your coursework in law school. After that, you’ll have to sit for the Bar Exam and then interview with legal firms to find a job as a new lawyer. Every step of the way, you’ll doubt your suitability for this line of employment. It’s imperative that you learn to harness your fear and use it as motivation to push yourself to achieve greater heights academically and professionally.
#9 – Amistad
:Amistad, a Steven Spielberg-directed 1997 film starring Anthony Hopkins and Morgan Freeman, comes in at number nine.
In this tale, the crew of a ship sailing from Africa to the coast of Long Island mounts a revolution against their oppressors. As far as the movie’s legal issues are concerned, the key question is: where did the ship originate? Obviously, if the ship was built in Africa, it had something to do with the abolition of slavery in the region. However, if the ship originated in Cuba (as some have alleged), then a new set of rules would apply.
This film’s focus on “narrative” is one of the many reasons it appeals to lawyers. When it comes to courtroom work, the most critical element is the story you tell. And this film does a fantastic job of demonstrating that concept.
There’s a great part in the movie where Anthony Hopkin asks Morgan Freeman about their backstory, and we highly recommend seeing it. It’s a work of cinematic art that also provides a profound legal lesson.
Cinque, the slave, questions Anthony Hopkins’ character after the trial over the phrases he used to persuade the jury. He responds, “Your words.” And attorneys do exactly that. We tell the tales of our clients.
#8 – Dark Waters
Dark Waters, a courtroom thriller starring Mark Ruffalo, is the eighth film on our list. An article in the New York Times Magazine titled “The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare” was used as the basis for this video. As part of the town’s lawsuit against a toxic chemical firm, a corporate defense attorney is thrust into the role of the plaintiff’s lawyer, representing the town’s interests.
We haven’t seen this film. However, a number of lawyers had endorsed it. Let us know what you think!
#7 – Legally Blonde
Legally Blonde, featuring Reese Witherspoon as Elle Woods, comes in at number seven on our list.
As we’ve previously stated, a great film is one that tells us something about the human experience. It’s possible to tell two stories at once. For the most part, the protagonist is shown as a conventional sorority queen who has recently been abandoned by her boyfriend. For the sake of reuniting with him, he enrolls at Harvard Law School. Ultimately, she comes to understand that she’s more than simply a lovely face with party planning skills; instead, she discovers this about herself along the journey. She’s a lawyer, and she’s worth something.
In addition, attorneys enjoy this film since it touches on a relevant topic in the legal profession. Another piece of advice: Don’t take someone for granted. Although she turns out to be a tough competitor, no one takes Elle seriously in this movie. This reveals an important facet of lawyer life: skepticism.
Amanda Brown’s real-life experiences as a blonde attending Stanford Law School are the inspiration for this film, even if it may appear to be far-fetched at first. One of the best agents I’ve ever worked with saw her manuscript because it was the only one he’d ever seen printed on pink paper.
#6 – The Rainmaker
The Rainmaker, a 1997 film written and directed by John Grisham and starring Matt Damon and Danny Devito, comes in at number six on our list. An underdog lawyer is up against a deceitful insurance business in this film.
This DVD is intriguing since it shows the business aspect of law practice. Danny Devito’s persona is also a favorite of lawyers. After failing the bar six times, he gets a job as a paralegal. Then again, he’s an excellent paralegal, too. Every successful trial lawyer can tell you that a brilliant paralegal is frequently the secret to their success.
#5 – Anatomy of a Murder
On our list, Anatomy of a Murder, starring Jimmy Stewart and directed by Otto Preminger, comes in at number five.
After the victim raped his wife, the defendant claims he was temporarily insane and committed murder. Legal professionals enjoy this film because it demonstrates how to successfully defend oneself in a high-stakes case. The fact that it demonstrates the inherent fallibility of the legal process as a result of its reliance on human people means it appeals to their sense of justice, morality, and ethics, which they find compelling.
The judge in this film is played by Joseph Welch, the lawyer who successfully defended Joseph McCarthy during the McCarthy hearings.
