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
The American Film Institute website states that John "Houseman was only approached [to play Professor Kingsfield] after East Coast locations were decided upon and the producers had visited Juilliard School for the Arts, where Houseman had established the acting program, looking to cast the roles of students". See more »
When Jim jumps on the bed next to Susan, his position next to her changes between shots. See more »
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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