8.1/10
47,805
195 user 95 critic

Anatomy of a Murder (1959)

Unrated | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | September 1959 (Austria)
In a murder trial, the defendant says he suffered temporary insanity after the victim raped his wife. What is the truth, and will he win his case?

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (based on the novel by) (as Robert Traver)
Reviews

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Nominated for 7 Oscars. Another 9 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Rope (1948)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Two young men strangle their "inferior" classmate, hide his body in their apartment, and invite his friends and family to a dinner party as a means to challenge the "perfection" of their crime.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: James Stewart, John Dall, Farley Granger
Action | Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A senator, who became famous for killing a notorious outlaw, returns for the funeral of an old friend and tells the truth about his deed.

Director: John Ford
Stars: James Stewart, John Wayne, Vera Miles
Laura (1944)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A police detective falls in love with the woman whose murder he is investigating.

Director: Otto Preminger
Stars: Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb
Harvey (1950)
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Due to his insistence that he has an invisible six foot-tall rabbit for a best friend, a whimsical middle-aged man is thought by his family to be insane - but he may be wiser than anyone knows.

Director: Henry Koster
Stars: James Stewart, Josephine Hull, Peggy Dow
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A naive man is appointed to fill a vacancy in the United States Senate. His plans promptly collide with political corruption, but he doesn't back down.

Director: Frank Capra
Stars: James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Claude Rains
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

When a rich woman's ex-husband and a tabloid-type reporter turn up just before her planned remarriage, she begins to learn the truth about herself.

Director: George Cukor
Stars: Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, James Stewart
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A religious fanatic marries a gullible widow whose young children are reluctant to tell him where their real daddy hid $10,000 he'd stolen in a robbery.

Director: Charles Laughton
Stars: Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters, Lillian Gish
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A veteran British barrister must defend his client in a murder trial that has surprise after surprise.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich, Charles Laughton
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A family vacationing in Morocco accidentally stumble on to an assassination plot and the conspirators are determined to prevent them from interfering.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: James Stewart, Doris Day, Brenda de Banzie
Notorious (1946)
Drama | Film-Noir | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A woman is asked to spy on a group of Nazi friends in South America. How far will she have to go to ingratiate herself with them?

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains
Crime | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

An ex-tennis pro carries out a plot to murder his wife. When things go wrong, he improvises a brilliant plan B.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Ray Milland, Grace Kelly, Robert Cummings
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
Asst. State Atty. Gen. Claude Dancer
...
Russ Brown ...
...
Brooks West ...
...
Det. Sgt. James Durgo
...
...
Dr. Dompierre
...
Dr. W. Gregory Harcourt
Edit

Storyline

Frederick Manion (Ben Gazzara), a lieutenant in the army, is arrested for the murder of a bartender, Barney Quill. He claims, in his defense, that the victim had raped and beaten up his wife Laura (Lee Remick). Although Laura supports her husband's story, the police surgeon can find no evidence that she has been raped. Manion is defended by Paul Biegler (James Stewart), a rather humble small-town lawyer. During the course of interviews, Biegler discovers that Manion is violently possessive and jealous, and also that his wife has a reputation for giving her favors to other men. Biegler realizes that the prosecution will try to make the court believe that Laura was the lover of the bartender and than Manion killed him and beat her up when he discovered them together. Manion pleads "not guilty" and Biegler, who knows that his case is weak, sets his assistants to try to find a witness who will save Manion. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

No search of human emotions has ever probed so deeply, so truthfully as ... Anatomy of a Murder. See more »


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

September 1959 (Austria)  »

Also Known As:

Anatomie eines Mordes  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The part of the judge was offered to both Spencer Tracy and Burl Ives, but instead went to Joseph N. Welch who was a lawyer in real life who had represented the U.S. Army in the televised Army-McCarthy hearings in 1954. See more »

Goofs

Lt. Manion and later Dr. Smith are shown arriving from Detroit on the Chicago and Northwestern Railway. Such a trip would have meant traveling via Chicago and changing trains (and stations). The trip, depending on connection times, would take well over two full days each way. See more »

Quotes

Parnell Emmett McCarthy: You know I used to think the world looked better through a glass of whiskey. It doesn't. I think I'll keep it this way. Looks nice.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Targets (1968) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Does Guilt Or Innocence Actually Matter To The Court System?
24 April 2005 | by (Biloxi, Mississippi) – See all my reviews

Based on the famous Traver novel, ANATOMY OF A MURDER is an extremely complex film that defeats easy definition. In some respects it is a social document of the era in which it was made; primarily, however, it is a detailed portrait of the law at work and the mechanizations and motivations of the individuals involved in a seemingly straight-forward case. In the process it raises certain ethical issues re attorney behavior and the lengths to which an attorney might go to win a case.

Paul Biegler (James Stewart) is a small-town lawyer who has recently lost a re-election for the position of District Attorney and who is down on his luck--when a headline-making case involving assault, alleged rape, and murder drops into his lap. As the case evolves, there is no question about the identity of the killer. But a smart lawyer might be able to get him off just the same and redeem his own career in the process, and with the aid of an old friend (Arthur O'Connell) and his formidable secretary (Eve Arden), Biegler sets out to do precisely that. Opposing him in the courtroom is Claude Dancer (George C. Scott), a high powered prosecutor who is equally determined to get a conviction... and who is no more adverse to coaching a witness than Biegler himself. The two square off in a constantly shifting battle for the jury, a battle that often consists of underhanded tactics on both sides.

The performances are impressive, with James Stewart ideally cast as the attorney for the defense, Ben Gazzara as his unsavory client, and a truly brilliant Lee Remick as the sexy and disreputable wife who screams rape where just possibly none occurred; O'Connell, Arden, and Scott also offer superior performances. The script is sharp, cool, and meticulous, the direction and cinematography both effective and completely unobtrusive, and the famous jazz score adds quite a bit to the film as a whole.

Although we can't help rooting for Stewart, as the film progresses it seems more and more likely that Remick is lying through her teeth and Gazzara is as guilty as sin--but the film balances its elements in such a way as to achieve a disturbing ambiguity that continues right through to the end. If you expect a courtroom thriller with sudden revelations and twists you'll likely be disappointed in ANATOMY OF A MURDER, but if you want a thought-provoking take on the law you'd be hard pressed to find one better. Recommended.

Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer


42 of 55 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Do you think she was raped? RowTheBoats
Bad actor: The Judge rios_119
Do you think it deserves very high review? jr8rdt
the ending ? (did anyone want a twist?) film_buffy
Very poor direction thirsch-2
Question about the ending... denis_xy
Discuss Anatomy of a Murder (1959) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?