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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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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
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Kevin Brooks
...
...
Robert Lydiard ...
O'Connor
Lenny Baker ...
William Moss, Tutor
...
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

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Actor John Houseman said of his Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination and win in his autobiography that "my first reaction was one of incredulity and vague pleasure, followed by a sense of embarrassment at the realization that for most actors of my age an Academy Award or even a nomination comes as the hard-earned culmination of a long and dedicated career: mine was the reward for ten agreeable days spent with a friend in Toronto!". See more »

Goofs

When Jim jumps on the bed next to Susan, his position next to her changes between shots. 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 Step by Step: The Paper Chase (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

CONCERTO IN D+ for 3 trumpets, tympani, 2 oboes, strings and harpsichord
Composed by Georg Philipp Telemann
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Can You Dig It?
16 October 2000 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

I saw this on an early VHS video transfer that was just awful. I then saw it years later on TCM in widescreen DVD format and was blown away by all I'd missed on that c****y video version. This is a first rate drama of a harried Harvard law student. Make sure you see this in widescreen so you can get the full effect of the wonderful scenes like the one where Hart and his buddy sneak into the upstairs library with the glass lighted floor to sneak a peek at Kingsfield's law student notes. I especially liked the way director James Bridges reflected the lighted floor off of Hart's glasses. A very nice touch from an underrated director. No car chases, no action sequences, no over the top plots, just a simple character driven story set in the beautiful Harvard law school. This is what great filmmaking is all about.


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