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The Verdict (1982)

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A lawyer sees the chance to salvage his career and self-respect by taking a medical malpractice case to trial rather than settling.



(based upon the novel by), (screenplay)
4,667 ( 200)
Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Judge Hoyle
Kaitlin Costello Price
Maureen Rooney
Sally Doneghy
Kevin Doneghy
Dr. Towler
Dr. Thompson
Lewis J. Stadlen ...
Dr. Gruber (as Lewis Stadlen)
Kent Broadhurst ...
Joseph Alito


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 Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

17 December 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Será justicia  »

Box Office


$16,000,000 (estimated)


$54,000,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


[June 2003] The Frank Galvin character (played by Paul Newman) was one of the 400 characters nominated for the American Film Institute's "100 Years...100 Heroes and Villains" lists of 50 heroes and villains. See more »


In the climactic courtroom scene, when Frank calls Kaitlin to the stand, Concannon is flustered and confers with one of his lawyers. We then see the lawyer leave the courtroom, presumably having been given some direction by Concannon. Later, after Kaitlin has been questioned by Frank and cross-examined by Concannon, the lawyer returns with a book containing the case Concannon cites to get the judge to disallow the admittance of the photocopy of the hospital admission form as evidence. However, at the point at which Concannon calls the lawyer over and then, presumably, sends him out to "find" this book/case, he doesn't even know about the existence of the photocopy because he hasn't yet questioned Kaitlin; it's during his questioning of Kaitlin that she reveals she has a photocopy of the form. So there's no way the lawyer would have known to go out and find a case regarding the inadmissibility of a photocopy. See more »


Frank Galvin: Your honor, with all due respect: if you're going to try my case for me, I wish you wouldn't lose it.
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Referenced in Modern Family: The Verdict (2015) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Newman amazing as drunken lawyer in story of redemption...
10 March 1999 | by (Philadelphia, PA) – See all my reviews

The title of this movie is deceiving. THE VERDICT suggests a courtroom drama, something like TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, or INHERIT THE WIND. It does have some riveting court scenes, but what happens outside of court and to Paul Newman is the real attraction here. The title not only refers to the inevitable decision of the important case of the film, but also to how the Newman character is going to live the rest of his life. Should he sell out and take the easy settlement, or take the highly regarded archdiocese of Boston to court for real justice. These are the questions Newman must face in this profound drama that seems more like a picture of the 70's than an 80's film.

Director Sidney Lumet has dealt with the legal system before in his first film, 12 ANGRY MEN. He takes it to a more personal level and Paul Newman, one of the finest actors of the past 40 years, is the person to do it. He is a legend and he bares his soul as attorney Frank Galvin, a lonely, corrupt drunk whose license to practice law is hanging by a thread. Jack Warden plays his trusty assistant who gets him a case that could help Frank change his life. Warden, however, has had enough.

Newman plays an excellent drunk, even cracking an egg into an 8am beer to start his day. This is a dim looking movie, shot during a cold winter in Boston. There are no great shots, or even any emotionally-rousing speeches, but this is Lumet's style. It is plodding and we see into the life of a lawyer on the ropes. James Mason is perfect as the slimy defense lawyer. Newman is constantly underestimated because of past failures. He is a drunk, but he still has some tricks up his sleeve.

NOTE: Look closely at the closing argument given by Newman. In the background, you can glimpse a then-unknown Bruce Willis.

84 of 94 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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