True story of Clarence Gideon's fight to be appointed counsel at the expense of the state. This landmark case led to the Supreme Court's decision which extended this right to all criminal defendants. Written by
Steve Walker <email@example.com>
In the first trial, when the bailiff is swearing in Lester Wade, he instructs him to "raise your right hand" [the audio of this is clipped]. However, Lester actually places his right hand on the bible and raises his left hand. On all other occasions in the movie, witnesses actually raise their right hands (and put their left hands on the bible) when being sworn in. See more »
[referring to Jacob, who is about to argue before the Supreme Court for the very first time]
Don't go feeling sorry for the poor son-of-a-bitch until we've won.
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I wouldn't define this movie as being great. It was good, but not great. It was interesting though. I had to watch this for my criminal justice class, and I was riveted to it. I learned a lot about how our courts worked and how reforms in them were made so people who couldn't afford an attorney still had the right to have one. Based on a true story, Clarence Gideon was convicted of a crime he did not commit. But the movie centers around how he was deprived of his right to an attorney, and how he fought in prison to make clear that he did not have a fair trial. I thought it was well done, and Henry Fonda was very good in the role of Clarence Gideon. Only drawback, this should have been released in theaters. The camerawork of the courtroom and the long shots of Clarence Gideon confessing his history are great. The opening shot is the best scene of the film, which is seen in it's entireity later. Henry Fonda looks right into the camera, right at you, and as Clarence Gideon, he gives you his background. Ingenious. I wish there could be more movies with scenes as subtle and as profound as this. The other scene I liked was when Gideon is retried with an experienced lawyer, and when the first witness falsely claims Clarence Gideon is the culprit, the lawyer cuts him down with words and facts. This movie is good, but it's not a monumental achievement. I would highly recommend it to you though. It's got the qualities a good film should have: a good story and good acting. And lawyers or people involved in law alike will find it very interesting.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful.
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