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...and justice for all. (1979)

A lawyer is forced to defend a guilty judge, while defending other innocent clients, and trying to find punishment for the guilty and provide justice for the innocent.

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Robert Christian ...
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Jeff McCullaugh (as Thomas Waites)
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Leo Fauci
Vincent Beck ...
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Elderly Man
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Storyline

When a judge is charged with rape, Arthur Kirkland is forced to defend him. Kirkland has had problems with the judge in the past, including one incident when the judge wrongly sentenced his client Jeff McCullaugh because of a technicality. Kirkland faces a moral and legal dilemma. Written by Melissa Portell <mportell@s-cwis.unomaha.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

This man needs the best lawyer in town. But the problem is... he is the best lawyer in town.

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

19 October 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

...And Justice for All  »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$33,300,000, 31 December 1979
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to director Norman Jewison's audio-commentary, in legal circles the film was criticized for its portrayal and depiction of legal eagles, lawyers and judges. See more »

Goofs

As Kirkland's property is being returned to him upon his exit from jail on a contempt charge, the handle on his briefcase changes positions. As the property officer slides a receipt for his property towards Kirkland, the handle is up. As Kirkland signs the receipt, the handle is down. The scene ends with the handle being up. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Jay Porter: Hi, Arthur. Good to see you. Nice day.
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Connections

Referenced in Smoke Signals (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Something Funny Goin' On
Music by Dave Grusin
Lyrics by Alan Bergman & Marilyn Bergman
Sung by Zachary Sanders (as Zack Sanders) and the N.Y. Jailhouse Ensemble
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User Reviews

 
Poorly conceived
23 September 2011 | by See all my reviews

Al Pacino's comically baffled expression at the very last shot of this film says it all, really. But is he baffled by Jeffrey Tambor's silly toupee, or by the fact that he has no idea what kind of movie he was just in? Not to worry - he's not alone. Director Norman Jewison doesn't know either, and neither does the audience.

...And Justice For All, according to many reviews, is supposed to be some sort of Catch-22-ish satirical black comedy, but if so then it fails miserably, since it's never as funny or outrageous as that, and the scenes that force the film's messages - and those are excruciatingly obvious - are melodramatic and heavy-handed. The comedic scenes seem to be there more to relieve the tension cause by the more dramatic scenes, but instead they just confuse. Most of the time the message we get is that very simply, law doesn't work, and always with tragic results - innocent men rot away in prison, guilty powerful men go unpunished, and guilty evil men walk free and kill again.

Pacino was famed for his subtle performances throughout the 70's - nobody else could have made the slick transition from naive idealism to calculated evil that he achieved in The Godfather, or in Dog Day Afternoon. But here no trace of subtlety can be found. And although the over-the-top performance fits right in at the final scene, and indeed makes for a very memorable and often quoted couple of minutes, it makes every other scene - especially the ones Pacino's character shares with his grandfather or his dull, unconvincing love interest - fall flat. Partially it's a good thing, because it paved the way for his performance in Scarface - which is one of the best, most glorious examples of complete, shameless overacting ever. But here it just doesn't work. It's not Pacino's fault, though, or Jewison's; It's just a poorly conceived story, and with something like that, all the talent in the world couldn't help.


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