When he said, “Until this moment, Senator, I guess I never properly gauged your brutality or your recklessness,” no one will ever forget that moment. Welch yelled, “Let us not assassinate this lad any further, senator,” when McCarthy wanted to resume his onslaught. It’s time to call it a day. “Do you not have a semblance of decorum?”
#4 – Witness for the Prosecution
Witness for the Prosecution, a film directed by Billy Wilder and based on Agatha Christie’s novel, comes in at number four on our list. Marlene Dietrich, Tyrone Power, and Charles Laughton feature in the picture.
A murder case is once again the focus of this film. But in this situation, the defendant’s wife offers to testify on his behalf so that he can maintain his alibi. Because it properly depicts the legal notion of “credibility,” this picture is a favorite of lawyers.
Our clients have to hear it from us time and time again: We believe their mother is a good person who would never intentionally deceive them. However, she may be biased in some way.
Ex-spouses of plaintiffs who loathe them to the core are the most believable witnesses we’ve ever seen on the witness stand, in our opinion. In the same way, this film emphasizes the importance of a witness’s credibility. Marlene Deitrich, who portrays the defendant’s wife, is awe-inspiring.
#3 – A Civil Action
On our list of the top ten best John Travolta movies is A Civil Action, which was released in 1998. This film is about a lawyer who takes on a case regarding a firm responsible for poisoning a town’s water supply, resulting in an outbreak of leukemia among the population. Taking on this case, on the other hand, may cost him his job and destroy his company.
The risk of being a plaintiff’s attorney is well-illustrated in this film. If a criminal defense attorney wins, loses, or has a hung jury, they still get paid. A lawyer’s hourly rate applies to both criminal defense and civil defense work. There are two types of lawyers: those who represent plaintiffs and those who represent defendants. They also have to pay for the case, which can take up to two or three years to complete. Experts and consultants are required for the legal procedure, but there is no financial assurance.
#2 – The Verdict
The Verdict, directed by Sidney Lumet and starring Paul Newman, comes in at number two on our list. Rather than resolving a medical negligence lawsuit, a lawyer sees this as an opportunity to rescue both his career and his ego by going to trial.
A Civil Action and The Verdict were placed close to each other on our list, which is odd. This is exactly where The Verdict picks up where A Civil Action leaves off, with a man who has lost all of his money and is now penniless.
An alcoholic, washed-up lawyer who stumbles across an excellent medical malpractice case in The Verdict is Paul Newman’s role. He’s willing to pay a large sum of money in order to end the dispute. And he’s desperate for the cash! But what do we think constitutes a good movie? There is a lesson to be learned from this. This isn’t a legal case for Newman’s character in this film. It’s a question of whether he can redeem his own life. It’s about putting one’s life on the line for a greater good.
#1 – My Cousin Vinny
Finally, the film My Cousin Vinny, starring Ralph Macchio, Joe Pesci, and Marisa Tomei, comes in first place on our list. Everything is in this film!
While on their way back to college in rural Alabama, two New Yorkers are accused of murder. One of their relatives, a loudmouth lawyer named Vinny, has no trial experience and is called in to assist them in their cultural bias defense.
This film is a favorite among lawyers because it depicts the pervasiveness of bias in the legal profession. Cross-examination tactics and the importance of analogies in presenting ideas are both well-illustrated. It’s also amusing… That’s a hoot!
During the film’s opening sequence, Mona Lisa Vito, a tough New York girl, assumes that the Alabama village cannot possibly provide good Chinese food.
People in the jail can hear the boys’ phone calls to their families, asserting their innocence and stating that the people in the south are corrupt and have sex with their relatives.
To the southern judge, Vinny represents a threat to his courtroom, which he sees as a source of pride.
We all make assumptions about Mona Lisa based on how she speaks during the trial, but she proves us wrong.
So how does Vinny win the case in the end? What does he gain from this experience? He realizes that he can’t do it on his own. When it comes to winning trials, having an open mind that is willing to accept assistance from others is essential.