Frank Galvin was once a promising Boston lawyer with a bright future ahead. An incident early in his career in which he was trying to do the right thing led to him being fired from the prestigious law firm with which he was working, almost being disbarred, and his wife leaving him. Continually drowning his sorrows in booze, he is now an ambulance chasing lawyer, preying on the weak and vulnerable, and bending the truth whenever necessary to make what few dollars he has, as he has only had a few cases in the last few years, losing the last four. His only friend in the profession is his now retired ex-partner, Mickey Morrissey, who gets Frank a case, his fee solely a percentage of what his clients are awarded. The case should net Frank tens of thousands of dollars by settling out of court, that money which would at least get him back on his feet. It is a negligence suit brought on behalf of Deborah Ann Kaye by her sister and brother-in-law, Sally and Kevin Doneghy, against St. Catherine... Written by
Star Paul Newman once said of this movie whilst publicizing the picture: "I'd rather have the freedom to do the kind of pictures like The Verdict (1982) . . . I enjoyed kicking the beejeezus out of the press in Absence of Malice (1981)". See more »
The pinball machine Frank Galvin plays at the bar is named Disco Fever, and is an early electronic pinball, with digital sound and gas-discharge score displays. The sound effects however, are of mechanical bells and score reels made by an electro-mechanical pinball machine made before 1976. See more »
[Judge Hoyle is speaking with Concannon and Galvin about the case]
Frank, what would you and your client take - right now, this very minute - to walk out of here, let this damn thing drop?
My client can't walk, your honor.
I know full well she can't, Frank. You see the padre on your way out; he'll punch your ticket... you follow me?
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The difference between what is legal and what is just
I like that this film shows how the criminal justice system, solid though it is, has cracks that can prevent justice being done, and that the people participating in it have to have the courage to recognize them. This film has turned out to be a seminal one: legal drama has turned overwhelmingly to rumination of the moral interstices of the law like the one portrayed here. Without "The Verdict," we wouldn't have "The Practice." Gone are the days when all of Perry Mason's clients were innocent.
Paul Newman's performance has been justifiably enshrined in the pantheon of Circumstances When The Academy Dropped The Ball. But what made the film a truly emotional performance for me was Lindsay Crouse as the pivotal witness. The entire ensemble was flawless, as was the incredible atmosphere. "The Verdict" is probably too serious for some movie fans, and that's OK--no film can please everyone. But if you like to be given something to think about by your entertainments, this is the film for you.
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