First Monday in October (1981)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  21 August 1981 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 1,055 users  
Reviews: 19 user | 5 critic

For the first time in history a woman is appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, where she becomes a friendly rival to a liberal associate.



(play), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dan Snow
Ruth Loomis
Chief Justice James Jefferson Crawford
Christine Snow
James Stephens ...
Mason Woods
Joshua Bryant ...
Bill Russell
Wiley Harker ...
Justice Harold Webb
F.J. O'Neil ...
Justice Waldo Thompson
Charles Lampkin ...
Justice Josiah Clewes
Lew Palter ...
Justice Benjamin Halperin
Richard McMurray ...
Justice Richard Carey
Herb Vigran ...
Justice Ambrose Quincy
Edmund Stoiber ...
Committee Chairman
Nebraska Attorney
Richard McKenzie ...
Hostile Senator


Ruth Loomis becomes the first woman appointed to the United States Supreme Court. A staunch conservative, she immediately runs into conflict with Dan Snow, the high court's resident liberal. Although, they never agree on the issues before the Court, they develop a respect and affection for one another after several comedic encounters. Written by Dave Gan <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


In the Supreme Court, there are only eight of them against all of her.


Comedy | Drama


R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

21 August 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

...Kinek a bírónő  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Feature film debut for James Stephens. See more »


Justice Loomis views a pornographic film to decide it it has "redeeming social or artistic importance". This is an outdated standard for obscenity which was superseded by the so-called "Miller test" in 1973. See more »


Justice Dan Snow: The telephone has no constitutional right to be answered.
See more »


Referenced in Roseanne: The Last Thursday in November (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

I expected more than just a serious film with almost no laughs
13 February 2011 | by (São Paulo, Brazil) – See all my reviews

There's one scene where Walter Matthau's character is having a heart-attack and when Jill Clayburgh asks him if he's OK, he replies with a smile on the face that he likes all that. I can say that "First Monday In October" is just like this situation, I can say that I liked some things of the film but I'm gonna say with a painful expression on my face.

Matthau and Clayburgh are wonderful but the movie doesn't fly high in imagination and in space simply because it's a filmed play, with long dialogs that neither were interesting or too funny to be put on the screen to be classified as a comedy on serious matters like the election of a female judge to occupy a seat in the Supreme Court. The subject is too serious to be taken fun of, in fact, I've never seen a movie with this theme being hilariously funny without being a goofy comedy (except the last minutes of "The Bonfire of the Vanities" which is brilliant).

Ronald Neame directs a boring plot, with some sparkles between the main characters who exchange great lines about court ethics on trials, and specially about Matthau's conduct in not watching a obscene film called "The Nymphomaniac Naked" which was the case whether that film was pornography or an art film; the "fake" trial where Matthau plays the director of such film is the most memorable moment of the film; and the funniest being the scene where all the judges are taking a photograph which seems to be an impossible mission to the photographer since all the characters can't stop arguing and laughing at each other over their different points of view.

"First Monday In October" is 80% drama and 20% comedy, as you see there's no balance between the two genres and that's why it was difficult to swallow and digest the film as being a good film; it almost got there, but I was expecting something like "House Calls", a previous work starring Matthau and Glenda Jackson, that had a rivalry that later becomes a romance between the two, and with some dramatic moments, without killing the humor away. Instead, all I've got was an almost dated subject with few humor, vast quantity of drama, touching performances. It goes into many ways to end up being humorless. Made to be as substitute for sleeping pills. 5/10

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