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The Paper Chase (1973)

PG | | Comedy, Drama | 16 October 1973 (USA)
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A first-year law student at Harvard Law School struggles with balancing his coursework and his relationship with the daughter of his sternest professor.

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(novel), (screenplay)
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
Kevin Brooks
...
...
Robert Lydiard ...
O'Connor
Lenny Baker ...
William Moss
...
Toombs
Regina Baff ...
Irma Hurley ...
Mrs. Weasal
Bill Moher ...
Philip
...
Miss Farranti
Richard Whelan ...
Pruit
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Storyline

Serious, hard-working student James T. Hart faces the rigors of his first year at Harvard Law School. The pressure to succeed is tremendous and some of the students form study groups while also spending a great many hours studying. Hart's greatest challenge is contract law and his professor, Charles W. Kingsfield Jr. Using the Socratic method, Kingsfield challenges his students with questions demanding accuracy and creativity in their responses and often humiliating those who are unable to respond. As the school year progresses, Hart faces many challenges but befriends Susan Fields - unaware that she has a connection that affects their relationship. Finally, Hart accommodates himself to whatever might come his way, accepting a new set of priorities in his life. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

You may be looking at a future President, Supreme Court Justice, Secretary of State or a dropout. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

16 October 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Bright Young Men  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Actors James Mason, Gregory Peck, Melvyn Douglas, Sir John Gielgud, Paul Scofield and Edward G. Robinson, were considered and offered the role to play Professor Kingsfield by director James Bridges. In the end, John Houseman was cast . Although Houseman had appeared in a small but important role in Seven Days in May (1964), he had previously been known primarily as a producer of radio (The Mercury Theatre of the Air's The War of the Worlds (1938)), stage (Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre) and film (Julius Caesar (1953)). This movie was his first major film role and the part won him the 1973 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. See more »

Goofs

During Kingsfield's cocktail party Bottom's character finds out his love interest is Kingsfield's daughter and is understandably perturbed. As she approaches him, he looks to walk out the door. At that point Hart nearly runs into Edward Herman's character (Thomas) but calls him 'Ed'! Oops. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Charles W. Kingsfield Jr.: Mr. Hart, would you recite for us the facts of Hawkins versus McGee?
[looks up]
Charles W. Kingsfield Jr.: I do have you name right? You are "Mr. Hart"?
James T. Hart: [mumbles] Yes, my name's Hart.
Charles W. Kingsfield Jr.: You're not speaking loud enough, Mr. Hart. Will you speak up?
James T. Hart: Yes, my name's Hart.
Charles W. Kingsfield Jr.: Mr. Hart, you're still not speaking loud enough. Will you stand? Speak louder, Mr. Hart! Fill the room with your intelligence!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Sum of All Fears (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

CONCERTO IN D+ for 3 trumpets, tympani, 2 oboes, strings and harpsichord
Composed by Georg Philipp Telemann
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User Reviews

 
law school pressure and the pre-bionic woman
4 February 2003 | by See all my reviews

I have friends who have gone to law school and their subjective descriptions of how intense an experience that was seem to be validated in this now 30-year-old film. Houseman and Bottoms shine, the rest of the cast (while a bit too stuffy) seem to compliment them without flaw. I liked seeing a very young (unspoiled) Lindsey Wagner in her pre-bionic woman days. Truthfully, though certainly dated at this point, this film still held my interest. I was, however, disappointed in the last scene, for although it may have meant to be liberating for the Bottoms character to shift his priorities the timing, (upon receipt of his final grades) seemed ill chosen. Still, one can't help but root for him through all of this. In the end one wonders if while retaining his idealism he sacrificed his sanity.


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