IMDb > The Paper Chase (1973)
The Paper Chase
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The Paper Chase (1973) More at IMDbPro »

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The Paper Chase -- Trailer for this drama about law school students


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Down 64% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
John Jay Osborn Jr. (novel)
James Bridges (screenplay)
View company contact information for The Paper Chase on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
16 October 1973 (USA) See more »
You may be looking at a future President, Supreme Court Justice, Secretary of State or a dropout. See more »
A first-year law student at Harvard Law School struggles with balancing his coursework and his relationship with the daughter of his sternest professor. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Won Oscar. Another 3 wins & 3 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
In The Case Of Hart vs. Houseman See more (83 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Timothy Bottoms ... James T. Hart

Lindsay Wagner ... Susan Fields

John Houseman ... Charles W. Kingsfield Jr.

Graham Beckel ... Franklin Ford III

James Naughton ... Kevin Brooks

Edward Herrmann ... Thomas Craig Anderson

Craig Richard Nelson ... Willis Bell
Robert Lydiard ... O'Connor

Lenny Baker ... William Moss

David Clennon ... Toombs
Regina Baff ... Asheley Brooks
Irma Hurley ... Mrs. Weasal
Bill Moher ... Philip

Blair Brown ... Miss Farranti
Richard Whelan ... Pruit
Alan Kwinter ... Sanders
Nicholas Olah ... Knight
David B. Johns ... Fisher
Tony Silverthorne ... Hotel Manager
John Bethune ... Hotel Clerk
Jan Campbell ... 1st Hotel Maid
Dora Dainton ... 2nd Hotel Maid
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

David Daniel ... Student (uncredited)
Peter Foldy ... Student (uncredited)
Neil Lundy ... Lecture Hall Student (uncredited)

Steve Meek ... Law student (uncredited)
Ronald Mlodzik ... Student (uncredited)

Directed by
James Bridges 
Writing credits
John Jay Osborn Jr. (novel)

James Bridges (screenplay)

Produced by
Philip L. Parslow .... associate producer
Rodrick Paul .... producer
Robert C. Thompson .... producer
Original Music by
John Williams 
Cinematography by
Gordon Willis 
Film Editing by
Walter Thompson 
Production Design by
George Jenkins 
Set Decoration by
Gerry Holmes 
Production Management
Philip L. Parslow .... unit production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Tony Lucibello .... second assistant director
Christopher Seitz .... assistant director
Art Department
Ray Mercer Jr. .... property master (as Ray Mercer)
Hendrik Wynands .... construction coordinator (as Hendrik G. Wynands)
David Orin Charles .... assistant set decorator (uncredited)
Sound Department
Larry Jost .... sound mixer
Donald O. Mitchell .... re-recording mixer
Camera and Electrical Department
Reginald H. Morris .... camera operator (as Reg Morris)
Casting Department
Patricia Payne .... casting: Canada (uncredited)
Music Department
Dennis Budimir .... musician: guitar (uncredited)
Gene Cipriano .... musician (uncredited)
Victor Feldman .... musician: percussion (uncredited)
Dominick Fera .... musician: clarinet (uncredited)
Richard Hazard .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Louis Kaufman .... musician: violin (uncredited)
Carol Kaye .... musician: fender bass (uncredited)
Milton Kestenbaum .... musician: bass (uncredited)
Michael Lang .... musician: keyboards (uncredited)
Virginia Majewski .... musician: viola (uncredited)
Lincoln Mayorga .... musician: keyboards (uncredited)
John Williams .... conductor (uncredited)
Other crew
John Jay Osborn Jr. .... technical advisor
Michael Preece .... script supervisor
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Paper Chase" - International (English title) (informal short title)
See more »
113 min
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Did You Know?

Debut credited theatrical feature film as an actor of producer John Houseman.See more »
Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): 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 »
[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 »
PARTITA NO. 4 IN D+See more »


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23 out of 29 people found the following review useful.
In The Case Of Hart vs. Houseman, 6 January 2008
Author: Lechuguilla from Dallas, Texas

I shall recite the facts of the case, forthwith. An idealistic first year law student from the Midwest, named Hart (Timothy Bottoms), along with several other students find themselves unprepared for the academic rigors of Harvard Law School. Their insecurities bump up against the high standards of the renowned and intimidating Professor Kingsfield (John Houseman) who teaches a class in contract law. Further, Hart happens to become romantically involved with a woman named Susan (Lindsay Wagner) who initially fails to tell Hart that she is Kingsfield's daughter. Complications ensue.

"The Paper Chase" is a rather slow moving drama laced with occasional humor. The dispassionate story is simple and straightforward, if perhaps slightly contrived. It lacks emotional intensity, especially by today's standards. But that's somewhat to be expected for a setting that is so cloistered and cerebral. Characters are stereotypical, but still interesting.

And the "heart" of the story is the discourse between student and professor, especially as Hart relates, or fails to relate, to the demanding Kingsfield, a man who never smiles. Kingsfield has a one-track mind. He lives, breathes, and sleeps contract law. He expects his students to do the same. Always impersonal, he's like an intellectual robot. And half the fun of the film is listening to John Houseman's monologues, as he "fills the room with (Kingsfield's) intelligence".

The film's color cinematography is fine; camera "takes" are very long. The film's visuals do look dated. Guys have long hair. And students use ... typewriters -- yikes! Background music is intermittent and mostly classical. Overall acting is fine. Both Timothy Bottoms and Lindsay Wagner give credible performances. And, of course, John Houseman is terrific. I can't imagine anyone else in that role.

Low-key, and nostalgic in its view of education, "The Paper Chase" is a good film to watch for its high technical quality, for its theme of the individual trying to measure up to society's expectations, and of course for the wonderful performance of John Houseman.

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